2011 Archived News

[Archived News] Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos in Elizabeth, NJ

Elizabeth, NJ - On the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos, St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Elizabeth, NJ was blessed to be visited by St. Righteous Anna with her Most Pure Daughter and Ever-Virgin Mary and St. Nikolai ofZhicha, the Serbian Chrysostom.

With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America and Fr. Igumen Sergius, Abbot of St. Tikhon’sMonastery, our dear friend Archimandrite Athanasy(Mastalsky) brought the miracle-working myrrh streaming icon of St. Righteous Anna with her holy relics and the complete vestments of St. Nikolai, together with the icon with his holy relics. We were all overwhelmed with such spiritual joy that no words can describe.

After the Divine Liturgy served by Fr. Athanasy, Fr.Toma Popovic and our parish priest Fr. Zoran Radovic, we went in a procession around our recently restored church with the holy icons. In the church the kolachand zhito were blessed and prayers to the Most HolyTheotokos, Saint Anna and Saint Nikolai offered by the officiating clergy.

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[Archived News] Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bishop Mitrophan Visits Atlanta Parish for Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos  

Atlanta, GA - His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN celebrated Vavedenje Presvete Bogorodice, the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple,  joining Rev. Miladin Blagojevic and his parishioners on Sunday, December 4, 2011. for the  Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.

When addressing the faithful His Grace Dr. Bishop Mitrophan expressed  the importance of love towards God, but also the stressed out how important it is to love and respect each other.

Once again our dear Kolo sisters have  worked hard and prepared yet another delicious lunch for all the parishioners.  Following the lunch, board president Mrs. Milana Saulinier and Fr. Miladin  expressed their deep gratitude for Bishop’s visit as well as thanked parishioners for coming.

Bishop Mitrophan once again greeted the parishioners and spoke of the direction he sees for the  Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Atlanta.  That vision and directions is buying a piece of land and building the church.

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[Archived News] Tuesday, November 15, 2011

St. Sava Church Displays New Icon-Windows On Its 110th Anniversary

McKeesport, PA - The St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church kicked off its 110th Anniversary with Great Vespers on Saturday evening, with the St. Sava Choir singing responses, and a dance afterwards in the hall, with music provided by Orkestrar Pobeda.

Five years of planning and fundraising for new stained glass Icon-windows at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church of McKeesport-Duquesne came to fruition on Sunday morning, October 30, 2011, with their blessing by His Grace, the Rt. Reverend Dr. Mitrofan prior to the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.  His Grace read the prayers for the Blessing of Icons, naming all the saints represented on the beautiful windows including:  Protection of the Theotokos, St. Nikolai of Zicha, Sts. Cosmas and Damian, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, St. George the Great Martyr, Sts. Sava and Simeon,  St. Lazar of Kosovo, and St. Petka (Paraskeva) of Serbia.  Assisted by the host pastor, Proto Stevan (Stevo) Rocknage, He then proceeded to bless each individual window with Holy Water.

The consecration of the windows marked the 110th anniversary of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church of McKeesport-Duquesne. From humble beginnings by Serbian and Russian immigrants who purchased a small wood frame church in downtown McKeesport in 1901, the dedication and sacrifice of those early newcomers flourished through the decades to the growth of the current congregation.

The church commissioned Conrad Schmitt Studios Inc. of Milwaukee to design and install the windows. Meticulously designed and crafted new stained glass windows are created by CSS artists and craftsmen in a variety of styles each year. In addition to their expertise in art glass, the Studio has provided the decorative painting and restoration for some of the most beautiful churches, theatres, hotels and civic spaces in the United States. Their excellent work is truly reflected in the new windows at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church.

In addition to His Grace, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy con-celebrants included Proto Stevan Rocknage and his son, Reverend Christopher Rocknage, pastor at Holy Resurrection of Christ parish in Lebanon, Pa.. They were assisted by Reverend Deacon Ned Trbovich and Reader Joseph Lia.  In a surpise to all, at the Little Entrance of the Divine Liturgy, His Grace Bishop Mitrophan awarded the “Right of Wearing the Pectoral Cross” to Fr. Stevo.  His Grace's Proclamation, read by Fr. Christopher in church, states: "Through his zeal in the service of the Priesthood, and for his dedicated and fruitful pastoral work, for his enormous contribution and work with our youth, as well as for his great efforts and support of our Shadeland Camp, be it known that Proto-Presbyter Stevan Rocknage is deserving of the recognition of our Holy Serbian Orthodox Church. Therefore we award him with the Right Of Wearing The Pectoral Cross, trusting that this highest award of the Serbian Orthodox Church shall inspire him to continue with even greater zeal to perform such good works in the Church, for the well-being of our Church in the United States and Canada."  

Our St. Sava Choir broke out in a spontaneous “Mnogaja Ljeta!” and there were many tears of joy by the faithful!

Bishop Mitrophan gave a beautiful homily based on the miracle of the raising of the widow of Nain’s son.   He stressed the need to remember the sacrifices made by the generations before us, and exhorted us to do the same, reminding us that the light and joy of Christ is celebrated in all Orthodox churches and monasteries throughout the world.  In this joy of Christ a large number of communicants received Holy Communion from His Grace during the Holy Liturgy.

The St. Sava Church Choir, under the direction of Michael Vranesevich and assisted by Mary Magdic, sang the Liturgical responses.  Proto Stevo gave closing remarks, welcoming and thanking His Grace for coming on this very special day to be with us.  He then invited everyone downstairs to the sold-out banquet to continue the celebration in the church social hall.

To begin the festivities, President Steve Kracinovsky welcomed parishoners and guests and invited His Grace to give the invocation. Orkestar Pobeda again provided traditional Serbian music during the banquet.  Parishoners and guests joined in the festivities with animated conversations and laughter!

After-dinner remarks were given by Bishop Mitrophan, Steve Kracinovsky, and Proto Stevo Rocknage.  Proto Stevo called upon Founders' Circle sponsors of the St. Sava Window Fund to come forward and be recognized.  Founders' Circle sponsors contributed $5,000 or more to the capital campaign.  They included: Nick and Mitzi Pilipovich, George Pilipovich, and Cathy Obradovich.  Founders' Circle sponsors who were not present at the banquet included:  Dush and Jennifer Mrvos, Helen Tankosic, Dolores Hess, and the Radakovich Family. All individual Founders' Circle sponsors were presented an icon of St. Sava in gratitude for their support. The St. Sava Men’s Club and Sisterhood were also Founders’ Circle sponsors.  Parish Organizations did not receive an icon.

In another surprise to all, two Citations of Recognition, officially known as an "Episcopal Gramatas," were awarded by His Grace, to Danica (Dee Dee) Baskot and (Church Treasurer) James Brady. These awards are given by the Diocesan Bishop for outstanding service by a layperson in our Serbian Orthodox Church.   Mrs. Baskot received the Gramata for her many good works in our parish and the Diocese and as Holy Trinity Kolo President.  Jim Brady received the Gramata for his work and dedication for chairing the windows project and Parish Stewardship.  All present broke out in spontaneous singing of “Mnogaja Ljeta” when the awards were presented.
In another wonderful gesture, the Parish Council also recognized all organization officers and members who have been at St. Sava for 50-plus years.  They were presented with a yellow rose boutonniere when they arrived at Church.  In addition, everyone present at the Anniversary received an icon pin of St. Sava as a gift from the parish. The beautiful 110th Anniversary Celebration souvenir books were designed and produced by parishoners Susan Vilushis and Nancy Belich.

In concluding the banquet with his remarks, Proto Stevo Rocknage said that a Bishop at the recent Pan-Orthodox Youth Council Meeting in South Carolina remarked, “Many people say that ‘the youth are the future’ of the Church.  In fact, it is the other way around. The Church is the future of our youth.” As our Holy  Orthodox Church continues to grow, our youth are expected to carry on the work of their parents and grandparents to preserve the Church.

Proto Rocknage stated, “May the Lord be with you and your loved ones today and all the days of your lives! “Ziveli, I na Mnogaja Ljeta!”

After Bishop Mitrophan gave the closing blessing, Orkstrar Pobeda continued their wonderful playing into the late afternoon.


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[Archived News] Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kolo Slava Celebrated in Miami

Miami, FL - The Circle of Serbian Sisters of St. Simeon Serbian Orthodox Church of Miami, Florida, festively celebrated their 32nd Krsna Slava, Sv. Petka, on Sunday, October 30, 2011.  Parish priest, Protojerej Svetozar Veselinovich officiated at the Divine Liturgy. Co-celebrating with him were  Protojerej-stavrophor Stokan Cirkovic, currently visiting from Serbia (who had served as parish priest in Miami from 1991 -1999),  and Protojerej-stavrophor Lazar Kostur, retired dean of  St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Merrillville, IN. 

Kumovi for this year's slava were Dr. Zoran  and Mrs. Biljana Drmanovic and Family. 

Prota Svetozar warmly greeted all the guests, thanked everyone for joining in this wonderful occasion.  He paid special tribute to the dedicated sisters of the parish who work so diligently and selflessly, to insure the existence of our church. 

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[Archived News] Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eastern Diocese Holds Annual Clergy Seminar

Shadeland, PA - His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN has been consistent in holding seminars for clergy of the Eastern American Diocese as a form of continuing education. Clergy at all levels of education and experience are required to keep abreast of contemporary societal issues and gather to collectively reflect on matters of importance in parish life.

On Wednesday evening, November 9 and Thursday, November 10, 2011 well over twenty clergy from the Eastern American Diocese gathered at the Monastery of the Mother of God-St. Sava Camp, Shadeland in Springboro, Pennsylvania for a period of reflection, discussion and serious learning.

Following the Vespers and evening meal on Wednesday, His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN reviewed His recent trip to Romania illustrated with visual presentations of monastic life in Romania and the major annual pilgrimage in honor of St. Parasceva.

Clergy in attendance from the Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Washington Deaneries had the opportunity to hear of His Grace’s recent experiences in Romania and learn of the extensive Christian witness of Orthodox monastics and faithful.

The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Thursday morning, the day the Serbian Orthodox Church was commemorating St. Arsenije of Srem.  Six priests and one protodeacon served with His Grace at the Divine Liturgy.

Archimandrite Demetrios Carellas, Chaplain at the Greek Orthodox Women’s Monastery in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania was the featured seminar speaker. Archimandrite Carellas is a noted conference speaker in many different locations on this continent. He is a spiritual father to a large number of faithful and has a very extensive internet ministry.

Father Carellas focused his talk on the horrors and widespread ills of abortion. Father Demetri centered attention on the mothers receiving abortions, the physicians and others assisting in abortions, on lawyers, judges and politicians supporting and fostering abortion and on positive steps that can be taken to reduce abortions. Father Demetrios was passionate, articulate and graphic in his presentation.

The Monastery of the Mother of God Church and the facilities of St. Sava Camp-Shadeland provide an atmosphere conducive for inspired learning.

The Eastern Region Kolo Federation Sisters graciously agreed to prepare the meals for the seminar. KSS President Millie Radovick, KSS Vice-President DeeDee Baskot, former KSSPresident Olga Dimitrijevic and Kolo member Angeline Stojanovich consistently are supportive of efforts to develop programs at Shadeland. Scott and Lorrie Felix devote their time in making sure the facilities at Shadeland readily accommodate the seminar needs.

Protopresbyter Stavrofor Stevo Rocknage made a presentation and distributed information regarding the forthcoming Oratorical Festival of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

 The Sixth Annual Winter Youth Retreat of the Eastern American Diocese to be held at Shadeland  December 27-30,2011was  discussed and applications were distributed.The Winter Retreat theme is “That whosover believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”(Jn.3:15)

Clergy travelled from as far away as Philadelphia and South Canaan in eastern Pennsylvania and from Columbus, Ohio in the western part of the Diocese.  Most of the clergy in attendance travelled significant distances to actively participate in the seminar.

The clergy in attendance demonstrated their commitment and understanding of the need for continuing education by their presence and participation. Thank God for this very well-attended and informative seminar.

Father Rodney Torbic

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[Archived News] Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Неколико хиљада ходочасника поклонило се Моштима Преподобне Мајке Параскеве

Јаши, Румунија - И ове године 14.октобра када се празник Преподобне Мати Параскеве прославља по новом календару у румунски град Јаши се окупило више хиљада ходочасника из читавога света како би се поклонили Моштима ове велике Светитељке.

Треба истаћи да пет дана пред сам празник Мошти су биле изложене под балдахин прелепо украшен цветним аранжманима који се налази на платоу испред саме катедралне митрополијске цркве. Од тренутка када су у литији Мошти постављене народ је форморао ред који се није смањивао до 16.октобра када су поново враћене у катедралу. Према последњим статистичким подацима поклонило се близу две стотине хиљада људи који су на реду чекали  дан и ноћ.Народ је мирно молитвено стајао у реду  чекајући  и по десет сати да дође на ред да се поклони. Житељи града Јаши водећи бригу о ходочасницима трудили су се да свакоме олакшају стјање у реду у хладним јесењим ноћима тако што су свакоме приуштили шољу топлога чаја,кафе или пак нешто од хране.  Будући да је овде дугогодишња традиција да у дане празника поред Моштију Свете Петке се доносе и Мошти других Светитеља из других земаља,ове године  клир и верни народ имали су прилику да се поклоне Моштима Светога Поликарпа епископа смирског које је на поклоњење донео Његово Високопреосвештенство митрополит Јеротеј Влахос из Грчке.

На сам празник 14.октобра Његово Високопреосвештенство Митрополит Молдове и Буковине Теофан служио је Свету архијерејску  Литургију уз саслужење више јерараха не само из румунске него и из грчке,бугарске и Српске Православне Цркве.  Српску Цркву је ове године представљао Његово Преосвештенство Господин Митрофан,епископ источноамерички који је током свога петодневне посете овој Митрополији имао прилику да се поклони и великим Светињама ове

Митрополије,манаститима Њамц,Сихастрија,Секу,Варатек,Агапију....као и да учествује у свечаностима  поводом овога свенародног празника. Његово Преосвештенство будући да је пре тридест и шест година дипломирао на Теолошком факултету у Букурешту имао је радост  да се сусретне и са својим колегама са факултета са којима се више од три деценије није сусрео.

