With these words, the doors of St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto were opened for more than 300 fervent and faithful people from various backgrounds and of all ages on Sunday March 18th, 2012.
The faithful were lead into the Cathedral by His Eminence, Metropolitan Makarios of Toronto and His Grace Bishop Demetrius of Carlisle, along with all the visiting clergy, including: Archimandrite Isaac, Hieromonk Gregory(Bishop-Elect), Hierodeacon Luke of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, USA; Fr. Bohdan of Sts. Peter and Paul, Edmonton, AB, Canada; Fr. George of St. Mark Cathedral, Brookline, MA, USA; Fr. Christos of Three Pillars of Orthodoxy Cathedral, Carlisle, PA, USA; and Fr. Deacon George of St. Nicholas Cathedral.
The weekend celebration began with an Akathist to the Mother of God service on the evening of Friday March 16 by His Grace, Bishop Demetrius of Carlisle. After this solemn service, Fr. Gregory gave an edifying talk on “St. Gregory Palamas: Pillar and Teacher of the Church” and emphasized to the many in attendance, the importance of prayer in our Christian life and how his patron-saint was an example of this.
The following day, we gathered as a community and parish family to hear about the renovation plan and iconography plan presented by John Tsagarakis and Anthony Rout, who are board members of the Diocese and active members of the parish. With the blessing of Metropolitan Makarios, a set of priorities have been defined and now communicated to the parish so that we can work towards a goal in organized fashion and ultimately, for the Glory of God. Many of the faithful were excited to see such organization and thoughtfulness for the care of our Cathedral.
Following the presentation, we enjoyed a community meal with all those in attendance that was donated and provided by parishioners of St. Nicholas Cathedral. It was a great opportunity to meet many of the faithful who were visiting from sister parishes across Canada and the United States.
As we prepared for the Adoration of the Life-Giving Cross on the following day, we celebrated a Vigil following our meal. Fr. Christos of Three Pillars of Orthodoxy Cathedral presided with Fr. Deacon George of St. Nicholas Cathedral.
It was often repeated during the weekend that Pascha had come early for the parish of St. Nicholas Cathedral – the festive spirit, love and joy was ever present.
Of course, the main celebration was to be held on Sunday with as a Concelebration Divine Liturgy. The morning of March 18th started with the greeting and vesting of the Bishops that was followed by a procession outside to the front of the main narthex doors. Following the “opening-of-the-doors” prayers all those in attendance entered the Cathedral again to await the procession and adoration of the Holy Cross and Divine Liturgy, on this, the Third Sunday of Great Lent.
The Cathedral began to fill quickly throughout the Service with faithful who welcomed the many blessings of the day.
A banquet was planned to end the weekend festivities with over 220 people in attendance. All the visiting clergy had a chance to speak to the faithful of the parish with more inspiring words from our Hierarchs to end a blessed weekend.
This is a beautiful time for the Metropolis of Toronto, the Cathedral parish of St. Nicholas and for our Holy Synod. As we enter the Paschal Season and approach the Awesome and Joyous Day of the Resurrection of our Lord, it is fitting because our community is also having its own rebirth; its own revival in establishing an even stronger community. Glory be to God for all things!
We thank all for their prayers, encouragement and support over the last several months. Please let us know if you would like to visit and we’ll do our best to accommodate your travels!
“…tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.” – Romans 5:3-5