Many Orthodox Christians from diverse backgrounds, led by our Serbian community in Naples, Florida, gathered together for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ on January 6-7, 2020. Graciously, the St. Paul Orthodox Church, with the blessings of Bishop Nicholas of the Antiochian Archdiocese, hosted our faithful.
Bishop Irinej of Eastern America, gave his blessing for the celebration of the Nativity Vigil Service, which included the burning of the Yule Log – Badnjak, and the Divine Liturgy on Christmas Day. Both of the Festal Services were celebrated by Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Fr. Uros Ocokoljich, our mission priest-in-charge, and Presbyter Fr. Paul Grigis, host pastor.
Responses were chanted by George Savich. They were joined by 195 faithful, including a number of young families with children. Many of those present received Holy Communion on Christmas Day. It was an inspiring celebration of the Birth of Christ in the true spirit of Pan-Orthodox fellowship and unity.
A great debt of gratitude is owed to the tireless organizers of the Christmas festivities, Mirijana Culver, Branka Popovich and Pamela Collins.
The gathering of the Naples area Pan-Orthodox community was accomplished by their efforts and determination, stemming from their Christian love of our Orthodox Faith and toward our faithful. In times past, Pamela and Branka undertook the successful organization of the now Sts. Peter and Paul parish and its church-school community in Atlanta, Georgia.
Last year, this once mission parish witnessed the consecration of its new church at the hands of Bishop Irinej, with numerous area clergy and laity participating.
All those who are interested in joining the Serbian Friends of Naples, or finding our more about it, can log onto: https://www.facebook.com/pg/SerbianFriendsNaples/posts/?ref=notif.
It is our collective prayer that this same group will be able to form a mission parish in Naples, Florida to the Glory of God.
Indeed, Christ is Born!