Svyatogorsk, Ukraine, July 7, 2017
On July 2, the commemoration day of the holy hierarch and wonderworker St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, the patronal feast of the Svyatogorsk Lavra skete named for St. John in his home village of Adamovka, Donetsk Region, was festively celebrated. An icon of the holy hierarch began to stream myrrh during the celebrations, reports the lavra’s site.
Services began in the skete with the Rite of Confession at 6:15 AM, followed by the reading of the Hours in the lower church in honor of the miracle of St. Michael the Archangel at Colossae, and the early Divine Liturgy, celebrated by Hieromonk Clement (Perchik) of St. Vladimir’s Church in the nearby village of Nikolskoye. A moleben with the blessing of water and an akathist to St. John was celebrated at 7:00 AM in the church courtyard by Archimandrite Ambrose (Bobrov) of the lavra’s Skete of All Saints and other local clergy. The blessing of the waters and the subsequent late Divine Liturgy were sung by three choirs: the choir of the Svyatogorsk Lavra, the choir of the village of Adamovka, and a choir invited from Kharkov. Around 500 pilgrims had arrived by this time to celebrate the great saint.
Metropolitan Arseny of Svyatogorsk, abbot of the Svyatogorsk Lavra, was liturgically greeted after the blessing of the waters, then served the late Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. John, concelebrated by the clergy of the lavra. More than 1,000 people were present at the service.
After reading the Gospel, Met. Arseny gave a sermon, stating, “Today the grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us,” quoting from the service of Palm Sunday. “Although the cities of Shanghai and San Francisco are far and alien from us, the saint’s home of Adamovka, his home village, in which a skete has been built in his honor, makes him native to us,” the bishop stated, adding that everyone present was as if a guest of St. John, in the village where he was born and raised. He also recalled the saint’s pious parents Boris and Glafira, who managed to raise such a holy child and cited several examples from St. John’s life, showing the depth of his humility, piety, and love of God and people, calling upon all present to put all aside excuses and strive after such holiness and union with Christ.
The Divine Liturgy was followed by a procession around the church with the reading of the Gospel. Spiritual father of the Skete of St. John Archimandrite Vsevolod (Georgitsa) greeted Met. Arseny and gifted him with a copy of the She Who is Quick to Hear Icon of the God, thanking him for the monastery’s great work in taking in so many refugees during this difficult period in the life of Ukraine, thereby again emulating their heavenly patron who sheltered so many homeless and destitute children. “You love us all, we all live by your prayers and your example. We all love you very much and thank you greatly,” the archimandrite concluded.
The abbot of the lavra later spoke about a “small miracle” that occurred during the feast: “On the feast of St. John, today, a small icon, bought by one woman in the monastery store, began to stream myrrh.” St. John thereby visibly revealed his presence at the celebration. The icon was placed on the stand in the church, and everyone had the opportunity to venerate it, after which they were all gifted with a small icon of St. John and processed to a celebratory meal.