NEW YORK: 23 January 2023
The Primate of the Russian Church Abroad celebrates the Baptism of the Lord in New York

The great feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Theophany) was celebrated in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York officiated at all-night vigil on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, and celebrated Divine Liturgy on Thursday.

Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad were: Archpriest Andrei Sommer (Cathedral Dean), Archpriest Zivojin Jakovljevic and Priest Milan Dragovic (clerics of the Serbian Orthodox Church), Priest Joseph Farooq (rector of St Michael the Archangel Mission in Sargodha, Pakistan), Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral cleric), Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric), and Deacon Vitaly Permiakov (professor at St Vladimir Theological Seminary of the Orthodox Church in America in Yonkers, NY).

As has become tradition, the services were held under the aegis of the wonder-working Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God - and also attended by parishioners of the Serbian Church, who lost their main cathedral in New York City, dedicated to St Sava, in a fire, with many now attending services in the Cathedral of the Sign for several years. Also having come to pray at the festal divine service were nuns from St Mary of Egypt Monastery (OCA) in Glendale, AZ.

At the Little Entrance, for his labors in preaching Orthodoxy in Pakistan, Metropolitan Nicholas awarded Fr Joseph Farooq the right to wear the nabedrennik and kamilavka.

Fr. Joseph, a Catholic convert to Orthodoxy, began his labors in spreading the Orthodox Faith in 2011, when he became acquainted via correspondence with the ever-memorable Metropolitan Hilarion. With his blessing, Fr. Joseph and his team opened an Orthodox education center in Pakistan. The mission now also operates an education center for women, named in honor of Blessed Matrona of Moscow.

This year marks 10 years since Fr Joseph was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Hilarion. This took place in Sri Lanka thanks to the efforts of Priest Adrian Augustus, cleric of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.

Fr Joseph is working on translations of liturgical literature into Urdu, Pakistan’s main language. He presented two translations into Urdu – the Liturgy of St.John Chrysostom and an Orthodox prayer book – to Metropolitan Nicholas.

Upon completion of Liturgy, Metropolitan Nicholas performed the Rite of Blessing of Water and greeted all with the feast.


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