On Sunday, November 18, as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of St. Nicholas Monastery in North Ft. Myers, FL, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, paid an archpastoral visit to St. Matrona of Moscow Cathedral in Dania Beach, where he celebrated Divine Liturgy.
Concelebrating with His Eminence were: Bishop Saba of Eastern America (Georgian Orthodox Church), Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan (vicar of the Eastern American Diocese), Bishop Victor of Artzis (vicar of the Diocese of Odessa), Archimandrite Alexander (Belya; cathedral rector), Archpriest Vitaly Kosovsky (rector of St. Elias Church in Kiev), Archimandrite Stephan (Hilchuk; cleric of St. Nicholas Monastery in Ft. Myers), Archpriest Nicholas Bargoot (rector of St. Panteleimon Mission in Lake Worth, FL), Archpriest Serge Prisakaru (cathedral cleric), Archdeacon Serge Kosovsky (archdeacon to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church), and Deacon Rostislav Zadorozhny (cleric of St. John the Forerunner Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY).
The building of St. Matrona Cathedral, which earlier belonged to a Methodist community, was consecrated in December 12, 2015. Prior to the consecration, the church was renovated, with a new marble floor installed. Over the past three years, capital renovations were made, with large-scale reconstruction of the cathedral and neighboring buildings, replacement of the air conditioning systems, and installation of hurricane-proof windows. The first floor of the cathedral was remodeled, and now houses a comfortable guesthouse.
St. Matrona parish is Russian-speaking, but parishioners include Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Moldovan, and faithful from other nationalities of the former Soviet Union. Those who wish to do so donate their hard work, time, and funds to benefit the parish. Old traditions are being reborn here, with those interested ordering icons of saints (either their patrons, or those near to their hearts) and donating them to the cathedral. This is all done with the blessing of the rector, who orders the holy icons from iconographers at the Kiev Caves Lavra, so that they will all be completed in the same style as they adorn the cathedral. Thus did the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, the icon of the "Queen of All," and icons of the Holy Martyrs Tatiana and Irene recently appear in the church.
For the first time in the United States, the tradition of reading the "Sleepless Psalter" has been revived here. The Psalter is read by sisters of mercy, who come to the cathedral from Kiev and Jerusalem.
The cathedral’s Sunday School works with four groups of children, who are taught Russian Language, Law of God, and Singing by professional teachers.
Benefactors Alexis and Katherine Lukianov aided in the organization of the school space, and now children of all ages can study in a number of classrooms.
Every Friday in the cathedral, an akathist is served to Blessed Matrona of Moscow, while on the eve of various feasts, an akathist is served for those unable to pray at Liturgy on the very day of the feast.