On Friday, June 29, 2013, at 6:00 pm the miracle-working Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God arrived in the St John of Shanghai and San Francisco Church. Vigil was led by His Grace Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese.
Clergy came from far away to pray to one of the saints of our times: our Dean, Mitred Archpriest George Larin (Holy Virgin Protection Church, Nyack, NY), Fr Nicholas Olhovsky (caretaker of the Kursk Root Icon), Priest Brendan Crowley (St Nicholas Parish, Springfield, MA), Fr Kevin Kelish (Church of the New Martyrs, CT) and Deacon Alexander Dukhovskoy (Church of Blessed Xenia, Methuen, MA).
The choir sang wonderfully under the direction of the parish choir director Olga France, creating a prayerful mood of spiritual solemnity.
After vigil, the parish sisterhood arranged a dinner in honor of Vladyka Jerome, celebrating his namesday in the parish hall. Deacon Alexander Kurenkov proclaimed "Many Years" for His Eminence, which the assembled clergy sang.
On Saturday morning, June 29, the youngest parishioners greeted the Bishop with flowers. Arkady Gurevich, a member of the Parish Council, welcomed the hierarch with the traditional bread and salt.
Divine Liturgy was also attended by Fr Victor Boldewskul (Church of the Epiphany, Boston) and Fr Michael Crowley (Blessed Xenia Parish, Methuen, MA). As they say in Russia, “in close quarters, but not in discomfort”—in the small altar it was difficult to move around, but the Liturgy went quietly and prayerfully in the spirit of brotherly love.
Larissa Filipenco, the second choir director of the parish, led the chorus beautifully in a rare service for a small parish. Reverent singing inspired the clergy and the congregation, who were able to pray to St John despite the heat.
After Liturgy, the Sisterhood hosted a festive meal in the neighboring Protestant community. Fr Yaroslav Belikow, the Rector, brought the miraculous icon from the church, and after a prayer, Vladyka Jerome blessed the food and drink.
Father Yaroslav thanked Bishop Jerome for being attentive to the spiritual and secular needs of the small parish in West Boston. Also, the rector thanked the clergy who had come from afar to share in the celebration. It was the first time that the Dean, Father George, celebrated Liturgy in Framingham. Praying to Saint John is especially joyful for Father George: as a in his youth he was an altar boy in Shanghai, where St John was Bishop. Father Victor, rector of the Holy Epiphany Church in Boston served for the first time in Framingham, and father Yaroslav welcomed him warmly. From the very foundation of the Parish of St John, Fr Nicholas often came to serve as a deacon. Now he served for first time as priest in Framingham. Unfortunately, Fr Michael could not stay for the meal because he need to return to his parish to prepare for their annual "Lilac Evenings" event which was moved from Friday to Sunday for the sake of the feast of St John. Finally, Fr Yaroslav greeted Fr Kevin, who also served for the first time in Framingham.
Much appreciation was expressed for the sisterhood, which led by Senior Sister Tatiana Vladimirovna Bobrovskaya arranged a wonderful meal. Special thanks go to Vladimir Lebedinsky, who prepared the main dishes.
The Patronal Feast passed in prayer and brotherhood demonstrating Church unity in practice.