On Sunday June 28th, 2020 - St. Vitas the Martyr Day (Vidovdan) – a day whose solemnity for Serbs everywhere is second only to Great and Holy Friday, St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Elkins Park (Philadelphia) PA., was blessed with a hierarchical visit by our father and hierarch, His Grace, Bishop IRINEJ.
Accompanying His Grace were Protodeacon Milos Zdralic (Diocesan Financial Secretary), Reader Milovan Jovanovic (Diocesan Secretary), Srdjan Maksimovic (doctrinal candidate at Fordham University) and Miroslav Miljevic (MDiv. candidate at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary).
Along with Protodeacon Milos, His Grace was assisted in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy by Fr. Milorad Orlic, parish priest. The church resounded with the beautiful chanting of Srdjan Maksimovic and parish cantor, Radovan Micic. The Epistle readings were read by Srdjan Maksimovic and Marko Neskovic.
In a stirring and inspirational homily, His Grace emphasized that Vidovdan is a glorious victory in our history, especially when viewed through the prism of Orthodoxy, and not a tragic defeat as viewed by the world. His Grace reminded us that we should always derive inspiration our Vidovdan, always choosing to align ourselves for the Kingdom of Heaven , which is always and forever, and not the kingdoms of this world, that are temporal and transitory.
Following Divine Liturgy, His Grace celebrated a small memorial for “all of our fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, and especially for all Serbian warriors: all who have laid down their lives from the Battle of Kosovo until today.” The entire church resounded with all present singing “Vjecnjaj Pamjat” (Memory Eternal).
Continuing caution due to the COVID-19 pandemic limited attendance. Nonetheless, the church-school still marked Vidovdov with the brothers Milutin and Savo Stojmirovic eruditely reciting a poem from the Cycle of Kosovo Epic poetry to the pride of all present. His Grace thanked the brothers for the recitation, drawing our attention to the “tragic beauty” of our Epic Poetry. His Grace conveyed His heartfelt thanks to all for coming for Vidovdan, and encouraged the faithful to continue coming to their church, our source of strength and salvation, especially in these challenging times.