[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, December 20, 2004


Weirton, WV - The Eighteenth Annual Pittsburgh Deanery Christian Education meeting was hosted by the Holy Resurrection Serbian Church in Steubenville, Ohio. The meeting was held on December 5/18, 2004 at the Serbian American Cultural Center in Weirton, West Virginia.

The Deanery meetings are scheduled annually by His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN to review, strengthen and develop Christian education in the Eastern American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Host Priest Proto Rade Merick greeted the attendees and emphasized the importance of the meeting. Proto Rade has regularly attended the meetings since their inception.

Proto Stavrofor Stevan Stepanov, Dean of the Pittsburgh Deanery, was instumental in the creation of the Deanery meetings and commented on their value including the exchange of ideas that are beneficial.

Father Milan Pajic, the parish priest of St. George 'Lazarica' Serbian Orthodox Church in Midland, Pennsylvania was designated by His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN as the designated speaker for the meeting.

Father Pajic focused his presentation on the immorality that is fostered through immodesty in advertising and commercialism. Father Pajic spoke about body-piercing and the skin-revealing clothing that we have accepted in the contemporary society.

In his presentation, Fr. Pajic referenced the Bible in saying the body is the "temple of the Holy Spirit." He drew upon the writings of St. Paul in a call for modesty in dress among Christians. In addressing the question "How should we, as Orthodox Christians, consider this corruption of the human body expressed through poor and inappropriate clothing?", Fr. Milan responded, "Our role models, our mirrors of reflection, shouldn't be contemporary musicians, sports heroes, or movie stars, but Jesus Christ, the Mother of God and all the Saints, remembering that we are the icons of God, created in His image and likeness."

Fr. Pajic concluded with the words of St. John Chrysostom, "The primary goal in the education of children is to teach and to give them the example of a virtuous life."

The presentation generated considerable discussion of the existing state of contemporary society with everyone in attendance actively contributing.

Individual parish reports were presented by Episcopal Deputy Proto Stavrofor Dr. Nedeljko Grgurevich, Proto Lt. Colonel Adam Yontich, Fr. Vladimir Demshuk, Protinica Donna Merick, Steve Milos Klipa, Brian Hayden and Ted Zeljak. Father Deacon Dragoslav Kosic and Dennis Hickman also participated in the meeting.

Reports presented at the meeting in addition to Holy Resurrection Church's, Stuebenville, were: St. Elijah, Aliquippa; St. Nicholas, Monroeville; Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Clairton; St. Sava, McKeesport-Duquesne; St. George, Midland; St. George, Carmichaels and Holy Trinity Mission, Fairmont, WV.

Note was taken of Christian educators in the Deanery falling asleep in the Lord in the past year including Nell Lampich and Violet Kavic of Aliquippa and Mary Peggy Baheny of Steubenville who was tonsured as monastic Sister Macrina. Only two days after the present meeting, to the shock of all, meeting participant Stevo Milos Klipa, also fell asleep in the Lord.

The meeting concluded with His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN addressing salient priests. His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN said that men and women need to dress and prepare themselves for attending Church, bearing in mind the Church is holy. Clothing and demeanor should reflect reverence and love for God.

His Grace said it was important for Serbian Orthodox Christians to live the faith, to protect our children. His Grace spoke of the influence of television upon society and said television could be used more for Christian purposes. The Church is our future. His Grace emphasized the importance of all teacher coming to Deanery meetings.

In concluding, His Grace thanked Proto Merick and the Holy Resurrection Church of Steubenville for the hospitality. Fr. Milan Pajic's for his well-prepared presentation, and all the participants for attending.

Fr. Rodney Torbic