fresnoslava2017 08St. Peter the Apostle parish’s 66th annual commemoration of Ss. Peter and Paul (Petrovdan) was held on Sunday, July 9.   This day, at which we gather to honor our patron saint, is always a day of great joy.

On this very warm summer day here in the heart of California’s Central Valley, we gathered as a Eucharistic parish community which has been mystically identified with Ss. Peter & Paul—through Christ—to specifically ask them to intercede in our behalf, and to glorify God  “who is wonderful in His saints.”  Our beloved Bishop Maxim was greeted at the entrance of the parish temple by the parish rector Protopresbyter Stavrophor George Gligich, visiting priest Father John Mikitish, from New Haven, CT. and Deacon Joseph Wesseler, a recent graduate from St. Vladimir’s Seminary.  Deacon Joseph, who was from our St. Peter parish, was ordained at the Seminary by His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America, with the blessing of Bishop Maxim on Lazarus Saturday.  This was Bishop Maxim’s first opportunity to celebrate the Hierarchical Liturgy with his newest deacon.

Led by the altar servers into the temple, His Grace was greeted with the singing of “It is Truly Meet...” by the parish Youth Choir under the direction of Maria Briggs. The Youth Choir and St. Peter’s Choir (directed by Djakonitsa Peggy Matthews) sang antiphonally throughout the Liturgy adding to the joy of our Eucharistic gathering.  At the conclusion of the Liturgy the Litya procession around the church with the reading of the Gospel and sanctification with Holy Water took place.  Upon reentering the temple the Slava Bread and Wheat were blessed.  This year the Kumovi for the Slava were the Epperson Family, Jason and Lamia together with their children Braeden, Mason and Leila.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy His Grace warmly and lovingly greeted Father George and all of the faithful on the celebration of our Slava and the joy that he was filled with on being able to share this day with us.  Father George welcomed His Grace expressing the blessing of having our beloved archpastor once again in our midst.

Joining us for the Slava banquet in the parish hall were Father Jim and Presvytera Donna Pappas from the neighboring St. George Greek Orthodox Church.  They are also godparents for the Epperson children, our Slava Kumovi.  During the banquet the Parish Council presented the Epperson Family with an Icon the Holy Apostle Peter for their many years of service to the parish.  Jason and Lamia expressed their gratitude for being honored, the blessing it has been to work with the many children in our church school for over twenty years, and the love that they had for each and every parishioner.

During the banquet, Maria Briggs who is a professor of voice at California State University at Fresno presented a concert of various Russian songs, while also beautifully playing the piano.  At the conclusion of the banquet the St. Peter Youth Scholarship in the amount of $1000 was presented by Andrej Romanenko to graduating His School Senior Faith Bundros.  Faith is the daughter of parishioners Christopher and Shirley Bundros and had numerous academic honors from Clovis High School as well as outstanding participation in the activities and worship of our parish community.

The banquet was prepared by Ernie and Cheryl Duran and their dedicated committee and we our grateful to them.  This was truly a special day in the life of our parish community.  We thank God and through the intercessions of the Holy Apostles for His continued mercy and love for our parish!