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NATIVITY ARCHPASTORAL MESSAGE
Hierarchical Visit of His Eminence and His Grace to Holy Dormition in Santa Rosa

Hierarchical Visit of His Eminence and His Grace

In January of this year, Holy Dormition had a wonderful visit from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Daniil.  The main occasion for their visit was the wedding of Gregory Cleghorn and Athena Killinger on Sunday January 15th.

His Eminence and His Grace arrived in Santa Rosa on Friday evening before the wedding. The bridegroom Gregory Cleghorn with his family, who are members of our sister church Holy Transfiguration in Syracuse, NY,  arrived Thursday evening. Also flying in at various times were many friends and family from various destination which included Alaska, Boston, Australia, Delaware, Virginia, Nevada, etc.  Fr. Philip McCaffery, the rector of Holy Transfiguration, was able to arrive Saturday evening and join us for this wonderful celebration.

Saturday was very busy starting with the dress rehearsal led by His Eminence which was followed by a delicious lunch for all in the wedding party. At the lunch, His Eminence asked people to share memories about Greg and Athena and many stepped forward with delightful stories about their developing relationship.  There was much laughter and joy together in hearing about Greg and Athena's growing love for each other.

Rehearsal Dinner - 01/14/12

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Saturday evening we celebrated our Vigil service at Holy Dormition with His Eminence and Bishop Daniil presiding. It was a joyful service for Resurrection Sunday with the saint of the day being St. Seraphim of Sarov, who is beloved by all. At the end of the service, His Eminence gave a very insightful homily directed to Greg and Athena, but important for us all to hear.
Read Homily Here

Sunday we arose early and arrived at the church at 8:30 AM to greet His Eminence and His Grace and begin the Divine Liturgy at 9:00 AM.  Once vested, His Eminence tonsured four young men as readers for Holy Dormition - Gabriel Mc Hugh, Theodore Killinger, Mikael Habtezion and Timothy Zieminski. The Hierarchical Liturgy was uplifting for all with a grace-filled homily from His Grace Bishop Daniil.

Tonsure - 01/15/12

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Since our church was too small for all attending the wedding, we were blessed by His Grace Bishop Benjamin, the Hierarch of the OCA Diocese of the West, to celebrate the wedding at St. Seraphims Orthodox Church here in Santa Rosa. We thank His Grace, Fr. Lawrence Margitich and all the parish members for their warm welcome and support.  We were glad that many of them could join us in this wonderful celebration.

Everyone arrived at St. Seraphim's at 2:00PM and the wedding began shortly thereafter.  It was a beautiful ceremony, really beyond description, and there was not a dry eye at the end.  Truly the grace of the kingdom of heaven broke through the ceremony and touched everyone in a very profound way.  His Eminence along with His Grace and 5 priests celebrated the marriage ceremony and everyone else was gathered around the couple.  The exchange of rings, the crowning, the scriptural readings, drinking from the common cup and then the procession three times around the analogian were all joyful moments for everyone there.

Gregory and Athena's Wedding - 01/15/12

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At the end of the ceremony, His Eminence greeted the newly-weds with a short homily (read homily here) and then declared them Mr. and Mrs Gregory and Athena Cleghorn. He then presented them with a beautiful icon of the Mother of God of Consolation, the original of which resides in Vatopedi Monastery, Mt. Athos. Everyone then was able to congratulate the newly-weds and their families before heading to the hall for the wedding reception.

The evening was delightful with a wonderfully decorated hall, a delicious reception dinner and much joyful fellowship with one another. There were many toasts to Greg and Athena from family and friends and everyone's love for them was evident. There were special presentations from many of the young people attending with much music and laughter.  Also, there was a great slide show of Greg and Athena that spanned their lives from childhood to the present. Finally, Greg and Athena opened the dance floor with the first dance and quickly were joined by young and old for a number of rousing dances, finally ending the evening on a wonderful note.

