Bishop Peter & Bishop Mark Visit St. Vladimir Church for the Feast of St. Michael & All the Bodiless Hosts

On the weekend of November 20-21, 2010 Bishop Peter of Cleveland visited the parish of the Holy Equal to the Apostles Great Prince St. Vladimir in Ann Arbor, MI.  Before the Vigil on Saturday evening, November 20, a pannykhida was served in memory of the 25th anniversary of the repose of Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) and in remembrance of all Russian Orthodox Christians who had reposed in exile from their homeland (given this was also the 90th anniversary of the evacuation of the White Army from Crimea).  Both Bishop Peter and Bishop Mark of Toledo and the Midwest (Antiochian Orthodox Church) prayed at the service.  The parish’s choir had prepared particularly diligently for this hierarchal visit and the singing of the pannykhida was especially moving, with choir members’ whose families had left Russia after the Civil War, after World War II, and after the fall of the Soviet Union joining their voices together in prayer with not a small number of choir members who were of non-Russian backgrounds participating as well, including several converts to the Orthodox Faith.

The Vigil was sung beautifully by the parish choir under the direction of Julia Easson-Meyer, with several pieces new to the choir’s repertoire included. At the polyeleos Bishop Mark emerged from the altar with clergy from not just the Russian Orthodox Church participating, but the Antiochian Church as well.  The clergymen who participated in the Vigil service were: Archimandrite Daniel (Antiochian Church), Archpriest Roman Star (Russian Church), Priest Gregory Joyce (Russian Church), Priest Victor Trotskyy (Russian Church), Priest John Fenton (Antiochian Church), Priest Gleb Grazovsky (Russian Church), Protodeacon Vadim Gan (Russian Church), Deacon Alexander Kitchakov (Russian Church), and Deacon John Feloniuk (Russian Church).

The next morning Bishop Peter was greeted by the parish’s Starosta, Karl (Mercurius) Meyer, with the traditional bread and salt.  As is the parish’s custom, several of the children bore the bread and salt which was used in the greeting of Bishop Peter.  Bishop Peter was vested in the middle of the church and after the 3rd Hour ordained Reader Zachary Martinchek as a Subdeacon for service at St. Vladimir Church.  In addition to Bishop Mark, the clergymen who participated in the Divine Liturgy were: Archpriest James Roher (Russian Church), Priest Gregory Joyce, Priest Michael Bondar (Russian Church), Priest Gleb Grazovsky, Deacon Alexander Kitchakov, and Deacon John Feloniuk. Following the Divine Liturgy, at which many of the faithful partook of Holy Communion, Bishop Peter greeted Bishop Mark and thanked him for his neighborly kindness during the five years that the two bishops had served in overlapping dioceses.  Bishop Peter also wished Bishop Mark well on his new assignment and presented him with a pre-Revolutionary Russian lampada, asking that His Grace remember the faithful of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America in his prayers.  Bishop Mark warmly replied to Bishop Peter and recalled fondly how the two bishops had been able to work together for the good of all Orthodox Christians in their respective dioceses. Bishop Peter also congratulated Fr. Michael Bondar with his name’s day and thanked him for his diligent service and his willingness to serve whenever needed at St. Vladimir Church given that the parish’s Rector, Fr. Gregory Joyce, due to his duties as Secretary of the Diocese, is occasionally required to travel to other parishes on diocesan business.  Bishop Peter presented Fr. Michael with a new set of Slavonic Priest’s Service Books.  It was noted that Fr. Michael’s old Priest’s Service Books were well worn, that not necessarily being a bad thing, but that a new set was certainly warranted.  Bishop Peter also wished all those in the parish celebrating their name’s days many years.  After this, the choir intoned “Many Years” for the parish’s parishioners named after the Angels, as well as the newly-ordained Subdeacon Zachary and his wife Sophia.  Following the Divine Service on this day the parish’s St. Xenia Sisterhood presented a festive meal in honor of the two hierarchal guests and their historic visit to the St. Vladimir parish.  Following the meal Bishop Peter departed for Lansing, to inspect the St. Seraphim Mission’s newly-acquired property and to provide advice on the construction of a worship and social space for that community.

God-willing the parish of St. Vladimir intends to celebrate its 30th anniversary on July 27-28, 2011.  We invite all the faithful to join us for this special event in our parish’s history.  Please plan to be with us then!

Pictures of Bishop Peter and Bishop Mark’s visit to St. Vladimir Parish can be found here:

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