CHICAGO, IL [DOM Communications] – Faithful Orthodox Christians from Chicagoland gathered at Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Diocesan Cathedral of Chicago and the Midwest, for the feast of the Tikhvin Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. This blessed observance that took place on Saturday, June 26, was accompanied by an ordination to the diaconate.
Services were led by His Eminence Archbishop Paul, and concelebrating clergy: Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Parma, OH, Priest Alexander Koranda, Cathedral Dean, Cathedral Protodeacon Thomas Keith, and Deacon Andrew Bender of Christ the Savior Church, Chicago, IL.
The Tikhvin Icon has an intimate history with the Cathedral and the Diocese of the Midwest. The original icon, which tradition claims is painted by St. Luke the Evangelist, was brought to Chicago from war-torn Europe by Archbishop John (Garklavs) back in 1949. From the time of its arrival, the miraculous icon was frequently available for veneration at the Cathedral.
Archbishop John was known to take the icon on pilgrimages to various places throughout the United States and Canada. After his retirement in the late 1970s and death on Palm Sunday in 1982, Archpriest Sergei Garklavs, Archbishop John’s adopted son, became the caretaker of the icon. In 2003, over a decade after the fall of communism and the resurrection of the Russian Orthodox Church, the decision was made to return the precious icon to its original home.
In 2016, Holy Trinity Cathedral was presented with a replica of the icon which was brought from Russia by His Grace, Bishop Mstislav of Tikhvin. The generous gift was given in appreciation for the Cathedral’s care of the original icon, which will always be a link between the communities in Russia and America.
This year’s celebration of the icon also had great significance as Subdeacon Paul Garklavs, the son of Mitred-Archpriest Serge Garklavs, the guardian of the Tikhvin Icon, was ordained to the Holy Diaconate. In addition to his wife and three daughters, the newly ordained deacon was joined by his siblings, Fr. Alexander Garklavs and Olga Garklavs.
The newly-ordained Deacon Paul and his family were congratulated by Archbishop Paul and encouraged to make his vocation about humility and service. Fr. Alexander presented Dn. Paul with a set of green vestments from the cathedral community encouraging him to continue his tireless efforts for his brethren. Fellowship was held in the parish hall following the divine services.