JORDANVILLE: September 12, 2005

The Celebrations of the Namesday of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and of the 75th Anniversary of Holy Trinity Monastery


On Wednesday, August 31, the feast day of his saint, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus performed Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral along with His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart and the monastic and visiting clergymen. At the end of the solemn service, Bishop Agapit congratulated the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, expressing the hope that the prayers of Holy Martyr Laurus would always accompany the selfless labors of His Eminence. Archimandrite Luke, in his address on behalf of the monks, pointed out that the celebration of His Eminence Vladyka’s namesday opens the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, a corner of Holy Russia on American soil.

On Saturday, September 3, at 3 pm, a solemn procession of the cross headed for the cemetery’s Dormition Church, which stands upon a hill to the north of the Cathedral. Surrounded by much-venerated gravesites, this white stone church is topped with gleaming silver cupolas and crosses. Dormition after-feast services were held, and Dormition prayers were sung during the procession of the cross.

The clergymen took in hand a copy of the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God from Dormition Church and the procession of the cross headed back to Holy Trinity Cathedral. The Pochaev Icon was placed next to the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God and the large icon of St Job of Pochaev in the center of the Cathedral. This copy of the miracle-working Pochaev Icon was sent from Pochaev Lavra in 1934 as a “blessing to American Rus’.”

An akathist to St Job the God-bearer, Hegumen and Miracle-worker of Pochaev, was then performed, at which Bishop Agapit officiated.

After the Rule of Prayer for those preparing for confession and the serving clergymen, a small repast was offered with the reading of the Lives of the Saints.

At 7 pm, the solemn all-night vigil began in the Cathedral, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, along with Archbishop Mark, Archbishop Kyrill, Bishop Gabriel, Bishop Michael and Bishop Agapit.

In accordance with the monastery’s custom, the singing was performed on two kliroses. During particularly ceremonious moments of the divine services, both kliroses combine in the center of the narthex and inspire the worshipers with the great sound of a choir praising the Lord God.

There were a great many worshipers in attendance. All-night vigil ended at 11 pm, but, as many clergymen and pilgrims noticed, they were not weary, and their souls were filled with light and peace.

On Sunday, September 4, early Divine Liturgy was performed in the lower church dedicated to St Job. Late the night before, Archbishop Alypy and Bishop Peter had arrived to join the celebrations. The clergymen greeted His Eminence the First Hierarch at 9 am, and after the bishops were vested and the Hours were read, Divine Liturgy began.

The host of clergymen consisted of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, Archbishop Alypy, Archbishop Mark, Archbishop Kyrill, Bishop Gabriel, Bishop Michael, Bishop Agapit, Bishop Peter, as well as 30 priests and many deacons, and the combined monastery choir.

After the Cherubic Hymn, His Eminence Vladyka ordained Deacon Daniel Marshall, who graduated Holy Trinity Seminary this year, into the priesthood.

A sermon was delivered by Bishop Agapit before communion, in which he spoke of the ascetic struggles of St Job, who laid down as the basis of his lifelong building of his monastery “labor, prayer and the printed word.” This legacy guided Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko, +1960) in the continuation of the great holy work of Orthodoxy in America and among the entire Russian emigration.

At the end of Divine Liturgy, during which a multitude of worshipers partook of the Holy Gifts from two chalices, a moleben was served to the Mother of God and to St Job. A procession of the cross then began around the Cathedral. The priests carried the Kursk-Root Icon, the Pochaev Icon and that of St Job, which contains a portion of his relics.

After the monastery trapeza offered by the monastic brethren, a reception was organized at the “skete” of the First Hierarch of our Church under the open sky. His Eminence Vladyka was surrounded by a multitude of his followers and youth, who fervently wished him health and many years.

Matins and the small compline then followed as usual. Afterwards, Bishop Peter and a group of clergymen performed a pannikhida at the cemetery for the reposed monks of the monastery.

On Monday, the same clergymen performed Divine Liturgy. During the minor entrance, His Eminence elevated Hieromonk George (Schaeffer) to the rank of archimandrite, and Hieromonk John (Berzins) to the rank of hegumen. After the Eucharistic Canon, His Eminence ordained Monk Anatoly (Zhilin) to the rank of hierodeacon. During the pre-communion prayers, Protopriest Andrei Papkov, Senior Priest of Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago, read a sermon, in which he said, in part:

“Today we gather here in order to raise prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord God for the great mercy He granted to the Russian Orthodox people who found themselves in foreign lands after the great Russian catastrophe of 1917.

“What did our old generation endure? The fall of a great empire, which had seemed unshakable; the Anointed of God was taken away, the loving father and protector of his people; and a long dark period of godless violence fell upon the Russian land. Russian refugees endured starvation, cold and poverty, both material and spiritual.

“And here, amid this darkness, the Lord—Who is resisted by the proud and is merciful to the meek—illuminated this small, humble lantern of Orthodoxy in a land far from Russia. The prayers of the humble Hieromonk Panteleimon were heard, and the Lord openly blessed his good intention, the foundation of the monastery in which we stand today. Through his prayers and tears, his sweat and blood, this simple Russian man laid down the firm ground of the monastery which Metropolitan Anastassy of blessed memory called ‘our spiritual fortress’ and ‘the Lavra Abroad.’

“Yesterday we heard Vladyka Alypy’s sermon about the labors of piety of Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) of blessed memory. To his words we can add that the late Vladyka Vitaly had in 1903 headed the printing-press brotherhood of Pochaev Lavra. He carried on this work not only in the Russian land, where he illuminated and educated the Russian people by the printed and living word, but also abroad, where he continued to publish Orthodox literature, since he felt that the obedience laid upon him in 1903 had never been lifted by any ecclesiastical authority. He carried on this obedience until his final days. We learn of this from his memoirs, Motifs of My Life, which we can call in some ways his last will and testament.

