NEW YORK: March 29, 2004

Metropolitan Laurus at the Synodal Cathedral on the 5th Sunday of Great Lent
and Views the Exhibition "Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557)"

On March 26, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus arrived in New York City from Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville along with a large contingent of seminarians in time for an akathist to the Mother of God, conducted, as is customary, on the eve of the Laudation of the Most-Holy Mother of God. His Eminence led the reading of the akathist at the Synodal Cathedral along with Archimandrite Ioann (Vorobiov), Protopriest Andrei Sommer and Priest Serafim Gan, along with Protodeacons Eugene Burbelo and Nicolas Mokhoff and Deacon Vladimir Tsurikov. The following morning, His Eminence prayed in the altar during the solemn liturgy, celebrated by Archimandrite Ioann along with Priest Serafim and Protodeacons Eugene and Nicolas and Deacon Vladimir. Upon the conclusion of the service, Metropolitan Laurus gave an interview to the local Russian press, and headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the seminarians to view the exhibition "Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557)," which is enjoying tremendous success. The sakkos of Metropolitan Photius, Russian and Serbian epitaphia, ancient Byzantine, Sinai and Russian icons made a profound impression on the visitors. Metropolitan Laurus then returned to the Synod, where he held meetings until evening vigil.

The following morning, His Eminence officiated at Divine Liturgy, joined by Archimandrite Ioann, Protopriests Peter Holodny and Andrei Sommer and Priests Serafim Gan and Victor Dobroff, along with Protodeacons Eugene and Nicolas. In a deeply-expressive sermon at the end of liturgy, Vladyka Metropolitan, speaking of the life and repentance of St. Mary of Egypt, called upon all the faithful to follow her "example of repentance," her faith and love for God. Before the veneration of the cross, His Eminence announced that a plate collection would be made to benefit the brethren of Hilandar Monastery on Mt. Athos, which suffered a major fire in early March, which destroyed a third of the ancillary buildings. Vladyka reminded everyone that the Serbian Orthodox Church helped the Russian refugees after the revolution, and for this reason we were bound to support our Orthodox brethren whom the Lord is testing with tribulations.

he Sisterhood of the Cathedral offered a meal at the Metropolitan's quarters, after which His Eminence headed for Holy Protection Church in Nyack, NY, for the general unction service scheduled for that evening. The pleasing noise of bells greeted His Eminence, along with a large contingent of worshipers. Before the beginning of the service of mystery, His Eminence gave a sermon in which he noted that this service was usually performed over the ailing, but, in the tradition of the Russian Church, it is also performed over those who are physically well during Great Lent, for each person suffers from his own internal wounds and needs spiritual healing and salvation from the sin and passions which separates us from "Let us pray now," said Vladyka Laurus, "for the Lord to grant us to see ourselves as we are and that He heal us from inner ailments, to greet the Pascha of the Christ in spiritual peace, purity and joy." Then, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus officiated at the general unction along with the parish Rector, Mitred Protopriest George Larin, Protopriests Andrei Semyanko, Gregory Kotliaroff, Elias Gorsky, Andrei Sommer and Theodore Shevzov and the parish Deacon Dimitri Temidis, along with over 200 worshipers. Priests Ilya Gan, Mark Burachek, Serafim Gan, George Lardas and George Zelenin also attended the service. At the trapeza arranged by the parish sisterhood, Protopriest George Larin thanked His Eminence and congratulated all with their participation in the grace of God they received during the service. In his closing speech, Vladyka Laurus wished all to worthily meet the Paschal celebrations. After a brief meeting with the clergymen present, His Eminence departed for Jordanville along with Brother Nicholas Olhovsky.