of All Who Sorrow" Church Hosts the Southern Deanery Conference
of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York
The Southern Deanery of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, with
the blessing and participation of the First Hierarch, His Eminence
Metropolitan Laurus, convened in Atlanta, GA, on Friday, November
4. Participants represented the parishes not only of the Southern
Deanery of the Eastern American Diocese, but from a number of other
places. The pilgrims gathered in the Church of the Joy of All Who
Sorrow for an akathist to the Most Holy Mother of God Friday evening.
On Saturday morning, Archimandrite Luke (Murianka) served the Liturgy
of St James, assisted by Protopriest Elias Gorsky and several deacons.
The service was quite beautiful and was served in the parish church
of St Mary of Egypt. Metropolitan Laurus commented on its beauty
and noted that it was the first time he had witnessed this ancient
liturgy performed in English. After a short breakfast the conferees
gathered in the hotel conference room for the sessions.
The first lecture was that of Priest Daniel Marshall, who spoke
about the missionary activities of St Innocent of Alaska, Metropolitan
of Moscow and Kolomensk, Illuminator of America. The second lecture
was presented by Dr Constantine Desrosiers, Professor Emeritus of
Classics at the University of New Hampshire. He spoke on the 100th
anniversary of the peace concord ending the Russo-Japanese War and
the activities of St Nicholas of Japan. International Russian television
arrived and filmed the conference and services to broadcast to the
faithful in Russia. Vladyka Laurus granted an interview and several
parishioners offered commentary as well. After a lunch break, Archimandrite
Luke spoke on the progress of talks between the Russian Orthodox
Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate. Following his talk, a
round table discussion addressed many interesting questions.
That evening, all-night vigil was served in the Church of the Mother
of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow," marking the parish's feast.
Archpriest Alexis Duncan served the vigil along with Deacons Anthony
Bridges, John Hanson and Zachary Rose. Metropolitan Laurus and all
the clergy joined in serving the polyeleos and magnification of
the Mother of God. The long lines of faithful being anointed by
the Metropolitan extend until almost the end of the canon. After
vigil, the conferees gathered in a casual atmosphere at a local
The meeting of the Metropolitan for the feast began at 9:30 on Sunday.
He was greeted by young people in Russian dress offering flowers
and the warden presented Vladyka with a beautifully decorated loaf
of bread and salt. Twelve priests, four deacons, led by Protodeacon
Victor Lochmatov, and many servers participated in the majestic
service, performed in Slavonic and English. His Eminence Metropolitan
Laurus delivered a beautiful sermon encouraging everyone in the
Christian virtues. After the sermon, a procession of the cross led
the faithful to the top of the hill adjacent to the church under
the peal of church bells, where His Eminence blessed the location
of a new parish church for "Joy of All Who Sorrow."
After a delicious meal, there were missionary presentations by Fr.
Christopher Walambusi of Uganda, and Fr. Gregory Williams speaking
on behalf of the Haitian Mission. Fr Elias Gorsky made a presentation
of the beautiful service books he published. Afterwards, Vladyka
gave everyone blessing and they bid him goodbye. That evening, the
clergy gathered at the home of the Parish Rector, Protopriest Alexis,
where the ladies of the parish offered a splendid meal, accommodating
friendly and animated conversations.
On Monday morning, November 7, Vladyka Laurus began the Conference
by speaking about his hopes and desires in the talks between the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate
and listened with great interest to each clergyman as they described
their parish and communal life. The clergy felt tremendous warmth
and love for Vladyka. After some administrative discussions and
lunch, the meeting adjourned and the clergy returned to their respective