Last weekend Metropolitan Hilarion made an Episcopal Visit to our parish. This was the fourth Episcopal Visit from three different bishops to our parish in the past five years, and it was Metropolitan Hilarion’s second. Metropolitan Hilarion is the First Hierarch (Primate) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and the Ordinary of the ROCOR Western Rite Communities.
Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit to our parish could not have gone better. We had fifty-one in attendance at Solemn Vespers, including five visiting Orthodox priests. It was a joy and blessing to serve with these men — “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” (Psalm 133:1-3).
All of the Services during the Episcopal Visit were celebrated with a Greater Prelate at the Throne. Metropolitan Hilarion fully participated from the Throne and preached. He knew the Western Rite so well that no one would have known that his primary rite is Eastern.
After Vespers there was a Reception in our parish hall in honour of Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit. There was a wide variety of delicious refreshments served and everyone in attendance had a wonderful time. Anyone who wanted to speak with his Eminence had full access and many took advantage of the opportunity to introduce themselves and to speak with him.
On Sunday morning we formally received the Metropolitan at the door of the church with bread and salt, followed immediately by a procession to the sanctuary while singing the Te Deum laudamus as the Metropolitan sprinkled the congregation with holy water. Upon arriving in the sanctuary we began Solemn Matins.
During Solemn Matins our acolyte, Fred Courey, was tonsured a cleric and ordained a Reader. The Order of Reader is the first step in the priesthood and is an important and very responsible ministry.
Solemn Matins was followed by a Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, commonly called a Solemn High Mass or the Divine Liturgy. We had fifty-six in attendance, including one visiting Orthodox priest.
After the Liturgy we enjoyed a delicious catered Luncheon in our parish hall. As at the Reception the evening before, anyone who wanted to speak with his Eminence had full access and many took advantage of the opportunity to speak with him. The entire weekend was a blessing and a joy, and we look forward to Metropolitan Hilarion’s next Episcopal Visit.
You can view photographs of Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit here:
OUR FAITH — Music Video
This is a Must See music video of the song OUR FAITH. It was written by St. Nikolai Velimirovich (d. 1965) who was canonized in 2003. St. John Maximovitch, who had been a young instructor at a seminary in Bishop Nikolai's diocese of Ohrid, called him "a great saint and Chrysostom of our day [whose] significance for Orthodoxy in our time can be compared only with that of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky). ... They were both universal teachers of the Orthodox Church."
Throughout this beautiful and inspiring music video you will hear the refrain: “Nasha vera Pravoslavna!” (Our faith is Orthodox!). Enjoy the video!
The Orthodox Church is the oldest Church in the world, the original Church. Why settle for a schism, splinter or a wholly man-made substitute? We love being Orthodox and you will too. Come and see why. Everyone is invited and visitors are always welcome. We are a faithful, friendly and vibrant parish, and we have a place for you. I hope to see you on Sunday!