On December 6/19, the Church celebrates the memory of one of the most beloved saints of the Orthodox Church.
On December 4 (NS), the Church celebrates the great feast of the Entry, or Entrance, of the Mother of God Into the Temple. This is a feast very much beloved by monastics. At the age of three, the holy little child is taken to the temple in Jerusalem, to become prepared to be the Mother of our Lord. She spent her time there in prayer, fasting, and in conversation with the heavenly hosts. In this way, her life in the inter-sanctum, or the Holy of Holies, was a forerunner of the monastic life.
On November 30 (New Style), the Church commemorates the memory of St. Paisius, who was very much responsible for the renewal of monasticism in Russia in the 19th century.
On November 21, 2017 Metropolitan Hilarion blessed the opening of the new woman’s monastery Convent of the Mother of God, Quick to Hear. Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop Luke belived there was a need for a woman’s monastery in the Russian tradition using English and with God’s blessing our monastery is now celebrating its 5th year anniversary. Bishop Luke and Mother Nektaria (McElroy) searched for a suitable property for establishing a monastery. After several months of searching a lovely and very picturesque piece of property was found, a five acre plot of land with a house and a very large unfinished two-story garage. It is in the quiet rural hills just outside of Richfield Springs, NY and a 20 minute drive from Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville.
On the second weekend of October, from the 6th to the 9th of the month, the inaugural Uncut Mountain Press conference took place at the Antiochian Village, Pennsylvania. More than 250 people were in attendance and nearly thirty were clergy, with broad pan-Orthodox representation. His Grace, bishop Luke of Syracuse, was the honorary chairman and a speaker at the conference, which was dedicated to the ethos of the Orthodox Church.
Before God created the physical world, he created the spiritual world. Especially important for Orthodox Christians are the Bodiless Hosts who are a constant in our spiritual life. On this day, we celebrate their memory. In a way, it is the Name’s Day of all of us since we are all given a Guardian Angel at baptism, who assist us along the path to salvation and in all of our needs.
Today, the holy and miraculous Icon of Iveron from Hawaii departed the monastery after a most blessed stay of almost one week, during which all felt and witnessed the great mercy and love of the Most Holy Theotokos towards us sinners.
There are times when the grace of the Holy Spirit seem especially abundant in the Holy Trinity Monastery. Such has been so these past few days.
On Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th of October, His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Luke of Syracuse came from Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY to Protection of the Mother of God Church in Rochester, NY. His Grace’s visit was timed to coincide with the parish’s patronal feast day, which had taken place on the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos the Monday prior.
Unlike in other local Orthodox Churches, in the Russian Church, the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos is considered a great holy day and is treated much as one of the twelve major holy days of the Orthodox Church. In part this is due to historical reasons. This feast commemorates the miraculous appearance of the Most Holy Mother of God in the Church of Blachernae in ancient Constantinople, when the city was in danger of sacking by pagan warriors from present-day Russia. This intervention of the Holy Virgin caused the pagans to reevaluate their paganism, upon beholding the power of the Mother of God in protecting the Orthodox people.
Among the many relics that the monastery is blessed to have, perhaps one of the most precious is a piece of the true Life-Giving Cross of our Saviour. It is contained in a beautiful wooden pectoral cross, which belonged to the every-memorable Archbishop Averky, previous abbot of our monastery. The cross itself is contained in a larger cross. This cross is the one used for a couple of the commemoration days of the Cross of our Lord, specifically for this feast.
On September 8/21, the Holy Church celebrates the first great feast of the church year, the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, as it is called in the service, “The beginning of our salvation.”
On Sunday, 18 September, 2022, ceremonies surrounding the enthronement of His Eminence His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York, newly-elected Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, took place.
On Tuesday, 13 September, the election of His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan, as the new First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia by its Council of Bishops took place.
In accordance with the Act of Canonical Communion, signed on May 17, 2007, the Council will send the Act of Election, drafted by the vote-counting committee, to His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia, with a request to bless the electee to assume the duties of the First Hierarch entrusted to him by his brother-archpastors, and for confirmation of the election by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The rite of enthronement of His Eminence Nicholas, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, newly elected First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, will take place on Sunday, September 18.
