28th Sunday after Pentecost

 

On December 9, on the 28th Sunday after Pentecost, the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov celebrated the Divine Liturgy at our parish temple. Following the readings from the Sacred Scripture he preached a homily in Russian.

Fr. Igor said that the Gospel lesson about the healing of a woman who was bent over for 18 years and was healed when she came to a synagogue, may tell us about an importance of the God’s temple in our life. Recently we have celebrated feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into Temple, so we drew our thoughts to the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. The Jews had only one temple and in all other places of their habitation they gathered to pray in the synagogues. A synagogue (the word meaning ‘an assembly’, a gathering together) was a place of worship where the Jews could pray and read the Scripture. They could not offer sacrifices there since it was reserved for the Temple only. We Christians gather in our temples which are the places of prayer, reading of the Word of God and places where Holy Sacraments are officiated. So every Christian church is a continuation of the Temple of Jerusalem but we offer the sacrifice with no blood, the sacrifice of the New Testament, the Holy Eucharist, instead of the Old Testament offerings of the animals. We gather not at one place but everywhere in the world.
And like that woman who had been sick for 18 years and became healed in the synagogue, we may become healed in our temple. If that woman was healed physically, we may become healed spiritually, through the grace of God. Our souls are like that poor woman – bent over because of sins. And we need to straight up through the healing power of Christ. If we repent, confess our sins and receive Communion, we become healed. This may happen in the temple of God, so we should appreciate, love and cherish our temple.

The choir prayerfully performed hymns in honor of St. George since on that day we commemorate consecration of the church in Kiev dedicated to him, our parish Patron Saint.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a brief sermon in English addressing the main ideas of his Russian homily. He also congratulated our young parishioner and altar server, Anton Malyshev, on the occasion of his past birthday. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed.

 

27th Sunday after Pentecost. Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into Temple

 

On December 2, on the 27th Sunday after Pentecost, our parishioners gathered at St. George Church for a beautiful celebration. On that day we also observed feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into Temple which had been transferred on Sunday from December 4. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Following the readings from the Gospel he preached a homily in English:

“Dear brothers and sisters! Since today we celebrate the 27th Sunday after Pentecost, as well as feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into Temple, we should compare the ideas of those celebrations and draw the conclusions from them.”
“The Sunday Gospel lesson we heard today was about a rich man whom God called the fool (Lk. 12, 16-21). This pretty short parable is teaching us about a number of things. For instance, it makes us understand that our human plans and our earthly expectations may be very uncertain. There is a known saying: “Man proposes, but God disposes”. And there is a joke saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans”. The Scripture tells about this in these words of wise Solomon: “A man’s heart devises his ways: but the Lord directs his steps” (Prov. 16, 9). The rich man in today’s Gospel was making great plans regarding his possessions; he desired to pull down his old barns and to build the greater to store his crops; he intended to enjoy his wealth, but God directed that this night his soul will be required of him and that he will lose all his earthly wealth. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, our human plans and our expectations are very relative and uncertain. They may very much differ from the God’s plans. Take a recent example: the fires in California. People built expensive houses in the area considered to be very good for living. California climate was praised by many. A town which was especially destroyed by fire was called Paradise. But, the fire came and that Paradise had been turned into hell. “Man proposes, but God disposes”.”
“How can we escape such a misery? How can we make sure that our plans may be blessed by God? The Lord tells us in today’s Gospel that we do not have to lie treasures for ourselves, but to be rich toward God (Lk. 12, 21). It means that we need to acquire God’s blessings by our good deeds, by our pious life and that we have to be grateful to God for His blessings. Note that in today’s parable the rich man did not praise the Lord for the blessings he acquired. Further, we need to use the blessings we have for the well-being of others, not just for ourselves. We need to serve the Lord and our neighbor in order to be more certain that our plans will be in accord with God’s Providence.”
“As we celebrate the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into Temple, we recall that Holy Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna were childless for many years. They probably did not plan to have child, but God planned differently. In their old age they became blessed by the birth of the Virgin Mary. And what did they do after such a blessing? They decided to dedicate their daughter to God. When little Mary was 3 years old, they brought Her to the Temple of Jerusalem to entrust Her to be raised and educated there. Then a wonderful and strange thing happen: Mary, a little girl entered the Temple and passing the outer and inner courts, came into the holy place and then She climbed the high steps to the Holy of the Holies and entered that most sacred place where only High Priest could enter once a year for the special sacrifice. This was read today in the second Epistle lesson: only a High Priest could enter the Holy of the Holies, and he did it only once a year to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people (Hebr. 9, 7). Since it was not permitted for the people, especially for women, to enter the Holy of the Holies, this seems to be impossible to occur. Even today we, Orthodox Christians do not allow women to enter the sanctuaries of our churches. And if a baby is baptized and then churched, if it is a boy, the priest brings him into the altar, but if it is a girl, the priest stops before the iconostas. But in that festal event the Virgin Mary, a little girl did enter into the most sacred place of the Temple. Again, in this event men’s plans became overruled; men’s expectations became voided. Patience, virtue and being rich toward God of Joachim and Anna produced their result: their Holy daughter became more honorable than the Cherubim and by far more glorious than the Seraphim. She became the living Tabernacle of God. Thus She could enter the most holy place.”
“Dear brothers and sisters! Being instructed by the parable about the rich man, let us understand our true purpose in life – to become rich toward God. Let us acquire His grace by living pious life, by acting charitably and with love towards our neighbors. And seeing an example of the Holy Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna, let us dedicate ourselves and our lives to the Lord. Let us entrust our families, our children or loved ones to Him, so He may bless them and to make great miracles through us voiding the earthly plans of the unfaithful!”

