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DIOCESE OF EASTERN AMERICA AND NEW YORK: February 8, 2007
Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Visits Holy New Martyrs Church in Norwich, CT

On Saturday evening, February 3, 2007, the Orthodox Church of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Norwich, CT, began the 8 th celebration of its founding and naming as a parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. For this celebration, the parish joyfully welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus. It was the third visit of Vladyka to Norwich. Two years ago the Metropolitan made a brief visit to Norwich while on his way to the feast-day celebrations in Boston . At that time Vladyka reviewed the progress being made on the newly constructed parish center on Canterbury Turnpike, in Norwich.

It was Metropolitan Laurus who visited the parish on our first feast-day celebration eight years ago, shortly after the parish had formed. At that time, in 1999, the Metropolitan was still in the rank of Archbishop. Our parish also welcomed Archimandrite George from Holy Trinity Monastery who accompanied the Metropolitan, and Deacon Nicholas Olhovsky. Shortly before Vigil began we also welcomed Deacon Nicholas Drobot and Reader Nikolai Lochmatov from Boston.

The vigil service was very beautifully sung by the choir and Vladyka listened intently from the altar. He made note of his pleasure with the prayerful singing, and the words of the service in English, and complemented the choir and director, Alexandra Grisel. Following vigil there was a supper offered in the trapeza, prepared by Father Basil and Matushka Catherine, for all those who endured to the end of the service. As the meal ended people were still lingering with memories of the evening which had just passed.

On Sunday, at 9:30 am, the Metropolitan was greeted by the eleven men serving in the altar that day. In our present situation, the small church being located at one end of our parish center, the greeting took place in the front hallway and foyer where a large replication of Father Kyprian's ikon of the New Martyrs hangs. The service then proceeded through the vesting and hours, then Divine Liturgy began. During the minor entrance, Metropolitan Laurus awarded Father Basil the palitza for his service to Our Lord and the Holy Church (Father Basil recently celebrated his 25 th anniversary to the priesthood). At the same time, Deacon Nicholas Drobot was elevated to the rank of protodeacon for his service to the Church, with our gratitude for his support of our parish.

Following Divine Liturgy, there was a moleben and dinner held in honor of the New Martyrs. At the meal Father Basil spoke of his gratitude to the Metropolitan and to Father George for their personal support and guidance in his own life, and of their combined support of the parish in its period of growth. We are very honored that they would make the effort once again to visit Norwich. Father Basil noted the Metropolitan's recent 60 th anniversary of coming to the United States and his tonsure to the monastic rank. Even at 18 years old when Metropolitan Laurus left Ladimirovo in the Carpathian Mountains of Poland and Slovakia he had already been living as a monk for four years. One can not help but be impressed by the impact of this fact on the mind and the heart of any Orthodox Christian.

Since July 2006, with the feast of the Royal Martyrs, the parish has been engaged in raising funds for the interior decoration of the little church located at one end of their building. Our little church looks like a jewel. The final crown will be the iconostasis, which the parish hopes will be completed for the celebration of Pascha on April 8th.

For more information on Holy New Martyrs Church, on upcoming events or to see more photos, please visit our website at: www.holynewmartyrs.com.