У својој беседи на завршетку Свете Литургије Митрополит Теофан је исказао своју захвалност епископу Митрофану на учешћу у прослави празника Свете Петке истичући љубав и жарку веру српскога народа према вољеној Заштитници.

Празновање које је почело 11.октобра изношењем Светих Моштију на плато испред Саборне Цркве,свакодневним свеноћним бденијима и Светим архијерејским Литургијама  завршило се у недељу 16.октобра свечаним уношењем Моштију у Свети Храм на место где су изложене током целе године.

Јеромонах Клеопа (Стефановић),докторант на теолошком факултету „Др Димитрије Станилоае“ у граду Јаши

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[Archived News] Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In Memoriam: Milan Puskar

Milan "Mike" Puskar, co-founder, former chairman and CEO of Mylan, and noted Morgantown, W.Va., philanthropist, died Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, at his home in Morgantown, surrounded by loving family and friends. Mr. Puskar fought a courageous battle against cancer. He was 77 years old. Born Sept. 8, 1934, in Vintondale, Mr. Puskar was the son of the late Dusan and Dorothy Puskar. He attended Youngstown State University and served in the Army. He married the former Betty J. Howard and had one daughter, Johanna Puskar. In 1961, he co-founded Mylan Pharmaceuticals and shepherded this enterprise to become a premier manufacturer of high-quality, affordable medicine based on his philosophy of "Do it right ... or don't do it at all." Recognized both locally and internationally for his success story, Mike Puskar never failed to credit this success to the "men and women of Mylan" and upon receiving awards, accepted them only on their behalf. He took extraordinary interest in the work, lives and families of his employees and endeavored to build his company as the best place for people to work.

Mr. Puskar was a strong supporter of local businesses and had a genuine commitment for the betterment of the people of Morgantown and the state of West Virginia. Mike Puskar believed in giving back. He used his success for the spread of philanthropic deeds. West Virginia University's Football Stadium, Mylan Park, and Health Right Clinic all publicly bear his name along with many public and private causes, both large and small, that he has championed over the last 50 years. He pursued his varied interests and activities with the same intensity that he did his work. He especially enjoyed hosting trips to Las Vegas with his many friends. He loved sports, especially WVU Sports, along with pro-football, basketball and boxing. Traveling to away games and tournaments with his friends was among his favorite activities.

He was the recipient of many prestigious awards and honorary degrees. He also served in leadership capacities with industry trade groups, various charities, college and university leadership committees and Corporate Boards of Directors.

Mr. Puskar is survived by his loving daughter, Johanna Puskar and her partner, Mark Crouse, of Morgantown, W.Va.; his devoted grandson, Kyle Pratt, of Morgantown, W.Va.; three sisters, Mrs. Ruby Carroll, of Boardman, Ohio, Mrs. Betty (Robert) Kosanovich, of Greenville, and Mrs. Rosella "Honey" (Bran) Vuich, of Hermitage; as well as many nieces, nephews and godchildren. He is also survived by his former wife, Mrs. Betty J. Puskar, of Morgantown, W.Va. Mr. Puskar was preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dusan and Dorothy Puskar; his sister and brother-in-law, Mary and James Morrison; brother-in-law, John Carroll; and an infant brother, Steven Puskar.

Following private family ceremonies, public visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday the at Waterfront Place Hotel, Platinum Ballroom. Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Morgantown Event Center, Waterfront Place, with the very Rev. Dr. Rodney Torbic, of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, officiating. A celebration of life reception will immediately follow funeral services at the Morgantown Event Center, Waterfront Place. 

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[Archived News] Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Myrrh-Streaming Icon Comes
to Carmichaels

Carmichaels, PA - The Myrrh Streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God came to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania on the evening of October 6, 2011. An Akathist to the Mother of God was served. Participating clergy included Protopresbyter Stavrofor Rade Merick, Protopresbyter Lt.Col. Adam Yonitch and Rev. Father Matthew Stagon. Dean of the Pittsburgh Deanery, Protopresbyter Stavrofor Stevan Stepanov was in attendance as was Mitred Archpriest Stephan Romanchak. Choir Director Sonia Janson organized the readers for the responses.

At the conclusion of the Akathist, Reader Nectarios, the caretaker of the icon spoke with great solemnity and reverence about the history of the icon. Reader Nektarios described how from its location in Hawaii, the icon was now traveling from church to church and monastery to monastery affecting the lives of countless people of faith.

On October 6, 2011 people traveled great distances to venerate the myhrr streaming icon and to be anointed. Travelers came from the east as far as Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, from the north as far as Hermitage, from the west as far as Steubenville, Ohio and from the south as far as French Creek, W.Va.

The St. George Church was filled with the pleasant aroma of the myhrr. Individuals blessed to be in attendance continue to speak with great joy and thanksgiving about the experience.

Father Rodney Torbic 

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[Archived News] Friday, October 7, 2011

The Hawaiian Iveron Icon
Stops in Canton

North Canton, Ohio - The St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in North Canton, Ohio had a special visit on Thursday, October 6th when the Wonderworking and Myrrh-streaming "Hawaiian" Iveron Icon made a visit en route to Pennsylvania. Though the visit was made in the middle of a work day one pulling up to the church and seeing all the cars would have thought it was Pascha. In fact, Reader Nektarios, the caretaker of the icon, in his address to the faithful after the service noted the miracles that have occurred before this icon and the many faithful, an estimated quarter of a million, who have venerated it over the course of a few years. "And everywhere we go," he added, "the churches are filled as if it were Pascha".

In addition to the Orthodox faithful, there were also Catholic and Protestant Christians who attended the service and offered their prayers before the icon.

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[Archived New] Monday, October 3, 2011

A New Mission Parish

Charlottesville, VA - On Saturday September 24th on the holy day of the Venerable Theodora; Venerable Sergius and Germanus a great historic event happened for the Serbs of Charlottesville. His Grace Bishop Mitrophan with V. Rev. Dragan Zaric and Fr. Ljubisa Brnjos, held the first Divine Liturgy. With a big outcome of Serbs from Charlottesville and a large number of guests from Richmond, the Holy Liturgy was held in the Greek Orthodox Church in Charlottesville.

After Holy Communion and short homilies from V. Rev. Dragan and Fr. Ljubisa with the blessing of Bishop Mitrophan the mission was founded for a Serbian Orthodox Church in Charlottesville, Virginia.

When addressing the faithful his Grace Dr. Bishop Mitrophan stated, among other things:

“Before I came to Charlottesville, to be honest I was scared about how many people would actually show up. But now that I see so many of you my heart is filled with joy. It’s not enough for us to just be Serbs if we're not Serbs of the Orthodox faith. Our mission has a goal to educate our children to preserve our ancient Serbian customs, language, tradition and culture, so that our roots don’t die after only one generation.”

At the end of his address His Grace gave his blessings that our mission parish be dedicated to the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos and wished us success in this mission.
Shortly after the lunch prepared by the Charlottesville women and men a brief but very well done program was held. After the program a meeting was held with the bishop in which everyone including the guests from Richmond participated in, discussing the future actions of the mission.
At the very end V. Rev. Dragan Zaric thanked the organization committee and all the faithful and all the others present for the truly majestic welcome of His Grace Bishop Mitrophan.

Нова Мисионарска Парохија

Шарлотсвил, Вирџинија - У суботу 24. септембра на дан Преподобне Теодоре десио се велики историјски догађај за све Србе Шарлотсвила. Његово Преосвештенство Господин Г. Др. Митрофан у саслужењу Протојереја Драган Зарића и о. Љубише Брњоша, служио је прву Архијерејску Литургију. У присуство великог броја Срба из Шарлотсвила и гостију из Ричмонда Света Литургија је служена у Православној Грчког Цркви.

Након светог причешћа и кратке бесједе Проте Драга Зарића и о. Љубише Брњеша, по благослову Владике Митрофана започета је прва мисија Српске Православне Цркве у Шарлотсвилу у Вирџинији. Из обраћања вјерницима Његовог Преосвештенства Господин Г. Др. Митрофана издвајамо:

„Прије него што сам дошао у Шарлотсвил, искрен да будем, било ме је страх колико ће људи доћи овдје. Међутим, сада када видим у оволиком броју срце ми је препуно радости, јер није довољно то што смо Срби, ако нисмо Срби православне вјере. Наша мисија има циљ да учинимо нашу дјецу да чувају старе српске обичаје, језик, традицију и културу, како се наши коријени не би угасили након једне генерације.“

На крају бесједе Владика Митрофан је уз благослов дао име нашој мисионарској парохији „Рођење Пресвете Богородице“ и пожелио нам успјешан рад.

Након ручка који су организовалил домаћини из Шарлотсвила орджан је кратак културно умјетнички порграм. Послије програма у разговору са Владиком у којем су учествовали и гости из Ричмонда причало се о будућем раду мисије.

На крају се надлежни парох Протојереј Драган Зарић захвалио организационом одбору и свим православним вјерницима као и свима присутним на величанственом дочеку Владике Митрофана.

Организациони Одбор

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[Archived New] Monday, October 3, 2011

Kolo Sestara in Atlanta
celebrate Slava

Atlanta, GA - On Sunday Sept 25, 2011 Kolo sisters from Atlanta celebrated their Krsna Slava. Following the Divine Liturgy together with many of the Kolo sisters and faithful parishioners fr. Miladin blessed the Slavski kolac and zito and welcomed on behalf of Kolo Sisters  very special guests.

This years Atlanta Serbs had among themselves Millie Radovic who is the president of Kolo Savez and Millie Vignovic from Pittsburgh Pa. Honoured Kuma for this year was Pera Surla, and continuing the tradition next year’s  kuma is Jelka Stanjevic who is a long standing member of the Kolo.

As per our tradition this great day turned into a wonderful banquet where all the parishioners were greeted by Mrs. Jovanka Loncaric Kolo president, our Kuma Pera surla and last but certainly not the least Ms. Mili Radovic our guest who has warmed our hearts with her care and left us awaiting eagerly her next visit. 

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[Archived News] Tuesday, September 20, 2011

 Niagara Falls Kolo Celebrates 75th Slava and Anniversary

Niagara Falls, Ontario - St. George Serbian Orthodox Church of Niagara Falls, Ontario - Canada joyfully celebrated 75 years of devoted service and dedication given by its Kolo Srpskih Sestara "Mala Gospojina" on Sunday, September, 18 2011. On this special day, all the living women of the Kolo were honored and departed members were remembered with great respect and heartfelt thanksgiving for their never-ending love, dedication, and hard work .

His Grace, Bishop Dr. Mitrophan; Very Rev. Rodney Torbic from Carmichaels, PA., Very Rev. Radisa Ninkovic from China, MI and Parish Priest Rev. Dejan Obradovic celebrated the Divine Liturgy and the blessing of the Slavski Kolac. His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrophan and VeryRev. Rodney Torbic gave their spiritual blessing and stressed the importance of being united with Christ in prayer.  They both encouraged the faithful to show peace, love and respect for one  
another and to never divert from the path of Christ.

Honored Kuma was Mara Dancuo who is a long standing member of the Kolo. Olivera Rusic accepted the honor for next year.

Following the Divine Liturgy everyone attended a delicious banquet at the Church Pavillion. Over 350 people celebrated this special occasion.

St. George and St. Nicholas Choirs sung the Lords prayer for the blessing of the meal. After the wonderful meal, the program began and Milena Yerich served as master of ceremonies. Parish priest Father Dejan Obradovic gave a speech and Svetlana Yovanovich provided a brief history of the Kolo.  His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrophan once again spoke about the importance of remaining united and continuing to maintain harmony amongst one another. The program consisted of performances from the St.George Choir, the St. Nicholas Choir from Hamilton and the Folklore Group Vracar from Niagara Falls under the choreography of Nikola Jovic.  President of the Kolo Ljubica Mirovich expressed her heartfelt thanks to all the sisters for their tireless work and dedication to the Church and Glory of God.  She thanked all present for coming to this memorable celebration of the 75 years of God's Grace.

Following the banquet the Serbian "Paganini Band" entertained everyone in attendance.

We are blessed and thank God for that. 

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[Archived News] Monday, September 5, 2011

 Chapel Slava Celebrated
at Eastern Diocese

Mars, PA - The Slava of the St. Nikodim of Serbia Chapel, located at the headquarters of the Eastern American Diocese in Mars, Pennsylvania was celebrated on Saturday, September 3, 2011 with the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy officiated by diocesan bishop, His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America.  Concelebrating with His Grace the bishop were V. Rev. Stavrophor Dragoljub Malich, V. Rev. Stevan Stepanov, V. Rev. Michael Simerick, V. Rev. Rastko Trbuhovich, V. Rev. Stavrophor Rodney Torbic and Rev. Vladislav Radujkovic. Also serving was Protodeacon Milan Medakovic.

In his homily His Grace stressed the fact that all Christians need to know and study and Scripture but more than just a knowledge of Bible verses we are called to live a life according to the Bible. We are given examples of people who led such lives in the Saints whom we celebrate throughout the church year and who we are celebrating on this day we have gathered for the Diocesan chapel Slava.

At the dinner His Grace, the bishop, thanked everyone for attending the event, mentioning in particular those clergy who traveled from far distances such as Columbus and New York City. The bishop also expressed his gratitude to the Youth Choir from the Steelton parish who once again this year made the trip to the diocese for this occasion to sing the responses at the liturgy. The choir was unable to travel on Friday, yet wanting to be with their bishop for the Slava, they left very early in the morning just so they might be able to attend and take part. His Grace, as a token of his gratitude, gave each of the members of the choir an icon. 

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[Archived News] Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dormition of the Mother of God
Celebrated in Youngstown

Youngstown,OH – The feast of the Falling Asleep of the Most Holy Theotokos is the Krsna Slava of the Kolo Sestara at the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Youngstown, Ohio. Kumovi this year were Desa and Marko Tomic who made every effort in making sure everything was done orderly. Following the Divine Liturgy and Parastos for all deceased Kolo members, a Slava banquet was prepared with a performance from the Cleveland “Morava” dance group. Parish priest, Fr. Dragan Goronjic, greeted the gathered faithful afterward as well as Miodrag Tijanic, the president of the dance group and the Kolo president Mira Popovic.

The Slava koljivo and kolac was blessed by parish priest Fr. Dragan Goronjic and Deacon Ljubisa Mitrovic who wished the Kolo members much success in their further work in glorifying God and the Most Holy Theotokos.