The choir was prayerfully performing for the first time of this year the pre-Nativity hymns, as well as the hymns of the feast of the Entrance.

After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and the altar servers performed a rite of glorification in front of the icon of the feast. The Rector then preached a short sermon in Russian to convey main ideas of his English homily. He also wished the parishioners a blessed and fruitful passing through the Nativity Fast.

 

 

26th Sunday after Pentecost

 

On November 25, on the 26th Sunday after Pentecost, the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy at our parish temple. Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in Russian.

In his homily Fr. Igor recalled the recent celebration of Thanksgiving Day and said that we should be grateful to God for everything, including the gift of life itself. And our life can be compared to a journey, to a long way. On that road of life we meet different people and different situations, and we wish that we meet only good and nice people. If we do, we should be grateful to God for them. Very often Divine Providence does not act directly in our life but uses other people to help us. So in today’s Gospel parable about the Good Samaritan God acted through that compassionate person to help the man who fell among the thieves and was lying on the road half-dead. The Good Samaritan became the tool of God’s mercy.
Thus we should be grateful for such people in our life. And we ourselves should become those who help the needy, become the tools of God’s mercy and love towards other people. According to the today’s parable, we have three options. We may become the thieves and cause pain and suffering to others. We may also become indifferent to the needs of others like a priest and a Levite in the parable. But we may become compassionate and caring like the Samaritan. The latter is he right choice. So, we have to be grateful to God for His abundant mercy and gifts and we should also be those for whom others would be grateful.

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication the Rector proclaimed the petition of thanksgiving.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector preached a short sermon in English conveying the ideas of his Russian homily. He also reminded the parishioners of the beginning of the Nativity Fast which starts on the next week and wished them a fruitful spiritual passing of that sacred time.

After the service the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals, including the Thanksgiving turkey. The toasts were raised to a good beginning of the future fast, to Fr. Igor who bears an important obedience of the Chancellor of the Patriarchal Parishes, as well as to our magnificent cooks who prepared such delicious dishes.

Bishop Matthew and Archpriest Igor Tarasov meet with the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America

On Monday, November 19, 2018, the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, hosted His Grace, Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, the recently appointed Interim Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the United States, at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America in Syosset, NY. Bishop Matthew was accompanied by Archpriest Igor Tarasov, Chancellor of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and Rector of St. George Church, Bayside, NY.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon welcomed Bishop Matthew and Fr. Igor at the Chancery and gave them a guided tour to St. Sergius of Radonezh Chapel. The OCA Chancery staff at this meeting was represented by Protopresbyter Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Affairs of the OCA; Archpriest Eric Tosi, Secretary of the Chancery; and Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak, Secretary to the Primate.

Bishop Matthew expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to receive His Beatitude’s blessing as he begins his ministry in North America.  In turn, Metropolitan Tikhon stated that he anticipates a fruitful relationship with His Grace, recalling the close relationship the OCA has always enjoyed with former Patriarchal Administrators over the years, and most recently with His Grace, Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk.

During lunch Metropolitan Tikhon and Bishop Matthew discussed a wide range of topics, including the status of the Patriarchal Parishes in the US, the life of the Orthodox Church in Great Britain, and missionary prospects in North America and Western Europe.  Metropolitan Tikhon shared the OCA’s plans to celebrate the 225th Anniversary in 2019 of the arrival of the first Russian Orthodox missionaries in Kodiak, AK and the 50th Anniversaries in 2020 marking the Granting of Autocephaly and the Canonization of Saint Herman of Alaska.

