The guardian of the Myrrh-Streaming Montreal Icon of the Mother of God of Iveron suffered a martyric death on October 31, 1997. He is buried in the cemetery of the Holy Trinity Monastery. Since his burial many have been the pilgrims who have made their way to his grave to honor his memory and to ask his prayers before the throne of God.
Every year since then, the ROCOR cathedral parish in Washington, DC of St. John the Baptist has conducted pilgrimages to the monastery. This year, a bus load of Orthodox Christians arrived to the monastery along with a busload of pilgrims from the Cathedral parish of St. Alexander Nevsky in Lakewood, New Jersey. The respective pastors of these parishes, the Very Rev. Archpriests Victor Potapov and Serge Lukianov headed up the pilgrimages. Many other pilgrims came in their own cars to join in on the services in the monastery.
As usual, there were pannikhidas served at the grave of Brother Jose on the Saturday afternoon of the arrival of the pilgrims and also on Sunday. There was also a litya served at the sepulchre of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Philaret as well as visits to the Convent of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God.
The pilgrims from Washington always bring food prepared by their sisterhood, which is not only for their own needs but also is plenteous enough for all those eating their meals at the monastery this past weekend.
There was ample time for the pilgrims to avail themselves of perusing the contents of the vastly enlarged and improved monastery bookstore as well as visits to the attached Museum of Russian History. Tours were given to those who perhaps experienced their first visit to the monastery.
His Grace, Bishop Luke of Syracuse, abbot of the monastery and rector of the seminary headed up the divine services. It must be mentioned that Sunday, October 31 (18th Old Style), the day of commemoration of the Holy and All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist Luke, was also the Name’s Day of Vladyka Luke. At the end of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, after the Small Moleben to the apostle, special words of congratulations were given by Fr. Victor and Fr. Serge, both mentioning their gratitude of the opportunity to participate in the pilgrimage as well as to congratulate Vladyka with his Saint’s Day. Archimandrite Theophylact gave a warm greeting on the part of the monastery brotherhood and the seminary faculty and student body. The seminarians also had a special greeting given by Reader John Keller, who presented Vladyka with a new bishop’s staff.
In their words of greeting, both our pilgrim pastors expressed the warm memories they had of the monastery, where they both received a seminary education years ago and also the spiritual joy that the pilgrims obtained with their pilgrimage, especially those who had never before been to the monastery.
Due to the multitude of pilgrims and work necessitated by this by the brethren and seminarinas, the traditional reception for Bishop Luke’s Name’s Day was given on the following day, the feast of St. John of Kronstadt. Vladyka received many gifts and greetings from all over the world.
We are so grateful that we can once again receive our pilgrims and help them have a brief respite from a difficult world and find some spiritual refreshment.