Schedule of Divine Services
for the Enthronement of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad:
Saturday, September 17 ‒ All-Night vigil in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign at 6:00 PM.
At the end of the service, the newly elected Primate will emerge through the Royal Doors in a black klobuk and common bishop’s mantle and face the congregation. Two senior hierarchs will then present a white klobuk and blue mantle, which the newly elected First Hierarch will don, aided by subdeacons. At this moment, the senior-most hierarch will announce "Axios" ("he is worthy") which will be repeated first by the bishops then by the choir.
After this, the Primate will bless the clergy and congregants. Before this, the blue mantle and white klobuk will be blessed with holy water by the senior-most hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad during the reading of the First Hour.
Sunday, September 18 ‒ Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral at 9:30 AM.
After the reading of the entrance prayers and the customary vesting of the two senior hierarchs, the new Metropolitan will be escorted to the vesting area, when "Axios" will be repeated by the hierarchs and clergy, then by the choir. Divine Liturgy will commence in the customary manner.
After the service, a moleben will be performed along with the entrusting of the archpastoral staff to the new Primate, which was blessed on the crypt of the Holy Hierarch Tikhon, Patriarch and Confessor of All Russia.
This year, the feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist coincided with this Sunday’s service. The monastery was blessed with a pilgrimage of faithful from the parish of St. Panteleimon in Hartford, CT., along with its pastor, the Very Rev. Dionysii Nalitov.
As shown in a previous posting, the monastery celebrates the memory of St. Job of Pochaev on Labor Day weekend for the sake of the faithful, who take advantage of the long weekend to come to the monastery in pilgrimage.
However, the real feast is on August 28/September 10. On this day, the monastery had an All-Night Vigil the evening before, and His Grace Bishop Luke celebrated a hierarchal Divine Liturgy together with the monastery clergy. At the end of the Liturgy, a moleben was served to St. Job with a Cross Procession around the church.
Since Labor Day weekend is a long weekend, and in order to provide the faithful the opportunity to spend the holiday in a spiritually profitable way, it has been the tradition of the monastery for many years to dedicate this weekend to the memory of St. Job of Pochaev and the Pochaev Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God. This is only fitting as the roots of the monastery’s traditions go back to the Pochaev Monastery in Volynia, present-day Ukraine.
Today in the Church calendar are commemorated the holy Martyrs Laurus and Florus. This was the Name’s Day of our beloved and ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus (+2008) and Archimandrite Flor (+2012).
The feast of the Dormition is celebrated very solemnly in our monastery. In recent years, the Burial of the Mother of God has been added to the typicon of our monastery. On the feast itself, special hymns are chanted to glorify the Most Pure Holy Virgin in her Dormition.
A few years ago, His Grace Bishop Luke, abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery, instituted the practice of celebrating the “Burial” of the Mother of God. In Russia, there were different practices of how to commemorate this event. In our monastery it was decided to perform this service on the Eve, or the Forefeast, August 14th.
There are three feasts of the Saviour in the month of August. The first one was the feast of the Procession of the Cross. The Transfiguration is the second one, and the feast of the Image-Not-Made-By-Hands is the third, the day following the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
It is the tradition of the Orthodox Church to put the Cross in the middle of the church for the veneration of the faithful, during the Matins service on the eve of this feast. This commemorates when the True Cross was brought out of the Imperial Treasury and placed on the altar of the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople.
On July 23 and 24, 2022, His Grace Bishop Alexis of Sitka and Alaska (OCA) paid a visit to the Holy Trinity Monastery. Having been given a tour of the monastery grounds, His Grace Bishop Luke, abbot of the monastery, invited Vladyka Alexis and his travel companions to a tea in the afternoon. The two bishops interchanged ideas about contemporary issues of the Orthodox Church locally and in the world. Vladyka impressed all with his humble and sincere bearing.
