News for 2015


News on parish life (Sept-Oct)

Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan leads Patronal Feast of St. Seraphim Memorial Church


Bishop Nicholas leads a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Kiev

Jerusalem! The very word makes one think about the Savior, the Gospel, the first Christians, the many ascetics of the Holy City, Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin) of blessed memory who did so much for the Russian church in the area, as well as the monastics who labor here in the Russian monasteries in difficult circumstances. One remembers the name of Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky), who died 50 years ago. He was the second Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who had accomplished so much after the Bolshevik Revolution and Civil War to preserve the se holy places for the Russian Church, and provided help to the Church of Jerusalem in reestablishing its episcopate. His memory was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Nicholas during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The pilgrims accompanying Bishop Nicholas visited the Church of the Life-bearing Tomb of the Lord several times, each time sensing profound trepidation which prevented them from noticing all surrounding details of the church, as there feelings and thoughts were concentrated inwardly, prayers to God filling their hearts, pleas for the Church, for peace, for the people of God, for blessings in their life and the correction of their way of life.

The Life-bearing Sepulcher and Golgotha exuded an unbelievable spiritual force and sense of divine mercy, which renewed and strengthens the spirit. Bishop Laurus of Manhattan, the future First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, the inspirer and initiator of many pilgrimages from New York to the Holy Land, would say that here one senses the presence of an enormous spiritual strength, which draws in and embraces the pilgrim, changing his whole life.

With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and All Palestine, on Friday, May 15, His Eminence Metropolitan Isichios of Kapitoliada and Bishop Nicholas, his clergymen and pilgrims participated in Divine Liturgy at the Sepulcher of the Lord. The Tombstone of the Lord served as the table of oblation, upon which the proskomedia is read from the knees. A table top is set upon the stone in the ante-chamber, known as the “Chapel of the Angel,” which served as the altar. This altar is open to all and has been since the time that the Resurrected Lord opened the doors to heaven for all of mankind.
The pilgrims also experienced the joy of praying at Liturgy also at the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem, celebrated by a clergyman of the Jerusalem Patriarchate who had studied at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY. Bishop Nicholas and his delegation were warmly received and partook of the Holy Gifts here. The site of the Nativity of Christ is marked with a silver star and an inscription in Latin reading “Here from the Virgin Mary was born Jesus Christ.” Above this site is a marble slab which serves as an altar table. The manger, which is located under the ancient Basilica of the Nativity of Christ, is adorned with marble and precious materials and is illuminated by numerous lamps and chandeliers. The pilgrims, one by one, kneel and kiss a corner of the silver star under the altar table. Despite the crowding of numerous pilgrims, they were able to pray, palpably sensing the lofty inexpressible ecstasy and piety.

The pilgrims were also given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the waters of the Jordan River; they visited Mount Tabor, Bethany, Nazareth, Cana of Galilee, Capernaum, Magdala, the Tomb of the Mother of God, the home of Her Holy Parents in Jerusalem, Hebron, Jericho, the Tomb of St Tabitha in Jaffa. They saw the monasteries of St Gerasim of Jordan, Saint George of Koziba, St Theodosius the Great and Saint Sabbas the Blessed and many other holy places, praying at each, and commemorating all those ascetics who left us unworthy believers the legacy to pray for them.

Bishop Nicholas and his pilgrims were received at the monastery of St Sabbas with great love. Here the pilgrims were able to venerate the relics of the monastery’s founder and the cave of St John of Damascus, where he lived for over 30 years, and where Divine aid inspired him to composee many sticheron and canons used in our services to this day.

On Wednesday, May 20, the Apodosis of Pascha, Bishop Nicholas celebrated Divine Liturgy at Saint Mary Magdalene Convent in Gethsemane. The church is a prime example of Muscovite-style architecture. Its 7 cupolas are all onion shaped, resting on tall drums. The church lends the impression of lightness and splendor. The iconostasis is made of white marble and bronze, the floor is of multi-colored marble. The icons were painted by the renowned 19 th -century painter Vasily Vereschagin. Above the royal doors is an enormous fresco depicting St Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles, standing before the emperor's throne.

