SYNOD OF BISHOPS: August 11, 2004

Feast Day of St. Panteleimon in the Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Seventy-five miles from New York City is the town of Kittatinny, PA, located in the steep, thickly-wooded mountains, which won't be found on every map. Within these hills is the "Indian Trail," along which tribes escaped the encroaching alien European civilization. At the foot of the hills is small, beautiful Lake Kittatinny, ensconced in green. Fifty years ago there were not more than twenty homes here along the lakeside. Drawn by the beauty of the lake and the virgin forest surrounding it, Russians appeared here some 40 years ago, with the idea of building a chapel to service the spiritual needs of Russian vacationers. This idea was supported by the entire local Orthodox population. According to the plans drawn up by M.S. Ryl and approved by the faithful, a site was prepared in the summer of 1961. In the middle of the settlement, on a cliff, a foundation was consecrated in 1962, and the following year, a cozy chapel went up on the land donated by M.S. Ryl and two other locals, adorned with a cross on a golden cupola. The Orthodox temple was joyfully accepted by the local authorities and the Americans living in Kittatinny. They saw how earnestly and with what love these Russians, spending hours and hours of their vacation time, labored over the creation of the church, and they say that it is the "adornment and pride of Kittatinny." On June 29, 1963, the chapel was consecrated in honor of Great Martyr Panteleimon. The rite of consecration was performed by Mitred Protopriest Mitrofan Znosko-Borovsky (later Bishop of Boston). This year, the solemn services on the feast day of the chapel were performed by Protopriest Andrei Semyanko. At the end of liturgy, a luncheon was offered.

The Parish of St. Panteleimon in Hartford, CT, was established in September 1958 by a small group of Russian Orthodox Christians led by Protopriest Nikolai Vasiliev. Its present rector is Priest Dionisii Nalitov, awarded by Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan with the kamilavka during the festal liturgy this year.

By the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand, a parish community was established in Gosford, some two hours from Sydney, in honor of Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon. The parishioners constructed a temporary iconostasis, and church items were donated. Youth from Protection Church in Cabramatta helped in the construction. The rector is Priest James Carles, ordained by Archbishop Hilarion in 2001.

In the populous Protection Church in Cabramatta, established in 1953, the memory of St Panteleimon is piously celebrated, whose icon is kept in a large frame on the left side of the church. This year, as always, a lesser blessing of the water is performed along with a moleben and a procession of the cross, and on the eve, all-night vigil according to the typikon. Priest Boris Ignatievsky has now been heading the parish for three years. Last year, the parish celebrated its 50th anniversary with services officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus.