NEW YORK: 1 March 2023
The first days of Great Lent at the Synodal Cathedral “of the Sign”
On Cheesefare Sunday, February 26, 2023, the commemoration of Adam’s expulsion from Paradise, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of ROCOR were Cathedral Dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral cleric), and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric).
The Synodal choir sang beautifully under the direction of conductor Vadim Gan.
Liturgy was held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora - the wonderworking Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, which will be in the cathedral throughout this coming week, and then will travel to the Mid-American Diocese, where it will remain until Passion Week.
A multitude of cathedral parishioners and faithful from other churches came to pray at the divine service on the eve of Great Lent. Many confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, His Eminence greeted those present with the Lord’s Day, and addressed the faithful with a sermon.
"On this Sunday, we commemorate a terrible event – the expulsion of Adam from paradise. The Lord created man for him to rejoice in the Lord, to have close interaction with Him, to speak with God. So it was with Adam and Eve. But they sinned, and the Lord, the righteous Judge, expelled them from paradise. But God is love, and He immediately promised that He would send the Redeemer of the world, the One Who could restore fallen man – His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He also searches for Adam, because He saw that Adam had sinned. Adam understood his falling into sin and hid himself from God. So it is with us: we say that our consciences torment us when we sin, when we do not keep God’s law. We know this and God knows it. He searches for Adam with the words: ‘Adam, where art thou?’ and wants immediately to help this fallen man.
"The days of Great Lent are given to us for enlightenment, for repentance – in order to hear the voice of God. The Church calls us to calm ourselves, to concentrate on the inner spiritual life, to take Holy Scripture, the Lives of the Saints, and to read in silence. This is the time to look within ourselves and to hear the voice of God, which is calling to us.
"This evening at Vespers we will ask one another’s forgiveness, in order to enter Great Lent with a clear conscience."
Metropolitan Nicholas called on all to prepare for Great Lent: "to hear the words of the Lord, set aside all offenses, ask forgiveness, so that nothing unkind might remain in our hearts, to help others to save their souls, as well. Only then will we understand how easy and joyous it can be in our lives."
On the last day before Great Lent, the sisterhood organized a luncheon with bliny in the cathedral hall.
That evening, Metropolitan Nicholas officiated Vespers with the Rite of Forgiveness.
On the first days of Great Lent, His Eminence remained in New York, reading the Canon of St Andrew of Crete at Holy Fathers Church in Manhattan. The following morning, after reading the customary prayers, His Eminence officiated at the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts, along with the cathedral and other Synodal clergy.