On Tuesday, 13 September, 2022, the members of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, led by His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany, celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York City. At the end of divine services, the archpastors performed a moleben for the opening of the Council, invoking the Holy Spirit to help in their work.
Attending the Council of Bishops were Metropolitan Mark; His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of Western America and New York; His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada; His Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America; His Grace Bishop John of Caracas and South America; His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe; His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan; His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle; His Grace Bishop Luke of Syracuse; His Grace Bishop Alexander of Vevey and His Grace Bishop Job of Stuttgart. His Grace Bishop George of Canberra participated electronically.
To the Pastors, Monastics and the Pious Children of the Church Abroad
Beloved brethren and sisters!
We, the Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, having assembled together in Sacred Council on the eve of the Ecclesiastical New Year in the Synodal Residence in the God-protected city of New York, in the presence of our Hodegetria and guide, the wonderworking Kursk-root icon of the Mother of God, greet you with the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which He spoke unto His disciples after His Resurrection: ‘Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world!’ (John 16.33).
We are of good cheer, because we are witnesses to the Lord’s great mercy unto His children and the continuity of His headship of the Church. Having seen fit to call unto Himself our pious and humble First Hierarch, the blessedly-reposed and much-beloved Metropolitan Hilarion, He has not left us bereft of order and care. We began our Council with the election of Metropolitan Hilarion’s successor, the seventh Primate of the Russian Church Abroad, following the order of election approved and sanctified by St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco. By the Will of God, His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan, was elected to bear this yoke of service - he who for many years has borne the obedience lain upon him by our Synod of accompanying the miraculous Kursk-root icon in its travels throughout the Russian Orthodox Diaspora, and over the last one and a half decades, all across Russia.
On Tuesday, 13 September 2022, the member hierarchs of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany, celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York City. Afterward, the bishops performed a moleben for the opening of a Council of Bishops, invoking the aid of the Holy Spirit for their work.
After a luncheon in the main hall of the Synodal residence, the Council began. Vladyka Mark delivered the keynote address, after which His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America was elected Vice President, and elected as Council Secretaries were His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, and His Grace Bishop Job of Stuttgart. Appointed as members of the election Counting Committee were His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe and His Grace Bishop Luke of Syracuse.
The hierarchs then proceeded to the Synodal Cathedral for the election of a new First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
On Tuesday, 13 September, 2022, the election of the new Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia by its Council of Bishops took place. In accordance with the Act of Canonical Communion, signed on 17 May, 2007, the Council will send the Act of the election, drafted by the counting committee to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with a request to bless the electee to assume the duties of the First Hierarch entrusted to him by his brethren archpastors, and for confirmation of the election by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The rite of enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York, newly-elected First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, will take place on Sunday, 18 September.
The schedule of divine services associated with the enthronement is as follows:
On Friday, June 24th, 2022, the monastic communities and parishes of the Western American Diocese served a panykhida for newly-departed Metropolitan Hilarion who governed the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia from 2008-2022. Memory Eternal to our beloved Frist-Hierarch.
On the great feast of Pentecost, June 12, 2022, Father Rector Archpriest Paul Volmensky introduced to the parishioners a new member of the clergy, Priest Maxim Filippov. Father Maxim will serve at the Holy Ascension Church as a non-salaried member of the clergy. He has come to Sacramento with his wife Matushka Anastasia and their three young children, Dimitri, Olga and Alexander. Besides his education as a priest, Father Maksim has training in computer programming and intends to support his family in this manner.
The Great Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, the patronal feast of Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church, was marked on June 2, 2022, with His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill presiding over the festivities.
Concelebrating with His Eminence were the Father Rector, Archpriest Paul Volmensky, Archpriest Michael Boyle, Priest Philip Plowman, and Priest Elijah Drake (Wu). Archdeacon Peter (Karakozoff), Deacon Paul Kozachenko, Deacon Nicholas Stoltz, and Deacon Seraphim Torruella also concelebrated.
Our church school, the Cossack Cadet School in honor of the “Don” Icon of the Mother of God, held its final day for the academic year 2021-2022 on Saturday, June 4, 2022.
The event began with Thanksgiving Molebin and a group photograph in the church and then the teachers and pupils of the school along with their parents went to the church hall for the program and a final meal.
On Memorial Day, May 30th, 2022, clergy and faithful of the Western American Diocese took the annual trek to Fort Ross Historic Park to participate in the Divine Liturgy, procession to the cemetery and a litya for those departed who are buried at Fort Ross, who lived, labored and reposed at there about 200 years ago.
His Grace Theodosy Bishop of Seattle presided over the festivities. Concelebrating with him were Archpriests Peter Perekrestov, George Kurtow, Paul Volmensky, Alexander Krassovsky, Priest George Kaplanov and Deacons Nicholas Stoltz, Paul Kozachenko and Alex Baranoff. The choir was conducted by Konstantine Pavlov and its members consisted of the pilgrims of the diocese.
