[ARCHIVED NEWS] Tuesday, December 20, 2005
ON CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
Aliquippa, PA - His Grace Bishop Dr.MITROPHAN maintains a strong and continuing interest in the quality of Christian Education in the Eastern American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
His Grace's commitment to improving Christian Education is evident by His consistent scheduling of and participation in Annual Deanery Meetings.
The Nineteenth Annual Pittsburgh Deanery Meeting was held on Saturday December 17, 2005 at St.Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania The featured speaker was host priest and Dean of the Pittsburgh Deanery, Protopresybter Stavrofor Stevan Stepanov. Proto Stepanov has served the St.Elijah Church since 1973. Throughout his priesthood in the parish, Proto Stevan has taken a strong and definite interest in the altar servers and epistle readers.
Proto Stepanov developed a book of procedures for use with altar servers.
His talk at this Deanery meeting drew heavily upon his personal experience with altar boys in the parish during these past thirty three years.
This was the first Deanery meeting and first Christian Education gathering in many, many years when +Steve Milos Klipa would not be in attendance. +Steve Klipa's departure from this life came two days following his participation in last year's Deanery meeting on December 18, 2004.
The Pittsburgh Deanery includes Pennsylvania parishes in Aliquippa, Carmichaels, Clairton, Johnstown, Monroeville, Mckeesport, Midland, Pittsburgh, and Youngwood. The Holy Resurrection Church in Steubenville, Ohio and the Holy Trinity Mission in Fairmont, West Virginia complete the Pittsburgh Deanery. Parish reports on the highlights of the educational programs were presented and discussed.
His Grace Bishop Dr.MITROPHAN questioned the meeting participants on what it takes to attract children to classes, to maintain their interest and to keep them for the future. His Grace encouraged the parishes to send the children to Shadeland Camp and to conduct local parish day camps.
Father Rodney Torbic
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Wednesday, December 21, 2005
From the Diocesan Office - To the parish priest of the St. Stevan of Dechani Serbian Orthodox Church of Columbus, Ohio Fr. Isak Kisin, we extend our congratulations to him and his family on the newest addition to their family, which they received on the day of their Krsna Slava:
Born: Monday, December 19, 2005
9 lbs; 20 1/2" long
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Thursday, December 22, 2005
ST. GEORGE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, CANTON, OH
Glory to Jesus Christ!
We want to let everyone know that a miracle has taken place in our small parish of St. George in North Canton, Ohio. We have a little 6 year old girl in our parish, Mia Bogunovich, who had a very large and aggressive malignant tumor in her throat. This type of cancer is called rhabdomyosarcoma. The treatment protocol is complex, with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation and eventually the possibility of surgery. It also has horrible side effects. At one point the doctors had to stop treatments because she was so ill. She had lost a lot of weight, could no longer eat, was on an IV for feeding and was extremely weak. Her parents, David and Kelly, were fearful to have Mia come into contact with people because her system was severely compromised. If she caught a simple cold it could have devastating effects.
With the blessing of our Bishop Mitrophan, it was at this time, relative to Mia’s treatment, the Wonderworking Icon of the Sitka Mother of God came to our parish. On the evening of the Akathist Service, November 9th, our small church was overflowing with over 300 people present to greet and venerate the holy icon. In spite of their concerns, Mia’s mother and father, along with her little sister Kirsten brought her that evening to venerate the Sitka Mother of God. Father Michael Oleksa, the priest from Alaska that accompanied the holy icon, wore a pectoral cross that holds the relics of three saints. Because Mia was very weak Father Michael invited Mia and her family to venerate the holy icon before the Akathist service. He then, with prayers, placed the pectoral cross on Mia’s throat. Popadija Kristina Tuba saw Mia moments after, as the family was leaving the church, and said her face was glowing.
A couple of weeks later Protinica Mira and I went to see her at her home and were amazed at how well she looked. Her eyes were bright, there was color in her cheeks, her appetite had returned, she was very active and seemed so strong. We had our suspicions but said nothing. Two days after our visit Mia and her parents met with the team of doctors to assess her condition to see when they could continue with the treatment protocol. The MRI taken that morning showed no tumor. The tumor is completely gone! While the doctors were very restrained in their remarks it was clear they were extremely pleased and declared she is in “complete remission”!
To say that her whole family is overjoyed and thankful to God and the Theotokos is an understatement! Our whole parish, who has been praying for her, is thankful as well and credits the Sitka Mother of God with this miracle!
Prota Dragan Filipovic
December 21, 2005
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Wednesday, October 26, 2006
Steelton, PA - On Monday, October 24, 2005 the 18th Annual Clergy Seminar began with the arrival of His Grace Bishop of Eastern America Dr. +Mitrophan, together with sixteen Diocesan priests, at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Steelton, PA where they were warmly greeted by the parish priest, V. Rev. Stavrofor Srboljub Jockovic. Following the evenings Vespers Service and a dinner, a brief meeting was held with His Grace.
On the following day another six priests arrived, plus five from the local pan-Orthodox community, making this, despite the rainy weather, the best attended seminar in a long time, with a total of 28 priests and 2 deacons.
The Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy began promptly at 7:30 am. Assisting His Grace at the holy altar were V. Rev. Stavrofor Srboljub Jockovic, V. Rev. Rodney Torbic, Rev. Zivko Velimirovic, Rev. Aleksa Micich, Rev. Deacon Milan Medakovich and Rev. Deacon Dragoslav Kosic. After a continental breakfast the main speaker of this year's seminar arrived, V. Rev. Stavrofor Dr. Nedeljko Grgurevich. The theme of the talk was "Svetosavlje and the North American Continent with a View Towards the Future". This topic, which touched upon, among other things, the question of multi Orthodox jurisdictions in American cities and the idea of Svetosavlje with our Serbian people, brought on a lively discussion, including valuable input from not only our clergy but our visiting brothers from the other jurisdictions.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, October 24, 2005
VISITS THE ERIE, PA MISSION PARISH
Shadeland, PA - On Friday, October 21, 2005 His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America visited the newly formed mission parish of Holy Bishop Nikolai of Erie, Pennsylvania. This very small group of Serbian Orthodox Christians initially met with His Grace, the bishop, on September 8, 2004 to discuss the possibility of using the facilities at Shadeland, which is their closest Serbian Church, for services. The meeting was held at the home of Luka and Melanie Krneta together with V. Rev. Rastko Trbuhovich of Lackawanna, NY, Rev. Milovan Katanic of Hermitage, PA and Rev. Deacon Dragoslav, the Diocesan Secretary.
His Grace expressed his enthusiasm for the endeavor that this small group wished to take upon themselves and appointed Fr. Rastko and Fr. Milovan as the temporary administrators, to alternately serve liturgies on one Saturday a month.
Over the past year services have been conducted in the chapel of the A-Building in Shadeland. On two occasions the Hermitage parish choir sang the responses at the liturgy and in May the small community, humbly celebrated their Slava, the Transfer of the Relics of St. Bishop Nikolai of Zicha and Ohrid.
During the Bishop’s archpastoral visit on Friday evening Vespers was served, with a parastos following, after which there was a dinner. As everyone slowly finished their meals a discussion began addressing the challenges that this mission faces and possible solutions. As is the case in all newly formed missions, services are conducted on Saturdays and this was addressed as a potential problem. One solution, albeit temporary, that was brought up was the possibility of asking one of the deacons from our diocese to serve a Reader’s Service on a Sunday morning so that the community would be able to see how many people would attend on a Sunday. With the bishop’s blessing, it was decided to begin this practice as soon as possible. For the time being, however, the next Divine Liturgy will be held on Saturday, November 26, 2005 at 10:00 am. V. Rev. Rastko Trbuhovich will be the celebrant.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Tuesday, October 11, 2005
SERBIAN CHURCH IN AKRON
Akron, OH - As most of the Serbian Orthodox faithful throughout our diocese know, the wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Sitka has been traveling from parish to parish over the past months.
Initially His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska presented the proposal for the cross-country pilgrimage to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the OCA in 2004. In the summer of 2005, the icon visited numerous parishes and communities across Alaska in preperation for the pilgrimage.
During the visit of the wonderworking icon to the faithful in Akron, OH, stopping at St. Elia Orthodox Church, Fr. Dragomir Tuba requested of the Archimandrite Isidore that the icon visit his church the following day. Although not scheduled, in the morning of the following day, Monday, October 10, 2005, this holy icon was welcomed by the faithful of St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church in Akron, Ohio and a Moleban was served.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Brazil, South America - His Grace Bishop Mitrohpan of Eastern America was warmly welcomed by the clergy and faithful at the Serbian Church in Brazil, Paroquia Ortodox Da Santissima Trindade.
Some one hundred faithful attended the Divine Liturgy with His Grace on Sunday, October 9, 2005. Assisting the bishop at the Divine Liturgy were Protopresbyter Alexis Pana-Alfaro, Protopresbyter Rafael Oliveira and Fr. Elias Ned Cavalcanti Lima.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Tueday, October 4, 2005
From the Diocesan Office - To the parish priest of the St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church of Washington, DC Fr. Aleksa, we extend our congratulations to him and his family on the newest addition to their family:
Born: Monday, October 3, 2005
6 lbs; 19" long
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, September 26, 2005
BURNING OF MORTGAGE
Greensboro, NC – For some of us the day began very early, for some it was “a little” later, while for others the previous hours of the busy night turned into the next morning. There was so much to do, to organize, build and decorate.
