On the bright, clear morning of Saturday, April 13 (March 31 O.S, the feast of the repose of St Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow), Metropolitan Jonah presided over a moving Liturgy at St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral here in Washington. This beautiful Liturgy honored the memory and legacy of Bishop Basil (Rodzianko), who reposed in the Lord on September 17, 1999 after an extraordinary earthly life and ministry.
It was a great joy to attend this Liturgy, which Vladyka and the Cathedral choir served with deep reverence. The Cathedral was crowded with many people I had not seen before, and all the candle-stands around the main icons were filled to the brim with brightly burning candles, as if it had been a great feast day in the liturgical life of the Church! This was deeply moving, to see so many people coming to honor Bishop Basil’s memory.
The Cathedral is always an incredibly beautiful place, with wonderful acoustics for the choir and clergy singing the Liturgy, but during this Liturgy there was a profound spiritual presence which filled the Cathedral and animated those worshiping. I don’t know if anyone else felt this, but I discerned an overflowing, radiant grace throughout the Liturgy.
Following the Liturgy, we enjoyed a delicious Lenten lunch and wonderful conversation in the parish hall. I noticed that, again, there were many visitors to the Cathedral, including many parishioners from St Nicholas OCA Cathedral where I had my spiritual formation and where Metropolitan Jonah received me into the Church.
Then we headed upstairs to the parish library, the site of most of Vladyka’s Bible studies here, for his engaging two part Lenten talk, titled “Let us take refuge in the Lord”. This is the opening line of one of my favorite prayers by St Isaac the Syrian (alternately known as Isaac of Nineveh). Above you may listen to part 1 of the talk via the YouTube page for St John the Baptist Cathedral.