On Sunday, August 9th, 2020, when our Holy Orthodox Church commemorates the Holy Great Martyr and Healer St. Panteleimon and St. Clement of Ochrid, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America celebrated the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. Nicholas in Philadelphia. His Grace was assisted by Protopresbyter Milorad Orlic, parish priest, and Protodeacon Jovan Anicic, Diocesan Education Director.
During his homily, the Bishop elaborated on the Gospel lection of the day, stressing how we are likened unto the Holy Apostle Peter, who could walk on the waters toward Christ, only as long as he kept his focus on Christ. The moment that he allowed the sound of the wind to distract him, losing his perspective, he began to sink. So also in life, whenever we allow our concerns to distract us, we, too, begin to sink. Christ never tempts us, but does, indeed, test us, emphasized the Bishop.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, the Bishop called forward the elected members of the Church Board, headed by President-elect, Mr. Petko Aleksic, to be sworn into office. His Grace then referred to the Gospel passage read on the previous Sunday, on the feeding of the multitude. The Bishop remarked on how Christ chose to keep the people around Him, without dismissing them to go into neighboring towns for food and drink, as requested by the apostles. Only after they remained together, did Christ divide the loaves and fishes among them, such that all were sated, with an abundance remaining. Bishop Irinej pointed this out so that we, as a community, could understand that not even the necessities of life can be divided among us for our common good, unless we are first united among ourselves.
Following the dismissal, His Grace cut the Festal Bread - Slavski Kolach, in honor of St. Panteleimon, for Protinica Milena Orlic, for the health and salvation of her maiden family.