His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America came to Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Mission in Fairmont, West Virginia on June 18, 2022 to celebrate the Mission’s Patronal Feast - Slava. His Grace was accompanied by Diocesan Deacon Darko Tripkovic. Reverend Deacon Daniel August with Djakonica Ashley came from St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa to be a part of the celebration. Protonamesnik Father Sasa Nedic is the Administrator of the Mission.
The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Mission Chapel. Serving with His Grace were Father Sasa Nedic, Deacon Daniel August, Deacon Darko Tripkovic and, Protopresbyter Stavrophor Dr. Rodney Torbic
Patricia Cekoric, a faithful supporter of the Mission throughout its existence was the honored Host - Kuma for the celebration. Patricia is a member of St. Elijah Church in Aliquippa and has reached out with great interest to the Mission.
Sonia Janson, Choir Director at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels, Diocesan Council Member Andrea Janson and Popadija Rachel Nedic provided the inspiring responses during the Divine Liturgy.
During the homily, His Grace Bishop Irinej spoke about the bodily senses anointed with the gift of the Holy Spirit at Chrismation to enable to fully participate in worship and in the Life of the World. The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, which offers us the opportunity to renew within our Chrismation, served as the primary reference and foundation of the homily.
Following the Blessing of the Festal Bread - Slavski Kolac and Memorial Wheat - Zhito, Sonia Janson stepped forward to be the Kuma for next year’s Slava. The chapel was filled to an overflow.
After the Divine Liturgy, the attendees gathered at Muriel’s Restaurant for the festal luncheon. Father Sasa Nedic greeted all in attendance and spoke of the peace, love and joy prevalent at the Mission, Father Sasa expressed gratitude to His Grace for sending him as the priest to the Mission and to St. George Church in Carmichaels. He said peace and calm are present in both parishes. Father Sasa recognized and praised the faithful at the Mission including Mike Danko, Wayne and Joyce Kirby, Niko and Rose Ilich, Vanessa Lasobek, Gojko and Anka Abutina, Stephanie Lewis, Dennis and Sandy Eliot and Dr. Leland George.
Mission Trustee President Vanessa Lasobek spoke of always being renewed and nourished at the Mission. She was very grateful and inspired by His Grace coming to the Mission for the Slava.
St. George Church from Carmichaels was well represented including Board President Stan Brozik, Parish Nurse Millicent Hunchuk, photographer John Williamson, Treasurer Felecia Williamson and Kolo member Lucille Carnahan. Friends of Wayne Kirby and Dr. Leland George came from Fairmont State University. College student Michael Tennant who recently earned an Associate Degree was present. Dr. Scott Newton also came from St. Elijah Church. Paulette Rajkovich, St. Elijah Church parishioner accompanied Kuma Patricia Cekoric on the long drive from Pennsylvania. During the recognition of the Kuma, Father Sasa gifted her with a beautiful hand-written icon of the Holy Prophet Elijah from Serbia.
Kuma Patricia spoke from her heart about the Mission and the honor it was for her to be chosen. Kuma Patricia not only supports the Mission but has been faithful in supporting St. George Church in Carmichaels as well.
In His Episcopal Message at the luncheon, His Grace elaborated on the theme of Christian love as an essential part of relationships. Believers are to find ways in and through Christ to love others.
Wayne and Joyce Kirby provide the gratis space for the Mission Chapel in their building out the goodness of their hearts. They demonstrate the love of Christ. Mr. Kirby has completed advanced studies in the St. Stephen’s Certificate Program, a program of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian House of Studies, which offers a certificate in Orthodox Theology.
The power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ were fully felt during this celebration. Holy Trinity Mission experienced a wonderful Patronal celebration. Truly, this was a time of inspiration and gratitude to God.
Father Rodney Torbic