In gratitude to the aid St. George has regularly supplied to it, the parish named in his honor in Cincinnati, Ohio celebrated his feast this May 5-6, 2023. His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) travelled to lead the hierarchical services, with the blessing of Archbishop Peter, whose schedule did not allow him to attend.
Friday evening Vladyka Jonah served the litiya and magnification of the Great Martyr, along with visiting clergy – Hieromonk Macarius (Holy Cross Monastery, Wayne, WV), Priest Gregory Ealy (St. Paul Orthodox Church, Dayton, OH), Hierodeacon Isaac (Holy Cross Monastery, Wayne, WV) – and the parish clergy – Archpriest Daniel Marshall, Archpriest George Lardas, Priest Paul Akmolin and Deacon Alexander Petrovsky. The parish choir, under the direction of Rdr. Lawrence (Kurt) Sander, provided inspired singing, for which Met. Jonah expressed his particular appreciation.
Saturday morning a gathering of parish youth lined the sidewalk with flower petals to greet Met. Jonah, who was welcomed with the traditional bread and salt by the parish warden, Vladimir Nechaev. For the hierarchical liturgy, Deacon Matthew Kaminsky (St. Sergius Cathedral, Cleveland, OH) joined the festivities along with more than 100 members of the parish.
With the fullness of the Grace of the Church present through the participation of Met. Jonah, the church was filled with that special blessing which only occurs in hierarchical services. A multitude of parishioners communed, after which the festal Cross Procession circled the church, concluding with a prayer of gratitude and supplication to St. George. In his homily, Vladyka enjoined the parish to imitate the love of God seen in the life of St. George, exemplified by the saint’s willingness to lay down his life for his neighbors which stands as an enduring witness to his love of God. Many years were sung for all those present, including those celebrating their namesday.
The festal celebrations continued with a splendid banquet provided by the parish Sisterhood, under the leadership of head sister, Svetlana Pinkerton. Special congratulations for their competent serving of the hierarchical services belong to the parish altar servers: Jack Beiting, Vladimir Hoyle, Subdeacon Sergi Kaminsky, John Kiser, Jim Mehas, James Marshall, Leo Marshall, Nikolai Seagraves, Alexander Wolf. Fr. Alexander Petrovsky trained the altar servers in advance of these services, allowing the parish to host a bishop without the assistance of visiting subdeacons for the first time in its history. Oksana Bankin showed her usual talent in creating the flower arrangements which decorated the icons of the Resurrection and of St. George.
Metropolitan Jonah remained in Cincinnati for services Saturday evening and Sunday morning, allowing the luxury of two hierarchical services in a row. After the meal on Sunday, Vladyka answered questions from the parish for more than an hour on a variety of issues about the life of the Church and that of the faithful. Combined with four services over three days and two festal meals, everyone departed well nourished, both spiritually and bodily.
Thanks be to God!