NEW YORK: July 18, 2023
Ministry of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

On July 14-17, 2023, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, visited the clergy and faithful of the Nativity of Christ Old Rite community in Erie, PA. His Eminence was accompanied by His Grace Bishop John of Caracas and South America.

On the evening of Friday, July 14, the Old Rite parish in Erie held an "open day," during which the rector, Archpriest Pimen Simon, told neighbors and local residents about the church and the life of the community he heads.
On July 15 and 16, in memory of Hieromartyr Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, all-night vigil and Divine Liturgy were celebrated here, during which the First Hierarch and Bishop John, the assembled clergy, parishioners and pilgrims honored the fortieth anniversary of the canonical reception of members of the Nativity of Christ Old Rite Community into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the text of the Synod of Bishops' greeting address on this occasion was announced:

on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of canonical admission to the Russian Church Abroad

Dear in the Lord Father Pimen, brothers and sisters!

On behalf of the episcopate, clergy, monastics and children of our Church scattered all over the world, we cordially congratulate you on a significant date - the fortieth anniversary of your canonical admission to the Russian Church Abroad!

Observing the ministry and activities of your parish, our souls fervently rejoice that faith is preserved, piety grows stronger and unhurried and deep prayer is reverently offered up here. Divine services according to the order adopted under the first five Holy Patriarchs of Moscow and All Rus', bring modern people back to the ancient times of Holy Rus'. It comes alive in their hearts and thoughts, in hymns and prayers. We see that here the conditions are so that a person can personally meet God and immerse himself in prayer, which is what he needs for both temporal and eternal life. The splendor of your temple reflects the beauty of your hearts and your life, reminiscent of the ancient Russian life of our ancestors. The current celebrations again testify that the Church of Christ is one, that the ancient and new rites are equally salvific, that together we preach God, worshiped in the Trinity, and serve Him together.

And you, dear Father Pimen, all these years, like an inextinguishable lamp before God, have been performing your service here, giving your brothers and children an example of reverence and fear of God during worship and in the performance of your pastoral duty and an example of church sobriety and obedience. May the Lord continue to bless you with patience, wisdom and love for all, so that by the personal example of your life and service, they may sow what is good, reasonable and eternal!

Congratulating all of you again, we prayerfully ask the Lord for all of you a prosperous and peaceful life, renewal of all strength, like-mindedness and love in Christ, and for the departed parishioners and pilgrims - blessed repose with the saints! May the current communal prayer, in which we are also joining you, reach the Throne of the Holy Trinity and may the Lord fulfill our petitions!

Communication with the clergy and parishioners of the Nativity of Christ Old Rite community continued at a festive meal arranged by the efforts of the local sisterhood.

On Monday, July 17, the feast day of the Holy Royal Martyrs, His Eminence departed for New York to venerate together with Bishop John at the altar of the Synodal chapel consecrated in honor of St Sergius, Abbot and Wonder-worker of Radonezh.

This autumn, the main feast of this church is celebrated, and in the summer feast day of the holy monk, the English-speaking community gathers. They pray here on Sundays and holidays, when services in the Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” are performed in Church Slavonic. Therefore, services on this holiday were performed in English, with the participation of the clergy of the English-speaking community and guests in the priesthood.

In his Primatial sermon on Tuesday, July 18, His Eminence recalled the feat of the "Abbot of the Russian Land," who worked hard for the preservation of its unity, expressing gratitude to Hegumen Zosima (Krampis), brethren, parishioners and pilgrims for their labors in strengthening Holy Orthodoxy in New York.

The communion of archpastors, clergy and pilgrims continued at a meal arranged in the newly-renovated premises of the Synodal residence, first sprinkled with holy water by His Eminence. From now on, the English-speaking community will gather here to replenish their strength and talk on spiritual topics after their services.


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