His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej, administrator of the Diocese of Canada, visited on Monday, June 8, 2015 the Serbian community and the Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Oakville, Ontario.
The Serbian Patriarch was welcomed by the dean of the church, V. Rev. Zlatibor Djurasevic and a large number of parishioners. Following the Doxology service, served by Fr. Zlatibor and Protodeacon Damjan Bozic, the parish priest welcomed the Patriarch saying: “It is a rare occasion to welcome the first hierarch of our holy Church. We know that you bring us peace and love, and to your fatherly care we return our great joy. In this time of unrest, this time of troubles, you have come before us to encourage us, to strengthen us and to stabilize us. Today you are with us as a father who with divine wisdom teaches his children. You shower us with gifts of love, peace and harmony. I give thanks to God and to you together with my entire flock. Thank you for your visit, Holy Bishop!”
Patriarch Irinej addressed the faithful afterward saying: “And I also give thanks to God that I am with you today. I am grateful for your hospitality and your joy. We remember today the migration of our people throughout the centuries. The Church was always with the people, for she cared for her children. Our ancestors, in those migrations driven out of necessity, always carried with them their sanctities: the holy relics and icons. In their new homelands they built churches. The first thing they did – they built churches. First, small churches, wooden ones, and then later, magestic churches. And so it is here. Preserve your faith and traditions, preserve your name. Be a beautiful flower in God’s garden. Preserve your language and fill the whole world with the scent of your language and faith. Do not deny the world these two things. We are called to witness our holy Orthodoxy among these people, and so we should act, you Serbs of St. Sava…”
A meeting was held with the diocesan clergy in the church hall.
The beginnings of church life among the Serbs in Oakville dates back to 1980 when, upon the initiative from Oakville and surrounding areas, a decision was made with the blessing of the then bishop of Eastern America and Canada, His Grace Christopher, that a church-school congregation be established. The church property was purchased in 1983 and twelve months later it was blessed by Bishop Georgije. The Sts. Peter and Paul Church, for Oakville and surrounding areas, was consecrated in 1993, when a permanent priest was appointed. Between 2008 and 2012 a beautiful parish home was built. Plans are underway of reconstrucing the church, expanding the hall, building a pavilion and home for the elderly. Beside the Serbian school, the Kolo Sestara “Carica Jelena” and the “Kosovski bozuri” folklore group, are also active in this parish.