We had waited for months to welcome our Bishop Mitrophan in our midst and it was during his timely visit on Sunday, September 25, 2005, that we finally were given the perfect opportunity to receive him into our home, to show him all that we have done, as our Kolo Slava celebrated their Slava of the Nativity of the Mother of God and the entire parish rejoiced as we were to, symbolically, “burn the mortgage” on our church property.
Since the end of May of this year, after only 6 years, our church/house and every blade of grass and corner of earth on that property is finally, truly ours. Having paid off every last cent owed to the previous owners we now breathe with relief as we walk on our very own land. On that day of celebration, which we held outside, it was our joy to see our many guests enjoy themselves, to see the children freely run and play in the open field without the fear of passing cars.
His Grace Bishop Mitrophan was brought by car on that day and all of us were moved to see our bishop, who got out of the car at the beginning of the driveway, humbly walk the way to where the gathered parishioners were awaiting his arrival. The first welcoming words that he heard were from our littlest members, our children, who anxiously greeted him. The bishop affectionately returned the kind words of the little children, was greeted by the clergy and it was already time for the service to begin.
The Divine Liturgy that morning was, for all of us, most moving. Assisting His Grace were Protojerej-Stavrofor Milan Stojanovic, Protojerej Milan Krstic, our parish priest Fr. Dragan Zaric and Deacon Dragoslav Kosic. A tent protected the altar and a podium, specially constructed for this event by our own skillful hands, raised it. Inside the altar an elegant chair, which I personally brought from the home of my recently deceased brother, served His Grace which left me with the feeling that that very act had, in some way, brought my dear brother closer to the Lord.
Being accustomed to Fr. Dragan serving the entire liturgy for us, we now watched the altar swarm with priests, with the bishop at the head. Our children’s choir sang the responses during the first part of the liturgy, directed by our favorite Russian, Nicholas. Even though we would like to have said that “thousands attended the liturgy” we are still happy to say that some 200 were in attendance, mostly our own parishioners but also some guests.
The crowning moment of each liturgy is the Holy Sacrament of Communion and this crown shined all the more in the eyes and smiles of our little children who patiently awaited to partake of the Holy Mysteries. With hands crossed across their chest they waited their turn. The adults watched them as they, with “atypical Serbian” discipline and without running in front of one another, slowly approached the holy Chalice. We truly had something to see and learn from out littlest ones. His Grace, then, together with the priests and deacon, blessed the Slava bread. It was beautiful to watch as the bishop gave each child a chance to kiss the cake.
A brief meeting of the board members was held after the liturgy with the bishop, as parishioners busied themselves converting the area that had once served as a church to better accommodate the program, luncheon, music and dancing which was to follow. The children put on a moving performance, singing the beautiful song by St. Bishop Nikolai “Christ is Risen”.
Our bishop and many guests promised to soon visit us again. Our small parish gave everything from itself and for that reason received so much in return. We can hardly wait to be given the chance to once again prove ourselves as good Serbian hosts.
On that special day in our young parish history, we can truly say that we received nourishment for both soul and body.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, September 19, 2005
Portland, ME – On Sunday, September 18, 2005 in the small suburb Biddeford, Maine, where some 100 Serbian families reside, refugees from the recent conflicts in the former Yugoslavia the parish celebrated their church slava. The Divine Liturgy was officiated by His Grace Bishop Mitrophan, who was assisted by the host priest, Fr. Ivan Marjanovic, Fr. Aleksandar Vlajkovic from the Boston parish and Fr. Ivan Teage (Antiochian Archdiocese).
The Choir Kyr Stefan the Serb from St. Sava in Toronto responded at the liturgy. The previous day this choir took part in a humanitarian benefit in Cambridge, MA, benefitting Serbian orphans. Following the Divine Liturgy the Slavski Kolach was offered and broken, after which all enjoyed the slava luncheon in the church hall. The Kolo Sestara welcomed, as always, with their warm hospitality some 200 guests. The kumovi were Veljko and Stana Regoja with their children.
[Excerpts from the homily delivered by Bishop Mitrophan]
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works…”
Today we celebrate those out of our own people, who shine before men, we celebrate the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What does it mean that our “light shine before men”? What is “our light”? It is our soul, it our heart, which can shine in love but can also shine in hatred. The holy fathers which we celebrate today have shown that they are the light of truth. Today we celebrate the Synaxis of the Serbian Saints. They are that bright cloud which hovers over our nation. Just as the cloud hovered over the chosen people so too does this cloud hover over us and protects us. Are we aware of the greatness of these saints; St. Symeon who left everything and went to Monastery Hilandar; St. Sava who, at 17 years of age, left everything and took the monastic habit. Think of your child going from having everything to a monastery. Rastko had much more. He was a prince and left everything to go to the monastery.
Are we worthy of the greatness of the holy Prince Lazar? He could have easily become a Turkish vassal. But he chose the other – freedom in Christ, for he knew that the earthly is small but the heavenly kingdom if always and forever.
Are we aware of the holy Empress Milica who after the death of Lazar took upon herself a great burden – to lead the nation and together with little Stefan, keep it united….
What shall we say of the martyrs of the 19th century: Deacon Avakum who sang: A Serb is Christ’s and rejoices in death. Look at the icon of the Synaxis of the Serbian Saints. You’ll see kings, princes, martyrs, peasants, etc. That is the pride of our people. Look at the martyrs of the 20th century and from WWII: the elder Vukasin of Klepac, Metropolitan Dositej of Zagreb to whom Stepinac advises to move because the Independent State of Croatia is not safe for him. He replied: I’ll give my head but I won’t leave my people. That’s how it was. He gave his life for his flock. These are the works that shine and which shine from us.
The holy Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians advises us: Respect your teachers and follow in their way… Let us also follow our teachers, with St. Symeon the Myrh-flowing at the head, St. Sava, the holy martyrs of Jasenovac, Prebilovac and of all those which we don’t even know…May God, through their prayers, save our nation, all of you here present today and our people in Kosovo and Metohija.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Boston, MA - During his recent visit to the Portland parish on the occasion of their church slava, His Grace, Bishop +Mitrophan visited the future church of the Boston parish in Cambridge, MA on Monday, September 19, 2005. Bishop inspected the church, church hall and property in detail and expressed his great joy in the fact that the Boston parish will soon have an adequate temple for their church services. God willing, the closing will take place in October, with the Blessing tentatively scheduled for November.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, September 12, 2005
Mars, PA - The St.Nikodim Chapel Slava was celebrated at the Episcopal Headquarters of His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN of the Eastern American Diocese in Mars, Pennsylvania on September 9 and 10, 2005.
With the Archpastoral Blessing of His Grace Bishop MITROPHAN, Episcopal Deputy Protopresbyter Stavrofor Dr.Nedeljko Grgurevich served the Vespers on the eve of the Slava. Father Deacon Dragoslav Kosic sang the responses.
At the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on September 10, His Grace Bishop Dr.MITROPHAN officiated. Serving with His Grace were Protopresbyter Stavrofor Dr.Nedeljko Grgurevich, Dean of the Pittsburgh Deanery-Protopresbyter Stavrofor Steven Stepanov, Protopresbyter Stevo Rocknage, Protopresbyter Dr. Rodney Torbic and Father Deacon Dragoslav Kosic.
Additional clergy attending the Slava included Protopresbyter Dragan Filipovic, Protopresbyter Rade Merick, Father Miroslav Lazarevic, Father Rajko Kosic, Father Milorad Orlic, Father Isak Kisin, Father Milan Pajic, Father Miladin Blagojevic and Father Deacon Milan Medakovich. Theological graduate and iconographer Miloje Milinkovic accompanied Father Lazarevic.
Serb Wings, the visiting guest choir from St.Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church of Steelton, Pennsylvania directed by Nina Radanvovic sang the responses.
Serb Wings members included Nina’s husband Milan, Christopher and Evgenija Radanovich, Kate Nation, and Jane Svitchan.
In His sermon, His Grace Bishop Dr.MITROPHAN spoke about the Serbian saints through the centuries, of their contributions and steadfastness in the face of adversity.
At the Slava dinner, Savo Cugalj, Vice President of Diocesan Council spoke of the importance of putting love to work in the family, in the parish and in the Diocese. Millie Radovick, President of the Federation of the KSS, represented the Eastern Region Kolo Sisters at the head table.
His Grace Bishop Dr.MITROPHAN thanked all for attending the Slava on this beautiful day.
V. Rev. Rodney Torbic
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, August 22, 2005
Cleveland, OH - The Brkic triplets came to Cleveland’s St. Sava Cathedral for Liturgy and a concert on Sunday August 21st , 2005. The morning began with a beautiful Divine Liturgy where both the SSS Njegos choir, under the direction of Mr. Milan Damljanovic, and the Brkic triplets sang responses. The children sang so beautifully – it was angelic.
