[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, November 22, 2004


Merrillville, IN - His Grace Bishop +Mitrophan, by special invitation of His Eminence Metropolitan of Midwestern America, +Christopher, joined in the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the St. Elijah Cathedral in Merrillville, Indiana on Saturday November 20, 2004. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy began at 9:00 am, officated by the hierarch and assisted by the parish priest, V. Rev. Lazar Kostur, together with guest clergy: V. Rev. Stavrofor Nedeljko Lunich, V. Rev. Stavrofor Jovan Todorovic, V. Rev. Luka Lukic, V. Rev. Marko Pantic, Hieromonk Irinej Dobrijevic, Fr. Milovan Katanic, Fr. Aleksandar Savic, Protodeacon Stanimir Spasovic and Deacon Damjan Bozic.

Among others joining in the celebration were theological students Nikolaj Kostur, Radomir Plavsic, Dragan Arsic, Bosko Stojanovic, Georgije Baltic as well as acolytes from the cathedral who assisted during the beautiful service.

Bishop Peter of Cleveland, of the Russian Church Abroad, and Priest Andrei Papkov were also in attendance.  Responses were majestically sung by the Tzar Lazar Choir of Pittsburgh.  Immediately following the service, a memorial service was held for all the departed members of the parish as well as for the late +Bishop Firmilian and past priests +Protojerej-Stavrofor Dusan Shoukletovich and +Protojerej-Stavrofor Georgije Lazich.

Prior to the banquet the hierarchs and clergy were served hors d'oeuvers at the newly renovated parish home.  The banquet began promptly at 1:00 pm.

Due to a prior commitment, Bishop Mitrophan left the banquet early. During the banquet, Metropolitan Christopher addressed the gathered faithful and spoke warmly of the pastoral service of the former priests of this parish. The parish priest, V. Rev. Lazar Kostur, greeted all present and briefly overviewed the material, organizational and spiritual progress of the parish since its origination in February of 1964.

The honored guest speaker, Heiromonk Irinej Dobrijevic spoke eloquently on the significance of the 40th anniversary and how by divine providence this was also the 200th anniversary of the Serbian uprising. Following his talk, he presented both the parish priest, Fr. Lazar and executive board president, Mr. Djurica Majanov, with a commemorative coin as a gift from the Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church in honor of the anniversary. This coin features Karadjordje on one side and the Church of St. Sava on Vracar on the other.