The Pittsburgh Deanery was blessed with the presence of our Father and Bishop Irinej celebrating the Hierarchical Paschal Divine Liturgy at the Holy Resurrection Chapel at St. Elijah Cemetery in Aliquippa. The faithful clergy concelebrating with His Grace were the Very Reverend Protopresbyter-Stavrophores Rodney Torbic, Stevan Rocknage and Rajko Kosic, and Protopresbyter Sasa Nedic, together with our Host the Reverend Presbyter-Economos Branislav Golic, and our welcomed guest the Reverend Presbyter-Economos Vladislav Golic from St. Stephen Church in Lackawanna, NY. Also, in attendance was the Very Reverend Protopresbyter Dejan Barac from St. George Church in Midland, PA. His Grace was assisted by the Reverend Deacons Daniel August and Mark Matejevich.
The festive occasion on Resurrection Monday was well attended with faithful from various parishes in the Deanery. His Grace in his Homily shared how the Epistle and Gospel reading were most appropriately linked on this Second Day of our Lord's Holy Resurrection.
In the Epistle, we find the Apostles still questioning what had happened during the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection, most notably the betray at the hands of one of their own, Judas. Peter stood up to provide answers from the Prophets and Psalms. Here, as His Grace explained, we enter a transitional moment for the Apostles going from the Old Testament to the New Testament. In having to replace Judas, it was crucial to do so with a witness to the Resurrection, thereby selecting by lots, Mathias.
In the Gospel narrative, which concerns John the Baptist, we see in him the last of the Old Testament Prophets and the first of the New Testament Disciples of Christ. Through St. John’s baptism of Christ, we too are baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ. Such that the Paschal period, known as the Mystagoge, is a time when we renew within us our own Baptism. For this reason, most all of the Sunday Gospels at this time deal with water, as we prepare for the universal chrismation in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
In addition to the ongoing Feast of the Resurrection, we also celebrated the 35th year to the day of the ordination of Fr. Stevan Rocknage to the Holy Priesthood. Responses were led by Andy Muha, joined by the attending clergy and the faithful. The day was filled with the glorious spirit of our Lord's Resurrection by all in attendance.