Summer Feast Day 2024

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By the grace of God, our monastery celebrated its summer feast day again this year – “Ascension of the Lord” – on Saturday, June 15. The feast day was rich in joy and spiritual gifts. First of all, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae honored us again with his presence in our midst and was surrounded by a large sobor of priests and deacons. Also, the presence of Archimandrite Melchisedec Velnic, the abbot of Holy Putna Monastery, together with 4 more fathers from Putna, who took part in the services leading up to Saturday and strengthened the souls of the faithful through words of instruction and prayers, was a great blessing for the brotherhood and supporters of the monastery.

The joy of the feast day began already on Friday evening, with the celebration of Great Vespers, and naturally continued, the next day, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Before the start of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Nicolae consecrated a large fresco depicting the Ascension of the Lord, which was brought by the fathers from Putna. The fresco is installed on the monastery guest house, on the outside wall of the upstairs chapel, to adorn the monastery premises. The grace of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was multiplied by the beautiful singing and by the prayers of the fathers and of the faithful, present in large numbers.

The homily of the His Eminence Nicolae highlighted several important aspects about the Ascension of the Lord: “Behold, now Christ ascends to heaven and tells the Apostles that the promise of the Father, that of sending the Holy Spirit, will be fulfilled. The ignorant and fearful disciples, those who hid when Christ was crucified and died on the cross, those who understood nothing of His words, became by the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost, the apostles of the world, those who were to announce their encounter with the risen Christ. They had met Him several times and did not understand. Only after the Spirit came were their minds enlightened, their will was strengthened to go and announce before the rulers of the world the reality of meeting the risen Christ. They did not preach about the fulfillment of prophecies or about beautiful philosophies, but rather they preached about their personal encounter with the resurrected Christ, which for them became a reality that changed their lives and would change the life of all humanity. Therefore, Christ ascends to heaven and the promise of the Father is fulfilled by sending the Holy Spirit after ten days, at Pentecost.

“Father Dumitru Stăniloae teaches us that this grace of the Ascension with the human body to heaven is the complete deification of human nature by the fact that the human body seated at the right hand of the Father is permeated by the infinite love of God. These are the words of Father Stăniloae. Through this raising of the human body to heaven, Christ also fulfills His promise that He will ascend to prepare a place for us. This is the meaning of our life. Christ is waiting to receive us with open arms, when we too will pass from this life to the eternal Kingdom, those of us who believe in Him, who confess Him, who proclaim His Resurrection, will share this abode in heaven, sharing in the communion of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!”

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, as always, those who fell asleep were remembered, and a memorial service was performed. Then, “as a sign of appreciation and gratitude for the sacrifice and love shown for Saint Dumitru Monastery in Middletown, New York”, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae presented two American Metropolitan Crosses to: Mrs. Geta Alexandru and Mr. George Petre. Also, in addition to the gifts of prayers and profitable words, Father Abbot Melchisedec gifted to Saint Dumitru Monastery two more large icons painted at Putna Monastery, depicting St. John Chrysostom and St. Jacob of Putna, which now adorn the pavilion together with the other five icons he gifted last year. Likewise, he also gave His Eminence Nicolae an icon painted also at Putna Monastery depicting Saint Nicholas.

Father Abbot Ieremia thanked everyone for the love, sacrifice and help offered, inviting Father Abbot Melchisedec to offer a word of encouragement for the times in which we live. Father Abbot Melchisedec cited the example of Saint Stephen the Great: “I think I have given this example before. It is about our dear Saint, Stephen the Great, who loved God very much. After the battle of Vaslui, when he was afraid to see how many Turks there were, and one of his subjects fell on his knees and told him that they would all be with him, which was so, he ordered 4 days of fasting and when he returned to the Citadel of Suceava, Stephen was received as a bearer of victory. Who do we call ‘bearers of victory’? The holy great-martyrs. Saint Theoctistus I received him as a bearer of victory because he knew that in Stephen, the thought and work of God was fulfilled. Well, I wish you this. Let each of you abide in the thought and work of God.”

The day was blessed with good, beautiful weather, and the joy of the feast day was continued with a festal agape meal. Glory to God for all things!