Празник Успеније Пресвете Богородице - Велика Госпојина Свечано је Прослављена у Храму Св. Тројице у Јангстауну, Охајо

Јангстаун, Охајо - Велика Госпојина је крсна слава Кола Српских Сестара које су се и ове године са кумовима Десом и Марком Томићем,потрудиле да све протекне у најбољем реду. Након свете Литургије и парастоса преминулим чланицама КСС-а,за све присутне приређен је славски банкет уз наступ фолклорне групе Морава из Кливленда.Након наступа фолклорне групе Морава вјерном народу су се обратили надлежни свештеник јереј Драган Гороњић,председник фолклорне групе Морава господин Миодраг Тијанић и председница КСС-а Мира Поповић.

Славско жито и колач,уз саслужење ђакона Љубише Митровића, благословио је и освештао надлежни свештеник јереј Драган Гороњић који је пожелио чланицама КСС-а много успјеха у даљем њиховом раду и слављењу Бога и Пресвете Богородице.

јереј Драган Гороњић

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[Archived News] Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2011 Vacation Church School

Steelton, PA - The annual St. Nicholas Vacation Church School was held on August 9-11 at  Serb Park in Steelton, PA with 32 children, aged 3-12, in attendance.  This year's theme centered on   "Angels of the Church".  Very Reverend Stavrofor Srboljub Jockovic opened each session with an outdoor worship service then teachers led the students to various picnic areas for lessons.  After class, students participated in craft activities and competed in relay races.  The sessions concluded with prayer and refreshments hosted by Arlene Barber and the St. Nicholas Mother's Club organization. We are grateful to our very own Lenny Tepsich (aka "Mr. Music") for a delightful and special performance on Tuesday evening and we are always appreciative to Miles Bojanic for his generosity as he once again provided each student with a T-shirt promoting our angel theme.

Father Srboljub and the entire Church School Staff would like to express a heart-felt "thank you" to all parents and parishioners for their cooperation and support in making this event such a success.  Our VCS program has been growing each year and, by God's grace, we will continue to offer our young stewards a meaningful and rewarding experience as they develop and grow with us in our Orthodox Christian faith. 

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[Archived News] Friday, August 12, 2011

Carmichaels Parish Hosts Fifth Annual Healthcare Seminar

Carmichaels, PA - With the Archpastoral Blessing of His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN, Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Eastern America, the Fifth Annual Healthcare Seminar was held at the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania on August 9, 2011. The theme for the seminar was “Drug and Alcohol Abuse-Impact on Families and Individuals. “
The Healthcare Seminar was held in conjunction with the commemoration of St. Panteleimon, the Slava for the Parish Nurse’s Office. Millicent “Mitzie” Hunchuck serves as the Parish Nurse Practitioner and has a leadership position in the holding of the seminar.
Father Robert Popichak joined in celebrating the early morning Divine Liturgy, the Blessing of the Slava Kolach and Koljivo. Living and departed healthcare workers from the parish were remembered in the Divine Liturgy.
Mother Ana, Sister Anastasia and Sister Margaret from Monastery Marcha  were present at the Divine Liturgy to sing the responses with Choir Director Sonia Janson.
Experienced attorney in private practice and proven prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office, Linda Chambers has consistently been the lead speaker at the parish seminars. She has been a featured conference speaker on the national level due to prosecuting a death penalty case of murder which included sexual assault of a young child. This year Attorney Chambers spoke extensively on the impact of drug and alcohol abuse from a criminal justice perspective. Attorney Chambers provided valuable information on drug and alcohol related prosecutions and domestic violence issues. Attorney Chambers makes her legal assistance available to the parish throughout the year.
Deborah Migyanko, Licensed School Social Worker, and frequent attendee of the Healthcare seminars was the second featured speaker. Deborah Migyanko holds a Master’s degree in Social Work  and has specialized in family therapy and trauma for twenty years. She spoke her of experiences with various children, their families and the widespread drug abuse taking place among young children. She described the known suffering children experience when parents are alcohol and drug abusers. Social worker Migyanko told of the extensive knowledge youths have about where and how to obtain drugs.
Scott M. Newton is the Nurse Manager in the Department of Emergency Medicine Lifeline Critical Transport Team at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. He holds a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration in addition to his nursing degree. Mr. Newton described his personal experiences in the United States and in Germany including being a helicopter nurse. He has worked in emergency medicine during the past twenty five years. Mr. Newton attended the very first ambulance blessing at St. George Church more than twelve years ago and has continuously been supportive of recognition of emergency medical personnel. Mr. Newton referenced his work on the national level with the federal government in planning for emergency medical services.
The fourth presentation involved three speakers viewing the topic from a criminal justice perspective. Mr. Mark Opacic, Director of Standards and Accreditation for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole organized the presentation based on experiences with parolees and their families. In addition to a Master’s degree, Mr. Opacic has twenty six years of experience in the field of probation and parole in various capacities He has attended many continuous education classes and is trained in crisis intervention.. Mr. Opacic was accompanied by Parole Supervisor Thomas Cassidy.
Supervisor Cassidy worked in two different state prisons in addition to his lengthy service with the Parole Board. Supervisor Cassidy reviewed the conditions of parole and experiences with parolees. He addressed issues of drug abuse and alcoholism with great candor and honesty. Rebecca(full name withheld to protect her privacy),was the third speaker in this criminal justice segment of the seminar. With great detail and strong personal feeling, she informed the attendees of the personal effects of drug abuse and the process of addiction and recovery. She spoke about the effects on her family, being in court, going to prison and successfully overcoming drug use.
His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN participated in the seminar, raising questions and providing insight to give balance and dimension to the discussion.

His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN has consistently been present and provided the Archpastoral Blessings in the holding of educational seminars throughout the period of His Episcopacy in the Eastern American Diocese.
A significant and memorable part of each Healthcare Day celebration in the parish is the blessing of ambulances from Fayette Emergency Medical Services. Fayette EMS Director Rick Adabato consistently has provided ambulances for this purpose. Parishioners of St. George Church are greatly appreciative of the ambulance services provided during the year. This year Jennifer Shaffer and Michael Napollio from the Fayette EMS-Redstone station staffed the ambulance brought for a blessing.
His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN blessed the ambulance with seminar attendees looking on with great interest. EMS workers Shaffer and Napollio were informed directly of the great appreciation for the services provided by their agency and of their co-workers in the field of emergency medical services and were told of the grateful personal experiences of parishioners having used ambulances that were blessed.
St. George Church Executive Board President Stan Brozik enthusiastically greeted and thanked the seminar speakers and participants. The St. George Church Executive Board has always been supportive of the Healthcare Day seminars. The St. George Kolo provided the nourishing breakfast and hearty lunch enjoyed by seminar participants.
The afternoon program began with Parish Nurse Practitioner Millicent Mitzie Hunchuck giving a presentation focusing on treatment of the drug and alcohol abuse. Nurse Practitioner Hunchuck works in a mental health practice and is very knowledgeable and skilled in dealing with substance abusers. She provided information on terminology about drug abuse and gave illustrations from her direct treatment experiences. Practitioner Hunchuck has a major role in the holding of the Healthcare seminar each year and serves as the medical advisor for the parish throughout the year.
Father Rodney Torbic was the final speaker. He distributed a paper focusing on “Drug and Alcohol Abuse from a Religious Perspective”. He spoke from  personal experience as a parish priest as well as having worked in the field of criminal justice for thirty years. Father Torbic worked at the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole with the earlier speaksers, Mr. Opacic and Mr. Cassidy.
With the honored presence and participation of the Diocesan Archpastor, His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN, this seminar brought together for serious discussion clergy and monastics as well individuals with interest and experience in adult criminal justice, the law, nursing, pastoral care, education, juvenile justice, and drug and alcohol treatment.

The impact and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse were examined carefully and with strong interest from many different perspectives. This was the best attended Healthcare seminar and reflected a significant increase of participants from the previous year.  The talks and discussion were informative, captivating and powerful.

Thanks be to God for this seminar. Thanks to His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN, seminar speakers and attendees and the St.George parishioners working for the benefit of the seminar.. The seminar concluded with Vespers.

Father Rodney Torbic

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[Archived News] Monday, August 8, 2011

Diocesan Day at Shadeland

Shadeland, PA - The 2011 St. Sava Camp season came to a close on Sunday, August 7, 2011 with the traditional Shadeland Picnic in conjunction with Diocesan Day.

As is the case each year and upon directive of the diocesan bishop, His Grace Mitrophan of Eastern America, all neighboring churches were closed that day and all clergy were invited to join their diocesan hierarch before the Holy Altar in concelebrating with him as he officiated at the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. The campers sang the responses. Concelebrating with the bishop were twenty priests and three deacons and an additional eight priests were in attendance who did not serve.

In his homily the bishop related a story told by St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco which, though intended for children, is just as beneficial for adults. The story, among other things, tells of how we are to watch our souls, our thoughts, guard our hearts. It was a message the bishop wanted to tell the children as this year the theme of the camp was "The Body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit" and his fatherly and archpastoral advice to all of them was to watch their young souls, to guard their young bodies for, in the words of the Apostle Paul, you belong to Christ.

The traditional children's program and picnic with all the folk festivities followed.  

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[Archived News] Tuesday, August 2, 2011

 Serbs from America visit Serbian Holy and Historical sites

Lorain, OH - With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Mitrophan, and under the direction of Fr Aleksa Pavichevich, parish priest at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Lorain, Ohio, 17 pilgrims from multiple states departed for a ten-day journey to the holy and historical sites of Serbia and Montenegro.  

The group spent a day enjoying the highlights of Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade, then departed for Monastery Lelic to celebrate Divine Liturgy for the great feast of Ss Peter and Paul.  It was a powerful experience and tremendous blessing to venerate the holy relics of St Nicholai Velimirovich and enjoy lunch with Abbot Avakum.

After visiting monasteries Gradac, Celine, St Nicholas and Zica, the group spent the evening at Studenica. The pilgrims prepared for and partook of Holy Communion at the very church that was the center of medieval Serbian culture and spirituality.  The next day they were able to enjoy dinner and services with the monastic community at Monastery Crna Reka. Many remember this as a highlight, due in part to the hospitality received, but also because of the picturesque beauty of the monastery and intimacy of the chapel.

The group then departed for the heart of Serbian Orthodoxy and history: the holy sites of Kosovo.  After crossing the border, the pilgrims had a police escort to the town of Gracanica, an endowment of the great medieval Serbian King Milutin. They continued onward to Pec and Decani. Due to a communication error, the group was not expected at either location.  However, thanks to the hospitality and blessings of Bishop Teodosije, accommodations were found for overnight stays for the entire group.

The women stayed at Pec, where they had a wonderful and spiritually refreshing conversation with a few of the nuns who “radiated with joy and love.” The men, who stayed at Decani, enjoyed the singing of the evening canon to St Stevan and the hospitality of Father Sava.  In the morning, before departing for Morava and Ostrog, Father Aleksa was privileged to serve the Divine Liturgy with the faithful in attendance.

The group safely navigated the mountains of Montenegro via bus, visiting churches and monasteries and finishing the evening at Ostrog.  As true pilgrims, the group spent the night sleeping outside of this holy place under the stars. Early in the morning they awoke to Divine Liturgy, after which they venerated the holy, miracle-working relics of St Basil.

Continuing onward, they departed for Monastery Mileseva, home to the White Angel, one of the most recognizable pieces of medieval Byzantine art and iconography.  Along the way, they visited monasteries dotting the hills of Uzica and enjoyed refreshments at the home of their driver, Zoran.

Before departing for home, the group visited the Uvac nature preserve, where they enjoyed a boat ride, swimming, spelunking and a train ride through the mountains.  They also visited the place where Milos Obrenovic began the second Serbian uprising against the Turkish oppressors.  By God’s blessing, the travellers arrived home safely on July 21st.  

This pilgrimage was truly a blessing for all who attended, as well as for their families, friends and fellow parishioners.  They will benefit from the experiences, hardships and joys shared from this visit to their ancestral and spiritual homeland.

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[Archived News] Friday, July 29, 2011

 Bishop Mitrophan visits St.Mark's Camp

Sheffield Lake, OH -  His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America made a visit on Thursday, July 28, 2011 to St. Mark's Monastery located outside of Lorain in Sheffield, Ohio, a short drive from the shores of Lake Erie.

This monastery is the location for the annual summer children's camp.  Bishop Mitrophan was greeted and welcomed by V. Rev. Archimandrite Leontije (Alavanja), abbot of the monastery and Rev. Dragan Goronjic who was the priest assigned to this last week of camp at St. Mark's.

The bishop met with the children and reviewed with them some of the subjects they covered during the camp religious classes. As the theme for the Serbian Orthodox camps throughout the country this year was the "The Body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit" the bishop spoke to the children in detail about some of the things in modern culture which are becoming more and more popular but are contrary to our faith, such as tattoos, piercings, cremation, mutilation.

His Grace stayed for lunch with the campers after which he returned to the diocese. The campers sang Eis polla eti despota as the bishop left.  

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[Archived News] Sunday, July 24, 2011

 Monastery Slava Celebrated in Richfield

Richfield, OH - With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America Monastery Marcha, located between the Cleveland and Akron parishes in Northeast Ohio, celebrated their Monastery Slava, St. Archagel Gabriel, on Saturday, July 23, 2011. Bishop Mitrophan officiated at the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the concelebration of local diocesan clergy: V. Rev. Archimandrite Leontije from the nearby St. Mark's Monastery, V. Rev. Djordje Mileusnic, V. Rev. Dragomir Tuba, V. Rev. Zivojin Jakovljevic and Rev. Isak Kisin. Other clergy in attendance were V. Rev. Rodney Torbic and Rev. Milovan Katanic.

In his homily following the liturgy Bishop Mitrophan spoke of the importance of not only knowing and studying the teachings and life and sayings of Jesus but, above all, of living our lives according to this teaching in the same way the Apostles and Martyrs and Saints and the many righteous men and women have done throughout the ages. In continuation of this beautiful evangelical theme His Grace, the bishop, following the homily recognized the achievement of composer and professor of music Nikola Resanovic, for his dedication to Serbian chant and the composition of several volumes of liturgical music, not to mention his devotion and participation at the liturgy at Monastery Marcha and local parishes.

