Diocesan News

St. Sava Mission Joint Management Committee Meeting

2017 09 30 17 jackson 2On a most pleasant fall day on September 30 2017 a meeting of Joint Property Management Committee of the Saint Sava Mission and Retreat Center in Jackson was held at the same facility in Jackson, CA. The property at the Saint Sava Mission has two organizations of combined stewardship which work together to maintain the operation of this very important property. The Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the Saint Sava Mission Foundation have joint tenancy and responsibility for this property known by all Serbs and locals as the Saint Sava Mission. In attendance, and representing the Diocese was his Grace Bishop Maxim and leading the Mission Foundations delegation was Stan Grgic of San Francisco. All together there were nine participants who assembled from near and far to address a full agenda having many topics of discussion. Stan Grgic asked to begin the meeting with a blessing from Vladika Maxim which set the meeting in motion in a spirit of wonderful brotherly love and optimism.

Protopresbyter Stephen Tumbas, as the recent long time Camp Director and Mission Foundation Board Member provided the hospitality for the committee members as they worked through the agenda. Discussions ranged from developing the job descriptions for employed workers to many facets of building and property maintenance needs. Projects which were completed were reported on and one of the most visible was a new gate at the entrance of the camp road. Since the construction of the buildings in the early 1960’s, it was obvious that the imminent challenges will be for major investment in facility modernization, building renovation and other major infrastructure upgrades. Along with these projects there was discussion on how to generate the funding necessary to accomplish the tasks at hand.

In conclusion, the committee was thankful to his Grace Bishop Maxim for his important participation and concern for this most valuable asset we have inherited from our great benefactors and former hard working stewards. Members of the committee offered superb constructive leadership with their ideas, and there was noticeable optimism for continued future constructive collaboration. Most importantly the committee emphasized the need to promote Saint Sava Mission to the faithful and friends throughout the western American region to solicit the much needed financial help. With hope for so much potential for future good works at this blessed location in Jackson, we pray that the Lord continue to grant us the ability to succeed!








Pastoral visit of His Grace Bishop Maxim to the faithful of Seattle

seattle 2017 09 23 11On September 23 and 24, 2017, on 16th Sunday after Pentecost, His Grace Bishop Maxim visited both Parishes in Seattle: The Holy Protection of the Theotokos in South Park and St. Sava Parish in Issaquah.

On Saturday evening, Bishop Maxim officiated at the Great Vespers Service at the Church of Holy Protection, together with local priest Fr. Serafim Gascoigne, Fr. Zoran Aleksic from St. Sava Church, and the Diocesan Deacon Vladan Radovanovic.  After the Vespers, parishioners prepared a dinner and a warm welcome for their Bishop.

On Sunday morning, the clergy and the faithful greeted Bishop Maxim at St. Sava Church in Issaquah, and with the ringing of bells and singing of hymns together entered the Church. Bishop Maxim presided over the Holy Liturgy concelebrated by guest priests, Very Rev. Serafim Gascoigne, Very Rev. Vidoslav Vujasin from Portland, parish priest Rev. Zoran Aleksic, and the Diocesan Deacon Vladan Radovanovic. The responses at the Liturgy were sung by the Parish Choir led by Choir Director Dejan Subotic. The Church was overflowing with faithful from both Parishes, and the faithful, with many children among them, partook of the Holy Communion. During the sermon, Bishop Maxim invited all to receive the message of the Liturgy and to allow the grace of God to work within ourselves, so that at the end, as a sign of God’s mercy, we can receive His own life within us, and to live not only with the Word of God, but also with His own life offered to us through the Holy Eucharist.

After the Liturgy, the Parish KSS served a delicious lunch for everyone, the children’s orchestra presented a short program, and everyone enjoyed a fellowship and a nice sunny afternoon in Seattle.

That afternoon, Bishop Maxim also met with the members of the Feasibility Analysis committee
who presented to His Grace the research that they have done considering possibilities of building a new Church.    



Bishop Maxim Visits St. Simeon Parish in Las Vegas, NV

2017 09 10 las vegas 0007 У недељу 10.септембра 2017. године када наша Црква прославља Сабор Српских Светитеља Епископ Западноамерички г. Максим посетио је парохију Светог Симеона Мироточивог у Лас Вегасу.

Епископ је служио Свету Архијерејску Литургију уз саслужење надлежног пароха Јереја Милана Унковића, протођакона Озрена Тодоровића из Лас Вегаса и Eпархијског ђакона Владана Радовановића, уз молитвено учешће верног народа Лас Вегаса и околине.

По прочитаном Јеванђељу Епископ Максим пастирским словом поучио је сабране вернике, поручивши им да у свом Епископу и Епархији имају сваку подршку у даљем раду на изградњи Храма и развијању парохијске заједнице у Лас Вегасу.

