On Sunday, October 16, 2016, the feast day of Holy Hieromartyr Dionysios the Areopagite of Athens, Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. He was joined by Senior Priest of the Cathedral, Protopriest Andrei Sommer and Hegumen Photios (Oulanov), along with Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, Protodeacon Vadim Gan and Protodeacon Dionisy Lvov. The divine service took place in the presence of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign,” which had just returned from a pilgrimage to the dioceses and monasteries of Kursk and Mordovia, Russia, of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Also praying at Liturgy was a group of monastic and lay pilgrims from the Kievan Lavra of the Caves. At the end of services, His Eminence announced a plate collection to benefit the Synodal Liturgical Music Commission, which recently held its 25th annual conference, which was a great success. Metropolitan Hilarion noted that the preservation of the splendor of church services is as important as preserving church buildings themselves. He noted that the Synod of Bishops recently decided to have some renovation work done on its building, that the facade of the cathedral was already cleaned, the reconstruction of the outer staircase was almost complete, and the facade of the rest of the building would soon be cleaned as well. Necessary funds for this work have already been collected.
During a trapeza organized by the cathedral sisterhood, the pilgrims from Kiev thanked Metropolitan Hilarion for their joint prayers and reception. Fr Andrei then talked about his recent pilgrimage to Holy Mt Athos, marking the 1000th anniversary of the Russian presence there, being celebrated this year.