On Sunday, 4 August, 2019, St. Elijah Church Parish observed and celebrated its 105th Slava, honoring the glorious Prophet Elijah. A beautiful and blessed event in and of itself, the good Lord truly bestowed additional blessings upon us and the occasion with ideal weather, an abundance of parishioners, a full choir and a most sacred Divine Liturgy.
Fr. Branislav Golic officiated at the Eucharistic gathering. He was joined by his Brothers in Christ, Fr. Rade Merick, Dean of Pittsburgh Deanery, and Fr. Dr. Rodney Torbic concelebrating. Also in attendance was Fr. Dr. Emmanuel Lillios, of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Ambridge. Protodeacon Milos Zdralic graciously served as a deacon.
During the course of the liturgy, the clergy and parishioners reverently and prayerfully remembered deceased clergy and departed faithful who served St. Elijah Parish in the past. Especially remembered were Fr. Vlastimir Tomic, Fr. Srboljub Bulic and Fr. Stevan Stepanov. Also recalled and prayed for were all those who served on the Executive Board, as well as departed St. Elijah Choir members, Circle of Serbian Sisters, Mother's Club and Men's Club members, Sunday School teachers, and all the brothers and sisters in Christ who previously served our beloved church parish and community.
Prior to the conclusion of the liturgy, 'Lytia' was formed, with the ceremony transforming into a beautiful procession outside, around the church. Subsequent to the procession and memorial service, Slava culminated in the blessing and cutting of the kolac, most poignantly presented to all assembled, as it was held and turned by Slava Kumovi Bob and Diane Baron and other parishioners who were testament to the bread being good. Also, in keeping with the 'honor' of the occasion, next year's Slava Kumovi were revealed: Milan (Mickey) Mrkal and wife Eileen. Under the covering of a lovely blue canopy, and an even more lovely blue sky, the Slava service could not have ended more beautifully.
A banquet was held in the church center immediately following the liturgy. With over 160 faithful in attendance, Church President Nick Kosanovich Jr. welcomed the guests, and George Mistovich Jr., served as Master of Ceremonies. This year's Kumovi [Robert (Bob) and Diane Baron] were honored. Bob recognized and thanked his family, friends and church parishioners, and humbly reflected upon his many years attending and serving this church community, especially conveying how blessed he was to be a part of the St. Elijah Church legacy.
Also recognized during the banquet were this year's accomplished, promising high school graduates: Mark Volitich Knapp, Eli Kosanovich, Richard Andrew Mamula and Kyle J. Torbic.
On behalf of His Grace Bishop Irinej, Fr. Branislav extended congratulations and Arch-pastoral blessings to the St. Elijah community on the occasion of its 105th anniversary. Unable to attend personally, His Grace was with us in spirit. Fr. Branislav further extended his own greetings to all in attendance, as well as his congratulations to the honored Kumovi, and the high school graduates, wishing them every success in the future. Father especially thanked his clergy brotherhood so strongly represented: Fr. Rade Merick, Fr. Rodney Torbic, Protodeacon Milos Zdralic, Fr. Emmanuel Lillios, Fr. Rajko Kosic, Fr. Michael Kochis, Fr. Dejan Barac, Fr. Sada Nedic and Fr. Vincent Dranginis.
Prior to the conclusion of the celebration, Fr. Branislav presented a movie from church archives, specifically from the 1950's. Capturing our forefathers and mothers, friends and relatives, the film depicted services from the old Serbian Church in Logstown, to the groundbreaking, construction and consecration of our current church, to the church's 'mortgage burning' and picnics. Recorded on 16 mm film, the nostalgia of the movie brought tears to the eyes of many in attendance as they recalled a most profound time in the lives of their loved ones, and in the life of a most beloved church.
The St. Elijah Church Parish 'family' was most blessed by God on this special day. We thank Him. Perhaps and hopefully St. Elijah himself looked down from his chariot in the sky, and was well-pleased with what he saw. A beautiful day; a beautiful celebration, “made” beautiful by all those in attendance. Hvala, Ziveli, i Mnogaja Ljeta.
On behalf of Fr. Branislav,