On Sunday, March 27th, 2022 (Cross-Veneration Sunday), St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church of Greater Philadelphia, PA. was blessed to be visited by our Father and Hierarch, His Grace Kyr Irinej of Eastern America.


Accompanying His Grace was Episcopal Secretary, Reader Milovan Jovanovic. On behalf of our community, His Grace was greeted at the threshold of the church by Miss Andjelia Djurdjic. Assisting His Grace in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy was the Very Rev. Protopresbyter Milorad Orlic, along with Altar-servers Alex Kasich, Marko Neskovic, Jovan Djurdjic and Milutin Stojmirovic. Graduate Seminarian Radovan Micic and Mr. Ilija Lackovic harmoniously chanted the Liturgy’s hymns and responses.


Upon vesting, while the Great Doxology was chanted, His Grace censed the Holy Cross on the Holy Table in the Altar. As the Trisagion was being chanted, His Grace, bearing the Holy Cross in Exaltation, processed to the Analogion in the Nave of the church, completing the procession with prostrations before the Holy Cross, to the chanting of “Before Your Cross…”


During the Divine Liturgy, the Epistle was read in the Serbian and English languages by Altar-server Milutin Stojmirovic, and his mother, Zvezdana. In a most inspirational homily, His Grace edified us as to the pertinence of this, the Sunday of Cross-Veneration, coming as it does at the Cross-roads of the Great and Holy Lent, the crossroads of our journey from this temporal, transitory world, back to our true home, Paradise. The Paradise lost by our foreparents Adam and Eve, because of sin, necessitating their expulsion - not as a punishment, but as a therapy: that humankind not eat from the Tree of Life, and so be eternally enslaved in the consequences of The Fall. The same Tree of Life that became unapproachable to humankind in Eden, now becomes approachable for us on Golgotha, restoring us to the joyous Communion with God and, hence, enabling us to begin enjoying the blessings of Paradise already in this world, and continuing until the final, joyous encounter in the world to come.


Following Divine Liturgy, a sumptuous Lent luncheon was prepared, under the experienced leadership of the Circle of Serbian Sisters president, Mrs. Stojana Lackovic, for all present. Executive Board president, Mr. Petko Alekisc, thanked His Grace for devoting time, from His always demanding schedule, to be with us, strengthen, edify and encourage us. The blessed and joyous day concluded with His Grace thanking all present, encouraging all to continue the journey of Great Lent to Our Lord’s glorious Resurrection, and imparting His Archpastoral Blessings to all.

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