Bishop Matthew further extended the invitation to Metropolitan Tikhon to preside at the Patronal Feast celebrations at New York City’s St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral on December 19, 2018.

As a remembrance of their meeting, Metropolitan Tikhon presented a panagia to Bishop Matthew, as well as a new English edition of the Archieratikon. His Grace in turn presented the Metropolitan the commemorative plate marking the 300th Anniversary of Orthodox Christianity in the British Isles. Fr. Igor was presented with a new English edition of the Service book, as well as an icon of St. Herman of Alaska.

Bishop Matthew celebrates Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral

On Sunday, November 18, the feast of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow Confessor and the Fathers of the Local Council of the Church of Russia in 1917-1918, as well as the 116th anniversary of the Great Consecration of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York, Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, interim Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, celebrated Divine Liturgy. He was co-served by the Chancellor of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov and clerics of the cathedral.

The Liturgy was attended by some of the parishioners of St. George Church headed by our Warden, Olga Roussanow.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Bishop Matthew was greeted by cathedral cleric, Archpriest Alexander Golubov, who wished the newly appointed interim Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA the grace of his holy predecessor, St. Tikhon, who consecrated the cathedral more than a hundred years ago. In memory of his first Liturgy, Fr. Alexander presented Bishop Matthew an icon of the holy founders of the cathedral and the heavenly patrons of America. Then Bishop Matthew addressed the clergy and parishioners of the Cathedral, urging everyone to continue to carry out their ministry and testify of Orthodoxy in this holy church in brotherly love. At the end of the service, His Grace was warmly welcomed by the parishioners of the church. Bishop Matthew continued his interaction with the clergy and believers during a festal meal.

Later, the hierarch held a meeting with the Chancellor of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Archpriest Igor Tarasov, Treasurer Panagiotis Billis, and Secretary to the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov).

His Grace, Bishop Matthew served his first Liturgy in the USA

 

On Saturday, November 17, the interim Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, celebrated Divine Liturgy in St. John the Baptist Church in Little Falls, NJ.

His Grace was co-served by the Rector of St. George Church and Chancellor of Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Archpriest Igor Tarasov, as well as by a multitude of clerics. There were 15 priests and 3 deacons serving with His Grace on that day.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Fr. Igor greeted Bishop Matthew on behalf of the clergy and faithful of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, welcoming him to the United States and wishing him fortitude in his ministry. Rector of St. John the Baptist Church, Fr. Aleksey Paranyuk likewise greeted His Grace on behalf of the parish, denoting the great joy for the parishioners to be with their Archpastor for his first service on American soil. In turn, Bishop Matthew greeted the assembled clergy and faithful, thanking them for their prayers and for the warm hospitality. At the veneration of the Cross, His Grace presented all with icons of the saints of Great Britain.

Following the church service a luncheon was served in the parish hall, so His Grace, clergy and the people could enjoy delicious meals and a nice company.

The New Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes is coming to the United States

On October 14, 2018 Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (Journal No 77) relieved Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk from the obedience of the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA. The Synod appointed His Grace MATTHEW, Bishop of Sourozh to be a temporary Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes.

Bishop Matthew was born on May 18, 1971 in Tambov, Russia. In 1993 he graduated from the Faculty of Foreign Languages ​​of the Tambov State Pedagogical Institute (specializing in English and French). From 1993 to 2009 he worked as a teacher of English and French in the high school of Bokino, Tambov district, Tambov region.
In 1991 he passed an internship at the University of Northumbria (Newcastle, Great Britain). In 1997, he completed a distance learning course at the University of Manchester.
From 1991 to 1998 he carried out the obedience of an altar server and subdeacon in the Protection of the Mother of God Cathedral in Tambov.}
On March 1, 1998, he was ordained a deacon by Archbishop Evgeny (Zhdan) of Tambov and Michurinsk and on October 4, 1998, to the priesthood. He served as Rector of the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra in the village of Bokino, Tambov district from 1998-2005, as a cleric of the Monastery of the Kazan Icon in Tambov from 2005-2008, and as a cleric of the Protection of the Motehr of God Cathedral in Tambov from 2008-2009.
From 2000 to 2005 he studied in the correspondence department of the Moscow Theological Seminary.
From 1998 to 2009 he served as the Chairman of the department of religious education, catechesis and missionary work of the Diocese of Tambov. From 2005 to 2009, he served as Assistant to the Pro-Rector, and from 2008 to 2009 - the first Vice-Rector of the Tambov Theological Seminary.
On May 18, 2008, Bishop Theodosius of Tambov and Michurin elevated him to the rank of Archpriest.
By the decision of the Holy Synod of July 27, 2009 (Journal No. 74) he was sent to carry out pastoral service in the Diocese of Sourozh. From 2009-2010 he served as Rector of the Parish of St. Kentigern of Glasgow, Dean of the diocesan districts of Scotland and Northern England. From 2010 – Sacristan of the Stauropegial Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in Manchester, Dean of the diocesan districts of Northern England and Wales, Head of the Missionary Service of the Diocese of Sourozh.
In 2008, he entered the Moscow Theological Academy, after which he transferred to the Postgraduate and Doctorate Institute of Saints Cyril and Methodius in 2011.
By the decision of the Holy Synod of October 22, 2015 (Journal No. 64) he was elected as Bishop of Skopin and Shatsk.
On October 24, 2015 he was tonsured a monk with the name of Matthew in honor of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew.
The rite of nomination was served on November 5, 2015 in Moscow. He was consecrated on November 15 during the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Kaliningrad. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy.
By the decision of the Holy Synod of July 29, 2017 (Journal No. 52), he was appointed as the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Italy with the title of “Bogorodsk” and rector of the Strauropegial Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr in Rome and relieved from the administration of the dicoese of Skopin.
By the decision of the Holy Synod of December 28, 2017 (Journal No. 116), he was relieved as the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Italy and appointed as ruling Bishop of the Diocese of Sourozh.
By the decision of the Holy Synod of July 14, 2018 (Journal No. 116), he was appointed as temporary Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada.
By the decision of the Holy Synod of October14, 2018 (Journal No. 77), he was also appointed as temporary Administrator of our Parishes in the USA. 

