His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Leads the Celebrations on the Feast Day of St Seraphim Church

On August 1, the feast day of St Seraphim of Sarov, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus performed Divine Liturgy at St Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff, NY, along with Mitred Protopriest George Larin, Rector of Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY; Protopriest Andrei Semyanko, Rector of Presentation Church in Stratford, CT; Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, Secretary of the Commission on discussions with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and Rector of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles, CA; Protopriest George Kallaur, Rector of the Parish of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Brooklyn, NY; Protopriest Andrei Sommer, Senior Priest of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York City; Protopriest Andrei Papkov, Senior Priest of Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago, IL; Hieromonk John (Berzins) and Hieromonk Roman (Krassovsky) of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY; Priest Serafim Gan, member of the Synodal Administration; and Priest Alexandre Antchoutine, Rector of the Church of the Intercession in Glen Cove, NY; along with Protodeacon Joseph Jarostchuk of St John of Kronstadt Memorial Church in Utica, NY; Protopriest Paul Wolkow of St Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff; and Deacon Dimitri Temidis, member of the Synodal Administration and cleric of Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY.

On the eve of the holiday, His Eminence performed all-night vigil and served an akathist before the church's icon of St Seraphim, which was painted before the 1917 Revolution, which bears a portion of the saint's relics. The following morning, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, arrived with Deacon Dimitri. The clergymen then greeted His Eminance Vladyka at the main entrance of the parish rectory, whence His Eminence headed for the church to perform Divine Liturgy.

At the end of Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Vladyka turned to the flock and said:

"In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

"The Holy Church has gathered us together in this sacred temple so that we could prayerfully glorify the memory of St Seraphim of Sarov.

"The Holy Church lauds St Seraphim with great praise. Yesterday during vigil we heard the words: 'Come all ye faithful, praise with sacred songs St Seraphim, wondrous in his miracles.'

"Responding to the call of the Holy Church, we gathered here to prayerfully fall to him and venerate his holy icon, praying for his help and intercession.

"Two years ago we marked the centennial of his glorification by the Church, and we lifted our prayers to God and to St Seraphim both here and in other churches. People tell us of especially solemn and splendid services that were held in St Seraphim-Diveevo Monastery, where the holy relics of St Seraphim abide.

"St Seraphim teaches us through his very life how to serve God, how we must live, how we must seek salvation.

"When we say that we must live like the saints, we often hear: 'But we cannot live like the saints, for we are not saints ourselves.' Yet it would then follow then that the saints were born holy and so everything was easy for them, and so they naturally became saints.

"But that is not so—the saints struggled, they achieved holiness through great labors and sufferings, they overcame all temptations for the sake of love for God, for their Creator, and through this they achieved holiness. The saints were people just like us, they were subjected to the same temptations as we are; but they battled them, they prayed to God for strength and patience, they tried to fulfill the laws of the Gospel, they tried to live by the Gospel, and through this they cleansed themselves of sin and approached God, they became holy.

"The Lord, in return for their love for Him, in return for their labors, shone light upon them and glorified them. In such a way did the Lord glorify His servant, St Seraphim, whose memory we celebrate today. May the memory of St Seraphim be instructive to us, and serve towards our salvation.

"St Seraphim would greet all those he met with the words: 'My dear one, Christ is Risen!'

Let us pray to St Seraphim that he help us be reborn spiritually and embark upon the path of salvation. Amen!"

Then His Eminence read aloud the ukase appointing Priest Serafim Gan as the Rector of the parish. In His Eminence's ukase, it is stated that the new rector will continue his weekday obligations at the Synod of Bishops. Since the rector will now have two residences—St Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff and the Synod of Bishops in New York—His Eminence stated that a second priest would be appointed to the parish.

At the end of Divine Liturgy, which was followed by a moleben and a procession of the cross around the church, a trapeza was offered at the parish hall, where His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, the Parish Rector and the Parish Warden, MS Ryl, all spoke.

The following morning, on the day of Prophet Elias, Divine Liturgy was performed at St Seraphim Church by Hieromonk John (Berzins) and Hieromonk Roman (Krassovsky). His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus prayed on the kliros. After service and breakfast, prepared by the sisterhood, under the supervision of AN Ryl, His Eminence visited several parishioners of St Seraphim Church, after which he departed for Holy Trinity Monastery.