Upon the recommendation of His Grace Bishop Mitrophan Nikola was awarded the Order of St. Sava in the Third Degree. A joyous Many years was chanted by all present. 

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[Archived News] Sunday, July 24, 2011

 Celebration of St.'s Peter and Paul Church Slava in Atlanta

Atlanta, GA - This year’s celebration for the Slava began with evening Vespers on Saturday July 16th served by visiting clergy.
On Sunday July 17th, His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrophan presided at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy along with V. Rev. Dragan Zaric, Rev. Milovan Katanic, Rev. Ljubisa Brnjos, Rev. Stanislav Kravljaca and our parish priest Rev. Miladin Blagojevic. The Church Choir, under the direction of Professor Ms. Danka Vecerina, responded to the Litany. During the service many children and parishioners partook the Holy Sacrament of Communion.

Kumovi for this year’s Slava were Milana Vujic Saulnier – President of the Church Board; husband Tom, mother Jovanka Vujic, daughter Christina and son Stefan. They are long time active honorable members of the Atlanta church.

After the Blessing of the Slavaski Kolach and Koljivo ,His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrophan wished Kumovi good health and life in peace and harmony.

The Church was filled to abundance with joyful people. The Folklore group of young girls and boys from North Carolina performed traditional Serbian Kolo Dances and sang several beautiful folk songs, bringing the traditions and the spirit of the Old Country alive proving that traditions can be safeguarded no matter where the Serbian people reside. The festivities continued with several lovely greetings from the visiting clergy as well as our Rev. Miladin Blagojevic.

During the lunch which was prepared by the Kolo of Serbian Sisters and the Church Board, His Grace, greeted all in attendance and was pleased to see the large number of faithful on this very special day. During his greeting he pointed out the need for a new and bigger church in our growing Serbian community in Atlanta and encouraged all parishioners to continue to support in reaching this achievable goal.

Our parish priest, Rev. Miladin Blagojevic, welcomed the arrival of His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrophan, visiting clergy and all brothers and sisters for being with us for our Church Slava. He urged everyone to continue their good fellowship and support of our church and establishment of our community.

President of the Church Board, Milana Vujic Saulnier, gave an inspiring speech and asked parents to raise their children in the Orthodox Church and to continue to celebrate their Serbian tradition whenever possible and read the Bible to their children teaching them the Orthodox way.

President of the Kolo of Serbian Sisters, Jovanka Loncaric, welcomed the presence of His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrophan and thanked him for supporting our church from the very beginning of our establishment in 1993. She expressed great pleasure that Rev. Milovan Katanic, who was the first priest of the Atlanta church, came to visit us and the good memories of his time spent in Atlanta.

Rev. Miladin Blagojevic presented special awards and honored the following parishioners for their dedicated work and continuing help to our church in Atlanta:

    Vera Watkins
    Zoran Stamenkovic
    Momir Mrsic
    Pero Topic
    Church Choir

The festivities continued into the late afternoon and everybody was pleased to see that yet another year has passed and our parish is still continuing to flourish making our Serbian presence known in this part of the country.

By: Jovanka Loncaric
Translated by: Milana Vujic Saulnier

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[Archived News] Saturday, July 23, 2011

First Holy Confession

Steelton, PA - During the 2011 season of Great Lent, students in the second grade class of St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, Steelton, PA prepared for their First Holy Confession.  Our church school curriculum designates this time to focus on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and uses a book of exercises and activities called “Making Things Right” to help young students understand themselves, become more aware of their relationship with God and discuss the effects of wrong-doing while being constantly reminded of God’s ever forgiving love.

A special vesper service was scheduled on the Eve of St. Lazarus and afterwards Very Reverend Stavrofor Srboljub Jockovic spoke to the children about Zacchaeus the Tax Collector, the Publican and the Pharisee and the Prodigal Son…parables which illustrate the importance of repentance.  Each student then received their individual First Holy Confession with Father Srboljub and participated in Holy Communion on Lazarus Saturday. On Palm Sunday the children were given a blessed icon of the Good Shepherd to commemorate this memorable and meaningful event.

Church school students who received their First Holy Confession this year:

Luis Antonio Radanovic, Savo Stojanovic and Madison Vorkapich under the direction of Andrea Gunther, 2nd/3rd grade teacher.

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[Archived News] Saturday, July 23, 2011

 St. Stephen's Day Camp makes a visit to St.Sava's Camp

Lackawanna, NY - The St. Stephen's Serbian Orthodox Church in Lackawanna, New York Day Camp visited the children at St. Sava's Camp in Shadeland on the first week of camp. The visitors, led by V. Rev. Rastko Trbuhovich, arrived in the late morning hours and they stayed at the camp throughout the day, enjoying the beautiful weather, taking part in the religious classes and fun outside activities. After Vespers they joined the campers for dinner and then made their way back to their parish in Lackawanna. 

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[Archived News] Friday, July 22, 2011

Week 1 at St. Sava Camp in Shadeland

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[Archived News] Tuesday, July 12, 2011

 Sts. Peter and Paul Celebrated at Shadeland

Shadeland, PA - His Grace Bishop Mitrophan joined the St. Sava campers on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. The campers welcomed the bishop early in the morning at the church together with V. Rev. Rodney Torbic and Rev. Milovan Katanic who assisted His Grace who officiated at the festal liturgy. Many of the children partook of the Holy Sacrament. Clergy assigned to the first week of camp, besides the aforementioned, are Rev. Milan Pajic and Rev. Dejan Obradovic.

Following the liturgy, the bishop joined the children for breakfast and afterward welcomed the children to ask questions about the Orthodox faith. The feast of Sts. Peter and Paul marks the anniversary of Bishop Mitrophan's anniversary of his consecration as bishop. The campers, out of their love for their diocesan bishop who always finds time to visit them when they are at the camp, presented him with a cake.

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[Archived News] Saturday, July 9, 2011

 Steelton Parish Celebrates 108th Slava

Steelton, PA - St. Nicholas Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church in Oberlin-Steelton, Pennsylvania observed its 108th Slava on May 22, 2011.  Our Slava anniversary began with Divine Liturgy celebrated by our esteemed Archpriest Stavrophor Srboljub Jockovich with responses sung by the Serbian Singing Society Josif Marinkovich directed by Nadine Klipa.  Our honored Kumovi for the day were Louis and Helen (nee Krstin) Vasity, respected stewards of our Church for nearly 40 years.
Near the conclusion of the Liturgy, Fr. Srboljub and the altar servers processed inside with Litija, the eyes and hearts of all the faithful followed intently as the procession made one stop at the entrance to the church.   Fr. Srboljub read the  3rd Resurrection Gospel  of  Luke and then offered the supplication litany and blessed of the four corners of the  church with the holy water.  The prayers are so familiar, comforting and uplifting as Father prays for peace in the world, for our churches, our bishop, the civil authorities, every city and the people who live therein, and all stewards of our church.  Then, flanked by Kum Lou and Kuma Helen, Father led us through the blessing of the Slavski Kolach, prepared by Kuma Helen, and Slavski Kolivo, prepared by steward Joyce Match.  This church ritual and tradition is a dramatic spiritual moment filled with meaning and promise and we know we are truly blessed.  
Following this special ceremony and carrying our good feelings with us, we moved to the Church social hall where a delicious dinner, prepared by steward Sylvia Sevenack and her team, was served to more than 150 guests. Among our special guests were Fr. Christopher and Popadija Andreja Rocknage. Fr. Chris is the pastor of Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church in nearby Lebanon, PA.

Our Church Board president Marcia Breinich acted as mistress of ceremonies and introduced Fr. Srboljub who reminded us of our rich history and many blessings.  Fr. Srboljub has been our valued spiritual leader for many years as the parish continues to grow and thrive in the faith.  Our Kumovi were introduced and warmly thanked for their faithful stewardship at St. Nicholas Church.  We were blessed when Kum Lou and Kuma Helen Vasity moved from St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Elizabeth, NJ and relocated to Pennsylvania making St. Nicholas Church their new home parish.

Kum Lou and Kuma Helen were born in Romania and Kum Lou has vivid memories of meeting Kuma Helen and even giving her a kiss albeit with some encouragement from family members.  At the time, Kuma Helen was only 4 years old and Kum Lou was 10.  Kum Lou immigrated to the United States in 1929 and lived with his family in Elizabeth, NJ.  Kuma Helen immigrated with her family to Canada in 1937 and reconnected with Kum Lou when she visited her grandmother in Elizabeth.  In short order they built on that first kiss from long ago and were eventually married, settling in Elizabeth where Kum Lou was a barber.  Just a week before the Slava, Fr. Srboljub offered a special blessing for them on their 65th wedding anniversary and they were honored by the congregation at the after-Liturgy fellowship hour.

For many years Kum Lou has been a valued member of the bass section of the Church choir and Kuma Helen is an active member of the Kolo Srpski Sestare. They are both active with the St. Nicholas Seniors.  Kum Lou enjoys telling stories of his experiences with the US Army in World Was II and his many years working as a barber.  When he was invited to make remarks at the Slava banquet, he readily stepped forward to the microphone.  His speech was unusually brief though he was eloquently to the point.  He told us the most important lessons from the Scriptures have to do with Christ urging us to love one another and to live in peace.  His words prompted us to remember Christ's "new commandment" that we love one another as Christ loved us. This message is the basis for one of the hymns we often hear during the Divine Liturgy as Fr. Srboljub is taking communion.  Kum Lou's simple appeal that we love one another holds the most profound meaning.about how we should conduct ourselves.  His further appeal that we live in peace also calls to mind the first words Christ spoke to the disciples after His Resurrection when He greeted them with "Peace be with you."  We hear this same phrase several times during the Liturgy.  Again, the message is a straightforward one yet the significance is intensely heartfelt.

We were blessed to hear two selections from our own Marinkovich Choir and when they finished they surrounded Kum Lou, who was with them on the stage, with congratulatory hugs and kisses.  The program was rounded out by performances from our recently reorganized Kolo Club that includes toddlers to teens; the increasingly polished vocals of the St. Sava Youth Choir, under the capable direction of Nina Radanovic; and the ever-popular St. Nicholas Tammies featuring a debut vocal solo by Jimm Werner accompanied on the violin by his son, Phillip, and the rest of the Tammies.

It has long been a St. Nicholas Church tradition to honor recent high school and college graduates.  This year's high school graduates who each received a copy of the Orthodox Study Bible included Jessica Barry, Alex Filepas, Chase Hewitt, Amy Jacobs,  Stefan Lazarevich, Anney Mierski and Djordje Miuljevic.  They all have plans to continue their studies.  Our college graduates included Kaila Hewitt, Jazmin Cruz, and Jordyn Reigel.  Congratulations to all of them. May they all know and share God's love and peace!

The Slava program concluded with all present rising and joining in a spirited and joyful singing of the resurrection hymn, Hristos Voskrese. Christ is Risen!  Indeed He is Risen

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[Archived News] Wednesday, June 29, 2011

 Bishop Sava of Blessed Memory Remembered at Monastary March

Richfield, OH - Bishop Sava of blessed memory was remembered on Saturday, June 18, with a ten-year parastos served at Monastery Marcha in Richfield, OH. Serving were Archimandrite Leontije Alavanja of the St. Mark Monastery, Sheffield Village, OH, and Fr. Aleksa Pavichevich of St. George Church, Lorain, OH. Following the parastos Bishop Sava’s great friend Nikola Borota hosted sisterhood and guests with a dacha in memory of the Bishop at the Flair Restaurant.

Mother Ana and the sisterhood remember Bishop Sava as the founder of their monastery with a parastos every year on the day of his repose in the Lord.   

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[Archived News] Wednesday, June 22, 2011

 Akron Parish pays off Church Mortgage

Akron, OH - The St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church of Akron, Ohio, is thrilled to announce that their parish paid off their Church Mortgage on Tuesday, June 21, 2011.   A day long-awaited finally arrived!  We thank everyone who has generously donated and selflessly worked to accomplish this goal.   A  very special thank you must be noted to His Grace, the Right Reverend Bishop Dr. +Mitrophan, and the Eastern Diocese for their support in our time of need!  A celebration mortgage-burning banquet is being planned for sometime in September. 

Also, please join our parish for our annual Serbian Festival July 30th-31st.  For more information see our Facebook page at SERB FEST Akron or our website

Glory and thanksgiving be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all His abundant, bountiful, and endless blessings!

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[Archived News] Monday, June 20, 2011

 Holy Trinity Slava in West Virgina

Fairmont, WV - His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN celebrated the first Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Fairmont, West Virginia on April 15, 2000. The tiny mission parish in Fairmont has continued to grow and become stronger.

The chapel has doubled in physical space and improved in appearance. The average attendance at the twice monthly Divine Liturgies has increased.  Several of the initial founders of the parish have departed this life and new members have begun attending.

The Holy Trinity Church is the only Serbian Orthodox Church physically located in West Virginia and the only Orthodox Church in Fairmont. The chapel used for worship is sufficient for current needs and is in a good location. Wayne and Joyce Kirby, owners of the Fairmont Graphics have been gracious in providing the dedicated space for the chapel since the very beginning.

The Slava for Holy Trinity Church is celebrated on Pentecost Monday each year. This year on Monday, June 13, 2011 as in previous years, His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN came for the Slava celebration. Vespers were served and His Grace officiated at the blessing of the Slava kolach and koljivo. The Slava dinner was held afterwards in the adjoining dining area.

His Grace addressed the faithful at the Slava dinner as did Michael Danko, Vice-President of the Trustees for the mission. With Sharren Paroda doing advance work, Maria Djonovich organized the dinner with the faithful fully participating.

The Holy Trinity Church is very welcoming of visitors. Each person coming for the first time appreciates the warm welcome received. Visitors to the chapel have come from various parts of Pennsylvania as well as other states including Ohio and the Washington D.C. area. This year one of the Slava attendees was from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area.

Individuals regularly attending services at the chapel come from the West Virginia areas of Buckhannon, Bridgeport, Clarksburg, Fairmont, and French Creek. The parish website has attracted inquiries from different locations, some far distant.  Clergy, church organizations and individuals from the Pittsburgh Deanery parishes in Aliquippa, Carmichaels,  Mckeesport, Midland, Monroeville, Pittsburgh and Steubenville have been supportive and shown interest in the mission.

