On Saturday, September 4th, and on Sunday, September 5th, Monroeville was rejoicing! St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church celebrated their 50th anniversary of the consecration of the Monroeville Church building. Fifty years of Church services and shared mutual love was celebrated in the manner worthy of the joyous spirit of the Orthodox faith. The celebration was even more joyous because of the monastic Slava of His Grace, St. Irenaeus of Lyon who was celebrated on the same day.
On Saturday, September 4th, after the Great Vespers service, His Grace, Bishop Irinej addressed everyone gathered, congratulating everything the St. Nicholas Church community has achieved in the last 50 years. However, His Grace added that this celebration does not say that the job is done. His Grace encouraged everyone to keep up with the efforts invested in St. Nicholas so that the Church may become even more glorious than it is now! Fr. Stefan Djoric, the parish priest of St. Nicholas, thanked His Grace for coming and making the celebration truly great and joyous and congratulated His Grace on his names day!
After the vespers service, a solemn dinner was organized with many guest clergy, the faithful people of St. Nicholas, as well as other faithful from the Churches from all over the diocese of Eastern America. The people had a chance to remind themselves of the happy and funny moments of the years past and to reminisce about the great joys.
During dinner, four speeches were given. Nick Jokola, the president of the Church board, addressed His Grace, Bishop Irinej by thanking him for being in our presence on this great day. Moreover, Nick Jokola thanked the people of St. Nicholas for making this great event possible. He also reminded the youth of St. Nicholas that their support and help is much needed to ensure the future of the parish.
Alexis Janiga, the chairperson of the event, also thanked His Grace for everything he did and does for St. Nicholas Church in Monroeville. She added that the many things we have achieved for this celebration were due to the hard work of the youth of the parish. Alexis Janiga reminded everyone of the good things that happened in the past but she also emphasized the importance of strong spiritual leadership which is needed for a healthy parish life in the present and in the future.
Fr. Stefan Djoric, in addition to thanking His Grace for his presence and blessings, thanked all those priests who came before him at the parish of St. Nicholas together with everyone who made the event possible. Fr. Stefan explained that we have to take care of each other and treat each other well for the sake of our bright future. He added that every encounter is we have with each other is irreversible and we should always give love to each other.
His Grace, Bishop Irinej, addressed the Church School congregation and thanked them for the kind welcome and reminded everyone that it is not time to rest on your laurels but to keep the good work going. His Grace also awarded Mr. Peter Klipa for his continued support to the Church of St. Nicholas and his hard work with a hierarchical grammaton.
On September 5th, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated, presided by His Grace Bishop Irinej. The priests who concelebrated with His Grace were Fr. Rade Merick, Fr. Rodney Torbic, Fr. Andrei Alexiev, and Fr. Stefan Djoric. His Grace offered an inspiring homily after the Gospel and also congratulated all on the feast of St. Irenaeus of Lyon, which is his names day.
After the blessing of the Slava gifts of Wheat – Koljivo, wine and Festal Bread – Slavski kolach, His Grace distributed to everyone the icons of St. Irenaeus of Lyon as a blessing.
A picnic followed the celebration of the Divine Liturgy where all the faithful continued the celebration of His Grace’s monastic Slava and the 50th anniversary. During the picnic, a hierarchical grammaton was presented to the Church School Congregation of St. Nicholas which was accepted by Fr. Stefan Djoric and Nick Jokola, the president of the board.
May God bless the St. Nicholas community and grant them many years!