The celebration of the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is the culmination of the fast that precedes it, differing ever year in its length due to the date of Pascha. However, the fast is not only for preparation for a great feast, but also the Holy Church established this fast knowing very well our weaknesses and tendency to excess, especially after Pascha and the end of the Great Fast. Also, in keeping this fast, we united ourselves prayerfully to the holy apostles who fasted and prayed after Pentecost to prepare themselves to begin preaching the Gospel to the world.
On July 7 (N.S.), the Church celebrated the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, of whom the Lord spoke as a man no greater of whom had been created.
The feast of St. John falls on the Saturday closest to the day of his repose, so that the faithful might find it easier to participate in the feast of this saint of the Church Abroad. This year, this was July 2nd.
Today, June 24 is the 40th day of the repose of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Hilarion. Our dear Vladyka was much loved by his flock, as he himself always showed us so much love. So, not just as our natural duty, but out of love for all that Vladyka did for us, his spiritual children, we observed a special day of prayer in his memory.
For Holy Spirit Day, many visiting clergy arrived from all over to participate in the monastery’s feast day. Vladyka was greeted “with glory” at the refectory staircase. Despite being a work-day, the church was filled with pilgrims. Before the Small Entrance, Priest Ephraim Willmarth, the assistant to the seminary dean was awarded the right to wear the kamilavka. Vladyka stated that this is due to his diligent service to the seminary and the Church. We whole-heartedly congratulate Fr. Ephraim and Matushka Joanna for this well-deserved distinction.
The patronal feast of the monastery is Pentecost, more particularly, the Day of the Holy Spirit, the day after the great feast day. On Saturday afternoon, the Rule for Communion is longer than usual as the Akathist that forms part of the Rule is to the Holy Trinity, a very lengthy composition. During the All-Night Vigil, when the Litya is served, it is our tradition to process around the church, stopping at all four corners for the petitions to be read.
The day before Pentecost, Saturday, there is a special commemoration in the Church’s typicon for all of the Orthodox reposed. Since the monastery has a very large cemetery, it has been the custom for many years to have the Divine Liturgy on this day in the cemetery’s chapel of the Dormition, which was built almost fifty years ago in memory of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, especially the Royal Martyrs.
The Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary is an integral part of the life of the Holy Trinity Monastery. The seminarians participate in the life of the monastery, in its services as well as in all other aspects of monastery life. Likewise, the monastics participate in many ways in the life of the seminary.
On June 2, the Holy Church celebrated the great feast of the Ascension of the Lord. Culturally, this feast trails behind the solemnity of how Pascha and the Nativity of the Lord are celebrated by the faithful. However, this is unfortunate, since this feast celebrates the culmination, one might say, of the Lord’s salvific life on this earth for mankind, in that this holy day commemorates how the Lord took our human nature and with it sat at the right hand of God the Father.
On June 1st was the celebration of the Leave-taking, or Apodosis, of Pascha. His Grace, Bishop Luke, celebrated the divine liturgy early in the morning, along with monastery clergy. During the Liturgy, he ordained seminarian Lawrence Remington from Indonesia, to the deaconate.
On Sunday, May 15, Deacon Lawerce Cunnighham was ordained to the priesthood by His Grace Bishop Luke at Holy Trinity Monastery. May God help Priest Lawrence to serve the Church with zeal and piety. Fr. Lawrence currently is enrolled in the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary.
On Tuesday, May 24, the whole Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and also many in other churches, commemorated with prayer the 9th day since the repose of our dearly beloved Metropolitan Hilarion of blessed memory. In the monastery His Grace, Bishop Luke, together with the monastery clergy served a pannikhida at the grave of Vladyka with the monastery/seminary choir singing. Joining in prayer were many neighbors and pilgrims.
Christ is Risen!
I was introduced to Metropolitan Hilarion (then Fr. Hilarion) by Fr. Luke (Bishop Luke), the present abbot, who introduced me to Orthodoxy, when the time came to prepare for baptism. Fr. Hilarion had been busy preparing one of the older professors for passing into eternal life, Professor Sergei Ivanov. My memories of Fr. Hilarion are those that are universally held by all those who had the grace to know him. He was so kind and friendly. He made you always feel that you were the center of his attention. He remained so until his last days.