On his first visit to the United States as interim Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Bishop Matthew of Sourozh will celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, November 18, in St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City.
On this day, (transferred from November 23),  the 116th anniversary of the Great Consecration of the cathedral by St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia will be celebrated.

We invite our parishioners to join His Grace, Bishop Matthew, as well as our clergy in fervent prayer and celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral on Sunday, November 18. There will be no Liturgy at St. George Church on that day.

24th Sunday after Pentecost

 

On November 11, on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. Following the Gospel reading he preached the following homily in English:

“Today we heard the Gospel lesson about healing of the demon-possessed man in the Gadarene country. We could hear that story on the 5th Sunday after Pentecost, in the Gospel of Matthew. This time we hear it from the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel describes the power of evil and the way our Lord Jesus Christ dealt with that power.”
“First of all, let us look at that poor man who was possessed by the evil spirits. The Gospel says that he wore no clothes, lived not in the house but in the tombs. People needed to restrain him with chains and shackles but he broke the bonds and was driven to the wilderness. There were many demons possessing him. Jesus asked about the name of the demon, and the answer was “legion” (Lk. 8, 27-30). A legion was a Roman military unit, very large: it contained six thousand warriors. Thus six thousand demons were cast out by Jesus from that man. One demon is able to do a lot of evil to a person. St. Seraphim of Sarov said that one demon is capable to overthrow the earth only with his one claw! And here we are talking about six thousand of them! Of course, the earth is never overthrown by any of them and that poor man in today’s Gospel was never destroyed by so many spirits because God does not allow such things to happen. Let us remember that God is the Creator of all things visible and invisible, and He does not permit the evil one to exercise his full power and dominion. The evil spirits are subject to God’s will and God permits them to act only in certain limits. In today’s story God allowed the demons to take over that poor man to show the power of Christ to cast them out. He further allowed those spirits to possess the herd of swine – again to show us His power over those demons and to teach us what may happen to us if the devil was powerful enough. The swine perished in the lake: in the same way we may be perished if the evil one could lead us all the time. If the devil was free to act, he would destroy the whole human race.”
“By allowing the demons to enter the swine the Lord also showed us that the man is more valuable than all other creatures. Man is more important than any possessions and any wealth in the world. There is nothing more valuable and important in this visible world than human soul which is equal and similar to God.”
“St. John Chrysostom says that this entering the herd of swine should be understood in a mystical way: these pigs are the image of sinful people, and the Lord allows the evil spirits to possess them with many sinful passions. We may recall any of such passions: they all make a person look like being possessed. If someone is a drunkard, an alcoholic, he acts like a possessed man. Such sin can make him do crazy things, very similar to the things the possessed man in today’s Gospel did. And this refers to any other sinful vices. God allows the demons to enter sinful people and to torment them.”
“Last week we commemorated the sad anniversary of the terrible events in our old country’s history. A century ago the people of Russia became possessed with an evil passion and overthrew the social order, attacked the religion and morals, destroyed the churches and engaged in a bloody fratricide. The history shows us that sometimes God allows evil things to happen and permits the evil force to have a temporary triumph. And back then, a century ago, those people who fought for the good cause and attempted to stop the evil in Russia did not prevail. God allowed the evil to have a victory. Therefore, we should not be surprised when evil sometimes overcomes but patiently expect the will of God to be done.”
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, the possessed man in today’s Gospel lesson is an image of all sinful humanity being tormented by the devil. The possessed men used to be in the past and they are still found nowadays. But apart from being physically possessed, all of us are tormented by our sinful desires inspired by the enemy. One of the problems of today’s humanity is that so many people refuse to believe in the existence of evil spirits. I met people who said they believed in God but did not believe in the devil. We have to remember that the existence of the devil is proclaimed in the Sacred Scripture, as well as in the teaching of the Holy Fathers. It is also affirmed by numerous spiritual revelations and human experiences. For instance, today the Church commemorates Venerable Abramius the Recluse. He lived in the 4th century and he was a friend of the famous Church Father, Venerable Ephrem the Syrian. St. Abramius was an ascetic man and once the demon appeared to him and tempted him by exclaiming: “You are the blessed one! You are blessed more than any other man!” This was an attempt to make St. Abramius proud. But the Saint recognized the evil attack and resisted. Several other times the demon tempted the Saint but he successfully fought back.”
“Thus, dear brothers and sisters, the evil force exists and it is represented by powerful and intelligent beings whom we call the devil and his fallen angels.”
“Another problem is that many of us, even being faithful to God and believing in the devil, are often vulnerable before his attacks due to our spiritual weakness. The sins and passions make us an easy prey of the demons. Thus we have to remember how to protect ourselves and to fight those attacks. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that this kind is driven away by prayer and fasting (Mt. 17, 21). Thus we need to practice them in order to resist the evil forces. The Holy Fathers teach that the demons are afraid of the Most Holy Body and Precious Blood of Christ, of His Precious and Life-giving Cross and of the holy water. Thus let us receive Holy Communion, but receive it worthily and appropriately. Let us bless ourselves and bless our surroundings with the sign of the cross. Let us use, drink and bless our environment with holy water. Let us use the means Holy Church is providing for us to fight the devil and his demons. Let us do it, so we may become similar to that man healed from his possessions and like him, we may proclaim throughout the world what great things Jesus had done for us!”

