On Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th of August, the brotherhood of Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, WV celebrated the feast day of the monastery’s patron saint, the Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon. Joining the monks for this joyous occasion were His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan, who led the divine services in honor of the beloved unmercenary physician, and Archpriest Victor Potapov, rector of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions prevented the typical large number of pilgrims from attending the liturgical festivities. Nonetheless, as Bishop Nicholas noted in his congratulatory remarks, the few physically present were spiritually united with those watching the live-streamed services and praying from afar.
The lengthy All-Night Vigil on Saturday night was highlighted by the congregational singing of the Akathist to St. Panteleimon and punctuated by many hymns in honor of the saint chanted by the monastic choir in special melodies. After the Vigil, a reception of fine Mediterranean food was provided by the Saad family, good friends and longtime supporters of the monastery.
On Sunday morning, following a Lesser Blessing of the Water, Bishop Nicholas celebrated the Hierarchal Liturgy, during which almost all present were blessed to partake of the life-giving Mysteries. His Grace conveyed the archpastoral greeting of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, and read the first hierarch’s Epistle on the “Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Glorification of Venerable Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska,” which day it also was. Bishop Nicholas further underscored the importance of praying to this great American saint to help us navigate life’s difficult situations.
At the completion of Divine Liturgy, a festal moleben was served to the gracious healer, St. Panteleimon, and all names that had been sent to the brotherhood for commemoration were read by the clergy before the icon and relic of the saint whose very name means “all merciful.” The brethren then processed to the monastery trapeza, carrying a special prosphoron from the church for the Rite of the Panagia. After the festive luncheon, the Rite was completed, during which the prosphoron was cut up and distributed, accompanied by the reverent singing of hymns to the Most Holy Theotokos.
In the afternoon, Bishop Nicholas met with Fr. Victor and the brotherhood to discuss the proper spiritual response to various current affairs, emphasizing the general need for trust in God and heartfelt prayer. Following Vespers and dinner, His Grace led a graveside pannykhida for the soul of the Schemamonk John (Dezorzi) who reposed on St. Panteleimon’s day in 2015.