Following Divine Liturgy, there was a luncheon and a concert featuring the triplets. Mr. Ranko Majstorevic was the MC for the program. Our wonderful Kolo Sisters, with president Jelka Majstorevic, and co-chairmen Bonnie Uher and Nada Susak, made a delicious meal for the event and many thanks were given to them. Thanks were also given to the many parishioners who came to attend this luncheon.
Vera, Nada and Slobodan introduced themselves and explained the meaning of their names, Faith, Hope, and Freedom. They expanded on the relationship of their names to Serbian Orthodoxy today. Slobodan concluded by sharing his wish for freedom for all Serbian people, throughout the world.
The children played the piano and sang songs for the crowd. Their song selections included sacred, secular, and nationalistic pieces. The hall was over flowing with a warm welcome. It was beautiful to share this day with such beautiful children for a worthy cause. Two of the triplets are blind. Funds are being raised to help them pay for surgery in Boston.
We were able to give a gift of over $9,000. Rev. Zivojin Jakovljevic, V. Rev. Djuro Majerle, and V. Rev. Vasilije B. Sokolovic spoke on behalf of our Cleveland Serbs. Everyone’s desire is that these children be given the opportunity that may help them regain their sight.
May God grant them many years!
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, August 22, 2005
SLAVA IN CANADA
Cambellville, Ontario - His Grace Bishop Dr.MITROPHAN traveled to the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in Cambellville, Ontario on August 18 at the invitation of His Grace Bishop GEORGIJE to celebrate the Monastery Slava. His Grace celebrated at the Vigil on the eve of the Feast.
On August 6/19, the day of the Feast, His Grace Bishop GEORGIJE and His Grace Bishop Dr.MITROPHAN, six priests and one deacon served at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. His Grace Bishop Dr.MITROPHAN gave the sermon and also spoke at the Slava dinner. Holy Transfiguration Monastery is part of a beautiful complex in the Canadian Diocese and also serves as the Episcopal Headquarters of His Grace Bishop GEORGIJE.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, August 8, 2005
Shadeland, PA - With the blessings of His Grace Bishop of Eastern America Dr. Mitrophan, the Eastern American Diocese celebrated the Second Annual Diocesan Days last weekend.
This spiritual manifestation began Saturday, August 6, 2005 with the arrival of His Grace, the bishop, together with guest speakers, Fr. Gerasim, Abbot of St. Herman’s Monastery in Platina, California and Fr. Damascene, also of St. Herman’s Monastery. A welcome luncheon for His Grace, the speakers, clergy, campers and faithful was served by the camp staff and officially began the day’s activities.
Following the meal the youth and adults were split in two groups as the youth stayed in the main building to listen to Fr. Damascene while the adults met under the tent outside where Fr. Gerasim spoke. Both speakers focused on the theme for this year’s event, “Called to Be Orthodox”. Fr. Gerasim spoke clearly on the desire to come closer to Christ, ways both clergy and laity can be examples of their Orthodoxy to those around them while Fr. Damascene presented a slideshow to the children and spoke about life at St. Herman’s Monastery in Platina.
The third guest speaker for this year’s Diocesan Days was the very talented Peter Jon Gilquist who took the stage following Frs. Gerasim and Damascene to a combined audience of both youth and adults under the tent outside. Peter Jon gave a very amusing and humorous account of his journey to Orthodoxy, coming from a Protestant background, from his father’s desire to discover the ancient faith to finally being received together with 2,000 Evangelical Orthodox into the Antiochian Archdiocese in 1986. His account was both amusing and very moving as he focused on the journey of the Evangelical Orthodox as well as his own personal journey to faith. In recalling that journey of faith he revealed to the children how he had taken his musical gifts and finally decided to use them for a greater good, writing and performing spiritual and inspirational songs from an Orthodox perspective.
Confessions were heard by the clergy before the evening Vespers service in the church across the street. Fr. Dragan Filipovic of Canton, OH, Fr. Gerasim and Fr. Damascene served at the holy altar for the evening service while Tsar Lazar Male Choir sang the responses. The male choir also gave a wonderful performance of both spiritual and folk songs under the tent following dinner. Afterwards, as the sun was slowly setting in the distance and the chill of the country air approached, Peter Jon gave an evening concert, showcasing some of his different songs.
The Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy the next day began promptly at a very bright and sunny ten o’clock. Joining His Grace Bishop Mitrophan was yet another special guest for the weekend’s event, His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher of Midwestern America. Awaiting the two hierarchs at the doors of the Holy temple dedicated to the Assumption of the Mother of God were the diocesan clergy, assisting the hierarchs before the holy altar. Our very own young campers, the future of our church and holy diocese, sang the responses, assisted by some members of the clergy. Following the liturgy the faithful made the trek across the street for the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new dormitory to be built for the St. Sava Camp.
A luncheon was prepared for the hierarchs and clergy after which the day’s program began. Peter Jon, with guitar in hand, began the Sunday afternoon program with more selections from his soon to be released album as well as older songs. Following this the campers, after spending the long week in training with Nikola Jovic and Nicole, put on a fabulous performance in music and dance enjoyed by all. The local and young band Drustvo performed following the program until the late hours in the afternoon.
Thanks to all the special guests and to the many people that made the journey to Shadeland, this year’s Diocesan Days, our second one as of yet, was very successful. There were quite a few positive comments regarding this year’s attendance compared to last year’s. May God grant that this yearly event only grows in numbers that on that one weekend in August when the diocese closes its churches all the people will join their clergy and flock around their hierarch in appreciation of our diocese and celebration of our holy faith.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, July 25, 2005
Cleveland, OH - On Sunday, July 24, 2005 the first annual Patronal Feast of the 29 newly-canonized Serbian Priestmartyrs of the Dabro-Bosnian Metropolitanate, among whom is the Holy Priestmartyr Budimir (Sokolovic) of Dobrun, was commemorated in Cleveland, Ohio.
It was a beautiful celebration that began with Divine Liturgy at St. Sava Cathedral of Parma, Ohio. Concelebrating at the service were Rev. Zivojin Jakovljevic, parish priest, V. Rev. Vasilije B. Sokolovic, adn the V. Rev. Milan Zobenica. Responses were sung by the Serbian Singing Society Njegos Choir with musical director, Milan Damljanovic.
Following the cutting fo the Festal Bread there was a luncheon served in the church hall with pictures and a video of Zitomislic Monastery and the Canonization service held this past May 15th.
Guest speakers included the Rev. Zivojin Jakovljevic, V. Rev. Djuro Majerle (Cleveland, OH), Rev. Milorad Orlic (Lorain, OH), Mr. Pavle Cosic (church president), Mr. Michael Marjanovic, Njegos choir president, Mr. David Briggs (religion writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper), Mr. Michael Kolybka (Senator Voinovic's office), and two proclamations received from Mayor DePiero (Mayor of Parma), and Mr. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio State Representative), which were read by Mrs. Dorothy Winovic. V. Rev. Vasilije Sokolovic gave closing remarks and thanked God that he was able to live to see this wonderful celebration. He also thanked the family and friends that traveled with him to Serbia this past May to take part in the canonization service.
It was a day not to be forgotten. Friends and family traveled from Connecticut, Monroeville, PA, Masontown, PA, Chicago, IL and even the Tmusic family made it from Australia. The hall was overflowing with many friends and family that enjoyed the beautiful video from Zitomislic. Small icons of St. Budimir of Dobrun were given out by Mr. Milan Damljanovic on behalf of the Sokolovic family. St. Budimir's sons Vasilije and Vladimir Sokolovic were proud and reminisced of the canonization service at Zitomislic which they were fortunate to have witnessed.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, July 25, 2005
Richfield, OH – On a beautiful, sunny and very hot, summer day the sisterhood of Monastery Marcha in Richfield, Ohio, festively celebrated their patron Saint, St. Archangel Gabriel. The holy Hieararchical Divine Liturgy was served on Saturday, July 23, 2005 with His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America officiating. The bishop was assisted by six area clergymen: V. Rev. Zvonimir Kotorcevich, V. Rev. Dragan Filipovic, V. Rev. Rodney Torbic, Rev. Dragomir Tuba, Rev. Zivojin Jakovljevic and Rev. Milorad Orlic. Also in attendance were V. Rev. Stavrofor Fr. Janko Rajlich, V. Rev. Stavrofor Vasilije Sokolovich, V. Rev. Milan Zobenica, Rev. Milovan Katanic and Rev. Deacon Milan Medakovich.
In his homily, His Grace spoke about the Archangel Gabriel who bore the good news of the coming of the Saviour but also, according to ancient church tradition, of the announcement of His glorious Resurrection to the Myrrhbearing women. In addition, the bishop touched on guardian angels that vigilantly watch over us, weeping when we sin and rejoicing at our virtues; who lead us through this life just as they had led all those who came to the monastery for the Slava. It was the bishop’s prayer that they continue to lead them and all of our faithful to this holy place in many years to come.
Visiting the abbess of the monastery, Mother Ana, was Mother Evpraksija of the Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God in New Carlisle, Indiana.
As the morning’s liturgy came to an end, His Grace, the bishop, together with the banner-bearers and the priests led the people outside for the Litija. Afterwards, he officiated at the cutting of the Slavski Kolach inside the church. Kumovi for this year’s Monastery Slava were Mr. and Mrs. Tom and Svetlana Baier of St. George Serbian Church in Canton, Ohio.
