On Sunday, January 15, the Sunday before Theophany and the feast of St. Seraphim of Sarov, His Grace John, Bishop of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA led the Divine Liturgy in St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York City. His Grace was co-served by cathedral clergy.
During the Divine Liturgy, after his ordination to the subdiaconate, Bishop John ordained Reader Konstantin Ovsyannikov to the Holy Diaconate. Deacon Konstantin will fulfill his service in Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Manchester, NH.
After the reading of the Gospel, Bishop John delivered a sermon the theme of the Sunday Gospel readings. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, the clergy served a short moleben before the icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov that began streaming myrrh during Hurricane Irene in 2011.
Later in the day, Bishop John also greeted the children of the parish school and applauded them for their performance during the Yolka on January 8.
History of the Myrrh-Streaming Icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov
On August 29, 2011, following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the after-feast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos during Hurricane Irene, a parishioner of the cathedral Emilia Vashenko noticed myrrh appearing on the icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov in one of the classes of the Sunday School. Other witnesses of the miracle included Michael Krochta (grandson of the ever-memorable Archbishop Dositheus) and Zoya Michell.
With the blessing of the then-Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, His Eminence Archbishop Justinian, Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov) brought the Holy Icon to the Cathedral where a Moleben to St. Seraphim was served, after which the icon was brought to the Holy Altar. For two days, the myrrh continued to stream.
This icon was written and given to the cathedral by Prince Alexander Mihailovich Putyatin sometime during 1949. He was a devout Orthodox Christian, who served on the Provisional Council of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA established by the ever-memorable Metropolitan Makary (Illyinsky) on October 2 1952. He served as a publisher of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate in North America One Church; he wrote numerous icons, many of which were given to St. Nicholas Cathedral.
Alexander Mihailovich served as the iconographer of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Manchester, New Hampshire. His father, Alexander Sergeevich Putyatin served as the iconographer for the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky on Ru-Daru in Paris, France.
Ancestors of prince Alexander Mihailovich frequently communicated with St. Seraphim. In 1903, when he was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church, Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna requested that Mihail Sergeevich Putyatin (an ancestor of price Alexander) design the reliquary for the Saint’s relics.
With gratitude for his labors, Emperor Nicholas II gave Mihail Sergeevich Putyatin an icon of St. Seraphim with a piece of His Holy Relics and his epitrachelion which was kept with the family until the 1950’s. After the death of Alexander Mihailovich, his wife Maria donated the holy items to St. Nicholas Cathedral where they are kept until this present day. Further history is unfortunately, unknown. Maria Putyatinа then left the United States for Jerusalem where she became a monastic.