15 and 16 December 2018, the St. Nicholas parish in Johnstown, PA celebrated their parish Slava (patron saint’s day).
The festivities started with the celebration of Great Vespers on the evening of the 15thby the V. Rev. Protosindjel Sava (Medakovic) assisted by the Altar Severer Vasilije Dragovic. The responses were sung by Bogdan Diener in Byzantine Chant. He was assisted by V. Rev. Milan Dragovic, Danica Wess, Petra Neil, and others. After Vespers, a large number of the parishioners made their confession in preparation to receive Holy Communion the next day. These events were followed by a fellowship hour with coffee and Lenten cakes served by Kolo Sisters.
The celebration continued on Sunday morning, the 16th, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy by V. Rev. Protosindjel Sava (Medakovic) and V. Rev. Presbyter Milan Dragovic.
The children’s choir Bozuri, whose formation was blessed by His Grace our father and Bishop Irenej in the spring, sang during the Holy Liturgy for the first time. They sang the responses for the first three litanies of the Liturgy and the Thrice Holy Hymn; Holy God. Bozuri and the parish choir were under the direction Suzette Gardenhour.
Before the conclusion of the Liturgy, the Slavski Kolach was blessed and cut with this year’s parish kumovi Anthony and Linda Friedhof and their children Lidia, Sara, and Kathy. The children of the parish assisted with the rotation of the rotation of the kolach.
The parish received a special blessing from St. Nicholas this year. The parish was able to venerate the relics of St. Nicholas that were brought to the parish by Joseph Golden, one of the parish’s altar assistants.
A Lenten festal banquet was prepared by the kolo and the parish’s men’s club. In addition to Fr. Sava, V. Rev. Fr. Andrei Alexiev (St. John the Baptist, Black Lick, PA -OCA) and Milos Rastovic, Cultural Outreach Coordinator of the Serb National Federation – American Serbobran, and his wife Vanessa were the parish’s honored guests.
Milos Rastovic made a presentation to the parish on behalf of the Serb National Federation of the 100-year history of Serbs in the greater Pittsburgh, PA area.
Fr. Sava spoke at the banquet about the celebration of Slava with its relationship to remembering our Lord God and Savior’s Sacrifice four us men and our salvation. He also reminded those present about the importance of receiving the precious Body and Blood of our Lord God and Savior as frequently as possible. An important point he made was the early Church’s practice to remove those from their community that failed to receive the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist for period more than a month.
At the conclusion of the festivities “St. Nichols”, Peter Malich, made an appearance to fill the shoes of the children with small gifts.
Once the festivities concluded many stayed to continue in fellowship of with the spirit of St. Nichols. Christian love and joy filled the atmosphere for the entire week end celebration.