A sumptuous banquet followed the liturgy under the tent provided by the monastery undertaker, Don Faulhaber. Mother Ana, together with the sisters, would like to thank everyone for attending this year’s slava and for their continued support of the monastery. Special thanks to Dragan and Snezana Tomic of Puff’s catering for providing the food for the Slava.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, July 18, 2005
Shadeland, PA - The annual camp season officially opened on Sunday, July 17, 2005 as the first group of campers arrived in Shadeland, Pennsylvania. Frs. Djokan Majstorovic of New York City and Milan Pajic of Mildand, PA are the designated clergy this week. His Grace Bishop Mitrophan visited the children on Tuesday and spent some time in a question and answer session. Wednesday evening is traditionally the evening the children receive the Holy Sacrament of Holy Confession while Thursday, after Liturgy, the children take a trip to Waldameer Park in Erie, PA.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, July 18, 2005
Atlanta, GA - The Serbian Orthodox Church of Atlanta, Georgia celebrated their Church Slava, Sts. Peter and Paul, on Sunday, July 17, 2005. His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America officiated at the Divine Liturgy, assisted by visiting clergy Fr. Dragan Zaric, of the North Carolina church, together with host clergy Fr. Sasa Turkic. Kumovi for this year's Slava were Mr. and Mrs. Nikola and Vinka Vujic.
Following the Divine Liturgy, during the luncheon, a children's program was organized by Mrs. Jovanka Loncaric and enjoyed by all.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Fairmont, WV - The Slava of the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Mission in Fairmont, West Virginia was celebrated on Monday June 20, 2005. The Mission is in its fifth year of existence. His Grace Bishop Dr.MITROPHAN travelled to Fairmont to be present for the Vesper service, to officiate at the Blessing of the Kolach and Kolijvo and to address the faithful.
Father Deacon Dragoslav Kosic accompanied His Grace and became the first Serbian Orthodox deacon to serve at the Mission. Maria Masha Djonovich, a regular communicant at the Mission, was the honored Kuma.
Anna Yaremchuh greeted the attendees in behalf of the of the Mission and expressed appreciation for His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN and for all attending. Mary Trbovich and Wayne Kirby also were recognized for their support of the Mission.
Stan Brozik, Executive Board President of St.George Church in Carmichaels, offered greetings. Sonia Janson, Kolo and Choir President at St.George Church in Carmichaels, also offered greetings in addition to leading the responses at the service.
God has been good to the Holy Trinity Mission. Services continue to be held on a regular basis. The small group of faithful work hard to keep the Mission going. Several parishes and individuals in the Diocese have been supportive in different ways.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, June 19, 2005
Lackawanna, NY – Upon his recent return from the Spring Session of the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade, Serbia His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America visited the Serbian Church of St. Stephen in Lackawanna, New York for the feast of Pentecost on Sunday, June 19, 2005.
The great church feast of Pentecost happened to coincide this year with an annual tradition in the Lackawanna parish. Namely, the 7th Annual Monastery Marcha Benefit Dinner, which this parish hosts every year in early to mid June, was held on Pentecost Sunday.
Assisting His Grace at the Holy Hierarchical Divine was host priest V. Rev. Rastko Trbuhovich and Diocesan Deacon Fr. Dragoslav Kosic. Also in attendance were Mother Ana, abbess of Monastery Marcha, Sister Barbara and long time supporter of the monastery Mr. Nikola Borota. This annual fundraising event is organized in cooperation with the local SNF Lodge #248.
At this year’s dinner an approximate $3,000 was raised for the monastery. Since the construction of the new monastery church in 2001 our Monastery March in Richfield, Ohio has seen many visitors from not only neighboring Serbian parishes but other Orthodox as well. Just last week Mother Ana and the sisters were happy to have Fr. Andrew Harmon of St. Matthew Antiochian Orthodox Church in N. Royalton, Ohio who came with a large group of children and adults to the monastery. As always, the visit began with an Akathist to the Mother of God. Following the service there were different activities offered for the children such as painting icons and helping make candles. Snacks were offered to the children and Mother Ana gave a brief talk.
Visitors are always welcomed most graciously at this monastery however, as Sister Barbara said regarding this last visit, “It is always such a blessing to have the children sing in the church.” But, she added, the highlight for all children is “ringing the bells.”
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Friday, June 17, 2005
Grays Lake, IL - The Serbian Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood opened their annual clergy conference on Tuesday, June 14, 2005. The Serbian Orthodox Monastery of New Gracanica in Grays Lake, Illinois was the host for this annual gathering. Usually a two-day event, an extra day was added onto this year's conference, together with a richer spiritual and theological program.
The first day began with a lecture given by Fr. Patrick Reardon, a priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Fr. Patrick's lecture was entitled "Christ in the Psalms", which is also the title of one of many of his books. The lecture was followed closely by the attending clergy after which a discussion followed.
Following the lecture a bus took all the clergy to the neighboring St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville where they were greeted by His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher. Metropolitan welcomed the clergy to the monastery, spoke of the future plans of the monastery and the achievements and plans for the St. Sava School of Theology and then joined the clergy for the Akathist to Holy Bishop Nikolaj of Zicha and Ohrid. Following the service metropolitan spent more time speaking with the clergy before their return to New Gracanica Monastery for dinner.
The second part of Fr. Patrick's lecture, entitled "Christ in the Saints", followed the dinner after which a small compline was served and Fr. Paisus gave a homily which brought the first day to a close.
Following Matins and breakfast the second day began with a lecture given by Professor Predrag Samardzic, professor at St. Sava School of Theology. Professor Samardzic's lengthy and enlightening talk on faith in the Old Testament was once again followed by a discussion in which all clergy took an active part.
The Third and Sixth Hours were served at the Monastery church afterwards. Lunch was then served. During the lunch the clergy were treated to a special guest to the conference, Mrs. Biljana Spasic, author of the now well-known book "Why Serbs Are Disappearing", who spoke about her book during the luncheon.
The Annual Clergy Brotherhood Assembly followed the lunch in the conference room. During the meeting various topics were covered, including as always, appeals and collections for different noble causes. A trip to the Greek Orthodox Monastery and dinner followed the meeting.
The annual conference ended with Matins adn Divine Liturgy on Thursday, June 16 at the Monastery church. This was a historic moment for the Clergy Brotherhood as it was the first time an annual meeting was held at New Gracanica. Upon the offer and recommendation of Fr. Djokan Majstorovic the location for next year's assembly will be St. Sava Cathedral in New York City.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, May 16, 2005
St. Petersburg, FL - On May 15th, 2005 the Church-School Congregation of St. Sava made its first ever pilgrimage to the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Panagia Vlahernon and the Convent of the Annunciation of the Theotokos just outside of Ocala, Florida. Over fifty faithful caravanned in a chartered bus and cars for almost two hours, the youngest pilgrim being 6 months and the oldest being 86 years old.
The pilgrims were first warmly received at the Convent, where they were blessed to venerate the many beautiful Icons and Holy Relics in the church. The Abbess and other Monastics then treated the pilgrims to refreshments in the Trapeza, followed by a discussion on the various aspects of Orthodox Christian Monastacism, including they daily routines followed by the Nuns at the Convent, which Father Zaremba translated into Serbian.
A few miles down the road, over rolling hills and surrounded by pristine farmland, stands the Monastery of Panagia Vlahernon. The pilgrims left the Convent and made it just in time for Vespers in the Monastery's newly- remodeled Church. After the beautiful service, the Abbot and other Monastics in their immense hospitality then treated the faithful to a delicious meal.
Before long, it was back on the bus and home to St. Petersburg. The Church-School Congregation of St. Sava is truly grateful that their Greek Orthodox brothers and sisters at the Monastery and Convent allowed them to make this meaningful pilgrimage, and received them with such warmth and Christian love. They pilgrims feel blessed that they have witnessed their spiritual way of life and hope that they will learn from their example.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, May 30, 2005
Richfield, OH - A small group of pilgrims from St. Stephen of Dechani Serbian Orthodox Church in Columbus, Ohio visited Monastery Marcha on Saturday, May 28, 2005. Special guest and dear friend of the monastery, iconographer Fr. Theodore Jureswicz gave a brief presentation on icongraphy during the visit.
The day's events began with an Akathist service, served by Fr. Theodore with the responses sung by the nuns and the pilgrims. A luncheon followed the service and then, with the ringing of the monastery bells, everyone once again congregated to the monastery church, where Mother Ana formally introduced everyone to Fr. Theodore, whom she kindly thanked for attending the gathering.
After a brief introduction Fr. Theodore opened the floor to questions. Many of the pilgrims were very anxious to ask this well-known iconographer various questions on iconography, ranging from styles of icons to the symbolism that is portrayed in the icons to even the most practical of questions such as, where one should put icons in their homes.
The presentation was enjoyed by all, including even the children that were in attendance. Most importantly, the holy monastic setting of Monastery Marcha filled the hearts and souls of the pilgrims who were able to leave the monastery and return to their parish church with a much stronger faith, filled with the Holy Spiriti of God.
