The faithful of Saint Andrew Church in Dix Hills NY joined around their archpastor, Bishop Michael, on 30-31 July as he presided over the parish's 45th anniversary celebration. Marking the occasion was a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday celebrated by His Grace who was joined in the altar by Father John Klingel (parish rector), Protodeacon Michael Sochka (the son of the parish's first pastor), and Father Joseph Konkus (a long-time parish friend and retired priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese). Subdeacon Gregory Sulich, visiting from the OCA Chancery, ably supervised the altar servers providing invaluable assistance throughout the day.
During the Divine Liturgy several joyous events occurred: James Scovel and choir director Lasha Kvetenadze were tonsured to the rank of Reader; Reader Nilus Klingel was ordained to the rank of Subdeacon; Priest John Klingel was awarded the Nabedrennik (liturgical shield), purple Kamilavka (liturgical head covering) and elevated to the dignity of Archpriest. Also, new renovations to the rear of the Church nave and newly-written icons were blessed by Bishop Michael, and two long-standing presences in the parish -- former Parish Council President Peter Filak, and parish benefactor Charles Kaczinski -- were awarded appreciation certificates (gramotas) by His Grace. The choir sang beautifully throughout ... no small feat, as the liturgical celebrations lasted for well over four hours!
Following the Liturgy everyone gathered together for the parish's 7th annual "Mini-Picnic" which, in this case, was hardly 'mini' at all! Thanks to the outstanding efforts of Parish Council President, Mark Guyer, and the tremendous assistance of Saints Martha & Mary Sisterhood, the picnic was a beautiful event with old friends reuniting and new friendships being made. Many lingered under the tent until the early evening, enjoying the chance to meet and speak with His Grace and many visitors.
It was truly a joy for all to share time with Bishop Michael who, in his brief time as diocesan Archpastor, has already made a powerful impression on many -- indeed, the entire diocese -- with his warmth, compassion, sincerity, and grace. As Subdeacon Nilus Klingel said, “Bishop Michael is a true shepherd of Christ's Holy Church. Eis polla eti despota!”
Photos of the event may be viewed on the Saint Andrew's parish website: