There is no better Liturgical experience of Great Lent than the Presanctified Liturgy. This experience is deepened when it is well attended by parishioners, visiting clergy, and seminarians. It is deepened even further when the chanting is prayerful and beautifully executed. And this is experience is given its fullest liturgical form when it is led by the archpastor of the parish and Metropolitan of the Church. This was the case at the parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Woonsocket on the evening of Monday, April 1st as His Eminence Metropolitan Antony led the celebration of the service.
His Eminence was assisted by several local and visiting clergy: the priests Anthony Perkins (host; St. Michael's, Woonsocket RI), Stephen Masliuk (New England Dean; St. Mary's, Bridgeport, CT), Onisie Morar (St. John's Romanian Orthodox, Woonsocket RI), and Vasyl Dovgan; the deacon Vasyl Pasakas (St. Sophia Seminary); the subdeacons Paul Cherkas (St. Michael's, Woonsocket RI), Joshua Bourgery(St. Michael's, Woonsocket RI), Michael Abrahamson (St. Michael's, Woonsocket), and Ioan Mazur (St. Sophia's Seminary); the Reader Nicholas Perkins; and the Seminarian Volodymyr. St Michael' choir director, Donna Eichorn and lead cantor, Subdeacon Michael Abrahamson led the beautiful singing and psalmody.
This service capped His Eminence's three day pilgrimage through the New England deanery: on Saturday morning he presided at the Memorial Divine Liturgy at St. Mary's in Bridgeport, CT and on Sunday he presided at the Resurrectional Divine Liturgy at St. Andrew's in Boston, MA.
On Monday afternoon Fr. Anthony gave Metropolitan Antony and his party a tour of the parish grounds. While the Metropolitan has been in constant touch with the parish from the very morning of the fire, this was the first time he had seen the extent of the damage (which is considerable). He was moved by the experience to lead an impromptu moleban beneath the (still undamaged!) ceiling icon of St. Michael for the healing of the damage done to the building and the parish.
At the conclusion of the evening liturgy, His Eminence offered words of encouragement to the parish during their exile and rebuilding. The service was followed by an intentionally simple lenten meal prepared and served by many of the women leaders of the parish.
You can watch the entire service on the St. Michael YouTube page: