On Sunday, April 30, the Sunday commemorating the Holy Myrrh-bearers, the St. Andrew Cathedral in Philadelphia celebrated its 120th anniversary of its founding. At the invitation of the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, the Divine Liturgy on the momentous occasion was led by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York. His Eminence was co-served by Eastern American Diocesan Vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk.
The hierarchs were joined by parish and visiting clergy:
-Archpriest Mark Shinn (parish rector)
-Archpriest Serge Lukianov (Eastern American Diocesan Secretary)
-Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov, cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral in NYC)
-Archpriest Yaroslav Lutoshkin (cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral)
-Priest Alexander Tsygankov (parish cleric)
-Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell NJ)
-Protodeacon Dionysius Lvov (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign)
- Deacon Mark Rashkov (cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral)
-Deacon Evgeny Iotov (parish cleric)
The festive Divine Liturgy was graced by the presence of the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God, the Kursk Root Icon.
Praying in the church was the Russian Military and Navy Attachés in the United States, Captain Mikhail Kozyrin and Sergey Sadchikov respectively.
After Holy Communion, a cross-procession was held around the grounds of the cathedral. Upon its completion, a Thanksgiving Moleben was served.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated the rector, clergy and parishioners of the cathedral on the historic occasion.
Bishop John then greeted the hierarchs, clergy and faithful with the 120th anniversary. Bishop John drew attention to the importance of the cathedral’s anniversary coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the Patriarchate and the 10th anniversary of the Establishment of Canonical Communion within the Russian Orthodox Church. “Prepare for this occasion”, Bishop John stated. “These words I read while reviewing a sermon by St. Tikhon, Patriarch of all Russia when he was still the Archbishop of North-America said 110 years ago after the consecration of this cathedral. This wise saint appointed his flock to live up to the name given to Philadelphia – the city of brotherly love. The violation of the commandment to love one another ultimately led to the division of our churches for many years. By God’s Mercy, clergy and faithful of the two parts of the Russian Orthodox approached the long-desired unity; and the time since has only strengthened our desire for brotherly fellowship and joint ministry. Giving thanks to the Risen-Lord for His mercy, we have chosen to begin the celebrations of the 10-year anniversary of the Reunification here at the celebration of this Divine Liturgy in St. Andrew’s Cathedral. We will have many more opportunities to serve at the Divine Services, both here in the United States and especially in the God-preserved city of Moscow, where celebrations will be led by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.”
Archpriest Mark Shinn expressed his gratitude to the hierarchs for their participation in the joyous occasion for his parish. He then presented each of them with icons of Apostle Andrew the-First Called, painted by master iconographers in Moscow.
In recognition of their diligent labors to the parish, Bishop John presented parish starosta Robert Klein and head-sister Neonila Kostyuk with Archpastoral Gramotas.
Interaction between the hierarchs, clergy and faithful continued during a festive banquet held in the cathedral refectory.