On Sunday, October 2, 2022, Father Djokan Majstorovic was blessed to receive the right to wear the Pectoral Cross, a magnificent milestone for an Orthodox priest, from His Grace Bishop Irinej. This was an especially remarkable Sunday since the parish of St. John the Baptist in Paterson, NJ also celebrated their church Patronal Feast Day – Slava.


After an uplifting service and blessing of the Slava gifts of Wheat – Koljivo, wine and Festal Bread – Slavski kolach, His Grace turned to Father Djokan and asked him to bow his head and elevated him to Protojerej-Stavrofor. The whole congregation joyfully exclaimed, Axios! Dostojan! Worthy!” as Father Djokan humbly accepted.


“During the Liturgy, I kept looking at you and thinking about how we each have our own cross to bear. I think it’s now time you’re given a visible sign of your service over the years,” His Grace said to Father Djokan. “You are called to wear this cross on behalf of not only your family, but also the entire Paterson parish and your whole spiritual family. Ziveli!”


Father Djokan thanked His Grace Bishop Irinej for this honor and expressed his gratitude to the entire congregation for their support. “The cross is not only mine, but also all of ours. By awarding me with this cross, the Bishop recognizes our hard work in keeping and upbringing the Paterson parish,” said Father Djokan.   


Following the service, the faithful filled the church hall to celebrate the parish Slava and honor Father Djokan. The Paterson folk ensemble Drina performed four beautiful, traditional dances and songs for His Grace and the parish. A delicious lunch was prepared by the Circle of Serbian Sisters while live music played our Serbian songs.


“I am so happy for Father Djokan and our whole family today,” said Protinica Mirjana. “We just celebrated his 60th birthday and are heading on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land very soon, God willing. We’re very blessed and are grateful to God for the path he has shown us.”


The hosts – kumovi this year were Valentina Kocovic and Ivana Haler, two hardworking and incredibly dedicated women who organized a wonderful lunch for over 100 people, including students from Fordham University, as well as St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Westchester.


“Our parish seems to keep growing and growing every Sunday thanks to Father Djokan’s love and care towards each of us,” said Valentina. “We’re overjoyed to celebrate with him and his family today on this special Sunday when he received this highest honor from our Bishop.”


The kumovi for the next year’s Slava are Sasa and Dragana Palavestra, two active and very dedicated members of the church board.

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