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Celebrations of the patronal feast at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago (Des Plaines), IL

A church's patronal feast is akin to a second Pascha!  On Thursday, the thirteenth of October and Friday, the fourteenth of October, clergy and laity from the entire Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America flocked to Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Des Plaines in order to join His Grace Bishop Peter in this glorious celebration.  To mark this special occasion, the services were led by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

A clergy conference was held in the Cathedral Hall on Thursday.  Priests Gregory Joyce and Ilia Marzev updated the assembly on parish and youth issues, Archpriest Martin Swanson reported on the status of the diocesan Pastoral School, and Mr. Nikita Buick, of the Russian American Community Services delivered a presentation entitled, "Social Outreach in the Orthodox Church."  All of the clergy warmly welcomed the arrival of the First Hierarch, Metropolitan Hilarion, who spoke to the gathering about the works of the Episcopal Assembly of North America.

Pastoral Conference - 10/13/11

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All-night Vigil began at 6:30pm.  Metropolitan Hilarion presided, accompanied by Bishop Peter and Bishop George of Mayfield.  Archbishop Alypy was in attendance.  Twenty-seven priests participated in the service, and the beautiful singing of the cathedral choir, under the direction of Reader Michael Gill, was enhanced with the voices of the Konevets Quartet from St. Petersburg, Russia.

On Friday, the day of the feast, the celebrations grew even more resplendent as the hierarchs were joined by Bishop Matthias of Chicago (OCA) and the number of serving priests swelled to thirty-two, with eight deacons assisting.  A total of forty-five clergymen, and a full host of altar servers were present in the Holy Altar.  Holy Communion was received by hundreds of the faithful, and the service concluded with a triumphant Procession of the Cross.  Petitions during the moleben were invoked to the Most Holy Mother of God, and to St. Romanus the Melodist, patron saint of the Cathedral Choir.  Each bishop took a turn blessing the multitudes with the Holy Cross, icons and holy water.  

The food prepared for the festive banquet by the cathedral sisterhood was both Lenten and delicious.  The gathered guests had the opportunity to view a slideshow showcasing the cathedral's history, prepared by Reader Leonty and Olga Nadzions, and were further entertained by regaled by the talented singing of the Konevets Quartet.  

Cathedral Celebrations - 10/14/11

Photos courtesy of Liubov Kichakov

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May the Most Holy Mother of God continue to preserve our Cathedral, Hierarchs and Diocese under her prayerful Protection!

Reader Nikolai Lochmatow

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