Today, on July 12 (NS), the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, the monastery and seminary celebrated the 40th anniversary of its superior and rector to the priesthood. This feast is always celebrated with great solemnity in the monastery for what these apostles signify for the Church, but this year was very special.
Despite it being a weekday, many pilgrims assembled in the monastery for the All-Night Vigil and the Divine Liturgy. Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada, a true friend of the monastery and spiritual son of our Vladyka, graced the services with his presence.
Neighboring clergy joined the monastics and seminarians in celebrating the services. There were many communicants. During the Liturgy there were special petitions for Bishop Luke’s health and salvation as well as for the many Name’s Day people. At the end of the Liturgy, His Eminence, Vladyka Gabriel, said some moving words about the significance of Vladyka Luke’s long pastoral service in the priestly rank. He also gifted Vladyka with a beautiful icon of the first New Hieromartyr of the Russian Church, Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev. Archimandrite Theophylact, speaking on behalf of the monastery brethren, also said some heart-felt words of support for Vladyka.
Immediately following the service, there was a delicious lunch prepared by the monastery brethren, today being the end of the Apostles’ fast. Within a few minutes, all were welcomed to a reception in the Seminary Hall, for which there had been prepared an abundance of delicious sweets by our neighbors and friends of the monastery from all over. At the main table, decorated with flowers, sat our two bishops, joined by a sister of Vladyka Luke, and her husband, Kyra and Gregory Marchesini, who came from Philadelphia for this event.
Several words of congratulations were expressed by Vladyka Gabriel, who also extended the personal greetings of our First Hierarch, Metropolitan Hilarion, Archpriest Michael Taratukhin, Matushka Elena Perekrestov, neighbors and once again, Archimandrite Theophylact, who presented Bishop Luke with a gift of a small omophorion, which once belonged to the ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus, his predecessor as abbot of the monastery and rector of the seminary.
We give thanks to God for our dear Vladyka’s long and fruitful service to the monastery and the Church and pray that he has many more years to guide us along the path to salvation.