On Monday, January 9, His Eminence Nicholas, Metropolitan of Eastern American & New York, paid his first official visit following his election as First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad to the Mid-American Diocese. His Eminence accompanied the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God on his visit, to the joy of the local faithful.
This is the third day of the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord and marked the first annual celebration of those in the Mid-American Diocese serving in the order of deacon, owing to the fact that January 9 is the celebration of the Holy Apostle, Protomartyr, and Archdeacon Stephen, the patron saint of deacons.
Metropolitan Nicholas celebrated Divine Liturgy in Holy Protection Diocesan Cathedral in Des Plaines, IL, co-served by: Archbishop Peter of Chicago & Mid-America, Archbishop Daniel of Chicago & the Midwest of the Orthodox Church in America, Bishop Longin of the Diocese of New Gracanica & Midwestern America of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and a large number of local and visiting clergy:
- Archpriest Rostyslav Snihirov (Holy Trinity Church ‒ Milwaukee, WI)
- Archpriest Vladimir Kovalchyk (St. Nicholas Church ‒ McHenry, IL)
- Archpriest Serge Prisacaru (Eastern American Diocese)
- Archpriest Victor Trotskyy (Holy Protection Diocesan Cathedral)
- Archpriest Gregory Joyce (diocesan secretary)
- Archpriest Vasily Zelenyuk (Eastern American Diocese)
- Archpriest Jeremiah Loch (St. Innocent Church ‒ Wheaton, IL)
- Archpriest Ilia Marzev (St. Sergius Cathedral ‒ Parma, OH)
- Archpriest Sergei Alekseev (St. Basil the Great Church ‒ St. Louis, MO)
- Archpriest Valery Vovkovskii (Holy Protection Diocesan Cathedral)
- Hieromonk Raphael (Tadros; St. George Church ‒ Michigan City, IN)
- Priest Alexander Koranda (Diocese of Chicago & the Midwest OCA)
- Priest Leonty Naidzions (Holy Protection Diocesan Cathedral)
- Priest John Komisarchuk (St. Panteleimon Church ‒ Minneapolis, MN)
- Priest John Michet (St. Innocent Church ‒ Wheaton, IL)
- Priest Nikolai Lochmatow (diocesan cleric)
- Priest Micah Chisholm (St. Sebastian Church ‒ Traverse City, MI)
- Protodeacon Paul Wolkow (Eastern American Diocese)
- Protodeacon Alexander Kichakov (Holy Protection Diocesan Cathedral)
- Protodeacon Eugene Kallaur (Eastern American Diocese)
- Deacon Maxim Sopiga (Holy Protection Diocesan Cathedral)
- Deacon Ephraim Galloway (St. Basil the Great Church ‒ St. Louis, MO)
- Deacon Gregory Finlon (St. Innocent Church ‒ Wheaton, IL)
- Deacon Nicolai Chemski (Holy Protection Diocesan Cathedral), and
- Deacon Dmitry Kashchenko (St. Vladimir Church ‒ Ann Arbor, MI).
Praying in the altar and partaking of Holy Communion were Archpriest Andre Papkov and Deacon Alexander Tikhonow (clerics of Holy Protection Diocesan Cathedral).
At the Little Entrance, for sincere service to the Holy Church, Priest John Michet was awarded the right to wear the purple skufia and Deacon Ephraim Galloway was awarded the right to wear the double orarion.
After the Great Entrance, Deacon Gregory Finlon was ordained to the priesthood for service at St. Innocent Church in Wheaton, IL. At his ordination, he was given the name Michael, his name conferred upon him by his parents, and which he held before converting to Orthodox Christianity many years ago. Archbishop Peter noted that this is not the first time he has been asked to restore a name at ordination to a clergyman given to him by his parents before conversion to Orthodoxy, and His Eminence expressed again his desire that priests of the Mid-American Diocese not give new names to converts who come to the Church with perfectly suitable Christian names.
Following Liturgy, at which almost everyone in the packed cathedral partook of Holy Communion, a reception for the gathered clerics and their guests was offered. At the banquet, both Metropolitan Nicholas and Archbishop Peter thanked the deacons of our Church for their dedicated service. Archbishop Peter announced that this gathering would be an annual one at the Diocesan Cathedral, and invited all those present to participate in the celebration again next year on January 9, 2024. His Eminence also urged those who were not able to attend this year to arrange to take this day off from work next year, so that even more of diocesan deacons might participate in this pleasant ‒ and now annual ‒ celebration.