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NEW YORK: December 14, 2013
Feast-Day Celebrations at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign”

On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, the feast day of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, was celebrated at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York. Officiating was His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. He was joined by other members of the Synod of Bishops, which had completed a regular session the day before: His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany; His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America; His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada; His Grace Bishop John of Caracas and South America; His Grace Bishop George of Mayfield, as well as His Grace Bishop Jerome (retired), plus visiting hierarchs, including His Eminence Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA (Moscow Patriarchate), and His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America (Serbian Orthodox Church). During all-night vigil the evening before, a multitude of clergymen representing parishes of the Russian Church Abroad also served.

The celebrations at the Synod conclude a year when Orthodox Christians in Russia and throughout the world celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty. At the invitation of the Synod of Bishops, Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, Head of the Romanov House, came to New York to celebrate the anniversary with her compatriots. Metropolitan Hilarion had met with the Grand Duchess a day earlier at the home of Protopriest Serafim Gan, Rector of St Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff, NY, which was designated a Memorial Church to the Reestablishment of Unity within the Russian Orthodox Church. At the reception in her honor, Metropolitan Hilarion and Archbishop Kyrill, the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, had a friendly discussion with Her Imperial Highness, who prayed at Liturgy the next day at the Synodal Cathedral. At the established time during Liturgy, His Eminence ordained his cell-attendant, Subdeacon Dionysy Lvov, to the rank of deacon.

The Head of the Imperial Family issued two commemorative medals to mark the occasion. The First Hierarch and the other hierarchs were awarded the Silver Medal, as well as the staff members of the Synodal Administration: Fr Serafim, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops; Protopriest Andrei Sommer, Senior Priest of the cathedral; Priest Nicholas Olhovsky, caretaker of the Kursk-Root Icon; Protodeacon Eugene Kallaur, webmaster of the official Synod website; Nicholas A. Ohotin, Communications Director/Jurisconsult; Sergey Yakushin, Warden of the cathedral, Subdeacon George Schatiloff, Building Manager, and Eugene Grigoriak, Assistant Treasurer.

His Eminence then awarded Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna with the Order of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign,” I Degree, in recognition of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty. For his 45 years of service to the Church before the holy altar, Protopriest George Larin was awarded the Synodal Order, III Degree, as were Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff of the Synodal Cathedral and Reader Isaac Lambertsen. Gramatas of blessing were also awarded to Alevtina Alekseevna Taris and Diana Stojeff.

After the services, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, the clergymen and a multitude of worshipers from New York and its environs shared a luncheon in the presence of the Kursk-Root Icon, prepared by the cathedral sisterhood.

Warden Yakushin announced to the attendees that with the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion, henceforth, the smaller hall shall be named after Prince Vladimir Kyrillovich Galitzine, in recognition of his service as cathedral warden for forty years.

That evening, Metropolitan Hilarion left for Australia, of which he remains Ruling Bishop even after his election as First Hierarch.

Photos of Vigil

Photos of Divine Liturgy

From materials on the official website of the Synodal Cathedral.