On October 4, on the Sunday after the Exaltation, St. George Parish family had a beautiful celebration. In addition to our Sunday, as well as the leave-taking of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebration, we also honored our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov on his past name day (October 2). On such an occasion, by the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Matthew, our church was visited by the ROCOR hierarch, His Eminence, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada.
Upon his arrival, the Archbishop was greeted at the church entrance by our Warden, Olga Russanow and our active parishioner, Olga Vnukova who presented His Eminence with the flowers and the traditional bread. Then, upon entering into the temple, the hierarch was met by the clergy and performed the entering prayers. During the reading of the Hours Archbishop Gabriel vested in the sanctuary.
Following the Hours His Eminence headed the Divine Liturgy. He was co-served by the Rector, as well as by Priest Nenad Flora, the ROCOR cleric, and Protodeacon Igor Panachev, cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York. The church was well-attended by our parishioners, as well as the guests of the parish. Many faithful approached the Mystery of Confession and received Holy Communion.
Following the Ambo Prayer the Archbishop preached a homily interpreting the appointed Gospel lesson. His Eminence stressed that it is very important for every Christian to remember about bearing of the cross and following our Lord Jesus Christ. Finishing his homily he greeted the Rector, Fr. Igor Tarasov, as well as Fr. Igor Panachev on their past name day, memory of the Holy faithful Prince Igor of Chernigov and proclaimed a traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) on their behalf.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy our Rector had a speech expressing his gratitude to His Eminence for visiting our parish, for heading of the Divine Liturgy, for the prayers offered to the Lord and for his instructive sermon. Then our Warden, Olga Russanow on behalf of our parishioners congratulated the Rector on the occasion of his past name day.
At the conclusion of the service the Archbishop and the clergy venerated the Cross in the middle of the church and let the faithful approach the Cross and venerate it also. Then the Cross was solemnly taken by the Rector and carried back to the altar thus concluding the celebration of the Exaltation.
Our celebration continued on the church grounds where our wonderful cooks prepared a festal luncheon. Archbishop Gabriel, the clergy, as well as our parishioners and guests enjoyed delicious meals, a nice company and beautiful sunny weather. His Eminence raised a toast on behalf of the Fathers celebrating their name day.