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian explaining the main thoughts of his English homily.

 

23rd Sunday after Pentecost. Feast of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan

 

On November 4, on the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, feast of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan, St. George Parish held a beautiful celebration. Divine Liturgy at our temple was served by the Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov who returned from his trip abroad. Confessions were heard by our guest priest, Abbot Eutychius (Dovganyuk).

Following the Gospel lesson the Rector preached a homily on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus which concerns the life beyond the grave. He pointed out that according to our faith and to the divine Revelation life does not stop when we die. Our existence goes on after death. But our eternal life will depend on our deeds and choices during our earthly life. Nothing goes away without a trace, no deed will be forgotten. As Christians, we are called to perform the works of mercy and love. The rich man failed to do them, thus he ended up in a place of torment. Lazarus did not perform those works but he was humble and patient, enduring the sorrows of his earthly state. Therefore, we need to be careful about our choices and our actions. The Gospel parable says that in order to avoid punishment in eternity people have to hear Moses and the Prophets. For us Christians that means that we have to be guided by the divine Revelation and by the Holy Church.

Since we had no services on the previous day which was the St. Demetrius Memorial Saturday, the Rector proclaimed the Litany of commemoration of the deceased which is not usually taken in our parish on Sundays.

The choir prayerfully performed some hymns in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos due to the celebration of Her Icon of Kazan.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector preached a short sermon in English to convey the main ideas of his Russian homily.

Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where the clergy and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company.

The Rector of St. George Traveling Abroad

 

During his vacation the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov visited Ukraine and Spain.

On Sunday, October 14, feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God, Fr. Igor served the Divine Liturgy at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Kamenets-Podilsky.

From October 17 until October 24 our Rector was visiting Spain, particularly the Catalonia region. He was given a guided tour through the city of Barcelona, including the local Roman Catholic cathedral where the relics of the Holy Martyr Eulalia are held. This Saint was a 13-year-old Christian girl who suffered martyrdom during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. For refusing to recant her Christianity, she was subjected to thirteen tortures, marking her years of age. The Orthodox Church honors her memory on September 4.

Fr. Igor also visited the Benedectine monastery in Montserrat and had an opportunity to see the miraculous statue of the Most Holy Mother of God which is held there above the main church altar.

On Sunday, October 28, Fr. Igor prayed at the Divine Liturgy at the Nativity of the Theotokos Church of the Kievan Academy at the Kiev Cave Lavra.