The patronal feast of our Diocesan Cathedral falls each year on October 14 - the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God. October 13 was a Sunday this year, yet many clergy from around the diocese were able to join our ruling hierarch, Archbishop Peter of Chicago & Mid-America, at the vigil that evening. The Hierarchal Choir of the cathedral sang magnificently under the direction of Reader Michael Gill. Following the vigil, at which many faithful from the cathedral and around the diocese had the opportunity to partake of the sacrament of Confession, the cathedral sisterhood provided a light dinner for the gathered clergy.
On the feast day itself the dozens of gathered clergy from throughout the diocese and from several of the Local Churches which are represented in Chicagoland, as well as Archimandrite Dosithius (a representative from the Kiev Theological Academy) greeted Vladyka Peter “With Glory” (singing the troparion of the feast as they processed into the cathedral). During the Hours Archbishop Peter tonsured Monk Alexei (Dixon) a Reader and a Subdeacon, as well as tonsuring Dmitri Kapousta a Reader and Reader Colin Bower a Subdeacon for service at St. Vladimir Church in Ann Arbor, MI. At the Divine Liturgy Deacon Benjamin Naasko was ordained a priest and Subdeacon Monk Alexei was ordained a Hierodeacon for service at the Sts. Sergius & Herman of Valaam Monastery in Houghton, MI. More than 50 clergymen partook of Holy Communion in the overflowing altar this day, and hundreds of faithful partook of Holy Communion from three chalices in the packed cathedral. Following the Divine Liturgy, according to the practice of the Slavic Churches, a cross procession was held in the beautiful October sunshine.
Following the cross procession the cathedral choir master, Reader Michael Gill, was presented a thanksgiving gramota from His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and the cathedral weekday choir director, Slavitsa Melnychuk, was presented a thanksgiving gramota from the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America. Both were recognized for their many years of faithful service to the cathedral and the diocese.
After the Divine Services a festive meal was held in the cathedral hall at which a special presentation was made on this 70th anniversary of the parish and 65th anniversary of the parish being the ruling cathedral of the diocese. Many lingered long into the afternoon reminiscing about this and feasts past, especially remembering those founders of the parish that were spoken of so warmly in the historical presentation provided for the edification of all in attendance.
That evening the newly-ordained clerics served their first Vespers and Matins services in preparation for their first Divine Liturgy the following morning.