On March 26, the fourth Sunday of Great Lent dedicated St. John of the Ladder, the Brooklyn Cathedral of St John the Forerunner & Baptist was visited by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America who led the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great.
Serving with His Eminence His Eminence were the visiting Bishop Isaiah of Šumperk, Vicar of the Olomouc-Brno Diocese of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzus; Archimandrite Nectarios Papazafiropoulos, Chancellor of the Greek Archdiocese; the Vicar of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate Archimandrite Alexander; the Rector of the Brooklyn Cathedral Archpriest Oleksandr Belya, Vicariate Archpriests Mikhail Gutsul, Pyotr Prokoptsov, and Eduard Chervinsky; Fr. Rostislav Zadorozhnyy; Archdeacon Dionysius Papiris of the Greek Archdiocese, and Vicariate Protodeacons Volodymir Oleinik and George Hero.
The service was performed in three languages; Church Slavonic, English, and Greek. The choir also sang the liturgy in three languages.
At the end of the service, Archbishop Elpidophoros addressed the faithful, who filled the cathedral to capacity, after which he presented Bishop Isaiah with a commemorative medal of the Brooklyn Cathedral for his efforts in developing and strengthening interchurch relations.
The Archbishop then bestowed liturgical awards on three clerics of the Slavic Vicariate. Fr. Rostislav Zadorozhny was elevated to the rank of Archpriest and awarded the archpriest’s cross. Protodeacons Volodymir Oleinik and George Hero were awarded purple kamilavkas.
Archpriest Oleksandr thanked the Archbishop and bishops Isaiah and Athenagoras for their participation in the service. Bishop Isaiah expressed his appreciation to Archbishop Elpidophoros for the opportunity to serve with him and for the award. He also conveyed greetings from Archbishop Simeon of Olomouc and Brno.
Finally Bishop Isaiah thanked Archpriest Alexander for his hospitality during the trip to America. In memory of the visit, he presented the Vicar with a cross, decorations, and a commemorative medal of SS. Cyril and Methodius (the patron saints of the Slavic Vicariate) from the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. Bishop Isaiah was then presented by Archimandrite Alexander with an icon of St. John, Archbishop of San Francisco and Shanghai.
On behalf of the clergy and parishioners, the Vicar thanked the Archbishop for leading the service. He noted that the day was very joyful for the Brooklyn Cathedral, as three bishops celebrated the Liturgy. “Today, at the service, there was the same unique grace that I felt during prayer on Mount Athos. And this grace spiritually connects us with the Holy Mountain. Let us meet more often and pray in blessed unity at the throne of God and the single cup of Christ”.
In conclusion, Archbishop Elpidophoros thanked the attending clergy and laity for coming together in prayer and called for God’s blessing on everyone.