Church of Serbia – 19/10/16
With the blessing of His Grace our Bishop Irinej of the Eastern Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, our Parish celebrated its 100th Anniversary starting from Friday, October 7th through Sunday, October 9th this 2016thYear of our Lord.
On Friday, His Grace Bishop Irinej, after the Vesper service, was greeted with bread and salt by the youngest members of our parish, dressed in traditional Serbian costume. His Grace then served the Parastos (Memorial Service) for the departed members of this Parish and later blessed the food in the Church Hall prepared for all who came to participate in this event. Concelebrating with His Grace were Presbyter Borjan Vitanov parish priest, Protopresbyter-stavrophor Aleksandar Vlajkovic of Boston, Dean of the Washington Deanery, Protopresbyter-stavrophor Stevan Rocknage of McKeesport, who offered a homily for the edification of the faithful, Protopresbyter-stavrophor Michael Slovesko of the Carpatho-Russian Eparchy and long-time celebrant in Lebanon, Protopresbyter-stavrophor Michael Varvarelis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Protopresbyter-stavrophor Stephen Vernak of the Orthodox Church in America, Protopresbyter Milorad Orlic of Philadeplphia, and Presbyter Christopher Rocknage of Steelton.
On Saturday morning, October 8th Holy Liturgy was celebrated and we were blessed to have His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Canada, join us as well. During the Small Entrance, His Grace Bishop Irinej elevated the parish priest Borjan Vitanov to the rank of protonamesnik (oikonomos, οἰκονόμος). After receiving the Holy Communion there was a blessing of the Kolac (festal bread) and Koljivo (boiled wheat) in honor of the celebration of the Patronal Feast Day, the Renewal of the Temple of the Resurrection in Jerusalem. Among the present we were happy to have the local Roman Catholic Priest and Lutheran pastors neighboring our Parish with some of their flock. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Bishop Irinej gifted the parish with a silver and enamel hand cross as a sign of his affection and paternal love.
Later that day the central celebration was held in the Grantville Holiday Inn, where among the distinguished guests was also Her Honor, the Mayor of Lebanon City, Sherry Capello, who presented the parish with a Mayoral Resolution on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary. It is interesting to note that one of her teachers was Mr. Joseph Rahalewich, President of the Parish Council. The Master of Ceremonies was Mr Donald Maransky. The hosts for the 100th anniversary Celebration were Fr Michael and Mary Ann Slovesko. The celebration was enriched with traditional Serbian music by Sviraj Orchestra led by Dr. Danilo Yanich and dances performed by the SOTAYA Folklore Group of Steeleton.
In his address, Bishop Irinej presenting an overview of the history of the building of the church in 1916 by placing it in the context of the time in which it was built, namely World War I. the Bishop also noted that the frescoes which adorn the walls of the church were executed by famous Serbian artist Svetozar Popovic, who works can be found in world famous galleries, such as the Louvre in Paris, and other European Capitals.
On Sunday, October 9th following the Divine Liturgy, with the blessed presence of His Grace our Bishop Irinej, and our dear guest Bishop Mitrophan, the celebration continued in our Church Hall. Protopresbyter Aleksa Micich from Washington, DC joined in concelebrating at the Liturgy. The festal celebration continued well into the evening with the sounds of Sviraj Orchestra, followed by Bezimeni Orchestra led by Marko Milanovich and Danijel Okilj.
We would like to send our heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make our 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Holy Resurrection of the Serbian Orthodox Church a success!
Through the prayers of our Bishop Irinej, may God grant our Parish many years! Na mnogaja ljeta!