Washington, DC - On Saturday, October 29th, His Grace Bishop Irinej presided over Great Vespers at St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church which was celebrated by the parish priest, Father Aleksa Micic. At the end of the service Father Aleksa introduced the new Bishop to our parishioners, acknowledging the Bishop’s significant accomplishments and demonstrations of dedication to our faith.
Following the service, the Circle of Serbian Sisters hosted a reception in honor of our new Bishop during which parishioners had the opportunity and pleasure of meeting our new Bishop in person. Bishop Irinej was born in Cleveland, Ohio and lived and worked in Washington DC for a time as Director of External Affairs of the Serbian Orthodox Church in America but has spent the past ten years as Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand.
On Sunday, October 30th, the day of our church Slava, i.e. Patronal Feast of Saint Luke, Bishop Irinej served the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy along with Father Aleksa Micic and visiting priest from Belgrade, Father Aleksandar Sredojevic and visiting Protodeacon Peter Danilchick. After the reading of the Gospel, Bishop Irinej delivered a moving sermon about our faith, God, the love for our friends and even our enemies, and he urged us to show our mutual understanding and love for God and even to towards our enemies.
Following the Liturgy a formal luncheon, prepared by our Circle of Serbian Sisters, was held in our beautifully decorated church hall. Mr. Branko Terzic served as master of ceremonies for this special occasion and introduced the honored guests at the head table and distinguished visitors present. Seated at the head table were His Grace Bishop Irinej, the Ambassador of Serbia to the United States His Excellency Djerdj Matkovic, the ambassador’s wife Verica Matkovic, Father Aleksa Micic and his wife Savka, the President of the St. Luke Church-School Board of Trustees Mr. Mark Rasevich, the Representative of Republika Srpska Mr. Obrad Kesich and visiting retired clergy Father Aleksandar Sredovic. Also introduced were visiting dignitaries Mr. Ljubomir Postic, Head of the Counselor Section of the Serbian Embassy with his family and Mr. Pascalis Papouras, Senior Policy Advisor to the International Orthodox Christian Charities.
At the end of the welcome speeches, upon his turn to address the audience, His Grace Bishop Irinej spoke eloquently about his reluctance to leave his clergy and faithful in Australia after a decade of rebuilding the church there and his acceptance of the will of the Holy Assembly of Bishops to come to the Eastern Diocese of the United States where he was born and had so many contacts. Bishop Irinej also expressed his desires and vision for the reconstruction of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in New York which was destroyed by fire this past Easter. His Grace closed his remarks with the observation that while there were three Serbian Orthodox Cathedrals in his Diocese; in New York, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, someday he would like to see a fourth cathedral here in Washington, DC as befits the capital of the United States of America.
Text: Branko Terzic
Photos: Miodrag Soric