Archbishop Andronik visits the Parish of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, under the omophorion of Bishop Stefan
On meatfare Saturday 10 February and Sunday of the Last Judgment 11 February, his Eminence, the Right Reverend Andronik, Archbishop of Syracuse and Saint Nicholas honored the parish of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco with an arch pastoral visit. The archbishop was accompanied by Father Deacon Pavel Lipin and Artemi Mifedov-Frolov from the Saint Sergius parish in Valley Cottage, NY.
The visitors arrived on Friday, February 9. On Saturday there was an opportunity to pray at the relics of Saint John at the ROCOR cathedral in San Francisco. There was also time available to see some important tourist sites in San Francisco.
The weekend was bitter sweet, in that we learned on Friday that Hieromonk Joseph (Chotkowski) had passed away suddenly that morning. Father Joseph had visited our parish and served many times during the past two years and was loved by the parishioners. Even though he was a “visiting priest”, he took the time to visit parishioners in their homes, even those living two or more hours from San Francisco. He served molebens and panikidas, blessed homes, and took communion to the ill and elderly.
On Saturday afternoon, prior to serving the All Night Vigil, Archbishop Andronik served a panihida for newly departed Hieromonk Joseph, as well as other departed ones.
On Sunday Archibishop Andronik celebrated the Divine Liturgy assisted by Father Deacon Pavel and our parish choir. The other visitor from New York, Artemi, assisted serving in the altar. The choir and altar servers did a yeoman’s job, learning and carrying out an archpastoral service smoothly and prayerfully after 10+ years without such a service.
During and after the trapeza (deliciously prepared and served by our sisterhood), Archbishop Andronik led a lively discussion with the parishioners, including discussions of our relationship the Metropolitan Agafangel, our relationship with the GOC, timing of the next sobor of bishops, and other diosecene activities. Of course, the subject of a “permanent” priest for the parish was on everyone’s mind, particularly with Hieromonk Joseph’s sudden passing. Father Joseph had committed to serve on Holy Week and Pasha here in South San Francisco. We will be pursuing options with our bishop Stefan regarding services in South San Francisco for Pascha.
Archishop Andronik and Father Deacon Pavel left on an early flight on Monday, February 12. The parishioners are grateful for the prayerful support of the Archbishop and for his efforts to visit us on the west coast. We look forward to another visit in the not too distant future.