God has been good to the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Fairmont, West Virginia. The celebration of the Slava each year is a time to thank God for the blessings throughout the year and a time to thank His Grace and the faithful supporters and helpers of the mission.

Father Rodney Torbic

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[Archived News] Thursday, June 9, 2011

Photo report:
 Johnstown Parish Celebrates Church Slava

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[Archived News] Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Promotion at St. Vladimir's Seminary

New York, NY - V. Rev Djokan Majstorovic organized a book promotion at St. Vladimir's Seminary on the evening of May 18, 2011 for “Reflections on the Major Feasts” the new book by Fr. Rodney, published by the Clergy Brotherhood.

Fr. Djokan spoke as President of the Clergy Brotherhood of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America about the Brotherhood's publication of the book. Fr. Rastko Trubhovich also spoke, having written the introduction and reviewed the book and its importance for clergy and faithful. Finally, the author Fr. Rodney Torbic, spoke about how the book came to be written.

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[Archived News] Monday, May 9, 2011

 Church Slava in Hermitage

Hermitage, PA - On Sunday, May 8, the Sunday of the Holy Myrrh-Bearing Women, the St. George parish in Hermitage, PA, also celebrated their Patronal Feast.  

The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by visiting clergy Protojerej-Stavrophor Dragan Filipovic (Canton, OH), and Archpriest Thomas Blaschak (Carpatho-Russian jurisdiction, retired), assisting the host priest Protonamesnik Milovan Katanic.  Responses were sung by Hermitage's S.S. Vojislav Ilic Choir.  Honored Kumovi were Dr. and Mrs. Brian Generalovich and Ms. Alexis Lener, who donated a large fresco of the life of St. George for part of the north wall of the church's nave.  This very generous gift is certainly appreciated by the parish and contributes to the beauty of their temple.  

Following the Divine Liturgy and Litiya was the Ritual of the Cutting of the Slava Kolach and a scrumptious formal banquet in the Social Center, where the high school seniors were recognized and given gifts and Church Board President Dmitar Vucenovic was awarded the Gramata for his dedicated service throughout the years.  After a heartfelt and inspiring speech by Kum Dr. Brian, the crowd was entertained by the Jedinstvo Folklore Ensemble.

With a full house and a gorgeous spring day, the entire atmosphere was joyous and festive!  God, through the prayers of St. George and the three generations of parishioners in Farrell/Hermitage, continues to bless this small parish with His boundless and plentiful gifts!  Glory to God!

Hristos Voskrese!  Voistinu Voskrese! 

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[Archived News] Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pascha in Boston

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[Archived News] Monday, May 2, 2011

 Holy Week and Pascha in Steelton Parish

“Let us purify our senses and we shall behold Christ, radiant with the light ineffable of the Resurrection, and shall hear Him say in accents clear: ‘Rejoice!’ as we song the song of victory.”  (Paschal Canon, Canticle I, Hymn)

The stewards of St. Nicholas Church rejoiced as one in our celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Gone are the bleak days of winter and early spring when we preparing for and then observing the Great Lenten Fast.  With each Sunday of Lent we found deeper meaning in the scripture readings and greater understanding of the importance of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the Adoration of the Holy Cross and the lives of the saints – St. Gregory Palamas, St. John of the Ladder and St. Mary of Egypt.

We were ever mindful of keeping the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and charitable works.  As we progressed, we made promises to ourselves to be more attentive to these disciplines throughout the year even though we occasionally lapsed during Lent.  We counted on the Pre-Sanctified liturgies and the example and encouragement of our parish priest, Fr. Srboljub Jockovich, to stay on course and to dig deeper within ourselves to recognize our daily gifts of Christ’s mercy and grace.  Eventually we were astounded to see fasting wasn’t as bad as we made it out to be; prayer is best accomplished if we do it regularly; and we felt a real sense of personal fulfillment by reaching out selflessly to help others. 

All of a sudden, Lazarus Saturday was upon us and we were marking the entry of Christ into Jerusalem.  Shortly we would immerse ourselves in to services of Holy Week.  The St. Nicholas Church stewards participate in increasing numbers in the services of the week and especially look forward to the Holy Wednesday service.  In the darkened church, only our candles lit the scene of Fr. Srboljub blessing the oil he would subsequently use to anoint all of us.  We are thus offered Orthodox Christianity’s healing sacrament for all ills, whether of the body, mind or spirit.  We remember the sinful woman who brought precious and costly oil to cleanse Christ’s feet only to be chastised by Judas who would soon betray our Lord.  Because that betrayal took place on Wednesday, Orthodox Christians continue the tradition of the early church to fast on Wednesdays throughout the year.  Further, we realize the connection between the Wednesday service of Holy Unction and Christ’s institution of the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday.  By the sacrament of Holy Unction on Wednesday, we prepare ourselves in a most special way to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion at Divine Liturgy the following morning.

We were blessed to have Fr. Christopher Rocknage join us for the Holy Wednesday service.  Fr. Chris is the priest of Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church in nearby Lebanon, PA.  We were pleased to welcome him and several of his parishioners for this special service. 

As Wednesday’s healing service proceeds, we are reminded of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit as the readers, Milan Radanovic, Nicholas Govelovich, and Victor Bucharew chant seven Epistle readings and Fr. Srboljub and Fr. Christopher alternated in chanting the seven Gospel readings and seven prescribed prayers.  Nadine Klipa led the Holy Week choir in singing the responses.  At the high point of the Holy Unction service, we kneel in the center aisle of the church, still holding our lighted candles, and touching the arm or shoulder of the person in front of us so we are all connected.  Fr. Srboljub places the opened Gospel Book on the head of one of the congregants as he recites the prayer.  This year that special grace was given to Katherine (Kat) Gruich, a dear and faithful steward who suffered serious illness over the winter.  We are pleased she is with us for this service.  At the conclusion of the prayer, we moved slowly and patiently forward in two lines to be anointed with the newly-consecrated oil by Fr. Srboljub or Fr. Christopher.   

It is a special blessing for many of those present for the Holy Unction service on Wednesday to participate in the Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great on Holy Thursday morning.  The words of the prayer of confession resound in our ears and penetrate our minds and hearts on this day of the Last Supper.  “Of Thy mystical supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant, for I will not speak of Thy mystery to Thine enemies; neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss but like the thief will I confess Thee.  Remember me in Thy kingdom.”  We leave the Liturgy with so many gifts: a deeper understanding of repentance, a greater love for one another and a greater appreciation of how the Lenten Fast has prepared us for this special time of the Orthodox Christian calendar.

With all the lessons and gifts of Holy Week, some of us still think twice about attending the Reading of the Twelve Gospels on Holy Thursday.  We remember this service as the one that seems to go on and on and we are standing for much of it.  Nevertheless, our faithful stewards gathered again to hear the sad and powerful poetry of the antiphons and the Gospel readings recounting Christ’s passion and His promise of eternal life to the forgiven thief. 

On Friday morning, with strict fasting in effect, Fr. Srboljub conducted the service of the Royal Hours, recalling the ancient practice of gathering at the first, third, sixth, and ninth hours to pray.  In observance of each hour, there are troparia, prayers and readings from the Psalms and both the Old and New Testaments.  Rather than intoning the readings at the appointed hour of the day, they are now read in succession.

The Vesper service of Great and Holy Friday is held at St. Nicholas Church in the early evening then we take a break before the Burial Service that begins after darkness has fallen.  As a result, many of our working families with school-aged children can attend these services that fill our eyes, ears, and hearts with so many meaningful images and sounds.  The feelings of the faithful as they mourn Christ’s passion and death on the Cross are palpable.  We share an unspoken grief and we marvel at the immeasurable anguish of Christ’s mother, His disciples, and His followers.  At the Burial service in the darkened church, Fr. Srboljub leads us in the preliminary prayers and readings.  From one candle in the front of the Church, the light moves quickly among the faithful and the Church is ablaze with candlelight and the procession forms – the choir, altar servers, and four attendants who lift Christ’s Shroud (Plastanica) over the head of Fr. Srboljub as he moves down the center aisle to lead us as we sing the Trisagion Hymn, “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Have mercy on us”.  When we reenter the church, we each walk under the Shroud, still being held aloft by the four attendants.  It is a profoundly moving experience and our senses are filled beyond measure.  With great care and tender mercy, Fr. Srboljub places the Shroud on the tomb in the center aisle of the church.  As the service concludes, we all move forward to venerate Jesus Christ, our Lord, at the tomb and some stewards remain in the Church to participate in the sacrament of Holy Confession in front of the Christ’s tomb.

A group of volunteers, organized by Dewey Yetter, honored the long time tradition at St. Nicholas Church of keeping a watch at the tomb and reading aloud from the Book of Psalms throughout the night.  This year’s volunteers took two hour shifts from 11:00 pm until 7:00 am. 

On Saturday morning, the faithful were joined at the Church by a reporter and a photographer from the Harrisburg Patriot-News who contacted Fr. Srboljub earlier in the week to propose a story about our Holy Saturday service.  The newspaper was interested in highlighting the Jewish observance of Passover and the Christian observance of Holy Week and Pascha in the same time period.  There was particular interest in Holy Saturday since it appeared only the Orthodox Christian churches in the area were holding services.  There are a number of Orthodox Christian churches in the Central Pennsylvania area and we are always pleased to receive local coverage of our religious rites.

Over the years, the importance of participating in the Vespers and Divine Liturgy of Holy Saturday has grown clearer.  We increasingly understand this day as the pivotal transition between Christ’s agonizing passion and terrible death on the cross and His glorious resurrection.  Christ’s death did not impede His continuing mission of salvation.  His repose was a most active one.  He descended to Hades and raised Adam as the representative of all mankind.  In the Icon of the Resurrection above the royal doors at St. Nicholas Church, you see Christ trampling the gates of Hell and lifting Adam and Eve by the hand.  In the background are prophets from the Old and New Testaments.  Holy Saturday helps us to visualize and understand the words of the Resurrection Hymn we will sing later tonight – “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tomb bestowing life!” 

The Holy Saturday service, of course, begins with Vespers.  Fr, Srboljub and the altar servers are dressed in the dark vestments of mourning.  Olga Klipa once again took responsibility of enlisting volunteers to read the fifteen prophecies of the Old Testament with the central theme of resurrection and Christ’s ultimate triumph over death.  The volunteer readers ranged in age from pre-teen to elderly.  Nadine Klipa and the Holy Week Choir sang the responses with Cheri Klipa completing the fifteenth prophecy by singing the verses to “Praise the Lord, Sing and Exult Him Thoughout all the Ages.” 

In place of the Trisagion Hymn, the Divine Liturgy of Holy Saturday includes the baptismal hymn, “As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, Alleluia.”   We were thus reminded of the practice in the early church to baptize catechumens so they might enter the church to celebrate their very first and complete Divine Liturgy.  Following the reading of the Epistle, cousins Marina and Ioanna Radanovic sang the verses and refrain from Psalm 82: “Arise, O God, Judge the Earth: For to Thee Belong all The Nations.”

When the Royal Doors were opened again, Fr. Srboljub and the altar servers were wearing white vestments.  The awesome light of Christ’s impending resurrection was becoming more and more apparent.  Fr. Alexander Schmemann referred to Holy Saturday’s Vespers and Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great as “the liturgical climax of the church” and wrote, “If one opens one’s heart and mind to it and accepts its meaning and its light, the very truth of Orthodoxy is given by it, the taste and joy of that new life which shown forth from the grace.”

The Harrisburg Patriot-News photographer stayed for the entire two-hour service, taking photos of nearly every aspect of the proceedings.  He noted afterwards that while he was raised Roman Catholic, his step-father was Russian Orthodox and he often accompanied his step-father to church so this experience was a poignant reminder of those times.  His familiarity and sensibility can be seen in the photos he took.

Less than twelve hours later, the faithful and friends of St. Nicholas Church gathered again to observe the Resurrection Matins led by Fr. Srboljub, the readers and altar servers with the SSS Marinkovich Choir, directed by Nadine Klipa, singing the responses.  Several stewards who were experiencing this Resurrection service for the first time marveled at its deep meaning, particularly when Fr. Srboljub knocks on the church door, representing the rock in front of Christ’s tomb and the door is opened and the tomb is gone!  Christ is Risen!  The Choir joins Fr. Srboljub in singing the Resurrection Hymn, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tomb bestowing life!”  The service continues and the faithful exchange the Paschal kiss of love.  Several stewards remarked again at the unbounded joy that reflected from Fr. Srboljub’s face and his whole being as he greeted everyone with the words, “Christ is Risen!”  

It is only hours later when we return to the church to celebrate the Paschal Divine Liturgy at 10:00 A.M.  By 9:30 A.M., the church is nearly full.  The excitement of the moment is contagious.  You can hear family, kumovi, and friends exclaiming “Christ is Risen!  Indeed He is Risen!”  “Hristos Vaskrse! Vaistinu Vaskrse!”  Hristos Voskrese!  Voistinu Voskrese!”

Fr. Srboljub, the readers, and the altar servers are dressed in white vestments and Father’s voice is strong and vibrant as he chants the Liturgy.  The responses of the Marinkovich Choir resound in the church.  More than 350 people have come together to celebrate this glorious day the Lord has made.   As the Liturgy continues, prayers are offered, praises are sung and family members and friends are remembered.  As we prepare to receive Holy Communion, babies are carried forward by their kumovi or parents and the toddlers move forward as reverently as they can and Father offers the Holy Gifts to the faithful.  By the conclusion of the Liturgy, nearly everyone in the church is singing the Resurrection Hymn.

This is truly a day like no other and it truly has been a week like no other.  After the Lenten fast and the darkness of Holy Week, we are lifted, comforted, and energized by the Light of Christ’s Triumph and Glorious Resurrection.  Dear brothers and sisters: Christ is Risen!  Indeed He is Risen!                
[Harrisburg Patriot-News coverage]

A triple celebration

While Harrisburg coped with a water crisis and the rest of the midstate coped with too much rain, Western Christians, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Jews observed their most holy time of the year. In a secular sense, it might seem unusual to see stores selling Passover food such as matzo, beef brisket and charoset along with Easter food such as lamb, ham and marshmallow peeps. Spiritually, it's not that unusual. Passover, the eight-day holiday that celebrates the Jews' escape from slavery in ancient Egypt, started at sundown Monday with ritual meals known as Seders and special prayers and traditions in Jewish homes.
Passover begins at sundown on the evening before the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which falls in March or April. Passover begins on a different date each year because Jews follow the lunar, not Gregorian, calendar.
Meanwhile, both Western Christians and Orthodox Christians spent the last several days in Holy Week rituals that started on Palm Sunday and culminated in Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Both groups of Christians will celebrate Easter today.