“Vladyka Vitaly, a novice under St Job and continuing his work, stood as a Divine sentry on the western borders of Russia. Heading the Volynsky Union of the Russian People, Archimandrite Vitaly traveled on foot throughout all of Volynia, delivering his sermons, as a result of which there was no civil strife there during the revolts of 1905.

“Finding himself abroad, Vladyka Vitaly continued his service to Orthodox Russia, by establishing a printing brotherhood in the Carpathian Mountains, which later as archbishop he moved to America to enhance the brotherhood’s numbers here.

“A new life began in the monastery, the publication of literature expanded, and through the labors of Vladyka Vitaly, a theological school was established—a seminary for the preparation of pastors of the Church. Vladyka left instructions never to separate the Seminary from the Monastery, so that its students would be suffused with the spirit of service to the Church in accordance with the legacy of St Job.

“All the labors of Vladyka Vitaly and of the Monastery’s monks were then, and remain to this day, directed towards service to Russian Orthodoxy, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian people, while not forgetting, of course, missionary work among the heterodox. Vladyka Vitaly exerted a great deal of effort in battling ecclesiastical conflicts and schisms.

“Today, in continuing the work of his Abba Vitaly, his spiritual son, student and heir, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, along with the Council of wise archpastors, exerts all his own efforts for the healing of the wounds upon the body of the Russian Church, and for the overcoming of conflicts and divisions. It is our duty, the duty of the faithful children of the Church, to prayerfully support our archpastors in their difficult work.

“Unfortunately, one sometimes hears that the legacies of Abba Vitaly have become obsolete and that we must establish church life anew, upon some other foundations. Relying on the mercy of God, to this we answer: We believe that the Lord is alive, that St Job and his novice, Vladyka Vitaly, stand before the Divine Throne in ineffable light and pray for the Russian Church and for us sinners.

“They pray that the Lord would grant us wisdom and strengthen our archpastors in performing their labors.

“They pray that this monastery continues to serve God and man. They pray that the Lord preserves the Russian Orthodox Church from wolves which seek to devour her. Amen.”

Before the veneration of the cross, Archbishop Alypy greeted His Eminence the Abbot and spoke of the 75 years of the monastery’s growth. In his response, the First Hierarch said:

“How can we mark this important milestone in the life of our monastery? We can mark it only through prayer. We must raise thanksgiving to the Holy Trinity for His great mercies granted to us all, from the day the monastery was founded to this very day. And the mercies of God, the gifts of God were truly great. When Archimandrite Panteleimon, at the time a hieromonk, the builder of our monastery, came to this place in 1930, he found nothing at all. He and his fellow laborers possessed nothing. And in beginning to build this monastery, they first prayed, with faith and hope for God’s help. And the Lord blessed their labors and gradually they settled in, and their labors began to bear fruit. People came wishing to live and labor here together with them. Soon Archbishop Vitaly of blessed memory took this monastic brotherhood under his wing, and then he became its head. The brotherhood blossomed and grew.

“The Lord sent tribulations to the first monks. In 1935, during the consecration of the monastic residence building, where the church was located, a fire destroyed everything. But this trial did not shake the zeal of the monastery’s inhabitants, and they drew their ranks around their monastic hearth and again began to build. In the summer of 1946, the foundation was laid for this temple where we stand today, and in December of that year, monks from Europe came and increased the ranks of monastics. In the spring of 1947, the building of the church commenced. Then the printing shop of St Job of Pochaev was reorganized. Later, a large monastic residential unit was built, and a seminary house, a church in the cemetery, and also agricultural structures.

“And so, over these 75 years, the Lord blessed us with the establishment of everything we see here today. In addition, during this time, the monastery continued its missionary and publishing work, and the Seminary prepared young pastors.

“The Lord helped us in all this. We ourselves cannot boast anything, as the Apostle says: we can only boast our weaknesses. And this was all done through God’s grace.

“Now we will perform a service of thanksgiving to the Lord for His mercies, poured out over us all, the residents of our monastery.

“Let us pray to the Lord that He bolster us further to serve Him, that He preserve us from ills and misfortunes, and that He keep our holy monastery so that it serve all of us, those who live here and those who enter its walls for salvation.”

Under the joyful peal of bells, the grateful worshipers emerged from the Cathedral, heading for another monastery trapeza. At one o’clock, a jubilee reception was held at Otesage Hotel Resort, organized by Protodeacon Victor Lochmatov, his wife Elena and their assistants. His Grace Bishop Gabriel and Priest Paul Ivanov gave a brief history of the origins and future of the monastery. Then Hieromonk Roman (Krassovsky), the monastery’s choir director, read a greeting from His Holiness Patriarch Alexy of All Russia, from Metropolitan Onuphry of Chernovitsa and Bukov, from Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand, Archbishop Evgeny of Verey and others. The gathering concluded with greetings from other archpastors of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in attendance. In his concluding word, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus stressed that the monastery is celebrating its anniversary not to praise itself, but to thank the Lord and to pay respects to the founders and reposed brethren of the monastery. Vladyka then thanked Protodeacon Victor for the reception, and also for the album containing rare photographs from the life of the monastery, published on its 75th anniversary.

A fair-sized group of pilgrims remained until Tuesday, and as they departed, the spiritual labors of the monastery resumed as usual.

The most joyous feature of these days of celebration was the attendance of an unusually large number of young people, our faithful and moral heirs.