Slava Celebration at Saint Steven's Cathedral in Alhambra, CA

2016 10 02 alhambra slava 013Alhambra, California - On Sunday, October 2nd, 2016 a glorious celebration of three very special events took place at the Saint Steven's Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Alhambra, California. On this day the parish celebrated its Krsna Slava, the Feast of Saint Steven - Simon the Monk; the 70th Anniversary of the Cathedral; and the 10th Anniversary of the Enthronement of His Grace Bishop Maxim as the Hierarch of the Western American Diocese.

The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Maxim, together with the Cathedral Dean, V. Rev. Nichoals Ceko, Assistant Priest, Rev. Norman Kosanovich, and visiting clergy, V. Rev. Ilija Dajkovic, and V. Rev. Predrag Bojovic, who will soon to be the parish priest at the St. Sava Church in San Gabriel. The Saint Steven's Cathedral Choir and the Cathedral Youth Choral participated with responses & hymns, leading in song the many faithful who attended.

The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy concluded with the Festal Procession around the church and the blessing of the Slava Kolach and Zito. Blessed with the honor of being the Slava Kumovi on this special day were: George & Marlene Chumo, Jonathan Braun, and Luke Stefan, 

The celebration continued after the services with a festive banquet and program. Also joining in the festivities that day was the V. Rev. Petar Jovanovic, parish priest at the St. Sava Church in San Gabriel, who arrived for the banquet after having served the Divine Liturgy in his parish.

The Cathedral Choir opened the afternoon festivities with the singing of the National Anthems followed by the Lord's Prayers and Invocation by His Grace Bishop Maxim. Vaso Adzic, Vice-President of the parish council, welcomed all who came to celebrate this joyous day and introduced the Saint Steven's Andjeli and Opancici folklore groups who performed the Sumadija Suite. A delicious luncheon, prepared by the Cathedral's Women's Auxiliary, was then served for all to enjoy. As guests finished their meals, they were entertained by the Saint Steven's Sokoli Dancers who performed the Ponija Suite.

After an enjoyable folklore performance by Sokoli, Fr. Nicholas Ceko announced and welcomed the new Diocesan Deacon, Vladan Radovanovic and his wife, Dejana, and presented them with a gift from the Cathedral and best wishes as they start their new life in the Western American Diocese.

The Cathedral council president, Steve Spilker, then recognized the Slava Kumovi for their exemplary service and dedication. George & Marlene Chumo, Jonathan Braun, and Luke Stefan were each presented with an icon depicting Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with the Most Holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, on His left, and St. Steven-Simon the Monk on His right. 

As is customary, the Mrvichin Scholarship Awards which are presented each year on St. Steven's Day, were given to two very deserving high school graduates. The recipients of this Award were Paul Kosanovich, the son of Fr. Norman & Popadija Anne Kosanovich; and Alexis Brankovic, the daughter of Alexander & Julia Brankovic. Steve Spilker spoke a bit about the Mrvichin Scholarship Award and its history, and then introduced Valerie Glover, a Scholardship Committee Member, who spoke about Paul and Alexis and their devotion to Christ and HIs Church, their many accomplishments in their schools and communities, as well as their future goals. Since both students were away at college, familiy members accepted the awards on their behalf, and received a Blessing from HIs Grace Bishop Maxim who also extended his congratulations and best wishes.

2016 10 02 alhambra slava 083Fr. Nicholas Ceko then took the podium to express gratitude to His Grace Bishop Maxim for 10 years of dedication and service to God's Holy Church in the Diocese of Western America. Fr. Nick reminiced about the early years and the vision & mission His Grace had from the very beginning for the future of the Diocese. He emphasized that every day he is a witness to many good works that have been accomplished through the efforts of His Grace, especially the award-winning Sebastian Press Publishing House which publishes and distributes educational and spiritually helpful & uplifting books to not only those in this Diocese, but throughout the USA and the world.  Fr. Nick went on to point out the spiritual love & care His Grace has for all the parishes and parishioners in the Diocese, and for all Orthodox Christians everywhere. The parish council President, Steve Spilker, and council member Chris Nikchevich, then presented His Grace Bishop Maxim with a monatery gift and two cases of a variety of wines from Opolo Vineyards & Zotovic Vineyards, two Vineyards in the Western Diocese. His Grace graciously accepted and humbly thanked everyone. 

The banquet and program then concluded with the Benediction by His Grace, followed by an afternoon of music and fellowship. It was a very fitting and joyous celebration for all three very special occasions.