[STOTS Communication, South Canaan, PA] The Mission Choir of St. Tikhon's Seminary visited two parishes in New Jersey over the weekend: Annunciation Church in Brick, NJ for Divine Liturgy on the community's patronal feast day on Saturday morning, March 25; and Mother of God Church in Princeton, NJ for Vespers and then Divine Liturgy on Sunday, March 26.
His Eminence, The Most Reverend Michael, Archbishop of New York and New Jersey, and Rector St. Tikhon's Seminary, celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the feast day of the Annunciation, along with Archpriest Gary Breton, rector, and several clergy from the area. A festal luncheon took place after the Liturgy in the parish rectory, and seminarians were able to spend time in fellowship with the community.
After lunch, the Mission Choir left for Princeton and managed to squeeze in a one-hour, world-wind tour of parts of the campuses of Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton University, and the historic borough of Princeton, including Revolutionary War sites, the home of Albert Einstein, the home of renowned Orthodox theologian Fr. Georges Florovsky, and the lobby of the art museum.
"We had to leave for Vespers, but we stopped in the art museum's lobby very briefly, because I remembered there is a large mosaic from the floor of a fourth century Byzantine church hanging right there," said Seraphim Danckaert, Director of Mission Advancement. "I had forgotten, and we were amused to discover, that the mosaic's massive inscription proclaimed who had donated this section of the church floor -- even in the time of St. Basil the Great!"
The choir then sang Vespers at the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow Mission, where Archpriest Peter Baktis is rector and Dn. Russell Komline, a recent graduate of St. Tikhon's Diaconal Formation Program in Philadelphia, serves. After Vespers, everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal with parishioners, during which each seminarian stood to share a little about their background, reason for coming to St. Tikhon's, and sense of how God was working in their lives and what kind of ministry they were being called to embrace.
Many thanks to the priests and faithful of both parishes for their hospitality and generous financial support of the seminarians.