Magnificent Celebration of Triumph of Orthodoxy at St. Elijah’s in Aliquippa


On Sunday, March 24, 2024, the First Sunday of Great Lent, the St. Elijah Parish in Aliquippa, PA, celebrated the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the resplendent victory over iconoclasm. 


His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America, celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, concelebrated by the Very Reverend Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Rodney Torbić, Temporary Parish Administrator Reverend Presbyter Njegoš Perković, and assisted by the Reverend Deacon Daniel August.


Following the reading of the Gospel, Bishop Irinej gave a very moving and edifying sermon. In the first part of his homily, His Grace spoke about Great Lent, the preparatory weeks, and their importance of leading us to our Lenten journey to the Feast of Feasts. His Grace continued to speak about the Gospel reading from St. John transmitting Christ’s relationship to and dialogue with Nathaniel to our own relationship with God. His Grace then concluded speaking about the historic Triumph of Orthodoxy, the restoration of icons led by Patriarch Methodius, Empress Theodora and her young son, Emperor Michael III on March 11, 843 AD. Largely due to their efforts, today we freely worship and glorify God through His holy Saints, whom we venerate in the icons. 


Following the Prayer Before the Ambo, all parishioners, young and old alike, processed around the Church carrying their icons signifying the solemn Triumph of Orthodoxy and honoring the initiators of the first procession held in 843 AD in Constantinople, and those who have fought iconoclasm, many of whom gave of their lives in preserving the orthodoxy of their faith.


St. Elijah Church was filled with faithful who greeted His Grace at the entrance and prayed together until the final Amen at the conclusion of the Hierarchical Liturgy. The sense of joy, happiness and gladness shone upon all parishioners’ faces as the rejoiced together with His Grace and the clergy in this remarkable feast. It was truly a moment outside of time in which the whole Church was breathing as one organism, following our Bishop, who led us toward Christ. The Divine Liturgy was beautified by the wondrous, truly triumphant, and heavenly singing of the St. Elijah Choir, directed by the exceptionally talented George Milosh. 


At the conclusion of Liturgy, His Grace, always the teacher, took the time out to explain in detail the icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy to the Church School children, who eagerly responded to his questions.


The Agape meal, or lunch of love, liturgy after liturgy, followed as many parishioners joined His Grace and rejoiced in the Lenten meal the Mothers Club of St. Elijah prepared. Thank God for a marvelous day in which the St. Elijah parish, likened unto the God-fearing Christians who once followed the Empress Theodora and Emperor Michael III, alongside Patriarch Methodius, celebrated the Triumph of Orthodoxy with His Grace Bishop Irinej!


Glory be to God!

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