On February 2/15 the Holy Church celebrates the feast of the Meeting of the Lord. In the Russian Church this feast is considered a feast of the Mother of God, even though it has several aspects of a feast of the Lord. Another interesting detail of this feast is that the afterfeast can be either a full week, such as happens this year, due to the late date of Pascha, or it can be non-existent if Pascha falls on the earliest day possible. The rubrics are very extensive to cover all the possibilities of celebrating this feast due to its proximity to the Lenten Triodion.
His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel presided at the services, for the feast. Concelebrants, as usual, were the monastery clergy as well as other local clergy assigned to the monastery. During the Hours, Vladyka tonsured Seminarian Seraphim Reimer and Master Program Seminarian Romanus Regardo from the Philippines, to be readers. Brother Romanus is preparing to serve the Church in the Philippines in the near future.
It must be noted that the hymn that is chanted after the consecration of the Holy Gifts, in place of “Worthy It Is…” is unique for this feast, both in words and in melody. In this hymn, the Mother of God is referred to as “The Hope of Christians..” This seems quite poignant this year for all of us, due to the difficult times we live in.