NEW YORK: 23 February 2024
Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York receives young pilgrims to venerate the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God

On February 18, the 37th Sunday after Pentecost and the afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York City. Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia were: Archpriest Andrei Sommer (Cathedral Dean); Archpriest Daniel Marshall (Rector of St George Church in Cincinnati, OH) and Archpriest Seraphim Chemodakov, along with Hieromonk Theognost (Kogan), and Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cathedral clerics).

The Synodal choir sang 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. A multitude of parishioners gathered to pray at the divine services, including pilgrims from St George Church in Cincinnati. They all communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries. The faithful were also able to pray before a lifetime portrait-icon of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov from Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY, which is currently residing at the cathedral.

Upon completion of the service, His Eminence addressed those present with a sermon. He reminded them of the history of the feast of the Meeting of the Lord, the afterfeast of which was being celebrated that Sunday. He also spoke about another meeting – in Jericho, with Zacchæus, who served the Romans. For this he – a wealthy citizens – was despised by the local population.

"And here he discovers that Jesus Christ is passing through, and he decides to do everything possible to see Him. A multitude of people surrounded the Savior, but the Lord turned His attention to Zacchæus and told him, that He would visit his house that very day. Zacchæus was overjoyed, and immediately opened his heart to Him, asking forgiveness of his sins, promising help to the needy, and pledging to restore fourfold to any whom he had offended. The Lord blessed Zacchæus and his house.

"The Lord seeks to meet with each one of us, as well. And what do we seek – worldly glory, respect, a good life, and enjoyment? Christ passes by us, but we often do not pay the Lord any mind."

Metropolitan Nicholas called on the faithful to set aside all things, just as Zacchæus did, and to look to the Savior, to come to church, to be united with Him – to commune of Christ’s Holy Mysteries ‒ and to open our hearts. Then the Lord will come into our life and hear our prayers, repentance, and words of joy.

A luncheon was organized in the cathedral hall. Metropolitan Nicholas then met with Orthodox youth from Cincinnati, with whom he had also spoken in an informal setting the evening prior after all-night vigil, and continued their discussions.


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