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.
In recent years, the memory of St. Job has faded among the younger generations. However, the past thirty years there has been a large influx of new immigrants, in large part from the exact areas of Ukraine where the traditions of Pochaev are still very strong. Thanks to the efforts of the Very Rev. Mitred Archpriest Sergei Lukianov, organized pilgrimages have been coming to the monastery on this weekend from our parishes in Brooklyn, New York as well as other areas.
On Saturday afternoon, September 4th, a silent procession walked to the cemetery church to retrieve the monastery’s exact copy of the Pochaev Icon, gifted to the brotherhood many years ago from the Pochaev monastery. It was brought back to the cathedral to the ringing of all the monastery bells and greeted by His Grace, Bishop Luke. A moleben with Akathist to St. Job followed.
During the Vigil Saturday evening, a litya was served around the church. The church was packed with faithful from all areas of the Church. While there was an early liturgy served in the basement church of St. Job, the hierarchal liturgy was served by His Grace, Bishop Luke, together with the monastery and seminary clergy. It was gratifying to see so many of the usual pilgrims of the monastery as well as new pilgrims.
The monastery/seminary choir sang with special solemnity the hymns of Sunday, the Dormition, united with certain hymns in honor of St. Job and the Pochaev Icon. The faithful were communed from four chalices, so great was their number.
At the end of the liturgy, a moleben was served to St. Job and the Pochaev Icon, during which there was a procession around the church, with petitions being pronounced at all four corners.
Joining in the choir and among the servers were seminarians, returning from their summer break as well as new students of our seminary.
After liturgy, all were welcomed to the traditional monastery trapeza of borscht, buckwheat kasha and macaroni salad. Monastery bread was offered for sale. The greatly enlarged and renovated monastery bookstore was open for the pilgrims. The nuns from our sister convent of the Mother of God Quick To Hear offered their handiwork for sale.
For the sake of the pilgrims, the Museum of Russian History was open.
It is most gratifying that this traditional pilgrimage has been renewed, in honor of our heavenly protectors, St. Job Wonderworker of Pochaev and the Most Holy Mother of God of Pochaev, whose icon belonging to the monastery, copy of the original in Pochaev, is venerated by many as miraculous, as prayers before this icon have healed many Christians of ills, both spiritual and physical. Glory be to God for all things!