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Thousands celebrate centennial of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery
Article posted: 6/3/2005 10:51 PM
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, the Holy Synod of Bishops, and
thousands of Orthodox clergy and faithful, including a 200 voice
choir under the direction of the Very Rev. Sergei Glagolev,
celebrated the Divine Liturgy on Memorial Day at St. Tikhon's
Monastery, South Canaan, PA.
SOUTH CANAAN, PA [OCA Communications] - Following a tradition
established by Orthodox Christian faithful a century ago, thousands
of clergy and lay pilgrims joined the Church's hierarchs over
Memorial Day weekend to mark the centennial of Saint Tikhon of
Zadonsk Monastery here May 27-30, 2005.
Faithful from as far as Mexico and Canada passed through the
monastery's landmark arch to witness the consecration of a new
bishop, the dedication of a museum, and the blessing of a set of
bells cast in honor of the centennial.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, opened the centennial pilgrimage
on Friday evening, May 27, with the celebration of Vespers and Matins
in the monastery church. During the service, Bishop-elect Alejo was
formally elected Bishop of Mexico City by the Holy Synod of Bishops.
On Saturday morning, following the Divine Liturgy during which
Bishop-elect Alejo was consecrated to the episcopacy, a set of new
bells was blessed in commemoration of the monastery's centennial.
"O Lord our God... look down mercifully on the fervent supplication
of us, Thine unworthy servants, and upon these bells, fashioned for
the service of Thy holy Church, and to the glory of Thy magnificent
and all-holy Name," Metropolitan Herman prayed before sprinkling the
bells with holy water.
"With Thy heavenly blessing and the grace of Thine all-consecrating
Spirit, bless and consecrate them, and draw down upon them the power
of Thy grace, that Thy faithful servants, having heard the voice of
their ringing, may be strengthened in piety and faith [and] be led to
the church in prayer and glorification of Thy holy Name."
On Saturday afternoon, the 63th commencement exercises of Saint
Tikhon's Seminary were held. Metropolitan Herman, seminary president,
presented degrees and diplomas to the graduates, while His Grace,
Bishop Thomas of Oakland, PA of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian
Archdiocese of North America, delivered the commencement address.
The recently completed Metropolitan Theodosius Museum was blessed and
officially opened after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, May 29. In
addition to housing priceless icons, antique liturgical appointments,
vestments, and other religious artifacts from around the world, the
museum features numerous items bequeathed to the monastery by His
Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, retired OCA Primate. The building
also houses the new seminary bookstore.
On Sunday evening, over 500 hierarchs, clergy, and faithful enjoyed
the centennial banquet at the Genetti Convention Center,
Wilkes-Barre, PA, at which the seminary graduates were honored.
Monday, May 30, opened with the celebration of an early Liturgy in
the monastery church - a tradition that dates back to the first
pilgrimage to Saint Tikhon's 100 years ago.
"Another century-old tradition is the pilgrim's procession to the
monastery," said the Very Rev. John Kowalczyk, Jermyn, PA. "Today's
pilgrims drive to the monastery. But in the spirit of those who
embarked on foot from the train station to the monastery grounds 100
years ago, the pilgrims made a symbolic procession from South Canaan
Corners to the monastery pavilion for the celebration of the main
Divine Liturgy, at which Metropolitan Herman, members of the Holy
Synod of Bishops, visiting hierarchs, and dozens of priests and
Nearly the entire body of faithful received the Eucharist - a genuine
sign of commitment to the unity Orthodox Christians find in Christ
and a visible pledge to continue the work initiated by the
Months before the pilgrimage, faithful from OCA parishes were invited
to join what was to have been a 100-voice choir to sing the responses
at the centennial Liturgy. Music had been distributed well in
advance, and local rehearsals were organized. To the delight of
everyone, the choir that led the faithful in prayer consisted of over
200 singers, rather than the anticipated 100, under the direction of
the Very Rev. Sergei Glagolev. A recording of the Liturgy is slated
to be released later this year. As one pilgrim enthusiastically
stated after the Liturgy, "the choir was nothing less than
Following the Liturgy, the traditional Memorial for all faithful
departed was celebrated at the grave of the late Metropolitan Leonty.
The Memorial was especially moving because 2005 marks the 40th
anniversary of the saintly Metropolitan's repose. Located behind the
monastery church, his grave stands to the left of the mausoleum in
which Saint Alexis Toth's relics rested until they were enshrined in
the church proper.
Countless pilgrims also participated in the Service of Intercession
to the Mother of God and anointing of the sick and infirm celebrated
at the monastery bell tower. The celebration of Vespers and Matins
marked the centennial pilgrimage's official closing. But the faithful
lingered until sunset as they offered prayers for their loved ones in
the cemetery, enjoyed delicious food prepared by members of area
parishes, and enjoyed fellowship with one another.
"The centennial pilgrimage was a fitting tribute to the monastery's
visionary and holy founders and an expression of intense gratitude to
those - especially Metropolitan Herman, who has made the monastery
his home for four of its ten decades - have built upon the founders'
vision spiritually, as well as with wood, bricks, and mortar," said
the Very Rev. John Matusiak, OCA communications director. "In an era
in which statisticians claim that the average life-span of the
typical American religious 'institution' is less than 90 years, the
monastery's ongoing growth stands as a testimony to its past and
serves as the very foundation upon which its next century of witness
and ministry as a center of spiritual refreshment is being built."
The four-day celebration was organized by a specially appointed
centennial commission under the direction of His Grace, Bishop Tikhon
of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania. Protopresbyter Robert
Kondratick, OCA chancellor, and the Very Rev. Daniel Donlick, retired
dean of Saint Tikhon's Seminary, cochaired the commission, composed
of dozens of dedicated volunteers who meticulously planned every
aspect of the historic occasion.
In addition to Metropolitan Herman and Bishops Tikhon, Thomas, and
Alejo, hierarchs concelebrating at the centennial Liturgy included
His Eminence, Metropolitan Onufrey of Chernovtsy and Bukovina,
Ukraine; His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and Western
Pennsylvania; His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the
South; His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian
Episcopate; His Eminence, Archbishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest;
His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West;
His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada; His Grace, Bishop
Nikolai of Sitka, Anchorage, and Alaska; His Grave, Bishop Nikon of
Boston and the Albanian Archdiocese; His Grace, Bishop Mark, former
Bishop of Boston, retired; and His Grace, Bishop Mercurius of
Zaraisk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the US. Among
the other guest concelebrants were Archimandrite Gerasimos [Makris],
who represented His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek
Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and the Very Rev. Michael Roscoe,
who represented His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas of the
American-Carpatho Russian Diocese.