NEW YORK: December 5, 2008
A Message From the Office of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad 

Today, at 7:00 pm, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia will perform a pannikhida [memorial service] along with other clergymen of the Cathedral and the Diocese of Eastern America and New York for His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York. 

This evening, Protopriest Serafim Gan, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops, and Protopriest Andrei Sommer will represent the Russian Church Abroad in a pannikhida to be served at St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York. 

On Saturday, December 6, the feast day of St Mitrophan of Voronezh, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion will celebrate Divine Liturgy in Sea Cliff, NY, with a special commemoration of the newly-reposed Patriarch Alexy and the late Bishop Mitrophan (Znosko-Borovsky, +2002) of blessed memory, who celebrated his namesday on this day.  

A delegation of the Russian Church Abroad will participate in the funeral and burial services of Patriarch Alexy, headed by Metropolitan Hilarion, and will include His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe, Fr Serafim and Reader Dionisii Lvov, the First Hierarch's cell-attendant. 

In connection with this, the regular session of the Synod of Bishops, originally scheduled for December 8-9, has been postponed. The episcopal consecrations scheduled for December 7 and 10, however, with the blessing of the First Hierarch, will take place and will be performed by visiting archpastors of the Russian Church Abroad. During Divine Liturgy, there will be special commemorations of the late Patriarch Alexy, who had confirmed the nominations of Archimandrite George (Schaeffer) and Protopriest John Shaw for the episcopacy.