Relics of the Holy Hierarch and Confessor Luke visit Baltimore

With the blessing of His Eminence, Justinian, Archbishop of Naro-Fominsk relics of the Holy Hierarch and Confessor Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea were brought to Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Baltimore, MD ( on March 29-30, 2013. During these days, hundreds of Orthodox faithful from the Baltimore/Washington DC region lovingly venerated the relics of the holy hierarch during Divine Services.

On Friday evening, March 29 the rector of Holy Trinity, Priest John Vass led the Moleben with Akathist service, which was concelebrated by Archpriest Victor Potapov – rector of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC; Archpriest Theodore Boback – rector of St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Baltimore; and Priest John Johnson – cleric of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC. Also serving were Deacon Michael Bishop of Holy Trinity and Deacon Damian Dantinne of St. John the Baptist Cathedral.

The ark with St. Luke’s relics was solemnly carried from the sanctuary to the center of the church, where the clergy stood in reverence leading the Divine Service. The text of the entire service was distributed to all in attendance so that everyone was able to sing the akathist along with the clergy and choir in both English and Slavonic. Also, the relics and church were beautifully adorned with many flowers. At the end of the service Fr. Victor Potapov gave the sermon in which he described some of the many marvelous acts of faith and courage displayed by the holy hierarch while in exile and prison. Fr. Victor said that in the face of so many trials and difficulties, St. Luke came “to love suffering”, which should inspire us to persevere in the face of our own troubles.

After venerating the holy relics, the faithful were anointed with oil from the lampada burning before the relics and were given, in small vials, oil from the lamp and small icons to take home. Everyone was also encouraged to take home the printed moleben/akathist booklet for them to continue their prayers to St. Luke at home.

On Saturday morning, March 30, Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Priest John Vass and concelebrated by Archpriest Theodore Boback, Archpriest Karl-Andrew Kish (Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church) and Priest Raphael Barberg, rector of St. James Antiochian Orthodox Church in Westminster, MD. Deacon Michael Bishop also served. The choir sang hymns and responses in both English and Slavonic. After the Divine Liturgy the clergy stood in the center of the church and served a solemn moleben before the holy relics of St. Luke. Afterwards in his sermon, Fr. John said: “When we feel the pressures of life, when we experience suffering ourselves, we have a great intercessor in St. Luke; we have a great model, example of faith, patience and piety for us to follow.” Then, everyone was anointed with oil from the lampada burning before the relics and was given oil and small icons to take home. Afterwards a lenten luncheon was conducted in the church hall thanks to many of the women from Holy Trinity.

The visit of St. Luke’s relics to Baltimore was an important event in the life of Holy Trinity Church and for the entire metropolitan region. Orthodox faithful from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington DC and Virginia came to venerate the relics and to offer fervent prayers to the Holy Hierarch.

O Most Holy Trinity, Our God, Glory to Thee!