Here Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, who arrived in the Holy Land with a large group of pilgrims from his diocese. Joining him, besides Bishop Nicholas, was Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, his mission clergymen and other pilgrims. The convent choir sang. Abbess Elizabeth (Smelic) warmly welcomed the pilgrims, and after divine services, offered them a magnificent luncheon. Venerating the relics of Holy Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Nun Barbara, and performing a memorial litany, during which Metropolitan Anastassy and the reposed monastics of the convent were commemorated, the pilgrims headed to Jacob's Well, where the Savior and the Samarian Woman had their well-known discussion. They went to Holy Ascension Convent on the Mount of Olives to pray during all-night vigil on the eve of the holiday of the Ascension of the Lord. The Mount of Olives is the highest of all hills surrounding Jerusalem and has always had a great number of olive trees. The Arabs call this the “holy mountain.” From its heights our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. Empress Helen raised built a grand church on the site. They say that domes did not cover the original church and during services worshippers could gaze directly into the sky. A stone which bears the footprint of Christ is surrounded by a gold fence. When the Persians invaded, this church was destroyed to its foundations but later, a smaller eight-sided chapel was built. This chapel now belongs to a Palestinian family.

The pilgrims are allowed into the chapel for a small fee to venerate the divine footprint, which is surrounded by a marble frame. Approaching Jerusalem from any direction, one always sees, rising against the bright cloudless sky of Jordan, a tall, slender bell tower in the Mount of Olives Convent which is topped by a spire and a cross, known to locals as “the Russian Candle.” Holy Ascension Church in the convent was built in the Byzantine style, with heavy walls and a low dome. Archimandrite Antonin is buried in the church, the greatest of the Chiefs of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission.

Here, Bishop Nicholas and his pilgrims celebrated the great feast day of the Ascension of the Lord, welcomed by Abbess Moisseia and her nuns. Divine Liturgy was headed by Archbishop Mark. His Holiness Patriarch Theophilus arrived in time for Holy Communion, having celebrated Liturgy earlier. After a festive luncheon at the refectory of the Church of St Philaet the Merciful, Abbott Moisseia received the archpastors, clergyman and pilgrims in her residence. During a cup of tea, they spoke on spiritual topics, the history and daily life of Ascension Convent. Father Roman warmly welcomed the Pilgrims and asked them not to forget the monastics in the Holy Land in their prayers and to share with everyone the spiritual crumbs of this grace filled experience.

The following day, the feast day of the Translation of the relics of Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bishop Nicholas bade farewell to his pilgrims, blessing them on their return trip, and flew to the city of Kiev, where he arrived that evening.

Kiev is now hosting the Third International Conference title “Mount Athos and the Slavic Nations” at Kiev’s Dormition Lavra of the Caves, in which His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher, Archbishop of Prague and the Czech Lands, participated, along with Abbott Archimandrite Methodius, of Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos, and many others. Bishop Nicholas spoke with the participants of this conference during dinner at the residence of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, who welcomed everyone as a loving father.

Bishop Nicholas pointed to the brotherly bonds connecting Kiev, Pochaev, Slovakia and Serbia with the Russian Church Abroad, and relayed the message of love to Metropolitan Onouphry from His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, the archpastors, pastors, monastics and the fullness of the Russian Church Abroad, who earnestly pray in their churches for the cessation of the internecine war and the reestablishment of peace in the hearts of all.
During dinner, Metropolitan Onouphry spoke about the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, while the monks of Mount Athos talked about their daily life, and the hesychastic way of life.

On Saturday, May 23, Bishop Nicholas visited Dormition Lavra of the Kievan Caves, where they participated in an all-night vigil. The following morning, the feast day of SS Cyril and Methodius, Teachers of the Slavs, His Grace officiated at Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection Convent in Kiev. They venerated the relics of St Anastasia of Kiev (Alexandra Petrovna Romanova) and Holy Confessor Sophia (Grineva). During lunch, His Grace wished the nuns success in their spiritual life, and expressed joy at the Liturgy they jointly celebreated in this holy and blessed place.

