A chronology report of the festivities surrounding the blessing of the new Church of St. George and 25th Anniversary in Cincinnati, OH.
A seminar was held in the afternoon devoted to "Elements of the Mission of ROCOR in the 21st Century." Bishop Peter gave an introduction prior to the talks by Met. Hilarion, Bishop George, Fr. Daniel Marshall and Kurt Sander. The vigil for St. George was preceded by the Lesser Blessing of the new Church. The faithful stayed for the festal Vigil service including a combined choir under the direction of Kurt Sander.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, presided at the hierarchical Divine Liturgy on the feast of the founding of the Church of St. George in Lydda. His Grace, Bishop Peter and His Grace, Bishop George concelebrated along with 11 priests and 7 deacons. There were clerics from all 4 ROCOR dioceses in North America and the Moscow Patriarchate. At the end of the liturgy, Met. Hilarion presented a gramota to Marianna Friesel. Bishop Peter presented gramotas to Matushka Barbara Bassett, Reader Lawrence (Kurt) Sander, and to Subdeacon Sergi & Helen Kaminsky.
The gathered crowd of 250 enjoyed a festal banquet with a few talks about the parish history as well a performance of Russian dances by the parish's children. It was a truly blessed day.
Vigil Saturday evening was served by His Grace, Bishop George along with the gathered clergy. The wonderful choir was directed by Larissa Sander and, in part, by Deacon Alexander Petrovsky. After the service, the brotherhood of St. George parish served a delicious barbeque dinner.
The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday was served by His Grace, Bishop Peter, in concelebration with His Grace, Bishop George as well as six priests and six deacons. A multitude of the faithful once again partook of Holy Communion. Bishop George gave an inspiring sermon on the faith of woman with an issue of blood mentioned in the Gospel reading. The large choir sang beautifully under the direction of Dr. Kurt Sander. After the liturgy, the parish sisterhood served a sumptuous festal meal for all.
Many of the parishioners and guests lingered in the parish hall after the meal, not wanting to depart after being spiritually filled by the Grace of the three days of services. By the prayers of the Holy, Great-Martyr, Trophy-Bearer and Wonder-Worker George, may the Lord continue to bless this community and all those who visit it!