A professor at Messiah College in Grantham says that the Western and Eastern Orthodox Easters fall on the same day every four or five years, generally close to Passover. "Both Western and Eastern Easters are based on the cycle of the moon, but they calculate differently," said Douglas Jacobsen, a professor of church history and theology.

"The date of Easter can vary by six to seven weeks. This year is about as late as it can get. It's awkward when one group celebrates [the] Resurrection of Christ and another is still in Lent." At St. Nicholas Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church in Swatara Twp., about 50 people attended a two hour Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil on Saturday morning. Members took turns reading 15 Old Testament prophecies about Jesus Christ's resurrection, then the Very Rev. Srboljub Jockovich, St. Nicholas' pastor, celebrated liturgy.

Saturday night, more parishioners attended Matins in the darkened St. Nicholas.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Wormleysburg and Holy Apostles Orthodox Church of Mechanicsburg held similar services on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Roman Catholics took their Easter food to church to be blessed around noon Saturday.

Many then returned to their churches at 8 p.m. for Easter Vigil services.

[Publication: Patriot-News, The (Harrisburg, PA)]
Author(s):    MARY KLAUS; mklaus@patriot-news.com
Date: May 1, 2011

Easter is more than a day to Harrisburg-area Christians. That's especially true to the area's Orthodox churches, which have spent the past several days observing Bright Week.

The week, which began on Easter and comes to a close at vespers on April 30, is a time when the royal doors to the Orthodox altars are kept open, giving worshippers an unobstructed view of the altar table.

This symbolizes that with his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ opened the way to paradise, said the Rev. Stephen Vernak, pastor of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church of Colonial Park.

"We celebrate the resurrection all week," Vernak said. "We have some special services. In my house for 40 days, we say 'Christ is risen' to our children. They reply, 'Indeed, he is risen.' "That joy is present in other Orthodox churches in the area, too, including: Holy Annunciation Macedono-Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church of Steelton. 

Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission of Mechanicsburg. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Wormleysburg St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church of Harrisburg.

The Holy Week mood in Orthodox churches, like in other Christian
churches, varied by the day.

There was joy on Palm Sunday at the celebration of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Many Orthodox churches used pussy willows, not palm, because the climate of some Slavic Orthodox countries wasn't temperate enough for palms. Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church used daffodils, common in Bulgarian celebrations, along with palms and pussy willows on Palm Sunday.

Prayers on Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday focused on such Biblical people as the bridegroom named in the parable of the 10 virgins, Mary Magdalene and Judas. Orthodox commemorate the Last Supper on Holy Thursday and the crucifixion of Christ on Great and Holy Friday. At the end of Friday services, a somber mood permeated the churches.

At St. Nicholas Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church on Great and Holy Friday night, the Very Rev. Srboljub Jockovich, St. Nicholas pastor, placed a tapestry shroud symbolizing the crucified Christ in the church's wooden tomb. Others placed white carnations and lilies around the tomb.

Church members then took turns keeping vigil at the tomb all night, reading by candlelight from the Book of Psalms. On Holy Saturday morning, about 50 parishioners gathered in front of that tomb to pray.

Beverly Yanich, St. Nicholas education chairwoman, said Holy Saturday represents the transformation from Jesus Christ's passion and death to his resurrection.

Jockovich used incense to bless the altar and the congregation as the rich voices of the choir sang liturgical hymns. He listened intently as 15 church members read Old Testament prophecies.
During the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, Jockovich changed his vestments from the dark purple of sorrow to the white of joy at Christ's resurrection.

"The service before the tomb of Christ is just beautiful," said Alex Govelovich of Swatara Twp., a third-generation member of St. Nicholas. "Coming here helps me get in touch with my soul and put my life in perspective." The Orthodox faithful in the region began their Easter celebration the night of April 23.

At Christ the Saviour, members read the Acts of the Apostles at 10:30 p.m., followed by Nocturne service. Then, the church was darkened except for a candle on the altar.

Soon, people in the congregation were holding lighted candles. They headed outside, processed around the church three times, sang, had a service in front of the door, then joined Vernak, the Very Rev. Daniel D. Ressetar, pastor emeritus; and the Very Rev. Dr. Michael G. Kovach, associate pastor.

Soon, they all were saying the words echoing in their hearts that sacred night: "Christ is risen. Indeed, he is risen."

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[Archived News] Thursday, April 14, 2011

 Clergy Confession for Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Washington Deaneries

Monroeville, PA - On Wednesday April 13, 2011, clergy confession was held for the Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Washington Deaneries which this year was hosted by the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, Protopresbyter Stavrofor Dr. Mateja Matejic served as Confessor.

His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrophan of Eastern America officiated at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Serving with His Grace were the Episcopal Deputy Very Reverend Stavrofor Dragoljub Malich and Deans: Protopresbyter Stavrofor Janko Raljich, Protopresbyter Stavrofor Srboljub Jockovic and Protopresbyter Stavrofor Stevan Stepanov and Archimandrite V. Rev. Leontije (Alavanja) and V. Rev. Stavrophor Rastko Trbuhovich.  Protodeacon Milan Medakovich and Deacon Ljubisa Mitrovic also served.

His Grace delivered the following homily:

“My soul, my soul, arise! Why are you sleeping?
The end is drawing near, and you will be confounded.
Awake, then, and be watchful,
that Christ our God may spare you,
Who is everywhere present and fills all things.

Kontakion of the Great Canon

We sing thus on the first and fifth weeks of this Great and Holy and honorable Fast. And not only during these days but I think we should direct these words to our soul every day. For how many days are there, how many hours and minutes of our lives that our souls are sleeping, not knowing whether it will awaken, or not knowing that it is sleeping or snoozing, being drunk with sinful passionate thoughts. And at that moment we don't remember, as if we are drunk or fallen and in an unconscious state. As our people would say: We've fainted. But when our souls sleep then our bodies sleep especially. The body doesn't do anything until the soul desires it. For this reason do the Holy Fathers say, “the body is a good servant and an awful ruler.”

O, how many are there who called themselves Orthodox Christians and do not know that their souls are sleeping. They  think they are feeding the soul if they feed the body, for they adhere to the old saying: “In a healthy body, a healthy soul.” Yet see how many there are who have a healthy body and an unhealthy soul, and the opposite. Let us consider Saul of Tarsus. Healthy, young, full of energy, enthusiastic, good mannered, highly educated in both religion and the world of that time. He had healthy, open eyes but only for this world. But he was unhealthy and blind for the New Testament glad tidings of Jesus of Nazareth. Even though his legs and hands were healthy and fast yet it was only for the capturing and throwing in enprisonment of Christ's followers. However, his soul was sleeping, for it did not see in Jesus from Nazareth the promised Messiah. 

O, how our soul sleeps and we are not aware of it nor do we consider it important! When it is time for prayer and we are lazy, is not our soul sleeping? When we offend or sadden our brother and we do not ask his forgiveness, is not our soul sleeping? When an opportunity is presented us to do some good deed and we don't do it, is not our soul sleeping? Not to mention when we sin and we don't ask forgiveness from our Heavenly Father, is not our soul sleeping? Our souls need to awaken not only out of shame before others or anger at ourselves or out of fear of eternal judgment but because we have offended our good and all merciful Heavenly Father who, for our sakes, gave His Son (John 3:16). That is the perfect soberness of the soul. Or as St. Theophan the Recluse says: “...in your hidden actions give this direction: be more conscious of the great love for mankind God shows towards us, and in contrast to it think of the great ingratitude we show whenever we sin...”. St. Theophan continues: “Like the one who has difficulty breathing in a stuffy room rushes outdoors to get some fresh air or the one who can no longer bear the tight clothing and at the first opportunity he throws it away, so too a sinner who, out of sinfulness, has become unhealthy throws the sinful burden from himself and flees from the unclean and infectious house of sin to the clean area of the Godly life.”

We go to the doctor for a check-up to make sure we are healthy and he tells us: All in all you are healthy! Your heart is healthy, there is no damage; you lungs are in good shape, there are no stains, your kidneys are working fine, your eyes are good, you look good, you didn't lose weight, your blood work looks good, you don't have cholesterol, etc. But we know we aren't healthy, for our souls tell us: I am unhealthy. Find another physician who will tell you my true state about me and you. You say that your heart is healthy, but it is not the place where God dwells. You heart is not God's abode, the prayer of the mind is not spoken in it: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner.” You say that your blood is healthy. But does the immortal blood of the Son of God flow through it? Do you feed it and give it to drink of the heavenly Bread and immortal drink?

We know that after a difficult surgery the doctor has to restore our consciousness, or at least not allow us to fall asleep under anesthesia.  Thus it sometimes happens that God triggers us from the earth, throws us from the saddle of our easygoing lifestyle, as He did to Saul of Tarsus, so that we come to our senses. And then truly should we cry out, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" (Acts 9:6). But not only that we cry out but also do that which God commands. Or that an invisible hand not allow us to enter a sanctuary, as was the case with the Venerable Mary of Egypt, whom we celebrate this evening and tomorrow. Only when this Venerable one understood to what depth of Hades her soul had sunk did she begin to think why is she not permitted to go and venerate the Honorable wood of the Cross. And as the Venerable one said to the Elder Zossima: "... the illuminous commandment of the Lord, which enlightens spiritual eyes, showed me that my smoldering (infectious) actions were not allowing me to enter the church.”

Let us awaken our souls, dear brethren, from the sinful sleep that we might bear the priestly burden. But only with Him is every yoke easy and every burden light regardless of how heavy it is (Matt. 11:29-30). Without Him and His help even the smallest of life's spiritual yokes and burdens are heavy, too heavy for our souls and bodies.

Dear brethren,

That we might free ourselves of the bodily weight we eat lighter food, fruits and vegetables, with less calories. May the fruits and vegetables for our souls be good deeds, forgiveness, meekness, abstaining from passions, putting away anger from our hearts and souls. And especially that our souls be reconciled with God and our neighbors. If, therefore, we are not reconciled with God, with our conscious, with our neighbors, we will not reach the joyous Pascha of Christ. Let us extinguish the fire of passions in our souls and bodies like St. Mary of Egypt of whom the Venerable Fr. Andrew writes: “To extinguish the flame of the passions, O Mary, thou didst ever shed rivers of tears and fire thy soul with divine love. Grant also to me, thy servant, the grace of tears.” We ask of the Venerable one that she pray to God for us that He grant our souls inner tears with which we will drown the spiritual pharaoh.

When I was in Brazil a week ago I saw an ad on a bus that said: “One for all and everyone against the Denga”. And I asked the priest what is a denga. He replied: “A denga, your Grace, is a dangerous mosquito that spreads infections and oftentimes its bite is deadly.” For us that deadly denga is the devil, sin and death which kill the soul and body. And the only salvific medicine against such a bite is the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus we will be able to say together with the Holy Apostle: “O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory” (1 Cor. 15:55).

Let us say to our souls: “Approach the Creator of all you miserable soul with your body, confess, turn from your previous imprudence, and weep to God in tears of repentance.” Lord, “enlighten the darkness of our souls.” AMEN.

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[Archived News] Wednesday, April 6, 2011

 Lenten Vespers in Steelton (Washington Deanery) on Sunday of St.John of the Ladder

Steelton,PA - The St.Nicholas  Serbian Orthodox Church in Steelton, Pa. hosted the Lenten Vespers on the fourth Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of St. John of the Ladder.

Rev. Milorad Orlic, parish priest from St.Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, Philadelphia  was the evening's homilist. He reminded all those gathered for the evening service that with the following day we embark upon the fifth week of fasting. He called upon all to take these days seriously and wisely that we all might worthily and joyously await the great feast of the Lord's Resurrection. Fr. Milorad  also spoke earnestly about the gifts we offer to God,  to keep Christ, Our Lord, first in our lives. To forgive each other , love one another, and pray for peace together in church  and alone  in our homes. St.Sava Youth Choir of St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox  Church sing responses under the direction of Nina Radanovic. Reader Milan Radanovic chanted at  Pevnica.

V. Rev. Stavrophor Srboljub Jockovich, dean of the Washington  Deanery, led  the evening service. Also serving at the holy altar were:  Fr. Christopher Rocknage  from Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church , Lebanon.Pa.  and  Fr. Daniel Ressetar, Priest Emeritus from Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Harrisburg,Pa.

A Lenten dinner was prepared by the hard working Sam Radanovic and his helpers.

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[Archived News] Monday, April 4, 2011

 Lenten Vespers in Youngstown on Sunday of St. John of the Ladder

Youngstown, OH - The Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Youngstown, Ohio (Racoon Road) hosted the Lenten Vespers on the fourth Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of St. John of the Ladder.

V. Rev. Stavrophor Dragan Filipovic was the evening's homilist. He reminded all those gathered for the evening service that with the following day we embark upon the fifth week of fasting, meaning if we have not done well at fasting thus far we have three weeks remaining. He called upon all to take these days seriously and wisely that we all might worthily and joyously await the great feast of the Lord's Resurrection. Fr. Dragan also spoke earnestly about the gifts we offer to God, emphasizing that when we give something it is no longer ours. Hence, the arguments over church property must always be seen in this point of view, that we have offered all of this to God and dedicated to His glory, not our own.

V. Rev. Stavrophor Janko Rajlich, dean of the Cleveland Deanery, led the evening service. Also serving at the holy altar were V. Rev. Stavrophor Zvonimir Kotorcevich, V. Rev. Dragomir Tuba, Protonamesnik Milovan Katanic, Rev. Dragan Goronjic, the host priest and Deacon Milan Medakovic.

A lenten dinner was prepared by the hard working ladies from the Holy Trinity parish.

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[Archived News] Thursday, March 31, 2011

 Lenten Vespers in North Carolina

Charlotte, NC - The. St. Simeon the Myrrhflowing parish in Charlotte, North Carolina hosted the Lenten Vespers for the St. Petersburg Deanery on Sunday, March 27, 2011, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross. V. Rev. Dragan Zaric, the host priest, together with all parishioners warmly welcomed their guests from the Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rev. Miladin Blagojevic, of the Atlanta parish, was the evening's homilist.

