The Seminary choir traveled to Lakewood, NJ, during the weekend of December 15-16, with the blessing of Archimandrite Luke, Rector, and at the invitation of Mitred Archpriest Serge Lukianov, Dean of St Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral. The choir sang the responses for both the Hierarchal All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy under the direction of Deacon Nicholas Kotar, Seminary Choir Director and Lecturer in Church Music. Priest Ephraim Willmarth, Director of Admissions and Asst. Dean, and Deacon Michael Pavuk, Director of Development, led the delegation, which was accompanied by Hieromonk Felipe (Balingit), a first-year student in the Seminary’s new Master of Divinity degree program.
During the All-Night Vigil, His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah gave an inspiring sermon about the Resurrectional Gospel reading. Afterward, Matushka Lubov Lukianov and the parish sisterhood hosted a sumptuous Lenten meal in the church basement, which houses the parish bookstore and Nevsky Café.
On Sunday morning, the Seminary choir sang the responses at the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah. The singers included Priest Ephraim Willmarth, MDiv student Reader Seth Davidenko, 2nd-year undergraduate students Ivan Gryaznov and Reader Evan Nalitov, and HTOS class of ‘14 Alumnus Reader Matthew Romanchak. Hieromonk Felipe and Deacon Michael Pavuk assisted during both services. During the Small Entrance, and with the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, Metropolitan Jonah awarded Fr Felipe the right to wear the nabedrinik (rectangular cloth thigh “shield”).
Metropolitan Jonah again gave another wonderful sermon on a rich man and a camel-based on the Sunday Gospel reading. His Eminence then spoke again after the Divine Services on the importance of supporting the Seminary and our seminarians.
Mitred Archpriest Serge Lukianov then gave an impassioned appeal for the faithful to support the Seminary to ensure our educational and spiritual success. Then he presented the two clergy Seminary representatives with a check for $20,000, which included a $10,000 contribution from Kira Nikolaevna Kuzmin-Polansky and an additional $10,000 donated by the parishioners of St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Our entire Seminary delegation was overwhelmed by their level of generosity.
During the same weekend a year ago, the Seminary’s entire student body (undergraduates only at that time) and members of the administration traveled to Lakewood to mark the occasion of the 90th birthday of Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov. On that momentous occasion, each seminarian received from Fr Valery himself an autographed copy of his book titled, Blessed Pastorship.
To conclude the visit to Lakewood last weekend, our choir sang ‘Memory Eternal’ for the ever-memorable servant of God, Fr Valery.