The Cleveland Deanery was blessed with the presence of our Father and Bishop Irinej celebrating the Hierarchical Paschal Divine Liturgy at the Holy Archangel Gabriel Chapel at New Marcha Monastery in Richfield. The faithful clergy concelebrating with His Grace were Protopresbyter-Stavrophores Rade Merick and Petar Petrovic, Syngelos Nektarije (Tesanovic), Protopresbyters Milan Pajic and Dragoslav Kosic, Presbyter-Economos Vladislav Golic and, our welcomed guest from St. Elijah Church in Aliquippa, Presbyter-Economos Branislav Golic. Prayerfully present in attendance was our Host, Protosyngelos Sava (Vukajlovic). His Grace was assisted by Deacons Milan Damljanovic, Daniel August and Mihajlo Pancoe.
The festive occasion on Resurrection Tuesday was well attended with faithful from various parishes in the Deanery and other Orthodox Churches. Responses were led by Professor Dr Nikola Resanovich, joined by attending faithful from a variety of churches and traditions. The singing of “Christ is Risen” was rendered in a number of languages and melodies.
In his homily, Bishop Irinej shared how the Epistle and Gospel reading were intrinsically linked on this Third Day of our Lord's Holy Resurrection, moving from his suffering, death and resurrection to the coming of the Paraclete – the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16, 26).
His Grace spoke of how the Epistle of the day, is introduced by the Prokeimenon, the Canticle of the Theotokos, and the Gospel. This Magnificate of the Virgin Mary evokes her unique role in salvation history, from the Annunciation to Christ’s Incarnation. His entombment and resurrection are attested to in that magnificent hymn, “Do not lament me, O my Mother”, crowned with the triumphant Paschal song, “Shine, Shine, O New Jerusalem”.
In the Epistle. St. Peter speaks of the universal Chrismation with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as foretold by the Prophet Joel. Then, in the Gospel, Christ Himself explains the prophecies of the Suffering Servant to Luke and Cleopas on the Road to Emmaus. They finally come to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread, as their hearts burned within them.
Following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, all in attendance joined the monastery sisterhood for a sumptuously laden Paschal Agape Meal. His Grace took advantage of the many in attendance to announce the ongoing refurbishment of the Monastery Chapel, beginning with a new inlaid marble floor. Thereafter, the Bishop spoke of the launching of a Building Campaign for a new Monastic Center. The first donation having been given by the ever-memorable +Kosta Papich, prior to his repose. It is interesting to note that, as a young man, Kosta joined by his wife, Sophia, was one of the first donors for the purchase of the monastery property.
Among those present was Alex Machaskee, a generous benefactor of New Marcha Monastery and many other deserving projects, here and abroad. In particular, one of his most spectacular patronages is the new Serbian Garden in Cleveland’s famed Rockefeller Park (http://serbianculturalgarden.org).
The day was filled with the truly glorious spirit of our Lord's Resurrection by all in attendance.