His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill greeted the pilgrims on their way back from the fort at the agape meal offered at the Kazan Church in Guerneville, CA.
On Saturday, May 21, 2022, the Day of Commemoration of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, His Grace James, Bishop of Sonora, presided over the Divine Liturgy at Holy Ascension Church. Concelebrating with him were Archpriest Paul Volmensky (Rector), Priest Aurelius Zmeu, Priest Elijah Drake (Wu), Deacon Nicholas Stoltz and Deacon Seraphim Torruella.
After the Divine Liturgy clergy and faithful drove out to the Russian Orthodox Cemetery where Bishop James performed a panykhida over the grave of his spiritual father, Archimandrite Anastassy (Newcobmbe) who reposed on May 21, 2004.
On Sunday May 8th, 2022, Ivan and Natalia Ivanov were wedded in the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony...
On Monday, 23 May, 2022, a meeting of the Synod of Bishops of the Russia Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was held, presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany. Participating in the meeting were His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops; His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada; His Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America; His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops.
A series of decisions were taken during the meeting:
On Saturday, May 21, the feast of the Holy Apostle & Evangelist John the Theologian, the monastic funeral of the newly reposed First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad ‒ His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York ‒ was held in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
Metropolitan Mark of Berlin & Germany officiated the service, co-served by members of the Synod of Bishops: Archbishops Kyrill of San Francisco & Western America, Gabriel of Montreal & Canada, and Peter of Chicago & Mid-America; and Bishops Nicholas of Manhattan and Irenei of London & Western Europe. Also taking part in the funeral rite were hierarchs of other Local Churches: Metropolitan Joseph of New York (Antiochian Archdiocese of North America; funeral only), Archbishop Michel of New York & New Jersey (Orthodox Church in America; Liturgy only), and Bishop Gedeon of Makarovka (vicar of the Kievan Metropolitanate, with the blessing of Metropolitan Onufry), as well as a multitude of the clergy of the Russian Church Abroad and guests.
On Tuesday, 4/17 May, 2022, the 15th anniversary of the restoration of the fullness of Church unity within the Russian Orthodox Church, and the eve of the anniversary of the enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, a session of the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR was held, presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany.
The members of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad announced with great sorrow that on 3/16 May, the feast day of St Theodosius, Abbot of the Kiev Caves, Metropolitan Hilarion reposed in the Lord.
In connection with this, it was DECREED:
Today, May 16, 2022, the feast day of St Theodosius of the Kievan Caves, at two o’clock New York time, following a lengthy illness, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, reposed in the Lord, in a NYC hospital.
His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, performed the “Canon of Supplication at the Parting of the Soul.” His Grace was joined by Archpriest Serafim Gan and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin). A pannikhida will be performed at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York at 7:30 pm tonight.
Further information will be provided shortly.
May God grant the Kingdom of Heaven to our Master and Father, the Eminent Metropolitan Hilarion!
On Pascha night, April 11/24, 2022, many of the faithful of Sacramento, CA, gathered at Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church of Sacramento. Participants in the cross procession around the church before the beginning of Paschal matins were so many that the crowd completely circumscribed the church, the head of the procession walking directly behind its own tail. Voices of the many participants joined in with the chanting of the choir. During the Paschal matins, our church was filled to capacity and there were 80-100 communicants of Christ's Sacred Mysteries. The Paschal baskets were blessed twice that night: before the Midnight Office and after the Paschal Liturgy. Later the hall was completely full of those who stayed to break the fast. There were even a few souls who walked over to the nearby parking garage to watch the sun dance as it rose over the Sierra Nevadas.
On Bright Monday, April 12/25, 2022, Divine Liturgy and a cross procession were performed...
On Great Saturday, April 10/23, 2022, 8 adult Baptisms were performed at Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church of Sacramento. These were people of varying ages and backgrounds who longed to be united to the Body of Christ.
Seven of the newly illumined are members of Holy Ascension Church, and one is a member of All Saints of North America in the Lodi/Stockton area, a mission headed by Priest Elijah Drake...
of His Eminence HILARION
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Eminent Brother Archpastors, Honorable Fathers, Dear Brothers and Sisters:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
With a sense of jubilation in the Lord, the Victor over evil, hell and death, I greet you all on this luminous night of the Matins and Liturgy of the Pascha of Christ, this “feast of faith” which the great Chrysostom exhorts us to relish! Congratulations with the Bright Resurrection of Christ!
On Holy and Great Friday, April 9/22, 2022, the clergy, choir and parishioners of Holy Ascension Church celebrated the Divine Services commemorating the removal from the Cross and burial of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, and also His Descent into Hades.