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[Archived News] Thursday, March 30, 2011

 Youngstown Parish Host Lenten Vespers

Youngstown, OH - The Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Youngstown, Ohio is traditionally the host for Lenten Vespers on the third Sunday of Lent, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross.

Serving at the holy altar were V. Rev. Stavrophor Janko Rajlich, the Cleveland Deanery dean and host priest, V. Rev. Stavrophor Zvonimir Kotorcevic, V. Rev. Stavrophor Dragan Filipovic, V. Rev. Dragomir Tuba, Protonamesnik Milovan Katanic and Fr. Dragan Goronjic. Also serving was Protodeacon Milan Medakovic. 

Fr. Dragomir Tuba delivered the homily calling upon all gathered faithful to focus on the great love for mankind which Christ our God showed on cross. To particularly contemplate it during these days of the Great Fast.

A lenten meal was served in the church hall afterward.

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[Archived News] Wednesday, March 23, 2011

 St. Petersburg Deanery Christian Education Metting

Atlanta, GA - The Fourth St. Petersburg Christian Education Deanery Meeting of the Eastern American Diocese was scheduled by His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN at the Sts. Peter and Paul Serbian Orthodox Church of Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, March 19, 2011. Previous meetings were in Jacksonville, Orlando and St. Petersburg, Florida. This meeting was scheduled in conjunction with Clergy Confession. Parishes in the Deanery are many miles apart. Extensive traveling is necessary for the participants.

His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN officiated at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with attending priests also serving. Singers from the Sts. Peter and Paul Church provided the responses.

Host priest Father Miladin Blagojevich warmly welcomed the participants. The Dean of the St. Petersburg Deanery, Protopresbyter Stephen Zaremba emphasized the importance of Christian education and the centrality of participating in and learning from the Divine services of the Church.

Written and oral reports were prepared from each of the parishes in the Deanery with accompanying discussion. The reports provided a review of the amount of teachers and students in each parish and the curriculum materials used. The efforts, concerns and difficulties of providing Christian education in the parishes were shared with interest and conviction.

The Deanery includes parishes in Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; and the Florida parishes of Jacksonville, Orlando North Miami, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Northport.

Participants in the meeting in addition to those mentioned included Protopresbyter Stavrofor Jovan Todorovic, Protopresbyter Svetozar Veselinovich, Protopresbyter Dragan Zaric, Protonamesnik Ljubisa Brnjos,  Father Stanislav Kravljaca, Father Dragan Zaric, Martha McJilton and Marija Mandic.

His Grace Bishop MITROPHAN stressed the importance of having children and youths participate in the Divine Liturgy. His Grace spoke about the need for missionary efforts. Having a symposium for teachers at Shadeland as well as in the St. Petersburg Deanery was also discussed.

The warm hospitality of Father Miladin Blagoljevic and the parishioners of the Sts. Peter and Paul Serbian Orthodox Church was evident throughout the day and was gratefully appreciated.

Father Rodney Torbic

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[Archived News] Monday, March 21, 2011

 Lenten Vespers at Akron Parish

Akron, OH - The St. Archangel Micheal Serbian Orthodox Church in Akron hosted the second group in the Cleveland Deanery for Lenten Vespers on the second Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas.

Clergy attending were V. Rev. Stavrophor Janko Rajlic, dean of the Cleveland Deanery, V. Rev. Stavrophor Zvonko Kotorcevic, V. Rev. Stavrophor Dragan Filipovic, V. Rev. Dragomir Tuba, the host priest, Protonamesnik Milovan Katanic, Rev. Isak Kisin and Rev. Dragan Goronjic. Also serving were Protodeacon Milan Medakovic and Deacon James Gresh.

Fr. Isak Kisin, of St. Stevan of Dechani in Columbus, was the evening's homilist. In his sermon he delivered a brief explanation of the situation the church faced during the time of St. Gregory Palamas and his conflict with Barlaam. He then continued enumerated various modern day dangers that all Orthodox need to be careful of in preserving our holy Faith.

Also present that evening at the Akron parish were members of the Serbian non-governmental Christian and nationalistic organization Dveri Srpske. Branimir Nesic delivered a brief talk during the evening's dinner of the current state in Serbia and a video was shown showcasing the work of this organization.

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[Archived News] Monday, March 14, 2011

 Serbian Church in Miami Hosts Pan-Orthodox Vespers on Sunday of Orthodoxy

Miami, FL - The Orthodox clergy and faithful of the greater Miami area gathered at the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Simeon the Myrrh-flowing in North Miami on the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, where this year's pan-Orthodox Vespers service was held with host clergy V. Rev. Svetozar Veselinovic. 

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[Archived News] Monday, March 14, 2011

Serbian Church in Hermitage Hosts Pan-Orthodox Vespers

Hermitage, PA - The Orthodox clergy and faithful of Mercer and Lawrence Counties in Northwest Pennsylvania gathered at the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Hermitage on the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, where this year's pan-Orthodox Vespers service was held with host clergy Rev. Milovan Katanic.

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[Archived News] Monday, March 7, 2011

 Bishop Mitrophan Joins Cleveland Deanery Clergy for Forgiveness Vespers

Warren, OH - His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America joined the clergy of the Cleveland Deanery, headed by Dean V. Rev. Stavrophor Janko Rajlich, for the Lenten Vespers on the Sunday of Forgiveness, on the eve of Great Lent Sunday, March 6, 2011 at St. Elijah Church in Warren, Ohio. Accompanying the bishop was the Diocesan secretary Milovan Jovanovic.

Protonamesnik Milovan Katanic was the evening's homilist who in his sermon about forgiveness brought to mind that these days of the Great Fast are leading us slowly not only to the Feast of all feasts, the Resurrection of our Lord, but also to that darkest of all days in the history of mankind, the crucifixion of our Lord on Golgotha. It was there, he stated, that the Lord died for His enemies in order to make them His friends, to bring all men to salvation and yet how many Christians make enemies of their friends through disrespecting, insulting or offending them.

Afterward, Fr. Dragan Goronjic of the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Youngstown and administrator of the St. Elijah parish warmly welcomed His Grace and on behalf of the parish asked for the bishop's forgiveness as we all embark on the holy journey of the Great Fast. Also serving that evening was Protodeacon Milan Medakovic.

A wonderful meal was served in the adjoining church hall where the bishop addressed the people calling on forgiveness, love and respect for one another as a people and members of the Serbian Orthodox Church.   

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[Archived News] Tuesday, February 29, 2011

 Meatfare Sunday in Atlanta

Atlanta, GA - On February 27, our parish warmly welcomed His Grace Bishop  Mitrofan. We were very excited that His Grace took the time away from  his busy schedule to come and give his blessing for a new beginning, together with Father Miladin.

Bishop Mitrofan opened his homily with rather sense of urgency “Dear Brothers and Sisters the Judgment Day is coming! Only our dear Lord Father knows when the end will come.”  How true these words are indeed.  We do not know when will the Judgment Day arrive, but we must forgive and love each other! We must practice our faith with our personal actions and  not just our words.  This was the message our Vladika left us all with, deeply embedded  in our soul as a sacred whisper for all us to follow.

After lunch, our diligent President Ms. Milana Saulnier thanked His Grace for visiting and the Kolo of Serbian Sisters for all their hard work in preparing the meal. One of the highlights of Vladika’s visit was his encouragement to start thinking about a possible new property for our church.

Ms. Jovanka Loncaric, Kolo president, also said few words to His Grace and thanked everyone for coming. Last but not the least, our Father Miladin thanked everyone for coming and especially to His Grace Vladika Mitrofan and his blessing to years to come. It was exciting day for St. Peter and Paul’s Serbian Orthodox Church in Atlanta, and we eagerly look forward for many more to come!

Sladjana Hrnjak

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[Archived News] Monday, February 28, 2011

 In Memoriam: V. Rev. Stavrophor Branko Skaljac

Fr. Branko Skaljac was born in Banski Moravci, Yugoslavia and in 1929 came to Hamilton, Ontario as an infant. After graduation from Hamilton public schools in 1944, he was one of six young men from North America to be aided in their theological studies by the Serb National Federation. Their training began at an Episcopalian seminary in Wisconsin,and was completed at St. Sava Seminary and Monastery in Libertyville.

On graduation in 1949 he married Helene Tepavac of Midland, Pennsylvania and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood. His first parish was St. Basil of Ostrog Church in Chisholm, Minnesota. In the early 1950's he was asked to help the fledgling parish of St. George in Masontown, Pennsylvania organize and become established. Under his leadership and energy the community built a church, hall, parish home, picnic grounds, cemetery and athletic field.

In 1964 Fr. Branko was appointed pastor of St. Sava Cathedral in Cleveland, during a very difficult time in the life of the parish. His leadership under harsh circumstances bore fruit in a continuation of spiritual life and growth in areas such as youth work.

Fr. Branko served St. George Church in Farrell, Pennsylvania for two years before coming to Lorain where he served eleven years until his retirement. In 1989 he was awarded the right to wear the pectoral cross by the Holy Synod of Bishops, the highest honor bestowed to a married priest in the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Fr. Branko's talents in music and sports naturally led him into working with the young people of the Church. In Masontown he directed the Fayette County Male Chorus and the St. George Church Choir, and helped organize the Tri-State Serbian Little League program. In Cleveland he founded the youth orchestra, dancers and singers, taught Serbian language classes for children, and also took on directorship of the Njegosh Choir. He was also active with the Kosovo Men's Choir and worked with the children's church camp program

A Pomen service will be served at the St. Sava Cathedral in Parma on Wendesday, March 2 at 7pm and the Funeral Liturgy on Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 9am. His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America will officiate.

May Prota Branko's memory be eternal.

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[Archived News] Monday, February 21, 2011

 A Joyous and Historic Beginning at St. Petka Church in Orlando

Orlando, FL - Sunday February 20, 2011 was a joyous and  historic day for St. Petka Serbian Orthodox Church of Orlando, Florida. Clergy and faithful came from great distances to be present for this most special occasion. His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN officiated at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Protonamesnik Ljubisa Brnjos was the host priest. Additional Diocesan clergy serving with His Grace included Protopresbyter Stavrofor Jovan Todorovich, Protopresbyter Stavrofor Dr. Rodney Torbic, Protopresbyter Stephen Zaremba, Protopresbyter Djokan Majstorovic, Protopresbyter Dragan Zaric, Reverend Father Milorad Orlic, Reverend Father Stanislav Kravljaca, Reverend Father Miladin Blagoljevic, and Reverend Father Dragan Zaric. Visiting clergy serving included: Very Reverend Stavrofor  Constantinos Tzigas , Very Reverend Nikolas Rigas, and Protodeacon Michael Malinowski.

His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN spoke with conviction and specificity regarding the Gospel account of the Prodigal Son. His Grace spoke about the sinfulness of each person and the immeasurable love of God willing to receive the individuals repenting. His Grace described the love of the father joyfully receiving his returning son as an example of parents’ immeasurable love for their sons and daughters. The older son’s reaction was discussed by His Grace. Believers must guard against being judgmental about  brothers and sisters-in-Christ returning to the Church.

During the Divine Liturgy, His Grace described the dedication and fruitful work of parish priest Father Ljubisa Brnjos. In recognition of his dedication to the parish and the progress being made, His Grace elevated Father Ljubisa to the rank of Protonamesnik. This was a joyful moment for all in attendance.

During the Divine Liturgy a large number of adults and children partook of the Precious Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Immediately following the Divine Liturgy, His Grace accompanied by the clergy processed to the prepared nearby area where construction will begin on the new St. Petka Serbian Orthodox Church. His Grace officiated at the blessing of the groundbreaking which is to begin. Official documents marking the occasion were appropriate read, blessed and sealed in the blessed base which will rest below where the altar table will be located in the new church. Rocks from important historic holy sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church were sealed in the base of what will become the new church.  Hundreds of faithful believers from near and far gathered around the perimeter of the new construction site to witness and express their support for this great and
wonderful undertaking.

The building of a church is a confession of faith. The building of a church is an expression of love for Christ. The building of a church is a preparation for the continued building of souls. A church is a source of nourishment for the soul, a place of peace, a place of healing and joy. The building of a church advances the work of Christ until His glorious Second Coming.

At the program which followed the blessing of the beginning of construction, His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN commended and thank Protonamesnik Father Ljubisa Brnjos, the Executive Board of the St. Petka Serbian Orthodox Church and the faithful of the parish for their efforts. Great sacrifice, dedication and love for Christ brought the parish to the present point of beginning construction. His Grace called upon St. Petka-Parasceva to continue to be an intercessor and protector of the parish as the construction proceeds to completion.

The afternoon program included a talk by Parish Executive Board President Marko Zecevic describing the parish’s journey of faith leading to this moment of beginning of construction of the new church. A large number of children and youths from the St. Petka Church, the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Petersburg and the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Clearwater, Florida participated in the program which included a play,
recitations and dancing.

The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, the blessing of the beginning of construction and the afternoon program reflected this parish is clearly linked with and is continuing in the way of St. Sava and the Serbian saints.

This was great and wonderful day to give glory and thanks to God for the abundant blessings bestowed upon St. Petka Serbian Orthodox Church in Orlando, Florida. The early beginnings of the parish were vividly brought to mind. His Grace blessing the beginning of construction, the overflowing presence of clergy and faithful present brought observers to consider the progress made as a miracle of God.

Father Rodney Torbic

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[Archived News] Monday, February 21, 2011

 Diocesan Annual Assembly Held in Florida

Clearwater, FL - With the archpastoral blessings of His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America the 2011 Annual Diocesan Annual Assembly was summoned and hosted by the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Clearwater, Florida with our host V. Rev. Stavrophor Jovan Todorovic.

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[Archived News] Friday, February 11, 2011

Saint Sava Celebration in Charlottesville, Virgina

Many ages have since gone by,
'(All this happened long ago)'
many ages have since flown
and   many more will yet flow.
But that boy lives even now,
deathless, as it is his story.
He was RASTKO,  son  Nemanja’s,
SAINT SAVA, clad in glory.

