An account of Bishop Agafangel’s visit to the USA
The Most Reverend Bishop Agafangel arrived in New York City on Sunday, July 8, 2007, by plane from Kiev. On Monday, July 9, meetings were held with the clergy and laypeople, residents of New York, and ROCOR parish representatives, who had already arrived that day for Tuesday’s Conference. An exchange of views occurred regarding events in our Church.
On July 10, in the Holy Trinity Church in the Astoria area of New York, the Conference itself occurred, at which 48 representatives of the ROCOR clergy and laypeople attended. At the Conference, the provisional administrative districts were established along with their administrators. Also, the members of the Provisional Supreme Church Authority were named, and Bishop Agafangel was made Chairman. On the next day, the final work of the Conference was concluded, and the first meeting of the ROCOR PSCA took place. The PSCA approved all the decisions taken by the Conference and issued a number of ukases, meant to establish the life of the church. On the evening of July 11, a vigil took place in the Holy Trinity Church (Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow is the parish priest) on the eve of the feast day of Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul, with Bishop Agafangel officiating. On the next day, Bishop Agafangel led the Holy Liturgy with a number of priests who had attended the Conference, along with Protodeacon Iov Shemerov.
On the Entrance with the Gospel, and in accordance with a PSCA decision, Bishop Agafangel elevated Hegumen Andronik (Kotlyarov) to the rank of archimandrite and blessed him with a miter.
Hieromonk Sofroniy (Musienko) was elevated to the rank of Hegumen and received a palitsa.
A trapeza for all the attendees was held after the service in the courtyard of the church.
On that same day, Bishop Agafangel and several members of our clergy visited the ailing Bishop Pavlos, Archbishop of Astoria, and Bishop Chrysostomos (both of the Greek Old Calendar synod of Archbishop Chrysostomos II), and congratulated Bishop Pavlos on his saint’s day.
Later that same day, Bishop Agafangel left for the capital of the USA, Washington, D.C., where on the next day, July 13th, he met with the church council of the Holy Ascension parish there (Archpriest Igor Hrebinka is the parish priest.)
Upon his return to New York, Bishop Agafangel, along with clergy from the Odessa diocese and Protodeacon Fr. Iov, traveled to the area around Jordanville and visited Archpriest Aleksey Mikrikov and Fr. Nikita Grigoriev and became acquainted with their plans for services in people’s homes and organizing parishes there. Fr. Aleksey already has a functioning parish at home in honor of the Royal Martyrs, while Fr. Nikita has found a building for services and is organizing a schedule of services. Bishop Agafangel also looked at some property that has been donated for the purpose of founding a skete. Bishop Agafangel later served a panikhida at the Jordanville cemetery for all the reposed bishops, clergy, monastics and laypeople of the Russian Church Abroad.
On Sunday, July 15th, Bishop Agafangel led the Holy Liturgy at the St. Sergius of Radonezh church at the Tolstoy Foundation (Archpriest Gregoriy Kotlyarov is the parish priest). Bishop Agafangel also served on the eve and the day of the feast day of the Holy Royal Martyrs. At the church’s feast day, July 18th, Bishop Agafangel officiated at the Liturgy and during the Entrance with the Gospel, he granted Fr. Victor Dobrow the honor to wear a kamilavka. On that day and subsequently, Bishop Agafangel met with parishioners from New York. Bishop Agafangel also met with ROCOR (V) Bishop Vladimir (Tselishchev), Fr. Spiridon Snyder and P.N. Budzilovich.
On Saturday, July 21st, Bishop Agafangel visited the St. John of Shanghai church in Brooklyn (Fr. Serge Serzhanov is the parish priest). A service honoring St. Sergius was held that day and Bishop Agafangel gave a sermon. That same day, Bishop Agafangel along with Hegumen George (Kravchenko) and Hieromonk Arseniy (Manko) departed from JFK Airport and arrived back in Odessa on July 23, 2007.