"Your Grace, Reverend Fathers, distinguished guests and parishioners of Holy Virgin Protection Orthodox Church here in Goshen, Indiana.
It is a with great joy that we continue our celebration of our parish feast day, which we began yesterday with the festal blessing of the water, Divine Liturgy, and procession with the cross.
We celebrate our 54 th anniversary today and in doing so we remember all those who founded this parish, built it with love, brick by brick, and kept it going through thick and thin. Those of you gathered here know who those people are. May God grant them all His heavenly kingdom!
We are particularly grateful for the presence of Reverend Father Vasily Melnik, who has faithfully served this parish some 20 years, despite difficulties with his health. Congratulations on your award, Father.
It is a great honor that His Grace Bishop Peter has made his second archpastoral visit to our parish. We deeply appreciate your attention, concern and care Vladyka. May God grant you many years!
We know that these are difficult times to lead Christ's Church on earth.
Our parish was founded by families fleeing Soviet Russia, who wanted to pray to God freely and raise their children close to the Church – just like many of the parishes in the Russian Church Abroad. Today the descendants of our founders are regularly joined in worship in Church by many recent emigrants from Russia. As always, the Church provides a link to Holy Russia, to the Abundant Grace of the life in Christ's Holy Church which the Church Abroad has long struggled to maintain in our materialistic world. It gladdens me and our parishioners to see the steps our First Hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, yourself, and the other members of our Synod of Bishops are taking to reestablish Eucharistic Communion with our brothers in Christ in Russia. When that great day arrives, it will be good to know we pray united with millions of other Orthodox faithful in the Russian land – many of them the relatives of those who founded our parish and many more the relatives and friends of those who have recently joined our parish. We share one faith; we share one God; we even share one Holy Protection from His Most-pure Mother; it is time that we share one Holy Chalice as well.
May God continue to guide His Eminence, Your Grace and all the other members of our Synod to know His will for our Church.