On Lazarus Saturday, April 16th, 2022, the Church of Christ received several infants and a mother of two of them before Divine Liturgy at Holy Ascension Church.
Congratultions to the newly-illumined, their god-parents, parents, siblings and grandparents.
On the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent, March 21/April 3, 2022, His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America made a pastoral visit to Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church of Sacramento, CA.
Dear in the Lord Fathers, Brothers and Sisters:
During these terrifying days when streams of blood merge with the flow of deceit and wickedness, we Christians cannot allow ourselves to submit to the spirit of war. The spirit of war is demanding. It requires us to divide into parties. It forces us to hate.
We Christians must understand: the wrath with which war burns is the wrath of hell. The enemy of God drinks in not so much human blood as human bitterness and division. The devil wants nothing more than to separate man from his neighbor, from the Church and from Christ.
Rumors surfaced this week of the discontinuance of commemoration of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in some parishes of the Russian Church Abroad, allegedly blessed by the Synod of Bishops. This report absolutely does not correspond to reality: the Synod of Bishops did not convene to discuss this matter and has made no such decision. In accordance with the Act of Canonical Communion signed by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus in 2007, the name of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church is commemorated in all parishes and monasteries of the Russian Church Abroad. These parishes and monasteries minister to a multitude of Orthodox Christian believers from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan and other countries.
On March 16, 2022, His Holiness Kirill Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia published Address No. 01/1215 in which he calls upon the entire flock, clergy and laity, to raise up prayers of repentance.
His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America turns to the clergy and children of the diocese entrusted to him with the following words.
Dear in Christ Reverend Fathers and faithful of Holy Mother Church!
In the letter, His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill speaks of the sorrowful situation in the Ukraine. His Holiness states that...
With the blessing of His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, the Western American Diocese is organizing collections to benefit the refugees and the other innocents suffering from the present military conflict in Ukraine. We urge our faithful to be zealous in their support of those suffering. Their need is great, as is our opportunity to help them.
His Eminence KIRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America has published Decree No. 4/2022E throughout the Diocese for the end to conflict in Ukraine. The original may be found here.
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In addition to the “Prayer for Ukraine,” which is inserted by the Priests of the Diocese into the appointed place in the Divine Liturgy, we urge all the faithful to pray for peace amongst those in conflict. The following are prayers blessed for this purpose.
Dear in the Lord Brothers and Sisters:
As we approach Great Lent, this salvific time of profound prayer and self-correction, and in connection with the events in the Ukrainian land, I turn to all with a heartfelt plea: to refrain from excessive watching television, following newspapers and the internet, to close our hearts to the passions ignited by mass media, while doubling our fervent prayers for peace throughout the world, for overcoming enmity and discord, for help for the suffering, for the repose of those who have departed into the eternal life and the consolation of their friends and relatives, so that we all first and foremost remain humane and Orthodox Christians in these difficult times.
On February 12, 2022, -- the Feast of the Holy Three Hierarchs -- our church school held its Annual Parish Yolka. Due to several reasons, mostly the illness of many people in our school, the Yolka was not performed on the day that had been planned, January 15th, 2022...
The Nativity Epistle of His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America may be read here.
With profound gladness I greet my fellow archpastors, honourable fathers, monastics, parishioners and the worshipers of our churches, scattered throughout the world, with the Nativity of Christ, the Baptism of the Lord and the New Year! May the Lord send us all the joy of the coming of the Son of God into the world. Both the struggle of our faith, and its fruits in our days, must be grounded in this joy: the joy that comes from hearing the angelic doxology and the triumph of the Incarnation of God the Word!
This past year was difficult and sorrowful for many of us, but it was also filled with divers blessings and gifts for which we must offer up our gratitude to our Benefactor. We have reached this festal season because Divine Providence did not abandon us. If we have been able to carry forth to this time the duties lain upon us, it is solely because the Lord Himself has granted us health, power, nourishment and clothing, and has poured out upon us His help, and the gift of patience for the unfolding of our life’s path. In addition to this, how many blessed gifts have been communicated to us in the holy sacraments, in the fast, and in the prayer and mystical life of the Church!
Christmastide always evokes feelings of love and gratitude in the believing heart. Let us also raise up in these days our own gratitude to God, let us bring our love to Him and to our neighbours, and let us convey our own Nativity gift to the temple, in which we are honoured with the wondrous, personal encounter with Christ and saving communion with Him. Let us open our hearts, dear fathers, brothers and sisters; let us receive the Son of God Who has come to earth; and let us worship Him together with the magi, rejoicing in His love and mercy towards us. Amen.
With love in the New-Born Christ,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad
The Nativity of Christ, 2021/2022