Feast Day at St. Seraphim Church


Solemn and with great spiritual elevation were the services at St. Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff, NY. Divine liturgy on the saintís day was officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus along with Mitred Protopriests Alexey Ohotin and George Larin, Protopriests Andrei Semyanko and Sergei Klestoff, Priest Serafim Gan and Hieromonk Roman (Krassovsky), along with Protodeacons Joseph Jarostchuk and Paul Wolkow. On the eve of the holiday, all-night vigil was served with a general singing of the akathist to the saint. The choir sang beautifully under the direction of T.M. Joukova, who was able to draw a multitude of young Russian church-goers to read and sing, where for many years the rector was Protopresbyter Mitrofan Znosko-Borovsky, who earnestly worked with youth, ending his years as Bishop of Boston.

Addressing the worshipers at the end of service, Vladyka Laurus said, in part: “Last year you, brothers and sisters, and I, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the glorification of our spiritual father, St Seraphim of Sarov. Now, this year of 2004 is also an anniversary year for St Seraphim, for today is the 250th anniversary of his birth. St Seraphim was born in Kursk in 1754, and was given the name Prokhor at his baptism. His parents were Isidor and Agafia. I would like to mention an important event in the life of the young Prokhor, the future St Seraphim: he was miraculously healed before the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God. As a child, Prokhor fell ill, in bed at home. At this time there was a procession of the cross in the city, with the miraculous Kursk Icon. Since there was a heavy rain, the participants in the procession decided to shorten it. They made a shortcut through the yard of the Moshnins. Prokhorís mother took the sick boy into the yard and prayed, holding her son against the icon. Prokhor also prayed and was soon healed (this event was marked by the newly-painted icon of our Church Abroad for the 100th anniversary of the glorification of the saint last year).

St Seraphim came to love God from his youth, as is sung in his troparion, and he devoted his life to Christ, and so he became one of Godís chosen, chosen by His Mother. For his burning love for God, he was granted special gifts. He performed miracles even during his earthly life, and through his intercession he continues to perform great miracles. St Seraphim is one of the most beloved and venerated saints of the Russian people. . Russians turn to him with love and prayers for intercession, receiving rewards of grace from God. In commemorating St Seraphim today, we celebrate your churchís feast day, and also the 250th anniversary of his birth. Now let us conduct a service of supplication and pray to him that he help all of us travel the Christian path in our daily lives, leading us towards salvation. Let us with heartfelt faith pray to St Seraphim: ĎSave us with your prayers, Seraphim, our holy father. Amen.í”

During the trapeza, magnificently organized by the sisterhood, led by A.N. Ryl, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus told of his travels to Diveevo and Kursk, on his meetings with the hierarchs, clergy and faithful of Russia, on the nascent process of peacemaking between the two parts of the Russian Church, and then answered questions.

His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus expressed the hope that all the problems dividing the Russian Church in the 20th century would be resolved in accordance with the positions of principle of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and that this process would bring peace to the Local Russian Church, along with healing and “the speedy pacification of Thy people, redeemed by Thy blood,” as we pray during every liturgy in the parishes of the Russian Church Abroad. Vladyka Laurus stressed that the Committee on discussions with the corresponding committee of the Moscow Patriarchate, formed by the Council of Bishops in December of last year, is working honestly and in the name of ecclesiastical truth, in every way following the instructions of our Council of Bishops. At the completion of the work of both Committees, their conclusions will be presented for confirmation by the hierarchies of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate. The words of the First Hierarch invoked a lively discussion, ending with the singing of a prayer of thanksgiving, “Many Years” to those celebrating their namesday and the intonation of “Eternal Memory” to the reposed Bishop Mitrofan, who had left a profound impression on the parishioners and benevolent and thankful memories.

Then His Eminence Vladyka visited the choir director of the Synodal Cathedral of many years, A.B. Ledkovsky, who lies ill in a hospital in Long Island, where His Eminence spent some time in conversation with him, his wife Olga and daughter Nina.