Later that day, Bishop Nicholas visited the monument to Holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, and other holy sites of Kiev. The following day Bishop Nicholas met with Metropolitan Onouphry in his residence in Feofania.

On Tuesday, May 26, Bishop Nicholas celebrated Divine Liturgy at St Vladimir of Kiev, the first holy hieromartyr of the Russian church in the 20 th century, who died at the hands the Soviets.

On Wednesday, May 27, His Grace prayed at midnight office and canon with an akathist to the Dormition of the Mother of God performed in the Great Cathedral of the lava, and venerated the relics of the Near and Far caves of the monastery. Later that evening, Metropolitan Onouphry hosted a dinner to honor Bishop Nicholas, during which he remembered Metropolitan Laurus and their fraternal and heartfelt meetings, which began long before the reestablishment of unity within the Russian Church. During these meetings, the hierarchs talked not about the division within the Russian church and the need to overcome it, but about monasticism, prayer, Divine Liturgy, the spiritual life and holy sites.

The discussions with His Beatitude and the divine services spiritually benefited the participants of the pilgrimage to Kiev, and the familial and warm atmosphere of the trip to the Holy Land added to the experience, with all the pilgrims sensing themselves to be members of one large Orthodox family, who will continue to gather together and support each other.


Parishioners of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Church Abroad Send Over 7 Tons of Humanitarian Aid to the Peaceful Residents of Southeastern Ukraine

With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All Russia and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, local clergyman and laity collected and sent over 7 tons of goods, medicine and food to the residents of Southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

His Grace Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan,Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, Protopriest Serafim Gan, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops, Hegumen Nikodim (Balyasnikov) of Saint Nicholas Cathedral in New York, and Ivan Baldychev, one of the active organizers of the New York-area collection, participated in accompanying the shipment of aid through Aero Deluxe Shipping Incorporated in Brooklyn NY. Pavel Kalinovsky, president of the firm, offered the free use of shipping containers and warehousing throughout the period of the collection of humanitarian aid. The peaceful residents of Ukraine will receive these goods through the Department of External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, as well as the philanthropic international mission known as “Mercy Without Borders” in Kiev. /



Holy Week and the Holy Pascha of Christ in Sea Cliff, NY

The church services for Holy Week and the Holy Pascha of Christ at the Saint Seraphim Church, Memorial to the Reestablishment of Unity Within the Russian Orthodox Church, were celebrated with dignity and provided spiritual inspiration for the many people who attended and participated.

For the Feast of Pascha, the sisterhood decorated the church and church hall and also organized a festive meal on this joyous night. The Protodeacons Paul Wolkow and Eugene Kallaur, along with the altar servers under the direction of P.P. Wolkow, worked diligently to prepare the joyous celebration for everyone. The choir, conducted by N.M. Miro, sang beautifully and sensitively, and instilled the joy of Pascha into the hearts of the faithful. A.S. and M.S. Slobodskoy adorned the path of the night procession by lining it with votive candles. As always, all of the services were live streamed on our church website. At the beginning of the night service for Pascha, so many people had gathered that there was not enough room in the church for everyone. For many, the most touching and moving moment of the Paschal service is the procession around the church. On this night, according to Christian tradition, all Orthodox churches become the living Holy Sepulcher of our Lord, which is where the Resurrection occurred. At the Paschal liturgy, 160 people received Holy Communion. On the same day, which is the feasts of all feasts, after the Great Paschal Vespers, a large reception was held at the residence of the priest. During this gathering, E.I. Kallaur, the wife of o. Evgenii, organized Paschal games for all the children.

