Metropolitan Hilarion Leads Divine Services for Pascha in Synodal Cathedral
On Saturday the 15th and Sunday the 16th of April, the feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Christ - Pascha, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern American & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, led the festal divine services in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
His Eminence was co-served by Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Bishop Irinej of Eastern America (Serbian Orthodox Church), and cathedral clergy.
The Paschal services began with the greeting of the bishop at 11:15 PM, after which the Midnight Office was served. At midnight, the Paschal procession of clergy and parishioners began. At the doors to the cathedral, the long-awaited words rang out in many languages: "Christ is Risen!" and the multitude of the faithful responded, "Truly He is Risen!" At the festal divine services, the expanded hierarchal choir sang under the direction of conductor Peter Fekula.
Bishop Irinej and the faithful of the Serbian Church prayed in the Synodal cathedral at Paschal Matins, only in the morning serving Divine Liturgy on a second altar table built especially for them. Last year, St. Sava Serbian Cathedral in New York City was destroyed in a fire after the Paschal Liturgy. At both Liturgies, the cathedral was filled to capacity. After the morning Liturgy, the Serbian community broke the fast in the cathedral hall. His Grace, Bishop Irinej, thanked the First Hierarch of ROCOR for his hospitality and for offering a place of worship in a spirit of brotherly love.
The Liturgy for the Feast of Feasts proceeded especially triumphally. Metropolitan Hilarion read the Catechetical Homily of St. John Chrysostom; the cries of "Christ is Risen!" sounded out in Greek, English, French, Slavonic, and Serbian.
Virtually all of the multitudinous faithful communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries. Upon completion of the service, the Artos was blessed, and a Paschal dinner was offered in the cathedral hall for the clergy and parishioners. Metropolitan Hilarion greeted those gathered, and a short moleben was served in the tradition of the Synodal Cathedral.