SYNOD OF BISHOPS: November 23, 2004

Synodal Protodeacon Eugene Burbelo Enters 50th Year of Service

On Saturday, November 20, upon the conclusion of all-night vigil at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, performed by Priest Serafim Gan and Protodeacon Eugene Burbelo, Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan greeted the latter on the anniversary of his ordination into the deaconate, which was performed by Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky, +1965) of blessed memory in 1955. He wished him good health and God's aid in continuing his service, after which Many Years was sung. Afterwards, Fr Protodeacon shared his remembrances of Metropolitan Anastassy with the rest of the Cathedral clergymen at the residence of Bishop Gabriel, and of his memories of St John of Shanghai (Maximovich, +1966) and many other bishops and clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

As reported earlier on this website, Archimandrite Gelasii (Mayboroda, +1994) was the spiritual father of Protodeacon Eugene, who had foretold during the days of Metropolitan Anastassy: "You will serve four First Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia." And so it was. Protodeacon Eugene began his service to the Church under Metropolitan Anastassy. The late Metropolitan Philaret awarded Protodeacon Eugene with a kamilavka for his many years of zealous service at the Synodal Cathedral, and during Metropolitan Vitaly's reign, the 40th anniversary of Protodeacon Eugene's service was celebrated, the day coinciding with the 700th anniversary of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, Whom he has good-heartedly served for almost 50 years.

At the beginning of this year, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus offered Protodeacon Eugene the opportunity to participate in the first official visit of His Eminence to the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. When the delegation arrived in Kursk, Metropolitan Juvenaly of Kursk and Ryl'sk said at the conclusion of his welcoming of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus at the Cathedral in Kursk: "We know that a Protodeacon is with you who has served the Church and the Kursk Icon of the Mother of God for almost 50 years: we prepared a gift for him—an orarion."

"I serve at the Synod Cathedral in New York, where the Miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God abides," said Fr Protodeacon to the journalists of Kursk, "I have served for 49 years, and today Vladyka Juvenaly gave me an orarion, which was very touching. I thanked him and said that this gift is a great honor for me. Instances of healing occur from the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God. Usually, during services, the Icon is held in a special frame, and at night it is taken into the bishops' residences. The Icon of the Mother of God also often travels throughout the dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. I twice had the honor of accompanying the Icon during such trips to California along with Metropolitan Anastassy. He would require that at least two people escort the Icon at all times" (Kurskiye eparkhiyal'niye vedomosti, No. 7, 2004).