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DIOCESE OF EASTERN AMERICA AND NEW YORK: September 14, 2006
His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Conducts Divine Liturgy at St John the Baptist Cathedral

On September 9, the day after the conclusion of the meeting of the Synod of Bishops at which the "Act on Canonical Communion" with the Moscow Patriarchate was approved, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus arrived in the US capital to officiate at the feast-day celebrations of St John the Baptist Cathedral.

On Saturday evening, all-night vigil was attended by a large gathering of worshipers. The First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia led the polyeleos, during which the exaltations were sung to John, the Baptizer of Christ, and St Job, Hegumen and Miracle-worker of Pochaev, since this was the eve of the holy man's feast day. St Job is also the heavenly protector of the eponymous monastic publishing house which His Eminence has been connected with since childhood.

On Sunday, September 10, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was ceremoniously greeted by the clergy and a multitude of worshipers. Greeting their eminent guest with the traditional bread and salt, Parish Warden Dimitri Mikhailovich Zaretzky thanked the First Hierarch for his visit and for his many labors in the work of reconciling the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church.

His Eminence officiated at Divine Liturgy along with the Parish Rector Protopriest Victor Potapov and Protopriest Igor Hrebinka, along with Protodeacon Leonid Mickle, Deacon John Johnson and Deacon Nicholas Olhovsky. The magnificent singing of the cathedral choir under the direction of Yuri Alexandrovich Pecherkin adorned the service. During the reading of the hours, Vladyka Metropolitan ordained Alexander Reznikov as a subdeacon.

Many worshipers, having prepared themselves through confession and prayer, partook of the Holy Gifts, offered from three chalices.

After the singing of "Blessed be the name of the Lord," His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus addressed the worshipers with an archpastoral sermon during which he reminded everyone of the image of the one who gave his life for the truth, the "Friend of the Groom," John the Baptist, who called upon everyone to seek the truth and moral purity.

After a moleben and a procession of the cross, the Protection of the Mother of God Sisterhood of the Parish offered the parishioners and guests a splendid luncheon.

During the trapeza, with the blessing of His Eminence, Fr Victor read aloud the Synod's "Address to the God-loving Flock of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia," of a few days earlier.

Later that day, His Eminence Vladyka granted an interview to Voice of America, in which he spoke of the latest session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the perspectives of canonical communion with the Moscow Patriarchate.

That evening, His Eminence officiated at all-night vigil. On September 11, the day of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, the Primate of the Russian Church Abroad prayed in the altar during early Divine Liturgy. During the Great Entrance, Orthodox warriors were killed on the field of battle were commemorated, and those "faithful who died in the terrorist attacks upon our country" on September 11, 2001.

Protopriest Victor Potapov