On August 8th and 9th, Holy Cross Monastery celebrated the feastday of its patron, the Holy Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon. His Grace Bishop of Nicholas of Manhattan arrived on Tuesday, August 6th in order to spend several days visiting with the brotherhood beforehand. On Wednesday evening he led a synaxis, relating to the community some of the spiritual experiences he had while on pilgrimage in Russia.
On Thursday morning, His Grace served a moleben beseeching God's blessing for the beginning of work on the new church project. Within the next several weeks the designer will be making his second visit to refine the building plans, and contractors will also be arriving to rebuild and reinforce the retaining wall above the site of the future church.
On Thursday evening, the Vigil for St. Panteleimon was held in the monastery church. His Grace Bishop Nicholas presided. Also serving were Archimandrite Seraphim and the monastery clergy, as well as Priest Jonah Campbell of Wayne, WV and Priest Demetrio Romeo of Florida. The Vigil included the Litia, as well as the singing of the Akathist to St. Panteleimon following the Magnification. After the conclusion of the Vigil, Bishop NIcholas tonsured Novices John and Ephraim as riassaphore-monks, charging them to take heed to the Gospel commandment to deny oneself, take up one's cross, and follow Christ. Br. John received the new name Fr. Damascene, while Br. Ephraim retained his former name and will be known as Fr. Ephraim until such time as God allows them to take the small schema.
On Friday morning, the Lesser Blessing of Water was performed prior to the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy. Joining the clergy from the prior night was Archpriest John Dixon of Huntington, WV. At the end of the Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas gave an inspiring sermon on the life of St. Panteleimon and the need to approach the Holy Mysteries not casually, but with fear and trembling and gratitude. Following the Dismissal, a festive Moleben was served to St. Panteleimon during which the many names submitted by the faithful were commemorated, beseeching the heavenly aid of St. Panteleimon for their lives. The Panagia service followed, with the brotherhood and visitors processing together into trapeza for the festive meal.
We thank His Grace Bishop Nicholas as well as all the visiting clergy and laypeople for making this celebration so prayerful and festive! We hope to see all of you again next year.