On August 1, 2009, the feast day of St Seraphim of Sarov the Miracle-worker, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, officiated at Divine Liturgy in St Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff, NY, along with Protopriest Michael Boikov, Secretary of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand; Protopriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Rector of the neighboring Church of Our Lady of Kazan; Protopriest George Konev, Rector of Three Hierarch Chuch in Garfield, NJ; Protopriest Serge Lukianov, Secretary of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York; Priest Serafim Gan, Rector of St Seraphim Church; Priest Alexandre Antchoutine, Rector of neighboring Intercession Church; along with Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff; Protodeacon Joseph Jarostchuk; Protodeacon Paul Wolkow; Deacon Nicholas Olhovsky; Deacon Eugene Kallaur and Deacon Victor Ganson and Hierodeacon Anatoly (Zhilin).
Also praying at Divine Liturgy were the Dean of the First Deanery of the Eastern American Diocese, Mitred Protopriest Alexey Ohotin, clergymen of other Local Orthodox Churches and a multitude of parishioners and worshipers. At the beginning of service, His Eminence awarded his cell-attendant, Reader Denis Lvov, with the right to wear the horarion. Most noteworthy at the Liturgy was the singing of the Cherubic Hymn, Mercy of Peace and the Pascha songs (during the vesting of the First Hierarch and during the pre-Communion sticheron).
After the singing of "The Name of the Lord," Vladyka Hilarion delivered a word of greeting and edification. After a moleben and a procession of the cross around the church, His Eminence consecrated the first image of the new frescoes being painted in St Seraphim Church, which will be devoted to the 1000-year history of the Russian Orthodox Church and the reestablishment of full brotherly communion within it, and also to the memory of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, His Grace Bishop Mitrofan (Znosko-Borosky), and other church figures who had labored towards preserving Holy Rus under the difficult conditions of exile and towards the historic reestablishment of church unity. The First Hierarch then gave a gramata [decree of blessing] to the Sisterhood of St Seraphim Church, which is headed by AN Ryl, in which the following was written: "From a report by your Rector, we learned of the multi-faceted and active participation of the Sisterhood in the life of St Seraphim Parish in Sea Cliff, NY. The Elder Sister, Alla Nikolaevna Ryl and her devoted and harworking helpers, 'serving the Lord with fear, and rejoicing with trembling," always serve as an example of love for the Church of Christ and care for the good order of the House of God, inspiring others towards the podvig of service to the Church. Greatly valuing your contribution towards the strengthening of Russian Orthodoxy in the diaspora, we express to all the sisters of St Seraphim Church our First-Hierarchal gratitude and invoke upon them God's blessing. In witness of this, this Gramata, duly signed and bearing the Synodal seal, confirmed in the City of New Yok on August 1, 2009, is hereby granted."
After the veneration of the cross, the Sisterhood offered a trapeza in honor of the feast day, during with many warm greetings were uttered.
That same day, His Grace Bishop Jerome of Manhattan officiated at Divine Liturgy in Novo Diveevo Convent, along with the clergymen of the church and visiting clerics. Praying at Liturgy were the nuns of the convent, headed by Abbess Irina, along with other pilgrims.
www.stseraphimschurch.org and www.eadiocese.org