Mother Ana, together with the sisterhood of the Monastery, have an open invitation to pilgrims from the Diocesan parishes to visit them and join them in prayer at the monastery, that together they might be strengthened in the faith of Christ our God.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Orlando, FL - Fr. Ljubisa Brnjos of St. Petka Serbian Orthodox Church in Orlando, Florida began Matins on Pascha at 5:30 am and continued with Divine Liturgy. Despite the early service and rainfalls which lasted all morning, many of the faithful attended the service.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Thursday, April 21, 2005
Carmicheals, PA - The St.George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania held the annual lenten retreat on April 20, 2005. The day began with Midnight Office, Canon to Jesus Christ, Akathist for Communion, First and Third Hours and Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts.
Two discussion periods focused on preparation for Holy Confession including a review of the Ten Commandments and the extensive list of passions that must be confronted.
Dealing with peer pressure, reading of Holy Scripture, different preparations for Holy Confession and expectations regarding Holy Confession were among the topics covered.
Six Akathists were spaced in groups of three between the discussion periods: Akathist to the Holy Trinity, Akathist to Jesus Christ, Akathist to Christ’s Passion, Akathist to the Cross, Akathist to the Mother of God and Akathist to St. John the Theologian.
Participants in the retreat included Very Reverend Lt. Colonel Adam Yonitch, Protonica Roberta Yonitch, Sonia Janson, Mildred Belch, Daniel Petrovich, Mary Trbovich, Nadezda Rogish and George Gapen. Milosh Serb Krewasky joined the group for a period of time.
Joseph Katusa, Grulja and Wilma Milosevich and Djelosh Milosevich were on hand for the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts.
Retreats are held at the St. George Church during the Nativity Fast and Great Lent to emphasize the importance of the time and as part of the preparation for the coming feast.
Holy Confession is an essential part of Orthodox Christian life. The degree of seriousness ascribed to Holy Confession has a direct correlation to the benefits experienced by the believer.
If a believer prepares carefully for Holy Confession and utilizes fully the period of Great Lent for repentance and growth in Christ, he or she is intent on and takes important steps toward a better way of life.
The full schedule of Divine services enriches the day for the participants and gives a more definitive worship experience. The range of content of the services is extensive and challenging.
The Akathists offer an opportunity for each person in the retreat to participate. God has been good and provided interested individuals to attend when the retreats have been scheduled.
Father Rodney Torbic
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, April 18, 2005
Canton, OH - On the fifth Sunday of Lent, the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt, His Grace Bishop of Eastern America Dr. Mitrophan, joined the clergy of the Cleveland Deanery for the Lenten Vespers hosted by St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Canton, Ohio. Rev. Isak Kisin of St. Stephen of Decani Serbian Orthodox Church in Columbus was the homilist.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Thursday, April 14, 2005
Mars, PA - The annual clergy confession, which traditionally occurs during the forty-day lenten period, took place on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 at the St. Nikodim of Serbia Diocesan Chapel in Mars, Pennsylvania. Some 25 clergy and 2 deacons from the Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Washington Deaneries attended. Diocesan bishop, Bishop Dr. Mitrophan, officiated at the Presanctified Liturgy, assisted by V. Rev. Stavrofor Nedeljko Grgurevic, V. Rev. Stavrofor Janko Rajlic, V. Rev. Stavrofor Stevan Stepanov and V. Rev. Stavrofor Srboljub Jockovic. Also serving were Rev. Deacons Fr. Dragoslav Kosic and Fr. Milan Medakovic. V. Rev. Mateja Matejic served as clergy confessor.
Following the liturgy Bishop Mitrophan offered an inspiring homily on the very Holy Mystery of Confession as not only a necessary means of our reconcilation with God but also with our neighbors. The bishop spoke on the great need of confessing our sins, which are not to be treated as our own personal secrets, but as "time bombs inside of us ready to explode, affecting those around us."
A lenten luncheon for the clergy was served following the service. Afterwards, the bishop once again addressed his clergy, thanking those who travelled long distances to be in attendance on this day. During this time the clergy used the oppurtunity with His Grace to discuss and make plans for various upcoming events such as the summer children's camp and the Clergy Seminar, which will take place in September.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Friday, April 8, 2005
Pittsburgh, PA - On Thursday, April 7, 2005, on the Feast of the Annunciation, His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrophan was the Retreat Master at the Clergy Retreat of the Orthodox Church in America, Diocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. At the request of His Eminence Archbishop Kyril, Bishop Mitrophan spoke to the OCA clergy on the topic "Endure and Persevere." The retreat was held at St. Mary Orthodox Church, South Side, Pittsburgh. Chancellor Fr. Paul Ziatyk had an instrumental role in the retreat. Fr. Patrick (Carpenter) is the monastic priest serving St. Mary's Church.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, April 11, 2005
Cleveland, OH - The Cleveland Cathedral of St. Sava was the host for the Deanery Lenten Vespers for the Fourth Sunday of Lent on Sunday, April 10, 2005. Besides the clergy from the deanery, Fr. Irinej Dobrijevic, consultant of the Holy Synod in Belgrade, joined the clergy for the service. Fr Irinej is a member of the delegation that has been sent by the Holy Synod to the United States for a series of talks with political leaders on, among other things, the status of the return of some 200,000 Serb and non-Albanians to Kosovo and Metohija.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Thursday, March 24, 2005
Hermitage, PA - Fr. Milovan Katanic of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Hermitage, PA and his Popadija Tatiana, are the proud parents of a new baby girl (7 lbs. and 20 inches) JELENA KATANIC, born on Thursday, March 24, 2005. Congratulations!
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, March 21, 2005
Pittsburgh, PA - The traditional pan-Orthodox Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers was served at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Cathedral on Saturday, March 19, 2005. His Grace Bishop of Eastern America, Dr. Mitrophan served at the Vespers, assisted by the clergy of the Pittsburgh Deanery of the Serbian Church and the local clergy of the Greek Archdiocese. His Emminence Metropolitan Maximos attended the service. Fr. Danilo Rogich gave the homily.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Thursday, March 10, 2005
Following the service His Grace, the bishop, delivered the following eulogy:
“For we walk by faith not by sight”
(2. Cor. 5:7)
Dear members of the family,
Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers,
Dear brothers and sisters,
of the holy Apostle Paul could fully apply to our dear Fr. Nenad. When I spoke
to him a few months ago, I asked him: “How is your health, my dear Fr. Nenad?”
He answered: “Don’t ask me, your Grace, how is my health, but rather how is my
illness. I lost my health a long time ago. But, thank God, I can still walk.”
And following the Divine Liturgy, during which he communed, he told me: “I beg
of you, your Grace, pray for me that I don’t lose my sight. It would be most
difficult for me if I couldn’t read.” And I noticed, as many of you did, that
his physical sight began to slowly decline. On the other hand, his spiritual
sight was becoming all the more clearer. But that was his faith.
Also, he always asked of his brother clergy to pray for him that he endure for a peaceful, quiet, sinless Christian ending to his life. Not only did he ask others to pray for him but he prayed as well. For what use is it to us that others pray for us if we ourselves to not pray. And the Lord granted him this peaceful and Christian ending to his life. He was not afraid of death, but, as St. John Chrysostom says, he was only afraid of sin. For death has its strength and power in sin (I Cor. 15:56) as one church hymn so beautifully states: “Before the Resurrection of Christ death was frightful for man, but after Christ’s Resurrection, man was frightful for death.”
Fr. Nenad was a man of steadfast faith. He was attacked by great physical and spiritual temptations. First, he lost his life companion, Emilija, and then two years ago he lost his son Stevan. I believe that God wanted to test his faith as He did with Abraham (Gen. 22:1). And when one fellow priest offered his sympathies saying, “Father I am sorry for your great loss.” He replied, “What loss? If my son is near Christ there is never a loss. If he is without Christ, and even if he was alive, it is a loss for me.” In all of his troubles and sufferings he was strengthen by the words of the holy Apostle Paul: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13). Therefore, he could say together with the Old Testament righteous man, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
He fought long with his illness and was never spiritually exhausted. He was aware that the temporary sufferings are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed to us (Rom. 8:18). His suffering was similar to that the righteous Job. He lived in the hope of Christ, that we when “our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.” (2 Cor. 5:1-3). Isn’t this similar to what the righteous Job says, “For I know that my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27).
All of his
faith, hope and love he rested on the Resurrected Christ. Frequently I heard
him teach others at Monastery Marcha or in this church, that the Resurrected
Christ is the center of everything. In Him is the meaning of our lives (Rom.
5:18). The words of the apostle Paul, “If Christ is not risen, then our
preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (I Cor. 15:14) were constantly
in his heart and in his soul. When Christ, or the Church, the Gospels or the Holy
Canons were in question there was no compromise with him. For him Christ was
the measure of all things. He considered all things harmful and minute compared
to the great knowledge of Christ our God. His rule was: All things should be
left behind that we might only gain Christ (Phil. 3:8). This was noticed by
many during his active ministry in this parish.