The newly reposed Metropolitan Hilarion began his spiritual life in our Holy Trinity Monastery. After successfully completing his studies in the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, Igor Alexeivich Kapral was tonsured the Monk Hilarion and rapidly was ordained to be a hieromonk. Until he was chosen to be Bishop of Manhattan in 1984, he began his pastoral life in the monastery while performing many different obediences. The monastery being the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, he quickly became well known by our pilgrims as a spiritual leader, exhibiting the important monastic and pastoral virtues of deep humility, simplicity and love. It was extremely rare that Fr Hilarion was seen to be angry or depressed. He exhibited spiritual joy and was very attentive to the needs of all with whom he crossed paths.
After Compline today the first Pannikhida was served for Metropolitan Hilarion at Holy Trinity Monastery presided by our Abbot, Bishop Luke. Bishop Luke asked for everyone gathered to pray for the repose of our beloved Metropolitan who was not only a member of the brotherhood but a caring and accesible ruling Hierarch who always showed interest in the life of the monastery, seminary and convents. He was a tireless shepherd giving his time to answer the many requests from different people and often staying up very late at night being on the phone with people to help them. The pannikhida was served in an atmosphere of sober sorrow but also hope in the Resurrection that God would grant His servant eternal rest to where the righteous repose.
Today, May 16, 2022, the feast day of St Theodosius of the Kievan Caves, at two o’clock New York time, following a lengthy illness, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, reposed in the Lord, in a NYC hospital.
On the third Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women, His Grace Bishop Luke presided at the Divine Liturgy, along with the monastery clergy. This was a particularly joyful occasion as Vladyka performed two ordinations along with a tonsure to the subdeaconate.
Our abbot, His Grace Bishop Luke, commented at the luncheon meal on the day of Pascha, that whatever our Lord wills, happens, and without Him, nothing happens. So it was that He willed that our monastery and community has had a most wonderful and solemn paschal celebration. This is especially felt after two years of the Covid crisis. For this we are most thankful to our Risen Lord.
After a brief rest of several hours, Vespers for Holy Saturday is served with many Old Testament readings and the Prokeimenon, “Arise, O God…,” during which all the coverings in church and the altar as well as the vestments of the clergy are changed to Paschal white. Thereupon we proceeded with the Liturgy of St. Basil with the chanting of “Let all creation be silent…” in place of the usual Offeratory Hymn. It is also monastery tradition that on this day all partake of the Holy Mysteries.
At the end of the Liturgy, according to and in remembrance of ancient practice, large loaves of bread were blessed and distributed to the faithful which were eaten with some wine, in memory of the fact that in the early Church, Christians remained in church all day, awaiting the Resurrection of the Lord.
Holy Thursday the Church commemorates the first Mystical Meal, or Divine Liturgy. The main theme is the partaking of the Body and Blood of Our Lord and the unity of His apostles with their Master. By divine providence, we still have this in Christ’s Church to this day. The Eucharist both unties us to our Lord and one to another.
Liturgically Great Lent finishes on Friday of the 6th Week of Great Lent, and the Church celebrates a dual feast, that of the Resurrection of Lazarus from the dead and the Entrance of the Lord Into Jerusalem, or Palm Sunday as it is commonly known.
Many years ago the monastery did not have its own Unction service as is customary, during Great Lent in many dioceses, however around 30 years ago, a time when several of the monastery brethren were ailing from serious illnesses, Archbishop (later Metropolitan) Laurus, became convinced that it was a good thing to do.
On the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent, the Holy Church commemorates the life of St. Mary of Egypt, as an example of ascetic struggling for the purification of the soul and deep repentance.
According to the typicon of the Lenten Triodion, on the Saturday of the Fifth Week of Great Lent, the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos is chanted as part of the Matins service. As usual, His Grace Bishop Luke served the Akathist Hymn along with the brethren of the monastery.
The feast of the Annunciation and the rubrics on how to serve it are very interesting, since the feast can fall on any number of days during Great Lent and Bright Week, including, howbeit very rarely, on Pascha itself.
