EASTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE: August 4, 2023
On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, the feast day of St Seraphim, the Wonder-worker of Sarov, a large number of believers gathered at St Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff, NY, despite it being a weekday. The temple was full of adults and young pilgrims. The festive Divine Liturgy, which was celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and His Grace Bishop John of Caracas and South America, was distinguished by extraordinary splendor and inspiration.
The solemn and joyful atmosphere united all the participants of the holiday, everyone’s faces radiated joy and peace. The night before, there was a small consecration of water with an akathist to St Seraphim and an all-night vigil with a litany, a blessing of loaves and exaltation to the saint.
At the end of the evening service, the rector of the church, Archpriest Serafim Gan, invited all the clergy, singers and worshippers to a large reception in his residence, arranged through the efforts of his wife and mother, which was held in a very friendly atmosphere.
Divine Liturgy on the very day of the patronal feast day was led by the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, co-served by Bishop John, the rector of the church, local and visiting clergy, under the jubilant singing of the parish choir under the direction of Nicolas Miro.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, a moleben was sung with a procession of the cross and the reading of a prayer to St Seraphim. His Eminence delivered a sermon on the theme of the feast, and after the dismissal, he congratulated the rector, clergy and parishioners on the patronal feast, and then presented a memorable gift to the parish.
In response, Fr Serafim greeted and thanked the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Vladyka John, the clergy, acolytes, singers and worshipers, saying that the memory of St Seraphim comforts the Orthodox Christians who continue to stand before God in prayer for the restoration of peace.
Then Fr Serafim presented the archpastors with books issued for the 70th anniversary of St Seraphim parish: "From Sermons and Conversations on the Divine Liturgy" – excerpts from the teachings on the Divine Liturgy delivered in St Seraphim Church, with photographs next to their explanations (in Russian and English) and "Windows to the Kingdom of Heaven" – about the unique wall painting of the memorial church in Sea Cliff.
The feast ended with a traditional and magnificent meal offered by the Sisterhood of the church, headed by Elizabeth Mikheeva. The meal was held in an atmosphere of joy, spiritual unity and cohesion. Warm words of greeting were offered by Metropolitan Nicholas, Bishop John, Archimandrite Eleutherius (Skiba), Archpriest Andrei Sommer and Archpriest Alexander Antchoutine, Protodeacon Pavel Wolkow and others.
At the end of the meal, the rector of the church, once again expressing gratitude to the archpastors, clergy, subdeacons, acolytes, choristers, the sisterhood and benefactors, wished everyone a peaceful order of spirit, mutual respect, patience with each other and brotherly love, around which "thousands are saved" asking all their holy prayers.