On Sunday, April 5, on the feast day of the Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated, and on the previous evening, the All Night Vigil was celebrated by Father Serafim and the Protodeacons Pavel Wolkow and Eugene Kallaur, along with the festive singing of the church choir under the direction of N.M. Miro. Many of the faithful, some of whom came from far and wide, attended and participated in these services. At the veneration of the Cross, according to a pre-revolutionary tradition, donations were collected for the needs of the Russian Holy Mission in Jerusalem. Glory to God that many of our parishioners and those attending the services opened up their hearts and gave generously to support our missions, monasteries, and churches. Many of our monks and nuns live in difficult circumstances, nonetheless, they protect and support the Holy Sites of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Holy Land. On that same day, the annual pre-Paschal Bazar took place and was extremely successful. The sisterhood, under the leaderhip of E.M. Miheyeva, sold various traditional Easter foods. At the same time, thanks to the efforts of E.I.Kallaur, over 50 children who had previously registered, had the opportunity to decorate their own kulichi in prepartation for the great feast. This year, this event raised over $1000 for the needs of the school for girls in Bethany in the Holy Land. The money that was raised will be presented personally by Father Serafim during the upcoming May pilgramage to Jerusalem and Palestine.


Blessed Days in Sea Cliff
(March 2015)

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts was celebrated triumphally and with great spiritual uplifting by the rectors and clergy of St. Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff and the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin in Glen Cove (Long Island, NY), sung by a combined male choir consisting of singers from both parishes, under the direction of P.A. Fekula, the conductor of the Synodal choir in New York.

On Friday evening, March 6, the rector, Archpriest Serafim Gan, led the Vespers with Presanctified Liturgy in St. Seraphim Church, co-served by Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine, Hieromonk Photius (Oulanov), Protodeacon Eugene Kallaur and Deacon Vladimir Barros. Protodeacons Nicholas Mokhoff and Vadim Gan of the Synodal cathedral in New York were present at the service, as well, singing and reading with the choir. Despite the workday and typical Friday evening New York City traffic, many parishioners of both parishes "made haste" to the Liturgy, which was preceded by the Ninth Hour and Typica, in order to pray with their fathers, brothers, and sisters. Some of them, having prayerfully prepared themselves, communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.

"Let my prayer arise" (composed by D. Bortniansky) was prayerfully sung by A.S. Slobodskoy, N.M. Miro and A.P. Fekula, while the clergy sang the refrains in the altar, inspiring prayer in those present. This was but one of the more memorable moments of the service, others of which included the choir’s singing of the Dogmaticon of the Fifth Tone, "Now the Hosts," and other hymns of this Lenten service.

During the communion of the clergy, the appointed reading from St. Theodore the Studite was read aloud.

Upon completion of the service, St. Seraphim’s rector, greeting those gathered, noted that "the concelebration of the Liturgy and shared communion of Christ’s Holy Mysteries help us to understand and feel that we are members of one body, that we are not isolated, not alone. When we gather, for instance, for general prayer in church, our thoughts and prayers are centered on one thing, and this firmly unites us. To be Orthodox means not to lead a life separate from others. In the Church, we become one with everyone else. For this reason, the Church has spiritual labors that are common to all of us, such as Great Lent: this is our joint undertaking; this is a time of spiritual struggle for us all. Let us run to our shared prayer in church, so that here we might find support, comfort, blessing, and aid in the carrying of the cross of our lives, and so that we might help others in the carrying of their cross. Let us according to the measure of our abilities continue this Lenten struggle, so that, having been renewed, we might greet in spiritual joy Christ’s Holy Pascha together, alongside the whole Church."

At the lenten dinner in the rector’s home following the service, everyone expressed their joy at the service that had been held between the clerics of the two parishes, and their gratitude to the choristers. The interaction of the clergy, choir members, and their spouses continued in this informal atmosphere, during which were discussed the planning and carrying out of further joint events between the clergy and parishioners of both parishes in their witness of Orthodoxy and salvific service to God and the Russian Orthodox people of Long Island.

On Friday, the myrrh-streaming icon of the Mother of God, "The Softener of evil hearts". Over a 100 people attended the Presanctified Liturgy that evening, after which a moleben was served and all in attendance were anointed with the holy oil from the miracle-working icon.


St. Seraphim Russian Orthodox Church 2017
131 Carpenter Ave.
Sea Cliff, NY 11579