Имајући у виду специфичан начин живота којим овај град живи, те време и окружење у којем наши верници обављају своје редовне послове, сваки њихов недељни долазак у храм Божији представља својеврсни подвиг. Стога, долазак Епископа и Света Архијерејска Литургија доноси велику утјеху и наду, те подстрек за напредовање у хришћанском животу свих верујућих овога града. 

По завршетку Свете Литургије верни народ заједно са Епископом обишао је храм Светог Симеона Мироточивог, који верни народ Лас Вегаса са великим трудом гради и уздиже на Славу Божију.

У црквеној сали приређен је ручак у организацији Кола Српских Сестара, а у току ручка одржана је промоција књиге, Хришћанско Наслеђе Косова и Метохије, - издање на Српском језику.

Одржан је и радни састанак Епископа Максима и Црквене управе заједно са архитектом храма Светог Симеона г. Отоном Урбаном, на коме су се разматрали даљи кораци у наставку градње нашег храма.

Радост сусрета са својим Владиком настављена је у вечерњим часовима. Млади парохијани, чланови спортског друштва Свети Симеон из Лас Вегаса, организовали су фудбалску утакмицу на стадиону поред Цркве, а потом је уследила вечера, након које је Епископ Максим заједно са ђаконом Владаномод стране Свештеника и Црквене управе испраћен на пут у Лос Анђелес.

Нека је Име Господње благословено од сада и до вјека! Амин.

Јереј Милан Унковић






Diocesan Days 2017 - Day Three


September 1-3, 2017 - Saint Steven’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Alhambra, California


“You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but are fellow citizens with the saints
 and members of the household of God..” –Ephesians 2:19


diocesan days 2017 day three 0001Clergy and the faithful people began arriving during Matins Sunday morning. After venerating the icons one by one they approached their diocesan bishop, His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America, for a blessing at the start of a new day. Midway through the service the clergy disappeared only to reappear in their vestments and in processesion, welcoming the bishop who was also fully vested and thus the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy began in a full church.

Singing the responses during the 
liturgy was the very talented Youth Chorale and the Catheral Cantors led by their gifted director Johnny Braun. 

diocesan days 2017 day three 0001b

While the Divine Liturgy plays a central role in all church gatherings, the Diocesan Days liturgies are joyous events in particular as clergy from throughout the diocese gather around one Holy Table as the bishop leds them and the faithful people who have come from different parishes and regions of the vast diocese, in the eucharistic prayer.

Later, during the festive but formal banquet in the main hall on this final day of the Diocesan Day gathering the female ethno group Breze performed once more. This was followed by a surprise performance by Popadija – and extremely talented cellist- Biljana Bojovic who perfomed a few pieces, beginning with a very moving rendition of Suza Kosova. The junior and senior Kalemegdan folklore groups from the neighborning St. Sava Church in San Gabriel also wowed the audience during the program. Debra Tasic our Diocesan treasurer thanked this year's guest speaker, Fr. Timothy, while Bishop Maxim presented him with the monumentous publication, The diocesan days day three 013Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija. Later, Debra made a very special announcement that the Diocesan Vice President, Jasmina Boulanger, had been awarded the Serbian Orthodox Church's highest distinction, the Medal of St. Sava, which His Grace Bishop Maxim presented to her. 

In his keynote address the guest speaker, Fr. Timothy Pavlatos, touched on a number of themes he had already discussed the previous two days. More specifically, he stressed the importance of this very fellowship, the need for clergy to support one another, to be with one another and, naturally, to pray with one another. Due to their demanding position as parish priests who oftentimes spend hours doing other things in the parish not necessarily related to their priestly calling, Fr. Timothy called upon the faithful to bear this in mind and support their parish priests that they not suffer a burnout. He noted how a bishop had once told him that according to some of the holy fathers the diocesan days day three 016
demons appoint 7 demons to a priest at his ordination because if he can cause one priest to stumble and fall through temptation a much larger number will fall with him.

Furthermore, he cited a case in which members of an AA group were asked what was it they found most appealing in their groups. Their answer was the overwhelming feeling of being safe during those meetings as they revealed and discussed their, oftentimes, most embarrassing moments during their addictions. Similarly, we are called to ensure this same sense of security in our parish communities. Subsequently we will be more open with one another since it is usually because of the things we hide from one another that we develop habits and addictions which have a tendency to overtake our lives and even ruin them.

