On March 10, on Cheesefare Sunday, our parish was prepared to have a nice liturgical celebration. But unfortunately, due to an inclement weather in Northern New Jersey where our Rector resides, we had a two-hour delay in our services. As a result, we did not have the Divine Liturgy but Archpriest Igor Tarasov served only Vespers with the Rite of Forgiveness.
At the Vespers after the singing of the Great Prokimenon the priest and the altar servers he changed their vestments to the Lenten color of black.
After the dismissal the Rector preached a sermon about the importance of forgiveness. He stressed that in order to forgive we need to understand persons who offended us or caused us pain. Such a situation recently emerged in our parish community when our parishioners opposed the decision of the hierarchy to sell our church property. That decision caused pain to the parishioners, but they also caused some pain to the Church authorities and to the Rector. However, the actions of each side may be understood, and thus a mutual forgiveness may be reached.
After finishing the sermon Fr. Igor asked for forgiveness bending his knees. The parishioners also knelt down and asked their pastor for forgiveness. Then each one of the faithful could come to the Rector to kiss the cross and to express the forgiveness.
Following the services of this special day the Rector and parishioners joined at the Blini Lunch. We enjoyed delicious meals, especially the blini, nicely prepared by our ladies.