EASTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE: 2 August 2023
The 1035th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus is celebrated at St Vladimir Memorial Church in New Jersey
On Sunday, July 30, 2023, a multitude of diocesan clergy and faithful of the Tri-State area gathered for the annual celebrations and Divine Liturgy at St Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ, officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York.
Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad were:
Archpriest Vasily Andrejuk (cleric of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ)
Archpriest Serge Lukianov (Dean of New Jersey)
Archpriest Luka Novakovic (cleric of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral)
Archpriest Rafael Melendez (cleric of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral)
Archpriest Ljubo Milosevic (rector of Holy Trinity Church in Vineland, NJ)
Archpriest Boris Slootsky (cleric of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral)
Archpriest Leonid Goferman (rector of Holy Protection Church in New Brunswick, NJ)
Archpriest Serge Ledkovsky (Memorial Church deputy-rector)
Priest Anthony Williams (cleric of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral)
Hieromonk Theodore (Stanway; cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY)
Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY)
Protodeacon Paul Drozdowski (cleric of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral), and
Deacon Alexandre Sarandinaki (cleric of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral).
The combined choir of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign and the parish, under the direction of conductor Vadim Gan, sang the service. A copy of the wonderworking Pochaev Icon of God was brought from Holy Trinity Monastery.
During the reading of the Hours, His Eminence tonsured parishioner Michael Krutikov a reader.
For his many years of devoted service to the Holy Church, Metropolitan Nicholas awarded Fr Serge Ledkovsky the right to wear the palitsa.
At the end of Liturgy, His Eminence greeted everyone on the feast and addressed those present with a sermon. Metropolitan Nicholas called on the faithful to adorn the temple, which the parishioners received from God through Prince Vladimir, to beautify it not only outwardly, but also with our repentance and prayer.
"We are now witnessing a difficult, turbulent time; there is division around us. On such days, glorifying our holy ancestors, we need to unite and support each other, pray for each other, pray, as we hear at the Great Litany – for the peace of the whole world. But the beginning of peace is within us, in our spiritual life. When we have stillness, repentance, and prayer inside, the same spreads around us, and others feel this stillness and prayer.
"For many years here, in a foreign land, we have been remembering one man – Prince Vladimir. He was able to sanctify many people with repentance and prayer. And what can we say about ourselves? We have been given a much – this place, this temple, a special history, its heritage and the Orthodox Faith. But do we save ourselves, do we save other people? Everyone must personally answer and, if necessary, correct his life.
"As Orthodox Christians, we have a great opportunity, because we are with God, and God is with us. God is love, and like the thief who confessed Christ on the cross, so the Lord can open the doors of paradise for us."
Metropolitan Nicholas urged everyone to preserve the Orthodox Faith, preserve our heritage and history, and to remember not only our ancestors, but also our holy relatives – Prince Vladimir, Princess Olga, Princes Boris and Gleb, and the many new martyrs who firmly professed the right Faith, which we are also called to do today.
For her devoted service to the parish, head sister Natalia Aikhan was awarded a diocesan gramota.
The clergy and believers went in procession around the church. The traditional blessing of water was performed on this day.
A festal meal was arranged in the church hall for the clergy, parishioners, and guests. Fraternal fellowship over shish kebabs and dessert continued near the temple. Music played. Those who wished could interact with the Cossacks and Kalmyks, listen to national songs, and ride horses.
The celebrations went on for a long time. With a joyful demeanor, participants eventually headed home.