Wednesday 17/30 September, 2015 was the Afterfeast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the feast of the Martyrs Vera, Nadezhda, and Lybov, and their mother Sophia. Priest Vitaly Serapinas served Divine Liturgy in the lower church at the Cathedral in Harvard Road. Many women of the parish celebrated their nameday; foremost among them was Starosta Vera Alexandrovna McClenaghan.
After the Divine Liturgy Fr Vitaly congratulated those whose nameday it was, especially Starosta Vera Alexandrovna. This was followed by a lenten meal in the Church Hall and once again Fr Vitaly and others paid tribute to Starosta Vera Alexandrovna, noting her diligent work for the parish and her loving and welcoming nature which makes all feel welcome and valued.
On Sunday, 21st September/4th October, the Apodosis of the Exaltation of the Cross, Divine Liturgy was served in the upper church of the Cathedral by Archpriest Peter Baulk, Archpriest Vladimir Vilgerts and Priest Vitaly Serapinas. After the Divine Liturgy, Fr Vladimir spoke from the ambon and noted that the next day was the nameday of Fr Peter. Speaking movingly about the sacred nature of the priesthood, and the trials and tribulations of that vocation, Fr Vladimir spoke of Fr Peter’s exemplary witness as a priest and congratulated him on his nameday. Then Fr Vladimir, noting the nameday of the Starosta, congratulated Vera Alexandrovna on her 70th birthday which had occurred on the day previous, Saturday, 3rd October.
The celebrations continued in the Church Hall, where the Sisterhood had prepared a magnificent birthday feast. Fr Vladimir led the many congratulations offered to Starosta Vera. In particular, he read from a congratulatory message from His Eminence, Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain. His Eminence wrote “With all my heart I wish you a happy 70th Birthday… I would like to thank you with all my heart for your kindness, good nature, enormous patience and warm-heatedness that you give to every single person who is coming to the church. You care about everyone.”
One behalf of the parish and the Sisterhood, Father Vladimir presented Starosta Vera Alexandrovna with a commemorative album and an air-ticket with expenses for next year’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Many other parishioners offered gifts, especially many bouquets of flowers. Starosta Vera made a short speech in which she graciously thanked everybody for their kind words, gifts and demonstration of love for her. Father Vladimir then chanted “Many Years” for Archpriest Peter and Starosta Vera.