Diocesan Conference held at St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

On October 19, 2004, a Conference of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York was held at St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Before the beginning of the meeting, a moleben "before commencing any good work" was performed. Then, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus opened the Conference with a brief greeting, noting that according the Diocesan by-laws, general Diocesan Conferences are held every three years, but that the Diocesan Council decided to schedule an extraordinary conference in order to resolve some purely administrative matters. Protopriest Gregory Naumenko was designated Vice President of the Conference, and Mitred Protopriest George Larin and Priest Serafim Gan were appointed secretaries.

Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan gave a report on the life of the parishes of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York, saying that by decision of the Synod of Bishops, our parishes in Texas were transferred to the Diocese of Chicago and Detroit. During Great Lent, Bishop Gabriel ordained to the priesthood Deacon Alexandre Antchoutine of Transfiguration Church in Flushing, NY, to serve in the parishes of the First Deanery of the Diocese. At the present time, Fr Alexandre is replacing the Rector of Protection Church in Glen Cove. Priest Mark Burachek was recently assigned as Rector of the Kazan Church of the Mother of God in Newark, NJ, who was transferred from the Canadian Diocese. Priest Andrei Kortusov came to New York from the Diocese of Ishim and Siberia and appointed to Assumption Church in Richmond Hill, NY. Fr Ion Barbus was assigned to our church in Baltimore, MD, having joined our Diocese with a canonical release from Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldavia (ROC/MP). Fr Ion is temporarily living in Brooklyn, NY, but is expected to move to Baltimore in the near future. Protopriest George Salatanov is now serving at our mission in Costa Rica. Fr Vyacheslav Davydenko, at one time serving at our parish in Atlanta, GA, was transferred to Canada, where he was appointed to be the Rector of the Church of St Xenia the Blessed in Kanata. Vladyka Gabriel expressed gratitude to Protopriest Victor Potapov for his Cathedral of St John the Baptist taking upon themselves a collection for the victims of the terrorist act in Beslan, and reminded everyone that parish rectors must promptly make plate collections for various church needs, and to support the Synodal candle factory, thereby fulfilling the ukases of the Hierarchy. Vladyka also reported that Protopriest Nikolai Nekliudoff died on October 17. The funeral and burial were performed by Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov along with five other priests of the Diocese. At the end of his report, Vladyka Gabriel introduced Protopriest Ioakim Lapkin, who serves in Bishop Evtikhii's diocese.

His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus reminded everyone that parish rectors must pay special attention to the appeal he sent in July in connection with the collection being made for the bell for the Church-on-the-Blood in Ekaterinburg. His Eminence noted that this is of exceptional importance and called upon everyone to take action. In addition, His Eminence reported that on this day, 10 years ago, Archimandrite Gelasii (Mayboroda) died. The Conferees then sang "Eternal Memory" to Fr Gelasii and to the newly-reposed Fr Nikolai Nekliudoff.

Deacon Dimitri Temidis and Nikolai T. Timcenko made an interesting presentation on the Fundraising Arm of the ROCOR. With the blessing of the Synod of Bishops, the FAROCOR will coordinate all fundraising efforts, including an annual fundraising drive, will determine funding needs, will help parishes and communities find sources of income for their own needs, and will offer the "ROCOR Foundation." The aim of the FAROCOR is to offer all members of our Church the possibility of performing their Christian duty to tend to the needs of their parishes and the Church as a whole, to support the activities of our bishops in the tending to their flock, and to provide for the needs of monasteries, schools, seminaries, and clergy. Taking full advantage of the latest advances in fundraising methods, on November 1, 2004, the FAR begins its annual fundraising drive to expand charitable and benevolent operations to include: Aid to parishes, missions, monasteries and church schools, clergymen and their families in need through a reestablished Clergy Welfare Fund, an interest-free loan program. The FAROCOR can help parishes collect their own dues and conduct special collection as wells.

November 1, 2004 marks the launch of the First Annual Fundraising Drive. Donors pledge monthly donations, drawn directly from their bank accounts, and specify where their donations go. Their donations will be withdrawn from their account and transferred directly to the charity of their choice.

In his report, Protopriest Victor Potapov spoke of the collection of donations towards the victims of Beslan. Fr Victor published a list of the 26 children who suffered the most, now in a Moscow hospital, in his parish bulletin. Each of them received $500. Priest Vladimir Boikov, a clergyman of the Washington cathedral, was able to visit the hospital where these children are receiving treatment. A chapel has been set up at the hospital, where services are conducted. One of the boys told Fr Vladimir that many died or were seriously injured from bombs stuffed with shrapnel. At the end of his report, Fr Victor especially thanked those rectors whose parishes generously responded to the call to help.

Protopriest George Kallaur told of the life of his Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, the only Russian Orthodox parish in Brooklyn, NY. The church where frequent services are conducted, is open every day from 8 am to 8 pm. On Sundays, some 400-500 worshipers attend divine service. Priest George Lardas invited the Conferees to the celebration of the 75th anniversary of his Parish of St Nicholas in Stratford, CT, which was reported on our website, and Priest Serafim Gan gave an overview of the work of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church/Moscow Patriarchate.

In closing the Conference, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus called upon everyone to maintain their fraternal love, unity and earnest prayer for the archpastors and pastors of our Church, emphasizing that the rapprochement with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is in the hands of God.