By Vojislav Ilic. Translated from Serbian and versified by Fr.  Mateja Matejic

Charlottesville, VA -As the poem of Serbian poet Vojislav Ilic says, many ages have gone by, but they could not have erased the remembrance of Saint Sava. On contrary, his spirit is deeply rooted in  the hearts of Serbian people. All over the world, Serbs celebrate their Saint, passing the love for him from generation to generation. The same was true in Charlotesville, where Serbs solemnly celebrated St. Sava's Day in the presence of  Father Dragan Zaric who held the Divine Lithurgy in the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  Fr. Dragan specially thanked Serbs who came from Richmond to honor the celebration. Since St. Sava is a patron saint of Serb schools and schoolchildren, the highest emphaisis was put on the children's performances after the Liturgy. Ana Doder, Stefani Mitrovic, Dorotea Zaric, Nikita Letic, Jovan Zaric, Filip Vaskez, and Sara Doder recited songs about St Sava. Children were joined by the older members of the parish: Bozo Andric, Ilija Mitrovic, and Drago Jokic, who read about the life of St Sava and sang St Sava’s Hymn. After the ceremony, Olgica Petrovic and Mile Peles delighted children with gifts.

Parish Godparents, Nenad and Tanja Doder, prepared lunch for this occasion, and thanked others who generously contributed to the event. After the cutting of the Holy Bread, Zeljko and Sanja Matic (from Dalmatia) accepted a privilege to be the next year’s Godparents of this celebration. 

''I hope to see St Sava's celebration as a tradition in Charlottesville. I am  very honored to be the Parish godfather and a host for next year's gathering; I will do my best to organize everything for the next year, '  said Zeljko Matic.

Serbs form Charlottesville once again expressed ther gratitude to Fr. Dragan Zaric for his tremendous contribution to this small Serbian communiity; for strengthening their faith in Jesus Christ and bringing Serbian customs and tradition closer to their children.

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[Archived News] Tuesday, February 1, 2011

 St. Basil of Ostrog, Kernersville North Carolina
Sveti Sava Celebration

Kernersvillle, NC - Our Sveti Sava celebration day began as it should with the Divine Liturgy giving thanks to God for all things we have. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:14) – this might not be one of the first passages from the New Testament one would think of in relation to St Sava Day, but on this day one couldn’t help but notice that indeed our children were the highlight of this celebration. “..you were the instructor and the teacher of the way that leads to life; for having come, you first enlightened your fatherland, Then giving it birth by the Holy Spirit, you planted your wholly sanctified children as olive trees in spiritual paradise.” (Tropar of St Sava).

Thanks to God and our wonderful Saint Sava these words are still being fulfilled 775 years after the repose of St Sava in a country far from where our First Archbishop of Serbia dwelt. Thanks especially to all of our faithful parents who have heeded these words and continue to nourish our children in this beautiful program and by their commitment to keep them close to their Orthodox faith and Church. They now serve as the teachers and instructors that will lead to life. Planting their children like the olive trees in spiritual paradise. It was truly moving as we watched our children of all ages reciting their declamation, each taking their parts very seriously and showing what they have learned of our St Sava. Just as St Sava enlightened our people and passed on our faith, we have been called to do the same, and it was evidenced today by the work of our parents and teachers.  And our program was only one part of our spiritual enrichment,  we were also blessed to have some of our children participate in singing Psalm 135 during the Divine Liturgy, sounding just like the Angles, and mostly importantly our Holy Communion line was filled with our young!

We thank Slava Kumovi, Ristanovic family for preparing all of the food and deserts, Jovanka Milikic, Gordana Elezovic, and Predrag Damjanovic  for their hard work in bringing our program together, and Milan and Mladenka Krajisnik for donating the gifts for the children. We especially thank our children, Bailey Viktorija, Mara Miric, Jovana Maksimovic, Boskovic Jelena, Davidovic Ana, Davidovic Ivana, Elezovic Olga, Elezovic Ana, Everhart Nikolas ,Kajtazovic Maja ,Lakic Nemanja, Lakic Tina, Milisav Jelena, Milisav Nikola, Miskovic Mladen, Miskovic Simo, Natalija Milikic, Novak Andjela, Novak Sonja, Novak Stefan, Petrovic Dana, Ana Bunjevac, Rasuo Dejan, Rasuo Teodora, Ristanovic Maja, Ristanovic Stefan, Sovilj Dajana, Stankovic Nikolas, Stankovic Stefan, Subasic Stefan, Vidacak Jovana, and Vidacak Mladen. What a tribute to a parish of our size. We also thank our spiritual leader, Proto Dragan Zaric, for his love and gentleness and unwavering spiritual guidance as our pastor and teacher. We left this day once again showing that the desperate sinful act of Sinan Pasha burning the Holy Relics of our St Sava on Vracar hill in 1595 could not stop this Saint from still reaching his children.

May Sveti Sava, intercede before Christ our God to save our souls! Amin!

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[Archived News] Monday, January 31, 2011

 Blessing of Mongahela River With west Virgina Parish

Fairmont, WV - Parishioners of Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Fairmont, West Virginia have become accustomred to going to the nearby Monongahela River for the annual blessing each January. This year the river blessing took place on January 29, 2011 following the Divine Liturgy.

Father Rodney Torbic

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[Archived News] Tuesday, January 25, 2011

 Monongahela River Blessings

Carmichaels, PA - With the Archpastoral Blessing of His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN, every year during the celebration of the Feast of Theophany, parishioners and friends of the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in  Carmichaels, Pennsylvania gather on the banks of the banks of the nearby Monongahela River under the Masontown Bridge for the annual river blessing. This year the blessing took place following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, January 23, 2011. The St. George Choir sang the responses for the service at the river side. An ice cross  prepared by Sonia Janson was placed in the river at the end of the service and all in attendance were sprinkled with holy water.

Following the river blessing, the group gathered at Dolfi’s Restaurant where St. George Executive Board President Stan Brozik and his  wife Karen hosted their family Slava celebration. The river blessing has grown each year in attendance and commitment. This year as in years past was a very cold day but the parishioners are faithful and resolute in going ahead with the celebration. The annual blessing of the Monongahela River is
recognition of renewal by Christ identified with His Baptism by John in the River Jordan many centuries ago. The blessings of homes and individuals with holy water at this time of the year are further celebrations of the Feast of Theophany and recognition of the renewal in Christ that spreads throughout the world.
Father Rodney Torbic

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[Archived News] Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Christmas Liturgy in Charlottesville

Charlottesville, VA - On a cold January morning, many Serbs from Charlottesville, a small historic place in Virginia with approximately forty Serbian families, have gathered to celebrate the second day of Christmas, the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos. In the St. Nichola’s Ukranian Orthodox Church, the Divine Liturgy was led by Father Dragan Zaric who already serves as a Parish Priest in Charlotte and Greensboro; North Carolina. With blessings from Bishop Mitrofan, Father Dragan Zaric is trying to unify Serbs here in Charlottesville.

Fire sparks coming from the burning branches of the Holy Oak tree reminded our people of old Serbian customs and, far away hearths. This date will also be remembered for the first preparations made for the establishment of the new Serbian Orthodox Parish in Charlottesville, where the formation of the Serbian Council will shortly follow.

-This is an extremely important day for the Serbs of Charlottesville and the surrounding area. The happiest Christian holiday; Christmas, has gathered us not only to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ Savior but also to preserve the religion of our ancestors, customs, language and culture for the future generations, said Nenad Doder, one of the organizers of the gathering. Due to his enormous merits, Nenad had an honor to be the first Godfather of the Serbian Congregation during the celebration of St. Sava’s Day; on the February fifth. On that day, the Serbian children from Charlottesville will contribute to the celebration with a rich cultural program.

Soon after St. Sava’s Day, His Grace Bishop Mitrofan is expected to visit and bless the establishment of our Congregation in Charlottesville. At that time, our Serbian Orthodox Mission should get its Patron - its name.


Шарлотсвил, Вирџинија - У хладно јануарско јутро на Сабору Пресвете Богородице, други дан Божића ове године, сабрали су се Срби из Шарлотсвила, малог историјског града у Вирџинији, који броји око четрдесетак српских домаћинстава. У Украјинској Цркви Светог Николе Свету Архијерејску Литургију служио је отац Драган Зарић, свештеник у парохијама у Шарлоту и Гринзбору који са благословом владике Митрофана покушава да молитвено  обједини Србе овог краја.

Искре ватре наложених бадњака подсјетиле су наше људе на старе српске обичаје и далека огњишта. Остаће упамћен овај датум и по томе што су у „граду Томаса Џеферсона” свечано обављене све припреме за оснивање нове Парохије Српске Православне Цркве, a ускоро ће бити оформљен и Црквени Одбор.

- Ово је веома значајан дан за Србе овог краја. Најрадоснији хришћански празник Божић, окупио нас је не само да прославимо дан рођења нашег Господа Исуса Христа, већ и да за сва будућа покољења сачувамо нашу вjеру прадjедовску, обичаје, језик и културу, рекао је Ненад Додер, један од организатора овог скупа. Због великих заслуга за све што је урадио, њему је управо и припала част да буде први кум за прославу Светога Саве, која ће бити организована петог фебруара. Најављено је да ће на тој свечаности дјеца из Шарлотесвила својим културним програмом увеличати ову школску славу. 

Очекује се да Његово Преосвештенство Владика Митрофан ускоро посjетu нашу заједницу у Шарлотсвилу, и том приликом да благослов за оснивање  мисионарске парохије, када би ова Србска Православна мисија требало да добије и свога заштитника- своје име.

Тома Зековић

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[Archived News] Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas Eve - Atlanta 2010

Atlanta, GA - On January 6th at 7p.m my heart was filled with tears of joy and excitement when I saw our little children spreading hay all over the church floor and taking pictures next to an amazing table full of Badnjaks.

As men, women and children filled our modest parish; I was standing next to the choir and thinking: “Dear Lord, how powerful is to see all these humble people that came together with their families and friends to celebrate a birth of your only son Jesus Christ”. The Nativity of Christ is the most exciting moment in not just in Serbian tradition, but also it is the holiest moment in the history of human race. The birth of Christ separates time to that before and after Christ and represents the center of not only Christian, but the history of man in general.

When I lifted my head up after prayer, I noticed that every single soul was smiling and listening to Father Miladinin’s divine Nativity of Christ liturgy. As the smell of tamjan filled the air, with choir’s breath taking songs and praises, if listened carefully, one could have almost hear the voice of the angel that appeared to the shepherds and announced to them that the Savior was born. There was no room for chairs, everyone was standing close to each other and both church doors were half-open with rest of the parishioners that were unable to come in. This was extremely joyous time for entire Serbian community in Atlanta.

Immediately after blessing of the Badnjak, everyone joined Father Miladin and choir in traditional walk around the church with Badnjak . As we walked step by step, on this cold, January evening, and sang praises to our Lord, there were no hearts that refused to feel happiness and joy that Christmas brings. After all, it is all about family and friends. And that night, even if the people did not talk to each other, they found ways to forgive each other and rejoice in Christ’s birth.

This holy evening filled with love, peace and happiness was highlighted by lighting of the Bdanjak in the backyard of our church. Our brothers and sisters were dancing and singing “Öj Badnjace, Badnjace” and this moment was priceless. There is no word that I can find to describe how it felt. But this great event would never saw the light of the day if it was not for a great organization and unity of our parishioners.

Let us all rejoice and celebrate our incredible traditions that not many people in the world have.

Sladjana Hrnjak

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[Archived News] Tuesday, January 4, 2011

“For just as the body without spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead” (James 2:26)

Dear brothers and sisters,

These words, even though spoken nearly two thousand years ago, are always contemporary. Their value is eternal. The Holy Apostle James, the Brother of the Lord according to the flesh (Gal. 1:19), advises his contemporaries and fellow countrymen that faith, if it is only (confessed) with one’s lips and in words alone, is dead in and of itself. It dissipates in the cosmos. Contrary to this, “faith through love” (Gal. 5:6) brings about salvation.These words are also directed to us. If we truly wish to greet the holy Feast of the Nativity of Christ in a manner worthy of the Gospel, then we need to do this with faith which is active. In this the newborn Christ-child rejoices the most, for we do not do this for Him, but for our brothers and sisters for His sake. He has everything and lacks nothing, but He asked of us to be merciful and loving towards the least of his brethren: the poor, needy, orphans, sick and those imprisoned (Mt. 25:40).

Just as you have, my beloved, shown your faith through your good deeds toward our Diocese, parishes and monasteries, both here and in the old country, we ask that even now you do the same, especially for our people who have suffered great material losses this fall in both floods and an earthquake. Let us recall the words of a great teacher of the Church, Clement of Alexandria: “Sins are eradicated by works of charity and faith”.
Sending you our paternal blessing, with all our heart we greet you with these joyous words:



“Јер као што је тијело без духа мртво, тако је и вјера без дијела мртва” (Јак. 2,26).

Драга браћо и сестре,

Ове речи, иако изговорене скоро пре двадесет векова, увек су савремене. Њихова вредност је вечна. Св. Апостол Јаков, Брат Господњи по телу (Гал. 1,19), саветује својим савременицима и саплеменицима да је вера само на устима и речима, мртва је сама по себи. Одлази у ветар. Насупрот томе, “вера која кроз љубав ради” (Гал. 5,6), спасоносна је.

И нама су ове речи упућене. Јер ако стварно хоћемо да јеванђелски дочекамо свете празнике Христовог Рођења, онда то можемо учинити само кроз делотворну веру. Томе ће се Новорођени Богомладенац највише радовати. Ми то не чинимо Њему, него ради Њега нашој браћи и сестрама. Он има све и ништа му не недостаје. Али тражи од нас да имамо милости и љубави према Његовој малој браћи: сиромашнима, беднима, сиротима, напаћенима, болеснима и утамниченима (Мт. 25,40).

Као што сте до сада, љубљени моји, показивали своју веру кроз добра дела према нашој Епархији, парохијама и манастирима, како овде тако и у старом крају, молимо Вас да исто сада покажете, нарочито према нашем народу који је ове јесени претрпео велику материјалну штету у поплавима и земљотресу. Сетимо се речи великог црквеног учитеља Климента Александријског: “Греси се истрерују милостињом и делима вере”.

Шаључи Вам свој очински благослов, од срца Вас поздрављамо радосним речима:



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Diocese of Eastern America

65 Overlook Circle
New Rochelle, NY 10804


E-mail: diocese@easterndiocese.org 


Office & Residence: 

(914) 633-9000 - (914) 633-9009