This year, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia marks the 50 th anniversary of the repose of the great hierarch, the “Russian Nicholas the Miracle-worker,” our holy father St John of Shanghai and San Francisco. The celebrations began with a visit of a large reliquary containing his relics to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Toronto, Canada. The region has many faithful who venerate his memory.
On Saturday, February 27, 2016, the relics were greeted at the cathedral on Henry Street by Mitred Protopriest Vladimir Malchenko, long-time Senior Priest of the parish, along with many clergymen and worshipers of the largest Russian church in Canada. Protopriest Peter Perekrestov, Senior Priest of San Francisco’s Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” brought the reliquary from California. Participating in services were also Priest Vyacheslav Davydenko, Priest Antony Filchak and Protodeacon Alexander Morin. The choir sang under the direction of George Skok.
Also in attendance were a multitude of Orthodox Romanians, Serbs, Greeks, Macedonians and Canadians, who were anointed with oil from the lampadas hanging over the crypt containing the uncorrupt relics of St John. Many told Fr Peter about miraculous aid stemming from their prayers to St John, including healing from cancer and from infertility.
On Sunday, February 28, during Liturgy, Fr Peter noted that when we greet the reliquary of St John, it is as though we meet the Vladyka himself, that his presence at divine services was palpable. He also pointed out the little noticed passage from the day’s Gospel reading on the Prodigal Son, the father’s words “all that is mine is yours.”
A moleben was then performed to St John, followed by a trapeza luncheon. Fr Peter had, before his ordination to the priesthood, served as a deacon at Toronto’s cathedral, and spent some time with old acquaintances. He discussed the life and work of St John and how his relics were discovered to be uncorrupt, and answered questions on Orthodox Christianity in California, the struggle against depression, and even the recent meeting between His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis.
Akathists continued to be read before the reliquary the rest of the day as worshipers venerated the relics all day, including families with children and the disabled, and clergymen from various Local Orthodox Churches.