On Sunday, March 12, 2023, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America, celebrated the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great in the church of Saint George in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Concelebrating with him were Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Zoran Radovic, parish priest, and Deacon Darko Tripkovic, Diocesan Financial Secretary, assisted by Milovan Jovanovic, Episcopal Secretary, and David Radovic.
Also, assisting in serving and chanting were Srdjan Maximovic, doctoral student from Fordham University, together with Mihail Golic, Mihailo Vlajkovic and Ugrin Jeftic, graduate students from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Joining them were Protinica Vesna Radovic and daughter, Sara.
During his sermon, Bishop Irinej spoke of this Sunday being dedicated to the memory of St. Gregory Palamas, a 14th century hierarch of Thessalonica, and one of Orthodoxy’s most prominent intellectuals and defenders of hesychast spirituality. He was known for distinguishing between the divine essence and energies of God. While the essence is incomprehensible to us, the will and energies are manifest in our midst and tangible through the synergy of God’s grace and man’s free will.
Such profound spirituality, continued His Grace, according to St. Gregory, leads to deification - theosis, which is attainable through silence and sobriety. It is the ability to perceive the uncreated light of Christ, which shown forth on Mount Tabor at the Transfiguration.
For this reason, on this Second Sunday of Great Lent, the early Christian Church celebrated the Feast of Transfiguration, and today celebrates the memory of St. Gregory Palamas, honoring his teachings on the mystery of light and transfiguration - metamorphosis.