The Pastoral visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae to Saint Callinicus of Cernica Mission in Fredericksburg, Virginia on the occasion of the celebration of the patron saint of the parish.
Father Ionel Satnoianu
On the occasion of the celebration of the patron saint of the parish, the faithful of the Orthodox Mission "Saint Callinicus of Cernica" in Fredericksburg, Virginia, had the joy of having in their midst the Most Reverend Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Americas, Nicolae. The pastoral visit of the hierarch began in the afternoon of Saturday, April 10, when the beloved shepherd met with the members of the Parish Council, offering specific spiritual and administrative advices to strengthen the Mission. Then he served the Great Vespers with Lythia in honor of the patron saint of the parish, Callinicus of Cernica.The next day, before the beginning of the Holy and Divine Liturgy, the talented cantor Ionuț Lupu-Pitulice was tonsured a reader by His Eminence Nicolae, an additional reason for emotion and joy for the faithful, most of whom witnessed such a blessing for the first time. His Eminence Nicolae officiated the Divine Liturgy with a group of clergy: the parish priest of the host church, John Katsoulis, the parish priest Ionel Satnoianu of the Mission of St. Callinicus and the guest priest Nicholas Pappas. The answers were given by Ionut Lupu-Pitulice and the theologian Adrian Beldie-Ulmer together with a group of children from the parish.
In his sermon, Metropolitan Nicolae explained that each Sunday of Great Lent has a theme, guiding us toward greater self-awareness and to greater union with God as we prepare to celebrate the Holy Pascha.
On the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent, we remember Saint John of Sinai (of the Ladder/Climacus) This week we focus on the steps we can take in our own life to draw closer to our Lord Jesus Christ and to open ourselves more fully to receive His love. After spending 60 years living his faith as a monk, Saint John was asked to write for his brother monks instructions for guiding their spiritual lives – in the form of steps of a ladder connecting Earth to Heaven. Each step helps us to better know ourselves and helps us get closer to God. This book is not just for monastics, but for all Christians. Reading this book during these holy days of the Great Lent will help us clean our souls. The three steps are: detaching from the world, repentance, and union with God. Great Lent is a time for us to turn our attention away from the cares of this world, to fast and pray more, to show our love for our Lord Jesus Christ by caring for those around us.
Metropolitan Nicolae also spoke on the life of Saint Callinicus of Cernica, and of his own personal connection with this saint. During his childhood, Metropolitan Nicolae and his family would travel a great distance from their hometown of Constanta to the Monastery of Cernica, to visit their spiritual father for confession and to venerate the holy relics of St. Callinicus.
We need to mention that, on the occasion of this feast, the two communities, Greek and Romanian, prayed together. Through the goodwill of the Greek community and with the blessing of their Hierarch, the Romanian community, still on the way or organization, hold their services in the Nativity of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church.After Divine Liturgy, everybody was invited in the hall for a delicious lenten dinner which was prepared with much love by the ladies of the parish. We give glory to God for two days full of spiritual joy and we thank our Archpastor, Metropolitan Nicolae for being with us and blessing us!
Father Ionel Satnoianu