Before Greg and Athena left on their honeymoon, His Grace Bishop Daniil gave them a travel blessing. Then they dashed for their awaiting limousine as everyone held sparklers and wished them a wonderful honeymoon, waved good bye, and gave thanks to God for a special day.

Wedding Reception - 01/15/12

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His Eminence and His Grace Visit the Relics of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco

During Metropolitan Joseph and Bishop Daniil’s visit to Santa Rosa in January, we took them to San Francisco to venerate the relics of St. John Maximovitch at the Joy of All Who Sorrow Cathedral on Geary Street.
 
On the way there, we stopped just before the Golden Gate Bridge at a Vista Point that breathtakingly overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge and the skyline of the city. This was Bishop Daniil’s first visit to California and we hoped to show him and His Eminence this amazing view.
When we arrived at the Cathedral, Fr. Peter Perekrestov  received us warmly and invited us to celebrate a moleben to St. John.  After we finished, we all venerated the relics of St. John and the other icons in the Cathedral. Then we visited the Cathedral Bookstore where His Eminence and His Grace were able to make some purchases.

San Francisco, Holy Virgin Cathedral & Relics of St John - 01/17/12

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Finishing our visit at the Cathedral, Fr. Peter graciously took us to St. Tikhon’s House where St. John lived and originally had a home for young men.  We visited St. John’s office and were able to sit in the chair where St. John slept. They have a wonderful chapel there, where St. John served often, and is still very active today with its own small parish.

After we left St. Tikhon’s house, we visited the Old Cathedral where Archbishop John served before the Geary St. Cathedral was built. Fr. James Corazza received us and gave us a wonderful tour of the Cathedral, telling us many stories about the miracles of St. John.  After venerating St. John’s mantia, Fr. James treated us to lovely lunch at a nearby restaurant before we returned to Santa Rosa.

Our thanks go to Fr. Peter and Fr. James for taking their time to make a memorable day for our Dedo-Vladika and Bishop Daniil.

St. Tikhon’s House, The Old Cathedral & the Beach - 01/17/12

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His Eminence and His Grace celebrate Theophany at Holy Dormition in Santa Rosa, CA

During their January visit Metropolitan Joseph and Bishop Daniill celebrated the Feast of Theophany with us at Holy Dormition.  On the eve of Theophany, we had a wonderful and joyful Vesperal Liturgy ending with the Blessing of the Waters. His Eminence blessed 50 gallons of water to last us the whole year. He also blessed our church and school and soaked us all with the grace-filled water. Everyone brought their Holy Water bottles to fill and take home for their icon corners after His Eminence gave us instruction on the importance and use of Holy Water.

On the morning of the Feast, His Eminence and His Grace celebrated another Hierarchical Liturgy that was well attended and included the children and teachers from St. Michael’s school. After the Liturgy we sat down to a wonderful meal prepared by the Sisterhood and then prepared for our annual outing to the Pacific Ocean to bless the waters.

Theophany - 01/19/12

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This year there was some rain and heavy winds, but His Eminence and His Grace were determined to bless the waters of the Pacific.  Many parishioners joined us along with the students, teachers and parents from St. Michael’s School. We huddled together as His Eminence read the prayers for the blessing of the waters.

Then clad in their knee-high boots and carrying their tall crosses, Metropolitan Joseph and Bishop Daniil waded into the Pacific Ocean and made the sign of the Cross in the waters while everyone sang the troparion of the Feast.

The students of St. Michael’s School followed them into the Ocean ready to dive and retrieve the cross that His Eminence would throw into the waters. Because the students were so eager to find the cross, both His Eminence and Bishop Daniil threw it in a number of times.
 
After thoroughly blessing the waters, we returned home to a joyful Farewell Dinner at church for His Eminence and His Grace.  Their visit to us was grace-filled and we were sad to see them leave. We pray they will visit us again soon.

 

Blessing the waters of the Pacific Ocean - 01/19/12

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