On August 11, 2023, His Eminence Seraphim, Metropolitan of Penza and Nizhnelomovsk, temporarily governing the Kuznetsk Diocese, led the Divine Liturgy according to the Old Russian liturgical rite in the Old Ritualist Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Kuznetsk. The solemn service was dedicated to the feast of the Nativity of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.
Ten years ago Vladyka Seraphim, then Bishop of Kuznetsk and Nikolsk, performed the consecration of the altar in the Kuznetsk Edinoverie church, and today he is once again leading the celebrations in the parish, whose rector, hieromonk Varsonofiy (Yashin), was ordained a presbyter at the consecration.
At the Divine Liturgy Vladyka Seraphim cocelebrated with clergy from 11 dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow City Diocese, Kolomna (Moscow Metropolis), Balakovo (Saratov Metropolis), Barysh (Simbirsk Metropolis), Kuznetsk (Penza Metropolis), Lyskovsk (Nizhny Novgorod Metropolis), Nizhny Tagil (Yekaterinburg Metropolis), Penza (Penza Metropolis), Saransk (Mordovian Metropolis), Saratov (Saratov Metropolis), and Togliatti (Samara Metropolis). Archpriest John Mirolyubov, head of the Patriarchal Center of the Old Russian liturgical tradition and secretary of the Commission for Old Believer parishes, prayed among the attending clergy.
Two choirs under the direction of regents Vasily Sorokin and Seraphim Vodopyan chanted at the service.
Traditionally, this feast attracts a lot of devotees - dozens of people gathered to honor St. Nicholas, the saint and wonderworker. Many people received Holy Communion on this festive day.
At the end of the service, Metropolitan Seraphim congratulated all those praying on the feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and thanked them for their joint diligent prayer.
In his speech, Metropolitan Seraphim recalled the path that the Edinoverie community had walked from its organization to receiving its church building and the ten years that had passed since the consecration of the Holy Altar, which gave the Edinovertsy the opportunity to fully exist not only as a community of believers, but also as a parish united around its priest and the Holy Mysteries.
Vladyka congratulated the rector, priest-monk Varsonofiy, on the anniversary of his ordination as a presbyter, and on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the consecration of the church, he honored those who have worked hard to strengthen the old ritualist movement on the Kuznetsk land with bishop's awards. Medals of the Kuznetsk diocese "For diligent labors" of the III degree were awarded to the clergyman of the St. Michael the Archangel Edinoverie parish in the village of Mikhailovskya Sloboda (Kolomna diocese of the Moscow Metropolis) archpriest Evgeny Sarancha and the clergyman of the Ascension Cathedral of the city of Kuznetsk, priest Sergius Borovikov, many parishioners were awarded the Bishop's letters as well.
The rector, priest-monk Varsonofiy (Yashin) and parishioners of the parish of the Holy Cross presented a liturgical Holy Gospel printed by Edinovertsy in 1868 edition to Vladyka. The rector expressed the hope that this Holy Gospel would be a good reminder of the old ritualists and their love for their archpastor at the Divine Liturgies celebrated by Vladyka the Metropolitan.
In response, Metropolitan Seraphim presented a carved wooden Holy Cross as a gift to the parish, which bears the name of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross.
A member of the Intersocial Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church, secretary of the Saratov Diocesan Commission for the Canonization of Piety, priest Maxim Plyakin donated to the parish a relic of the venerable nun princess Anna of Kashin, who is extremely revered by all adherents of the Old Russian liturgical tradition. This year marks the 655th anniversary of the death of St. Anna.
After the service, a communal photo was taken and a meal was held.
Thus St. Nicholas united in his feast those who sincerely love and appreciate the Old Church service.
Photos: priest Maxim Maltsev