On Monday, August 19, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern American & New York paid an archpastoral visit to Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ, where he celebrated Divine Liturgy for the great feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.
Concelebrating with His Eminence were: Archimandrite Alexius (Merida; confessor at Our Lady of Iberia Monastery in Odessa, Ukraine), Archpriest Serge Lukianov (dean of New Jersey), Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov; cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City), Abbot Arseny (Manko; rector of Sts. Cosmas & Damian Church in Passaic, NJ), and skete clerics: Abbot Tikhon (Gayfudinov; rector, assistant to the First Hierarch), Priest Anatoly Revitskyy and Deacon Dimitri Krenitsky.
At the Little Entrance, Fr. Anatoly was awarded the right to wear the kamilavka.
Despite its being a weekday, faithful gathered at the church from across New Jersey and New York. Most parishioners communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Fr. Alexius delivered an edifying sermon to those present on the subject of the feast. Metropolitan Hilarion then blessed the fruits, and congratulated the clergy and faithful with the radiant feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration. He also thanked Fr. Tikhon for his labors in restoring this once-closed parish, which has since become a skete – a place of prayer and spiritual fortification. His Eminence congratulated Fr. Tikhon with his upcoming namesday, and presented him an icon of Venerable Gabriel of Samtavro with pieces of the saint’s relics.
In response, Fr. Tikhon noted that people work at the skete not only in order to restore its walls and external majesty, but also so that the clergy and pilgrims can find a place of prayer and spiritual fortification and comfort here. He expressed his joy and gratitude to the Metropolitan, clergy, and guests for visiting the skete and for their shared prayers. Afterward, all proceeded to the refectory, where they received blessed fruits and continued their brotherly interaction.