LOS ANGELES: September 9, 2004


Details on the Namesday of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and the Celebrations in Los Angeles

From the Editors: We offer supplemental details on the namesday celebrations of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and on the blessing of the main cupola of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles, prepared by Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, who is now in Europe participating in the work of the Committee of the Russian Church Abroad convening in Munich.

The Namesday of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus

On August 18/31, on the feast day of Holy Martyrs Flor and Laurus, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, celebrates his namesday along with his fellow laborer-in-Christ since his days in the Ladomirovo Monastery in the Carpathian Mountains, Archimandrite Flor.

With his customary humility, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus did not wish to disrupt the normal daily schedule of monastic life on his namesday, so the usual service was conducted. On the eve of the holiday, at 4 pm, vespers and matins were performed, during which His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus prayed on the left kliros. The other honoree of the day, Archimandrite Flor, performed the service. After dinner, compline and evening prayers were read.

The next morning, before five am, morning prayers and midnight office began. After the veneration of the icons and the other relics of the monastery, the entrance prayers were read, without the greeting of the bishop, and divine liturgy began, headed by the First Hierarch himself.

During hours, His Eminence ordained Reader Sergei Ledkovsky, son of the long-time choir director of the Synodal Cathedral, as a subdeacon.

The visiting clergy joined His Eminence Vladyka. Among them, besides the local clergymen, were Mitred protopriest Alexander Fedorowsky of Novo Diveevo Convent, Mitred Protopriest George Larin of Nyack, Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff of Los Angeles, Protopriest Theodore Shevtzoff of Connecticut and Priest Victor Boldewskul of Cleveland.

At the conclusion of liturgy, a moleben was performed for Holy Martyrs Flor and Laurus, at the end of which Protodeacon Joseph Jarostchuk intoned Many Years to the First Hierarch and Archimandrite Flor. Archimandrite Luke congratulated them on behalf of the brethren and the guests.

After liturgy, everyone went to the monastery refectory for breakfast. Afterwards, His Eminence Vladyka spoke about the history of how the Ladimirovo monks fled upon the approach of Soviet forces into the Carpathians in 1944. Having obtained 14 visas for monastics into Switzerland through the intercession of Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko), most of the monks went to Bratislava, headed by Archimandrite Seraphim (later Archbishop of Chicago). They could not use their visas, since the German authorities banned transit visas from Germany to Switzerland.

Before leaving, Archimandrite Seraphim appealed to the young laborers in the monastery, both named Vasily (Vasya the Black was Vladyka Laurus, and Vasya the White was Fr Flor, explained Vladyka), saying that if they wish to depart with the brethren, he would send Hieromonk Vitaly (later the Metropolitan) with a wagon to fetch them. And so it was. Fr Vitaly came and collected the two Vasyas. During breakfast, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus also told of the life of Fr Sergei (Romberg, +1992), who died on this day.

The New Main Cupola is Blessed on the Feast Day of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles.

This year, the feast day of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles was celebrated with special meaning, since the long-awaited newly-built main cupola and magnificent cross crowning it were blessed on this day.

His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America arrived on the eve of the Transfiguration of the Lord in time for all-night vigil. His Grace Bishop Alexander of Buenos Aires and South America also came, and emerged for the litany, and at the end of service, officiated at the great doxology. Both bishops emerged for the polyeleos along with the Cathedralís Rector, Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff and Protopresbyter Konstantin Tivetsky and Cathedral Deacon Christopher Horsley, Deacon Andre Karobkov and Deacon Alexei Polyakov.

It was a joy to see His Grace Bishop Alexander in better health after his serious operation and difficult treatment.

After all-night vigil, the sisterhood organized a dinner in the lower church hall for the clergy.

At 9 am, the greeting of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill took place. During the reading of the hours, His Eminence ordained a young parishioner of the Cathedral who earnestly reads and sings at all Sunday and holiday services, Alexander Alexeenko, as a reader. The newly-ordained Reader Alexander studies at the UCLA, where he will soon be defending his doctoral thesis on bio-mathematics. It is worth noting that during Great Lent this year, his brother was also ordained a reader in Cleveland by His Grace Bishop Peter.

After divine liturgy, a procession of the cross was held around the Cathedral, with pauses on all four sides of the church. Joining the procession was the Rector of neighboring Protection Church, Priest Peter Shashkoff.

On the north side of the church, tables were set up where baskets of grapes and other fruits were laid out for blessing.

After the fruits were blessed, the procession, led by Archbishop Kyrill, continued to the site of the newly-built main cupola and cross, where the Rite of consecration was performed.

The overall height of the cross and cupola alone is 43 feet (14 meters), roughly the height of a four-story building. Holy Transfiguration Cathedral itself, after the elevation of the cupola and cross into place, will be 153 feet high (47 meters), roughly the height of a 15-storey building. The Cathedral is surrounded primarily by one- or two-storey buildings. Nowhere within a one-kilometer radius is there a single building higher than 6 floors, so as a result the Cathedral looms over the entire neighborhood.

After the blessing of the cross, performed by Archbishop Kyrill, Priest Peter Shashkoff ascended the scaffolding with several altar boys and sprinkled the cross and cupola with holy water on all sides.

Upon His Eminence Archbishop Kyrillís return into the Cathedral, he awarded the helpers of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral: the long-standing parishioners Panagiotis and Maria Kalogeropoulos, and the President of the Childrenís Welfare Society Tatiana Georgievna Gorbenko, who earnestly worked on the organization of trapezas and concerts to benefit the Cathedral.

The sisterhood offered a magnificent feast in the large school hall. At its conclusion, the Rector of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral thanked His Eminence Vladyka, the clergy, parishioners, sisterhood and all the guests. Priest Peter Shashkoff also spoke, congratulating the parish on their feast day, and especially on the construction and blessing of the main cupola and cross.

This was an especially glorious holiday for the parishioners, since soon the Cathedral will be crowned by a cupola and cross after 25 years since its construction. Because the church is being built on the model of Transfiguration Church in Kizhi, there remains the construction of 20 smaller cupolas, of which four are already finished, work having begun on the next eight.

The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has blessed the collection of funds for the completion of the construction of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles throughout all the parishes throughout the world. Those who wish to donate for the cupoloas can send donations to:

Holy Transfiguration Church Ė Building Fund
5432 Fernwood Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027