I am not aware if our dear Fr. Nenad left many written things behind. But what is most important, his writings that remain are not written on paper or stone tablets but on the bodily tablets of our hearts (2 Cor. 3:3). Every Thursday at this holy Church he regularly held religious classes for adults, interpreting the words and lives and giving drink to the thirsty from the eternal waters and feeding the hungry with the heavenly bread. This is what remains eternally and is more important than if he had written volumes and volumes of philosophical works “according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). At every occasion he taught the Orthodox souls to watch for the infectious spirit of this world, syncretism and distorted Christianity.
The hour has come for our separation from one another, but only temporarily. And I know what you would advise your son Nikola and the rest of your family and friends and acquaintances as well as your brother priests: “Do not be sorrowful like those who have no faith” (2 Thess. 4:13). Do not forget the words of Christ: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; whosoever believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (Jn. 11:25). You have now troubles and sufferings. But do not forget: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17). And I am certain you would tell them, together with St. Cyprian: “When our dear ones leave this world, we should rejoice more than be sorrowful. Remembering this truth, the holy Apostle Paul, in his epistle writes: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).
Thank you for all that you did for the Serbian Orthodox Church and your suffering people. You suffered with them as well. You passed, together with them, through the fire and the water. But just as God brought you to your rest (Heb. 4:9-11), may He also bring all of us. Thank you for your work in the parishes in which you served. Above all, your preaching of the Word of God to your spiritual children at St. Sava in Cleveland in whose hearts you formed the image of Christ (Gal. 4:19). You continued to do this “in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2). Already at this moment we begin to miss you. Do not forget us before the holy Throne of the Almighty (2 Pet. 1:15).
May your memory be eternal and may God have mercy on your soul!
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Saturday, February 26, 2005
Canton, OH - The Annual Assembly of the Diocese of Eastern America officially began on Friday February 25, 2005 with the Invocation of the Holy Spirit, which followed the evening Vespers. Besides His Grace Bishop Mitrophan there were a total of 57 participants at the assembly, consisting of 27 diocesan priests, 1 visiting priest, 3 deacons, 15 presidents, 14 delegates, 4 observers from a total of 32 churches.
In his annual report Bishop Mitrophan mentioned the different activities and archpastoral visits he made the previous year, which included a number of church anniversary celebrations. The diocese received four new priests: Fr. Milan Pajic from the Canadian Diocese, Protonamesnik Fr. Ivan Marjanovic from the Diocese of Zica, Fr. Ljubisa Brnjos from the Diocese of Zahum and Hercegovina and Deacon Perica Zivanovic from the Diocese of Temishvar. Two parishes were received from the New Gracanica Metropolinate: St. Luke the Apostle in Washington, DC and Holy Resurrection in Lebanon, PA.
The bishop mentioned parishes such as Aliquippa, St. Petersburg, Charlotte, Jacksonville, and Patterson, NJ that have done work on renovation in the past year. In addition to this, work has been done on the frescoes at the diocesan chapel. However, the largest scale job is definitely the much work that has been accomplished and is still needed at the Cathedral of St. Sava in New York City, for which His Grace commended the parish priest, the church board and building committee and all the many parishioners who have been a strong support in the efforts. Under future projects His Grace mentioned the fact that the debt on Monastery Marcha has been paid off in the past year and soon new projects at the monastery will be taken on. The Boston parish is currently seeking to purchase a church and plans are being drawn up for the Chapel of St. Arsenije of Srem in Charlotte.
A highlight for the diocese last year was certainly the first annual Diocesan Days which, God willing, will become a standing tradition in the coming years. Bishop shifted his concerns to our suffering brothers and sisters in Kosovo and all the work that our diocese has attempted to do in aiding our brethren, not to mention the fire at Monastery Hilandar and our efforts there. His concerns then moved to the spiritual state of our Serbian people as he quoted an observation of Bishop Nikolaj from 1920, in which the late hierarch lamented on the lack of participation our people put in the life of their holy church, adding that this description can easily be attributed to our people today. In his closing remarks, he called upon everyone to work together: for those born in America to use their experiences in helping the newcomers get assimilated and for the newcomers to offer the freshness of our old Serbian Orthodox tradition from the old country in the life of their new parishes.
Among the other reports was the Diocesan Relief Committee submitted by Fr. Rajko Kosic of Pittsburgh. Fr. Rajko thanked Mr. Milan Puskar for his donation of pharmaceuticals as well as Dr. Nenad Janicijevic who was instrumental with the collection and shipment of the medicine. During the past year three containers were sent to Serbia, however shipments will no longer be able to be sent directly to Serbia due to legal changes in the Serbian government. The committee is presently looking into sending medical supplies to Republika Srpska however Fr. Rajko emphasized the desperate need of monetary aid and called upon all priests and parish representatives to continue their work.
As the assembly was drawing to a close V. Rev. Rade Merick of Stuebenville, Ohio returned to a topic mentioned by the bishop in his report of the diocesan days and announced the days of this year’s event to be: Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7, 2005. The theme will be “Called To Be Orthodox”. Speakers will include Abbot Gerasim and Fr. Damascene of St. Herman Monastery, both of whom are converts to the Orthodox faith and from this perspective will be able to reveal to many of us cradle Orthodox the beauty and, indeed, the “calling” of being Orthodox. Also, tentative speakers are Fr. Vojislav Bilbija from the Netherlands, who will both speak to the youth and entertain them with both spiritual and religious music. Another suggested speaker/entertainer is Peter Jon Gillguist, who similarly to Fr. Vojislav, will both talk and play spiritual music for our diocesan youth. Diocesan churches will receive more details in the months to come. This year’s Diocesan Days will also include the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new children’s cabins at the camp.
The second day of the Diocesan Annual assembly began promptly at 8:00 am on Saturday, February 26, 2005, the feast of St. Symeon the Myrrh-flowing, with the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy which was attended by all assembly participants. Following liturgy the new members of the Diocesan Council were sworn into office.
Fr. Aleksandar Vlajkovic of Boston offered a presentation after breakfast, on the theme of the role the priest plays in our parishes in America. He touched on many different aspects of the priesthood, defining in detail the difference between the clergy and the laity, pointing out the similarities in the two and how it takes both the clergy and the laity to serve God in the Divine Liturgy. Besides theological points, he also touched on topics which concern all priests in parishes today such as: the use of the Serbian language versus English; the challenges of the influx of newcomers in our parishes, etc.
Following this presentation Sam Cugalj continued the meeting by reminding all participants of the 2003 decision for our church to move towards full acceptance of stewardship in our parishes. He gave a moving and uplifting speech on the importance of this form of giving by saying that it is far from being a gimmick or a money-making scheme but a part of our spiritual life and is just as important as taking confession and communion. Stewardship must not be confused with the financial end of our parish administrative work and is not another form of pledging, rather it is purely a religious issue. "Our time and talents," he added, "we must return to God."
As the meeting came to a close the Midland parish delegate announced that their Kolo Sestara will be celebrating their 75th anniversary in the fall of this year and that they would be sending more information to parishes in the near future. In addition, V. Rev. Stavrofor Dragoljub Malich invited everyone to join them on Labor Day Weekend for the 100th Anniversary of the Monroeville parish. Special mention was given to Episcopal Deputy V. Rev. Stavrofor Nedeljko Grgurevich of Johnstown, PA who will be going into retirement this year. With the deacon’s intonation the entire assembly sang a heartfelf “Mnogaja Ljeta” for Proto Nedeljko.
Special thanks went to our hosts V. Rev. Dragan Filipovic, the Kolo Sestara who prepared such a wonderful breakfast and luncheon and all the parishioners of St. George in Canton, Ohio for their warm welcome and gracious hospitality at this year’s assembly. Before the meeting came to a close the Midland parish accepted to be the host for the 2006 Annual Diocesan Assembly.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Thursday, February 10, 2005
Aliquippa, PA - At the start of the Church School year, Fr. Stevan Stepanov talked with the Church School teachers about finding innovative ways to teach about the importance of Advent and its religious, traditional, and cultural meanings.
He wanted our students to understand that Advent is more than the period before Christmas and that as Orthodox Christians, we have the responsibility to do more than shop. Furthermore, that we are unique in that we do not really begin “celebrating” the birth of Christ until Christmas day, and that Advent is a time reflecting upon our faith, our families, and our community.
Taking up this challenge, the Sunday School teachers came up with a series of activities to meet Fr. Stevan’s goals, which began with an Advent Gathering in the church hall on Saturday, December 11, 2004. Conceived by Georgette Osman, the Gathering was an opportunity for St. Elijah’s students to extend their hearts and hands to less fortunate children in Beaver and Allegheny Counties. In order to gain “admittance”, each child had to bring a new gift that would be distributed to a child service by the Beaver County Children & Youth Services or Northwest Human Services. Mothers Club members and Sunday School teachers assisted the students in wrapping each gift and marking it for a “boy” or “girl” and an age. They were treated to a Lenten luncheon, had the opportunity to make Christmas crafts and ornaments, and were taught to sing the St. Nicholas Hymn in Serbian and English. Fr. Stevan then gathered the students to discuss the beauty of giving to others as instructed in the Bible and how we should spend some of our time during Advent helping those in need. The day concluded with evening prayers, at which time Fr. Stevan presented each child with a wonderful booklet he had prepared with Orthodox prayers that should be read each morning and evening.
