EASTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE: March 6, 2012 On the Evening of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, Clergymen from Various Jurisdictions Perform a Festive Service
On the evening of March 4, 2012, at SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in Passaic, NJ, His Eminence Archbishop Justinian, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, and His Grace Bishop Jerome of Manhattan of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia officiated at vespers and the celebration of the Rite of Orthodoxy. Over fifty clergymen from parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate, Russian Church Abroad and Orthodox Church in America participated. The divine service gathered a great number of worshipers from various parishes in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Attending vespers were members of the Ataman Council of the Congress of Russian Americans, headed by Ataman Alexei Mikhailovich Kagantsev and his spiritual father, Priest Alexei Bocharnikov.
Preparing the event were the Parish Council of SS Peter and Paul Cathedral, led by Priest Stephan Kaznitsa, and Protopriest George Konev, Dean of the Eastern States, and Protopriest Serge Lukianov, Secretary of the Eastern American Diocese of ROCOR.
At the end of vespers, Archbishop Justinian welcomed the gathered clergy and worshipers, saying in part:
“Today, as we remember the historical basis for today’s Triumph of Orthodoxy, to wit, the reestablishment of the veneration of icons at the 7th Ecumenical Council, we can now make broader sense of it. We confess the truth, which has been preserved for two thousand years and is witnessed by the Church. Unfortunately, after that Council, our Church has had no more such Councils. And even more unfortunate is that this gave many Christians reason to think that such meetings are no longer necessary. Moreover, they began to fear it! But sobornost [conciliarity] is the norm for the life of the Christian Church, and this sobornost is what we are demonstrating in this church today with this service. We all together palpably sense ourselves one people in Christ, and we understand that Orthodoxy supercedes any jurisdictional boundaries. We have common Orthodox dogmas, we have common Orthodox canons, and we simply have no right to live in separation, dragging Orthodoxy, as it were, into our own corners. Recognizing the commonality of our Orthodox hopes obligates us to meet more often, for common prayer and for work. We sense that we need this. So many years on so many different levels has the discussion continued on strengthening unity within the Orthodox Church, and I can tell you that unity is not established in wood-paneled cabinets, even the loftiest of them, but here—in Orthodox Churches.”
Bishop Jerome likewise congratulated everyone in attendance, and thanked the organizers. Archbishop Justinian then gave hierarchal decrees of blessing to those clergymen and laypersons who worked especially hard in organizing this great celebration.
The communion of the clergymen and flock continued during a fraternal trapeza in the church’s cultural center.