Notice Regarding Services for Holy Week and Pascha

Dear in the Lord Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

I would like to express my heartfelt greetings to all of you on these blessed days of Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday and Holy Week, on the exceptionally festive and joyous holiday of the Bright Resurrection of Christ, prayerfully wishing you peaceful Paschal bliss, so that today’s difficulties and sorrows dissolve into the celebration of Christ, Who rose from the grave on the third day!

In his Paschal Epistle, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First-Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, writes: "Together as we send up gratitude to God... for the preservation of our lives and the opportunity to spend the present highly-exalted days in church, we should not forsake those lessons that are given to us by current events. Let us not neglect the health measures implemented for staving off the coronavirus infection, as the Sacred Scriptures says: "before you fall ill, take care of your health" (Sirach 18: 19). This means that precaution is itself a lifesaving medicine". Following the instruction of His Eminence and the guidelines of local authorities, we intend to celebrate all the prescribed services of Holy Week and Pascha, in which, due to current circumstances, clergymen, acolytes, singers, those on-duty at the candle stand along with their assistants and those registered for the services will take part.

In order to avoid violation of current guidelines, we will continue with virtual sign-up sheets and will only admit the faithful that have signed up for services in advance. Entrance to the church will continue to be only through the side doors, and someone will be standing with a list of people who have signed up to attend the services. We will, unfortunately, need to turn away anyone who comes to church without signing up in advance. Attendees will need to come to the services on time. When signing up for a service, please be guided by the following rule: 1 couple with child = 1 place (couples and families must stand together). If you have more than one child, then register two places. Before and after the services, no groups or clusters should be formed. After over a year in quarantine, we are already accustomed to wearing masks and keeping our distance in line or in stores, and this strict discipline must also be observed in the church. Violation of the rules could lead to hefty fines.

For the midnight Paschal service specifically, those who sign up must arrive at the beginning of the service and are asked not to go to the procession of the Cross, so as not to lose their place in the church. If you did not manage to sign up for the midnight Paschal service, but want to bless your Paschal basket, take part in the procession at night and wish to receive Holy Communion, you are welcome to pray in the refectory, while watching the service on the screen. God willing the weather will be favorable and we will have the doors and windows of the church open so those standing in the courtyard can participate in the celebration, pray and observe the service. The clergy , while censing the church, will go out into the courtyard and into the refectory to greet parishioners. The communion of those praying in the refectory and the church courtyard will take place on the front porch after the communion of everyone in the church. This year there will be no traditional Paschal greetings exchanged during the service. Paschal baskets will be blessed according to the schedule below.

Even though faithful are unable to physically attend church services, our souls still yearn to light candles and pray before the beloved icons and other holy shrines of our parish. To that end, we have created a “candle-stand” page on our parish website, which affords you the opportunity to purchase candles, submit commemoration slips for the living and reposed, as well as make a donation to the parish: The church will commemorate you and your loved ones on specified days, and light candles on your behalf that will burn during the services. Any donations for the continued upkeep of the parish during this time-your “Easter egg”-would be greatly appreciated.

The best gift to the Risen Christ is self-sacrifice, which can be expressed by actively striving towards God in prayer and by pushing oneself to perform good deeds. As St. Evagrius teaches us: “The Pascha of our Lord is the passing over from evil to good. Let us bring Him a well-pleasing gift.” Amen.

With love in the Risen Christ, and a plea for your prayers,
Archpriest Serafim Gan
Parish Rector


Great and Holy Wednesday, April 28
Vespers and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts at 6:30 pm.

On this day 30 years ago, Protodeacon Pavel Wolkow was ordained deacon by Metropolitan Vitaly (Ustinov). On this occasion, instead of the Bridegroom Matins, as is usually done on the eve of Great and Holy Thursday, the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts will be celebrated to provide everyone with the opportunity to pray and receive Holy Communion with Father Paul on this special day.

Great and Holy Thursday, April 29: Commemoration of the Mystical Meal (a.k.a. Last Supper).
The reading of the hours at 8:30 am, followed by Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great.

Matins with the reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels at 6:30 pm.

Great and Holy Friday, April 30: The Salvific Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Great Vespers with the entombment of the Holy Shroud at 1 pm.

Matins at 6:30 pm (Gospel of Matthew 27:62-66).

Great and Holy Saturday, May 1: (Gospel of Matthew 28:1-20).
The reading of the hours at 8:30 am, followed by Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great (first blessing of kulich baskets).

Second blessing of kulich baskets at 11 pm in the hall.

Paschal midnight office at 11:20 pm.

Sunday, May 2: The Pascha of our Lord. The Holy Resurrection of Christ.
Holy Paschal Matins at 12 midnight followed by Divine Liturgy (Gospel of John 1:1-17) (third blessing of kulich baskets).

Unfortunately, in connection with efforts to minimize the spread of the coronavirus by local authorities, the common trapeza feast after midnight services has been cancelled.

Fourth blessing of kulich baskets at 11:45 am.

Great Paschal vespers at 12 noon (Gospel of John 20:19-25).

Weather permitting, instead of the traditional Paschal reception at the rectory and children’s games on Pascha, light appetizers and refreshments will be offered in the courtyard immediately following Paschal vespers.

Bright Monday, May 3: The Second Day of Holy Pascha (Gospel of John 1:18-28).
Paschal matins at 9 am followed by Divine Liturgy.

Bright Saturday, May 8: The Apodosis of Bright Week (Gospel of John 3:22-33).
Paschal matins at 9 am followed by Divine Liturgy.

Great Vespers at 6 pm.

Sunday, May 9: St Thomas Sunday (Gospel of John 20:19-31).
Divine Liturgy and Paschal litiya with the commemoration of the reposed at 9 am.

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