On Sunday, July 25th, on the commemoration of the Chilandar Icon of the Mother of God “of the Three Hands”, His Grace Bishop Irinej made an archpastoral visit to the faithful of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in North Canton, Ohio.
During the service, His Grace offered a poignant homily on both the Gospel reading on the 5th Sunday after Pentecost, on the healing of the Gadarene Demoniacs, as well as on the festal theme of the day. He offered the faithful a great message of hope, reminding them “everything that God has created is good”. He also shared the meaning, history, and significance of the Icon of the Mother of God “of the Three Hands” - particularly to those in the Serbian Church.
This was appreciated by the faithful in North Canton, as a large replica of that most precious icon has adorned the church ever since many parishioners undertook a spiritual pilgrimage to Serbia, including Kosovo and Metohija, in 2018.
Also, during the service, the Reverend Deacon Mark Resanovich was ordained to the Holy Presbyterate. Deacon Mark, a recent graduate of the St. Stephen’s program, is a much loved and respected member of the broader Ohio community. His Grace Bishop Irinej, called him forward and asked, “What is it that you seek from my hands?”
Deacon Mark replied:
“Your Grace: It is with great humility that I seek the Laying on of your Hands for Ordination to the Holy Priesthood in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
I stand before you a very humble man, standing before the Royal Doors here at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, the church that Baptized me, the church that raised me, the church that I served as an Altar Server, the church that my family helped to build, but most importantly the church of my Spiritual Father, Fr. Slobodan Zivadinovich.
The path to this solemn moment has been filled with so many blessings from God, too many to count. My life has been filled with many experiences, many that were beautiful while others were escorted by sorrow and tears. But each were offered by God to mold me, to teach me and to bless me as a humble servant. I am here no longer to be served, but to serve.
So many people in my life have guided me to this day, None more important than my family. Many are here today to participate in this Ordination. My mother and father who have fallen asleep in the Lord, are with me. It is their love that I hold in my heart, a beautiful gift that will always live. God has blessed us with the most beautiful gift, our grandson, Noah. In Noah lives all his family, full of love. My son Kyle, who became my role model, the student became the teacher; in Kyle I find a quiet man firm in his love of family. Kristina, she is my rock, my voice when I could not speak. She is daddy’s little girl who grew to be a beautiful woman. I love you, my Krick! Denice, my so beloved wife, in whom I find strength. When I could not care for myself, she cared for me, never leaving my side. We laugh together, we cry together. My pain and suffering are her pain and suffering. A faithful servant to God, whose heart is pure and loving. God has truly blessed me.
Your Grace: I will serve the Christ-Loving Orthodox people as a caring and devoted Priest, teaching and preaching the Word of God, living a life in the light of God.
To serve you, our Bishop, Your Grace Bishop Irinej, a faithful servant to stand with Your Grace, to serve and protect our God-loving Diocese, as a humble Priest to carry out the teachings of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
To serve God, the remaining time of my life; a life given to God as a humble and grateful servant.
My path has brought me here. My mind, placed in my heart, is ready to fulfill the calling that has been placed upon me to be His servant.
My eyes are clear, to see all the beauty that God has provided.
My ears are attune, to hear the needs of all for all.
My tongue has been tamed, to speak of God’s love, the reading of the Holy Gospel and the teachings of Christ.
My heart is full, full of the love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is in my heart that God has placed this calling, to be his servant.
Your Grace: I stand before you, seeking your blessing for the Laying on of Hands, to enter into the Priesthood, to serve our beloved Serbian Orthodox Church, our parishioners, the Deacons, Priests, Your Grace and above all, to serve our God."
Following the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, the faithful gathered for a festal meal in the St. George Event Center. A short program followed wherein the various parish groups and organizations warmly greeted their beloved hierarch.
In his opening remarks, Fr. Aleksa Pavichevich, parish priest at St. George in Canton, recalled the many faithful clergy that were ordained from this parish community: Fr. Pete Pritza; Fr. John Zdinak; Fr. Dan Rogich; Fr. Larry Soper; and, now, Fr. Mark Resanovich. He also thanked His Grace, Bishop Irinej, for his guidance and leadership during the pandemic, and for never failing to visit his parishes throughout the diocese both big and small.
A highlight of the program was Ruby Attar, a graduating senior from St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, who offered her church school graduation essay, “What My Faith Means to Me”. Ruby highlighted all the aspects of her church that impacted her life: the mentors in her church family; learning and teaching at church school; dancing in folklore; attending and working parish events. It was an inspired essay that revealed the true impact that loving Orthodox communities have on their young people.
After Ruby spoke, Fr. Mark offered his sincere gratitude to everyone present for their support throughout his life and his journey in faith. In particular, he spoke to the impact that each person made on him throughout his life.
His Grace Bishop Irinej picked up on those words, and concluded the program by saying that Fr. Mark was “more correct than even he knows.” His Grace elaborated, mentioning the reality spoken by Fr. Alexander Schmemann that we humans, created in the image and likeness of God, leave an indelible mark upon one another - and true to Fr. Mark’s words, each person present has left their mark upon him, and he upon them.
It was truly a day of great joy for the St. George Parish and for the God-Protected Diocese of Eastern America.