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DIOCESE OF EASTERN AMERICA AND NEW YORK: October 14, 2008
The First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad Visits Holy Cross Hermitage

On October 4-5, solemn services were held at Holy Cross Hermitage, a podvorie (dependency) of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, to mark the annual pilgrimage. His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion officiated.  

A procession of the cross was first made from the monastery church to the open-air chapel of the Icon of the Mother of God of the “Sign” with the Life-bearing Cross, the myrrh-streaming Icon of St Anne and relics of Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon. After the procession, a moleben was performed at the chapel before the Port Arthur Icon of the Mother of God. 

All-night vigil was performed by 17 priests and three deacons. Confessions were heard by four priests. Because of the large number of pilgrims, confessions were still being heard even after the dismissal. There were no fewer than 250 pilgrims in attendance.  

The festal Divine Liturgy was held the next day under the open sky. During the reading of the hours, Reader Jonathan Yerkes of St Nicholas Parish in Millville, NJ, was ordained subdeacon; and the local parishioner Jeremiah Davis was ordained a reader. During the minor entrance, the rector of the podvorie, Hieromonk Seraphim was awarded the gold pectoral cross and elevated to the rank of hegumen; Hieromonk Alexander was awarded the nabedrennik. At the prescribed moment of the Liturgy, Subdeacon Jonathan was then ordained to the deaconate. 

Because of the great number of pilgrims, three chalices were used to administer the Holy Gifts. His Eminence delivered a sermon on the Honorable Life-giving Cross. The pilgrims rejoiced at the opportunity to pray before the Port Arthur Icon, the Icon of St Anne and of St Panteleimon. The Port Arthur Icon is to remain at the monastery for several additional weeks. 

After Divine Liturgy, a trapeza was held at the local National Park, and awards were given to those who labored and donated in benefit of the monastery. Deacon Gabriel Weller, Subdeacon Julian Saad, Louis and Alexandra Gephart, Dr David Leif and Ryan Paul Winter received icons of Great Martyr Panteleimon. 

With the blessing of the First Hierarch, Priest John Moses appealed to the pilgrims to contribute towards the construction of a residence for Archimandrite George (Schaeffer), who in December will be consecrated bishop. With the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion, the future Bishop George’s home will be Holy Cross Hermitage. 

More photographs of the event can be viewed at: www.holycross-hermitage.com