On April 19th, 2024, Pittsburgh deanery priests gathered together to celebrate the presanctified liturgy and to have their confession at the Pittsburgh Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Fr. Nebojsa Varagic was the host and Fr. Rodney Torbic heard priests’ confessions. 


After a beautiful Lenten lunch prepared by the loving people of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Fr. Stefan Djoric of St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Monroeville gave a brief lecture related to the teaching of the Orthodox Church about the Jesus prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me a sinner).


Fr. Stefan pointed towards the fact that the prayer of Jesus started with Jesus Christ Himself who when he was tempted in the desert, instead of being caught up in the inner dialogue, he quoted the lines from Deuteronomy. The fact that we get caught up in our thoughts or negative emotions clouds the fact that God whom we seek has already found us and that for us to realize this we must turn inside rather than outside. After all, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you,” says the Lord (Lk 17:20-21). 


What was addressed further is the posture that we need to assume in order to say this prayer. Drawing from the tradition of the Church Fr. Stefan explained that the sitting posture is the most suitable for this prayer which eventually programs our bodies to cooperate in the essential work of the prayer. By God’s grace, the prayer will become one with us and we will not be able to live without it. 


As the way of concluding the lecture, Fr. Stefan also mentioned that we are not supposed to expect from God to instantly give us something when we pray this prayer. We simply relax in God’s hands (As was said by St. Irenaeus of Lyon) and allow him to be present within us by his Grace. 


The lunch and the lecture were concluded with prayer and giving thanks to God for this wonderful gathering which inspired priests to continue their blessed ministries. 

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