On the weekend of April 1-3, the monastery was visited by a pilgrimage of approximately 50 people from the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection in Chicago, Illinois. The group was headed by a priest of the cathedral, the Rev. Nikolaj Kostur, a graduate of our Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary.
A very good practice of our Church has been to hold clergy conferences a couple of times a year, during which the clergy many have brotherly contact and interaction with each other and the bishops. Due to the COVID -19 pandemic, this was not possible until this year since 1920.
During the middle of the Great Fast, the Holy Church, wanting to strengthen her faithful in their Lenten struggles, brings out the Life-Giving Cross for the veneration of the faithful. The service itself in many ways repeats the service of the Exaltation of the Cross in September, both of them drawing their inspiration from the service of Holy Friday, the Passion of the Lord.
The faithful have expressed concern that some recent statements seem to indicate that the Orthodox Christian position on abortion has changed. The Orthodox Church has consistently and unequivocally recognized the full humanity of every person beginning at the moment of conception and, therefore, has always been pro-life, regarding abortion as the murder of another human being. While the society around us may change its views from century to century, the Church can still reiterate the words of the Lord’s Teaching through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations (the “Didache”), which dates to the earliest generations of the Church: “Do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant” The Church proclaims the love of God to all mankind, with no exception, and, while condemning the practice of abortion, the Church still holds out the offer of mercy and forgiveness to those who have been victims to the deceitful pressures of the world and have made the tragic choice to kill their own children or who have facilitated abortions for those seeking them.
+ Bishop Luke
It is sometimes asked why does the Orthodox Church celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy on the first Sunday of Great Lent. What does this feast have to do with fasting?
We have just finished the first week of Great Lent for this year. Hopefully, we have changed to some degree in order to enter more into the spirit of the fast. Great Lent is supposed to prepare us to celebrate joyfully the feast of the Lord’s Resurrection. But in a greater way, it is meant to be a school of true Christianity, a time of repentance and redirecting our steps back onto the true path. With all of the cares of contemporary life, we often get distracted from “the one thing essential.” However, after participating in the deeply moving services of the first week, having entered into a “retreat” as it were, with ten hours daily of prayer and strict fasting, we hopefully will now spend the rest of the fast concentrated, each according to his strength, in the true meaning of our faith.
1) Archpastoral Epistle to the Clergy and Flock of the Eastern American and Australian-New Zealand Dioceses on Great Lent and on the Events on the Holy Ukrainian Landby Metropolitan Hilarion
2) Metropolitan Onouphry Appeals for Penintential Prayer and End to the "Fratricidal War
The feast of the Meeting of the Lord is a wonderful, great feast which happens just before the solemnity of the beginning of Great Lent. Its afterfeast’s length depends on when Lent commences. This year, we have a full afterfeast, since Pascha is relatively late this year.
The feast of the Three Hierarchs, Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom, is the feast of our Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary. More information about this feast can be found on the seminary website and facebook page.
The feast of Theophany comes at the end of the holy day season, called “Sviatki,” or “Holy Days.” Originally being one feast of the Theophany, or “Appearance of God” in the early centuries of the Church, in the fourth century, the feast of the Nativity became a feast by itself. The two feasts are like twins in the way they are celebrated.
The monastery is now enjoying and celebrating the feast of our Lord’s Holy Nativity. The Lord even provided us with seasonable snowy weather. The brethren have decorated the monastery and seminary with lights and Christmas trees. The church has been filled with poinsettias. The choir has had practices to improve the chanting of the many special hymns and melodies.
The Nativity Issue of Pravoslavnaia Rus' is Now Available for Download
The fourth and final issue of Holy Trinity Monastery's Russian-language journal Pravoslavnaia Rus' for 2021 may be downloaded as a free PDF directly from the publisher's website.
In this issue:
1. Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.
2. Archbisop Dimitri of Kherson and Odessa. Homily on the Day of the Nativity of Christ.
3. On Christian Burial of the Dead.
4. From the History of the Chinese Ecclesial Mission (Conclusion)
5. Matushka Elena Perekrestov. Memories of Archimandrite Iov (Kotenko, 1926-2021)
6. About the private library of Holy Trinity Monastery
7. About monastic obediences. The Apiary.
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