This was a prelude to Sunday, December 19, 2004, which was both St. Nicholas Day and Detinci or Children’s Day. As one of Fr. Stevan’s most happy childhood memories from Serbia is the celebration of Detinci, Materice, and Ocevi, he asked that the Sunday School demonstrate this tradition in church.
Therefore, twenty-one students from pre-school to twelfth grade were chosen at random to participate; adults from the various church organizations were then chosen to be their partners. So, on each of these three Sundays, following the Divine Liturgy, seven students and adults came to the front of the altar to be “tied up”, and then released with the presentation of a small gift provided by the Mother’s Club. We took this opportunity to teach the congregation that the “tying up” is symbolic of the strong bonds between generations of Serbian families and that we should be thankful for each other. Children should be especially appreciative of the time and commitment that their parents, grandparents, kumovi, and others give to them daily. We are hopeful that more Aliquippa families will begin celebrating these days at home to keep alive this special Serbian tradition.
As this was also St. Nicholas Day, a special choir made up of most of our Sunday School students sang the St. Nicholas Hymn during the offertory. The congregation listened with great joy at the sound of these beautiful young voices. Following the Divine Liturgy, the Mother’s Club presented each child in attendance with a gift of a prayer rope bracelet.
On Monday, December 27, 2004 the St. Elijah Youth Group members made their annual visits to our homebound parishioners. Working in three teams, our teens visited over thirty older church members who Fr. Stevan has identified as no longer being able to attend Sunday services. In addition to their cheerful greetings, each older parishioner was presented with a gift bag filled with the Sunday bulletin, 2005 church calendar, personal care items, treats, a small gift, and a fresh-baked pogaca! Especially meaningful was one carload of teens who had been given donations throughout the day from grateful family members who appreciated their efforts to cheer up our seniors. This money had been intended for the use of the Youth Group; however, they decided to give it to one homebound parishioner who is having an especially difficult year. This was a true demonstration of the Advent spirit, where giving is more important than receiving. Participating this year were Youth Group members Natasa Cvetkovic, Adam Loverich, George Milosh, Alex Osman, Laura Ralich, Sarah Ralich, Melissa Ridjaneck, Alexis Sergeant, Natalie Suder, and Cera Trkulja joined by junior volunteers Jovana Cvetkovic, Jessica Osman, and Bobby Suder. Adult helpers were Billie Brnilovich, Brian Hayden, Kathy Loverich, Georgette Osman, and Darcey Suder.
Finally, our Advent activities came to a joyous conclusion on Thursday, January 6, 2005 with Badnjidan. In addition to our traditional Badnjidan service and yule log burning, our Sunday School did a special play representing a visit from Polaznik, or the first visitor to the home on Christmas morning. The students demonstrated the traditional way a Serbian family prepares for Christmas morning with chesnica filled with a coin.
Featured in this play were students John Buffalini, Jessica Osman, Garrett Cheran, Michael Malobabich, Bobby Suder, Dominic Tomei, George Milosh, Stephanie August, Kylie Chichester, Luke Megaludis, and Alex Osman accompanied by our Sunday School choir. This play was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Nellie Lampich who committed -over fifty years to the St. Elijah Sunday School and passed away recently. We would like to thank all of the Sunday School teachers who made this evening successful, Joann Ludovico, Dayna Milich, and Juliann Taylor who planned the Christmas program, Georgianna Kross, this year’s Sunday School co-ordinator, Milana Milosh who doubled as piano accompanist, and Barb Buffalini, Brian Hayden, Dawn Kosanovich, Georgette Osman, Lynn Popovich, Darcey Suder.
We were pleased that our students of all ages embraced our Advent activities with such enthusiasm and excitement. We believe that we met Fr. Stevan’s goals of not only teaching but living the real meaning of Advent’s Christian principles. This gave our young people a little more to do during their Christmas break than spend time at the mall or in front of the television, but instead to enjoy fellowship, share their Serbian traditions, and live their Orthodox faith.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, February 7, 2005
Jacksonville, FL - This past weekend, February 5-6, 2005, His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America visited the parish in Jacksonville, FL where he blessed this parish’s new place of worship.
His Grace first visited the community and parish of St. Petka in Orlando. Following Vespers, served by parish priest Fr. Ljubisa Brnjos, a meeting was held with the parish priest and members of the board, sworn in after Vespers. Topics discussed at the meeting varied, focusing on the progress of this small community in central Florida and the possible building of the a church on the Longwood property since the existing building is already in worn down and this would be the best time to begin such a project.
In his homily Bishop Mitrophan touched on the living examples of Christian love and mercy and then called on the people to help their brothers and sisters in Kosovo and Metohija, a plea that was issued only a few days prior to this by the Holy Synod, issuing an urgent appeal. Following the Divine Liturgy the sisters prepared a wonderful luncheon for all of their dear guests. Talking to the newly elected members of the parish Trusteeship following the lunch, Bishop suggested that they prepare themselves financially that a full time priest might be sent to them as soon as possible. The members agreed with His Grace and hope that they will be ready by the coming fall, for their Church Slava. With God’s help, therefore, our Clergy brotherhood of Florida might become bigger in the coming months, while the faithful of Jacksonville and the church will receive a pastor and leader.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, January 31, 2005
Boston, MA - The celebration of St. Sava in the Boston parish began on Wednesday January 26 on the eve of the feast with Great Vespers. Divine Liturgy was served on the day of the feast while the central celebration of St. Sava took place on Sunday January 30. The Divine Liturgy was officiated by His Grace Bishop Mitrophan who was assisted by Protonamesnik Fr. Ivan Marjanovic of Portland and Protonamesnik Fr. Aleksandar Vlajkovic of Boston. The kumovi for this year’s celebration of St. Sava, which is both the church and school Slava of the Boston parish, were Petar and Vera Velickovic with their children.
In addressing the faithful, His Grace, among other things, said, “We celebrate today the beautiful Saints of faith, examples of faith. One of them is an example of faith, St. Anthony the Great, the wonderworker and ascetic who reached an old age. Can you imagine that in the desert of Egypt he spent over one hundred years living in strict monastic asectism? Living with what? With faith and prayer. Today we celebrate another saint of faith and prayer who left everything. He left his father’s house. He could have been a prince, maybe a king. Who knows, judging by his capabilities he could of even been an emperor. But he left all of this behind and who did he follow? Maybe he cried like the blind Barthimius: have mercy on me and open my eyes. What eyes? The physical ones? No. St. Sava had physical sight. He wanted the Lord to open his spiritual sight. Today’s example speaks to us, dear brothers and sisters, that we should never fall in despair, whatever might happen to us. We should always have faith in God.
Through the prayers of the holy Saint, our father Sava and our holy father Anthony the Great and all the saints help us that we receive the faith as did the blind Barthimius, that we be given not physical sight but spiritual. That we be able to see Christ in our hearts. We will be able to see Him if we pray and desire Him with our whole heart. If we love Him more than anything else He will never leave us. I congratulate you, dear brothers and sisters, on today’s Slava, both ours and yours, the Slava of all Serbs, especially our children, of St. Sava, who built churches and monasteries, schools and taught children, but also adults, to pray to God. Ziveli and happy Slava!”
After the cutting of the Kolach the celebration continued in the church hall which was too small to receive all those who came that day to church. The chidlren’s program followed the luncheon. Twenty five children took part in the program. Bishop Mitrophan addressed the children following the program, saying the Christ and St. Sava are their most teachers. Among other things, bishop stated, “Never forget, dear children, you will have many teachers and many professors but your best professors are your parents. Your best professors are holy people. Your best teacher, as St. Climent of Alexandria says, is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the best pedagogue who shows us how we are to live by example. No one showed us better than Jesus Christ. May your Slava be joyous and may St. Sava keep you and guard you. I finish with the prayer of our great Bishop: God grant that Serbs become united, that they turn to God and multiply. Ziveli!
Following the program the children received a blessing from His Grace and gifts. This was truly one more blessed day in the life of the Boston parish, under the omophorion of St. Sava.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, January 31, 2005
Portland, ME - St. Sava was formally celebrated in the church of St. Demetrius in Portland this year on Saturday January 29, 2005. In the presence of His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America, Fr. Aleksandar of Boston, Fr. John and Fr. Vasilije of the Greek Church, the celebration began with the evening Vesper service. Following the service Bishop Mitrophan cut the Slava Kolach with kum Milovan Krsmanovic. In his sermon Bishop Mitrophan spoke about St. Sava and those passing and eternal things in our lives, which the faithful, who filled the church, listened intently. Around twenty children took part in the program after which the bishop handed out little gifts to each of them. Following this, the celebration continued in the church hall with dinner which was accompanied by the sounds of our young and talented violin players.
Rev. Protonamesnik Ivan Marjanovic of Portland
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Friday, January 28, 2005
Washington, DC - Just before the new year, our new altar table, hand-carved and imported from Greece arrived at our property and was assembled. This is the central piece in the renewal of our church here in the Metro Washington area. Over the past few months, we had acquired many items used in liturgical worship services, all hand-crafted. Now that the altar table has arrived and resides in our temporary chapel, we now focus on our greatest task, the renovation of our current building to provide a larger, more suitable worship space.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, January 31, 2005
Carmichaels, PA - The annual St.Sava Day celebration was held at the St.George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels on Sunday January 30, 2005. During the Divine Liturgy, the Festal Bread(Slavski Kolach) and Memorial Wheat(Kolivo) were blessed.
