His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America [OCA], and His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia [ROCOR], concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at Saint Nicholas Cathedral here on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, the Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
The Liturgy was an historic one, in that it marked “the first joint service of the American Bishops and the Russian Orthodox Church after nearly 70 years of the liturgical period of absence of communication,” according to the web site of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA. It represents the fruit of the diligent labors undertaken by the joint OCA-ROCOR Commission.
Also concelebrating were His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA; His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania [OCA]; and His Grace, Bishop Jerome of Manhattan [ROCOR].
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Jonah presented relics of Saints Herman of Alaska and Alexis Toth to Metropolitan Hilarion, who in kind presented relics of Saint John Maximovich to Metropolitan Jonah. The Metropolitans also sent a message to His Holiness, Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow, on the occasion of his patronal feastday. The text of the message reads as follows.
“We thank the Lord, Who on this festal day has vouchsafed us to offer unto Him the Bloodless Sacrifice in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Nicholas of the Russian Orthodox Church in New York City!
“On this, the feast day of the holy Equals-of-the-Apostles, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Enlighteners of the Slavs, having communed in the One Holy Spirit of the One Chalice of Christ, with sincere love we greet Your Holiness on the occasion of your Namesday.
“By God’s beneficent Providence you have been fated to serve as the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, of which the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is an inseparable part, and which is the Mother—and Sister—Church of the Orthodox Church in America.
“We are certain that the long-desired concelebration of the Hierarchs of the American Church and the Russian Church Abroad will be a glad tiding to Your Holiness, and to the innumerable Orthodox clergy and laity.”
Among the OCA clergy serving at the historic Divine Liturgy were Archpriests Joseph Lickwar and Samuel Kedala; Igumen Joseph [Hoffman]; Hieromonk Gerasim [Eliel]; Igumen Sergius [Bowyer], Abbot of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery; Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak; and Hierodeacon Philip [Majkrzak].