On Sunday evening, January 16, 2022, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America presided over the Prayer Service for the unborn, their parents, and the souls of those who perished from the act of abortion, and for those who would end their lives, at Saint Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, Ohio. The Service of Prayer was concelebrated by the Venerable Hieromonk Nektarije (Tesanovic) of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Lorain, Ohio, the Very Rev. Protopresbyter Stavrophor Remus Grama of St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Rev. Deacon Milan Damljanovic, of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, Ohio. Responses were rendered by Maksim Damljanovic.
In his remarks, His Grace noted that it was a distinct honor and privilege to stand before the assembled Orthodox Christian faithful on the Sunday, which has been set aside in the United States of America, to commemorate Religious Freedom Day and, as Orthodox Christians, who have gathered to celebrate life from its very inception, and the fullness thereof. Appreciation was noted to the sponsors, ZOE for Life! and Pan-Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood of Greater Cleveland, as well as the host parish, the St. Sava Cathedral and the St. Petka Circle of Serbian Sisters who prepared an agape meal which followed.
The presentation of Bishop Irinej focused on Orthodox Christian Anthropology and its inherent Pro-Life stance, stemming from Creation itself. His Grace spoke of the beginnings and ministry of ZOE for Life! In speaking of their mission, he emphasized how the gift of discernment, Orthokrisia, is fundamental to those who work with women in crisis pregnancies. Here, the intuitive nature of Motherhood and Tenderness was described as fundamental, unrequited love, which is deeply rooted in the intuitive relationship of a mother, who offers, and her child, who receives. In developing the tandem between Human Right and the Human Person, the Bishop predicated his remarks on the claim of Jaroslav Pelikan, that question of abortion and the right of the unborn child to life is “the great human rights issue of our time.”