North Canton, OH - On Sunday, November 29th, the teen organization of St George Serbian Orthodox Church celebrated their first Slava in honor of the recently canonized St Sebastian of Jackson, California.
The St Sebastian Young Adult Association (SSYAA) is a newly formed auxiliary group of the St George Parish targeting stewards of the church aged 14-19 years old. They meet on the third Thursday of every month. After much consideration, the teens selected St Sebastian as their heavenly patron. St Sebastian holds a unique distinction among the heavenly saints - he is the first native-born American to be tonsured an Orthodox monk, and he founded the first Serbian church in the Western Hemisphere. Since St George SSYAA members are Orthodox teens and young adults from a diverse array of ethnic backgrounds, and who worship in a Serbian Church, St Sebastian was the perfect choice.
One of the St Sebastian Young Adult Association’s (SSYAA) first events was to visit the Tarry House, a homeless shelter in nearby Summit County. The youth had an opportunity to sit with the homeless residents and discuss life, thankfulness, and the reality of poverty in America. Students reflected on their experience at a local iHop restaurant where, by the grace of God, they met a local OCF chapter doing a similar activity nearby.
The SSYAA will, ultimately, be led by the students who plan the organization's events and activities under the guidance of their parish priest. The format for this group was devised through Fr Aleksa Pavichevich’s doctorate of ministry work at St Vladimir’s Seminary under the guidance of Fr Joseph Purpura. It has been implemented as Dn Larry Soper’s practicum for Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York. Dn Larry’s expertise in social work in Stark and Summit counties made him the ideal first advisor for the SSYAA members.
The SSYAA members were responsible for hosting their first Slava - member Madeline Shaub decorated the Serbian Center Lounge, member Alex Ralich baked the Slavski Kolac, and member Milan Radonjich brought koljivo. With the support of the community, many of whom supplied food and help cleaning-up, their first Slava was a success.
Through the prayers of St Sebastian, may this group make in impact on its members, their families, and their surrounding community!