On Friday, July 7th, faithful from throughout the Cleveland Deanery gathered to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist at New Marcha Monastery in Richfield, Ohio. Divine Liturgy began at 10am with Fr. Dragan Goronjic, Dean of the Cleveland Deanery and parish priest at Holy Trinity in Youngstown presiding. Concelebrating with Fr. Dragan were Fr. Peter Selenoi, attached to St. Sergius Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, and Fr. Sinisa Hrvacevic, parish priest of St. George in Lorain. Responses were sung by Sister Anastasija, together with Fr. Aleksa Pavichevich and his children Sophia and Lazar.
In his homily, Fr. Dragan reminded the faithful of the great ministry of St. John the Baptist which was grounded in a message of preparation and a call to repentance. That call, as Fr. Dragan reminded the gathered faithful, rings forth to each of us even today.
The Divine Liturgy continued, and when Holy Communion was offered to the faithful, the children led all those in attendance forward to the chalice. With faith and reverence, the entire gathered community at New Marcha Monastery partook of the Holy Gifts.
This Divine Liturgy was particularly joyous in that, of all the gathered faithful, the children numbered more than the adults in attendance.
A Lenten meal followed in the monastery home. As the adults broke bread, the children built bonds of friendship as they explored the monastery grounds.