Prayers were offered for the departed teachers and students of the St.George Church School. Prayers were offered for the living supporters and participants of the St.George Church School.
Faithful parishioner Joseph Katusa was the honored Kum for the celebration. The St.George Choir under the direction of Sonia Janson sang the responses at the Divine Liturgy and sang at the dinner in the church hall.
At the dinner, Parish Executive Board President Stan Brozik warmly welcomed parishioners and guests to the celebration. Executive Board Vice President and Altar server Dr.Ivko Dimitric gave an extensive presentation on the life of St. Sava.
Kolo President Sonia Janson expressed congratulatory remarks in behalf of the St.George Kolo. The St.George Kolo prepared the wonderful dinner for the celebration.
Tributes to St.Sava were read by Millicent Mitzie Hunchuck, Djelosh Milosevich, Mildred Belch, Mildred Jones, Mary Trbovich, Andrea Janson and Louis Yancich Jr.
Father Rumen Stoychev from the Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, Masontown, Pennsylvania was in attendance and stated his joy of being able to be present.
St.Sava Day celebrations are held in the St.George Church each year in late January. The celebrations reflect the love of the Serbian People for St.Sava and acknowledge the important contributions St.Sava has made through the centuries for Orthodox Christians everywhere.
Father Rodney Torbic
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Fairmont, WV - On Monday, January 31, 2005 following the Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Mission in Fairmont, West Virginia, once again, time was taken to honor and pay tribute to St.Sava, First Serbian Archbishop and Enlightener.
Maria Djonovich and Niko Illich shared their detailed memories of St. Sava celebrations of long ago. Mike Danko, Sharren Paroda and Rose Illich joined with Maria Djonovich and Niko Illich in reading poetic tributes to St.Sava. Anna Yaremchuh is a faithful witness at each of these celebrations, reflecting her deep commitment to the growth of the Mission.
Though the Holy Trinity Mission is small in number of parishioners, time is taken every year to remember and pay tribute to St. Sava. Through the prayers of St. Sava, may the Mission continue to develop.
Located at 408 Morgantown Avenue, Fairmont, West Virginia, the Divine Liturgy is held at least twice monthly. The Mission has a chapel and small social area. It is the only Serbian Orthodox Church physically located in West Virginia.
A common meal is shared following each Divine Liturgy. Orthodox visitors travelling through Fairmont are pleasantly surprised when visiting the chapel.
A bulletin is mailed to interested individuals within and outside of West Virginia. Inquiries and visitors are always welcome.
Father Rodney Torbic
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, January 31, 2005
ST. SAVA PROGRAM AND CHURCH SLAVA IN ST. PETERSBURG
St. Petersburg, FL - Although it was on Thursday January 27th that Serbian churches throughout the world celebrated the feast day of the first archbishop of Serbia - St. Sava, many churches observed the feast with traditional children's programs this past weekend.
Along with the children's programs the churches in New York, Boston, Cleveland and St. Petersburg also celebrated their Church Slava. Images below are from the parish in St. Petersburg, FL where Fr. Stephen Zaremba, together with the children of the parish, festively celebrated their Church Slava.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, January 24, 2005
SERBIAN TRIPLETS PERFORM AT SERBIAN CHURCHES
Diocesan Headquarters - The Serbian triplets, Vera, Nada and Slobodan Brkic performed at Pittsburgh area churches over the past weekend. During their stay at St. Nicholas Church in Monroeville, PA they traveled to northern Pennsylvania where they were guests of Fr. Milovan Katanic and the parishioners of St. George in Hermitage on the evening of Friday January 21. On Sunday after liturgy they performed at Monroeville and then traveled to St. Sava Church in Cleveland, Ohio where they were welcomed by V. Rev. Protojerej-stavrofor Djuro Majerle and Rev. Zivojin Jakovljevic and all the Cleveland Serbs. Collections were taken at all churches to go towards the further medical treatments for Nada and Slobodan Brkic who, because of a faulty incubator, are blind.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, January 10, 2005
LANGUAGE AS A PROTECTOR OF OUR ROOTS
Cleveland, OH - On Saturday January 8, 2005, the second day of Christmas, a Christmas Program with a dance following, was held at the church hall of St. Sava Cathedral in Cleveland. The event was organized by the School Board, teachers and students and of the St. Sava Serbian School. Clergy, headed by His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America, attended the event, showing their support to the children.
At the beginning of the program Cathedral dean, Fr. Zivojin Jakovljevic, thanked Bishop Mitrophan, the clergy and all those who came in such great numbers. This was followed by the children singing the St. Sava Hymn.
The program was led by the President of the Serbian School, Goran Debelnogic. He began the program by thanking all attending clergy and parishioners. "Since we considered the Birth of Christ to be the most joyous day, a day of our children's joy, we considered it most appropriate for the first program of our school, which open's new oppurtunities for our future in this area, holding on to that folk saying: "plant the fields for future days and work in the fields from all sides." All of you, dear brothers and sisters, who came this evening, I thank from the bottom of my heart. That which guided us in organzing this evening's event is perhaps best illustrated by the old verses: "from my heart I've retained three beautiful gifts, the Serbian name, the sword and blood which in the heart boils, and from my mother the holy gifts of the Serbian language and altar." Our little ones will demonstrate to all of us the need and significance of our Serbian school and for this reason we are reminded of the words, "hold schools, the children beg of you, for is there greater shame than to give your children a vision." Truly it is a wonder that even here, away from our homeland, we have such a school and that it exists through the efforts of those who have been entrusted with the enlightment of our young ones - the teachers of our school. We take this oppurtunity to introduce them, to thank them for their hard work, especially for their enthusiasm, which they demonstrate both in the classroom and outside, as this program, for example, proves as they have spent countless hours preparing the children. Nada Mirkovic is the first grade teacher. Mira Lazic is the second grade teacher. Jovan Gulic is the third grade teacher. Gordana, who is not present this evening, works with the children who do not know Serbian," said Goran Debelnogic.
The youngest children were first to perform, with a recital and a dramatic part, while brother and sister Jelena and Stefan Debelnogic sang the Montenegrin song, "Sing Maro". Following this, the second and third graders performed. The children, the majority born in America, demonastrated to all those in attendance the stength of the Serbian school.
All three grades competed in art words on the themes of: Christmas, the Nativity of Christ and Christmas as celebrated by the Serbs in their home. The older students also competed in written works on given themes: "letters to family in the homeland" or the theme, "personal Christmas experiences". The works were graded by the teachers of the school, a memeber of the school board Dejan Markovic, Milan Kecman of the Cleveland newspaper the "Plain Dealer".
The members of the school baord, Branimir Stankovic Buca and Boro Vukovic announced the top three places in each category. The winners received diplomas and awards. The winners of the written works, Jelena Debelnogic and Jelena Majstorovic, read their works.
At the end of the program Goran Djogo, of the school board, addressed the crowd: "Dear brothers and sisters, I don't wish to be long as the program has been quite extensive. On behalf of school board I would like to thank His Grace Bishop Mitrophan for finding the time to attend this event and support our children and parents. I would also like to thank the reverend fathers, Proto Vasilije, to our priest Fr. Zivojin and deacon Milan, who supported us and continue to support us in our work. I would like to thank our parents for the time they have dedicated and the care they have for their children in educating them in the Serbian language, Christian education, Serbian culture and history. I wish to thank the parents on their expectional work with the children and all of you who came this evening in support of our little ones. I wish to thank sister Jelka and sister Gina Aleksandrovic and all the mothers of our children who prepared the food for this evening. Thank you greatly for your efforts. I wish to also thank the fathers who worked in the background for this evening's event," said Goran Djogo. Following this Goran introduced Bishop Mitrophan.
"Very Reverend, Reverend fathers, dear teachers and children. An old Latin saying states, 'a good start is half the work'. I think that you have started very good and wish that you only continue in this fashion. Our people have rephrased this saying, "he who labors God will give strength". God will give you strength. I also thank you for your efforts, I thank Fr. Zivojin and all of those who work with you, together with all the parents, for without the parents we can do nothing. To our children I wish to say that they not forget who they are, that they not forget their name nor their history, that, above all, they not forget their faith. Only this way, through this rememberance of our history and our ancestors, we will continue our existence in this great country. With all of my heart, I greet all of you with the joyous greeting, "Christ is Born" and wish you a happy St. Sava slava for many years," said Bishop Mitrophan.
A dance followed the program with Drago Micic of Zuta Osa, playing.
[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, January 10, 2005
Diocesan Headquarters - In parishes throughout the Serbian Orthodox Dioces of Eastern America, from New York City to Miami and even the parishes of South America, the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - Christmas, was festively celebrated. His Grace Bishop Mitorphan joined V. Rev. Stavrofor Stevan Stepanov at St. Elijah Serbian Church in Aliquippa, Pa for the feast, where he officiated at the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.
Below are images from a few of our parishes. If you have any pictures from the Badnje Vece or Christmas Liturgy at your parish please email them to us at