Live music and fellowship continued throughout the afternoon hours. But this was also the time that many of the clergy slowly said their good-byes as they had to begin their, in many cases, long journey home. They will continue to stay in touch and visit neighboring priests throughout the year and for various occasions: baptisms, funerals, Slavas, etc. But they will have to wait until Labor Day weekend next year when once again the bishop, all the clergy and monastics and all the faithful sons and daughters of the Holy Serbian Orthodox Church and members of the Western American Diocese, meet in Jackson for the 22nd Annual Diocesan Days!



Diocesan Days 2017 - Day Two


September 1-3, 2017 - Saint Steven’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Alhambra, California


“You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but are fellow citizens with the saints
 and members of the household of God..” –Ephesians 2:19


diocesan days 2017 day two 026“A blessed beginning and conclusion,“ said His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America, surrounded by the concelebrating diocesan clergy clad in an array of fesively colored vestments at the end of the Holy Hieararchical Divine Liturgy Saturday morning. The liturgy and prayer of the Invocation of the Holy Spirit marked not only the beginning of the second day of Diocesan Days but also the Diocesan Annual Assembly which began immediately after a continental breakfast. Bishop Maxim expressed his joy in the eucharistic celebration, congratulating also Deacon Vladan and his wife Dejana Radovanovic on the baptism of their baby boy Maxim, wishing them and their kum, Deacon Branislav Kedzic many blessings from God.

diocesan days 2017 day two 029Diocesan Days are not only a time when we share in liturgy and fellowship, dance and song, it's also a time we discuss our everyday parish business, the concerns and challenges we each face on a parish level and can be addressed at a diocesan level at the annual assembly. Led by the bishop and with the participation of all diocesan clergy, parish delegates and observers, this year's assembly was both fruitful and informative. Reports were presented by, among others, His Grace Bishop Maxim, the diocesan treasurer, auditing board, etc. Among the decisions rendered at this year's assembly it was decided that next year's Diocesan Days be held in Jackson. Also, per the recommendation and invitation of Protopresbyter Predrag Bojovic the diocesan Days celebration in 2019, the year our church will mark the 800th Anniversary of the Autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church, will be hosted by St. Sava Church in San Gabriel.

diocesan days 2017 day two 033In Fr. Timothy Pavlatos delivered a talk after lunch entitled, Living a Christian Life in the Midtst of the World. In his talk he spoke of the many things we are called to do as Christians such as read Scripture, observe the fast,
take confession and communion, etc. However, he noted, if these things do not transform us then theymost certainly are for naught. Not only are they meant to transform us but that transformation is the manner in which we are all called to bring others to the Faith. That is, not through scholarly and intellectual means but through our actions. The Christian virtues of love, forgiveness, humility and so on – which we are meant to acquire by following the church's disciple - are our sermons to those around us. In citing two examples from the Gospels, the stoning of the woman caught in the act of adultery and the Samaritan woman, Fr. Timothy pointed to the methods used by our Lord which are to be used by us as well – our relationships with one another. Our relationships transform people just as Christ transformed the people He encounterd through His relationship with them.

This talk was followed by a number of activities: The Women's Conference and KSS Meeting, A Meeting of parish Treasurers: What Every Orthodox Treasurer Should Know, Children and Youth Activities, a Workshop for Sunday School Teachers: Enhancing Teaching Styles and Stewardship Question and Answers.





Following Vespers Protinica Rada Bojovic presented the newest selections just released from Sebastian Press which included the revised and expanded classic Prologue of Ohrid by St. Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich; the sermons of Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory entitled Life According to the Gospel and the The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija in Serbian. There were special performances during dinner by the angelic sounds of Breze of Phoenix and the Dunav folklore ensemble from Irvine, California.

Live music, dancing and fellowship lasted late into the evening.



Diocesan Days 2017 - Day One


September 1-3, 2017 - Saint Steven’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Alhambra, California


“You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but are fellow citizens with the saints
 and members of the household of God..” –Ephesians 2:19


DSC 1308The annual gathering of clergy and laity from throughout the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America,  Diocesan Days, began early Friday afternoon, September 1, 2017. As Los Angeles continued to bear through a historic heatwave  clergy began slowly, one by one, to arrive to the LA suburb of Alhambra, home of St. Steven's Serbian Orthodox Cathedral and host of this year's diocesan gathering. A festive and joyous fellowship typically ensues when brother clergy meet after being apart for months. This, in fact, is one of the highlights of such events. As is customary in the Orthodox Tradition and in particular in the  Western American Diocese, it originates from their bishop's warm welcome, whom the clergy first greet upon arriving - their ruling bishop His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America. 

After a hearty Lenten meal the clergy were directed to the small hall where a clergy seminar was led by this year's guest speaker, Fr. Timothy Pavlatos. Besides being a parish priest at the St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, Oregon the guest speaker is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and adjunct professor at George Fox University's Graduate School of Counseling. Ironically enough Fr. Timothy's afternoon talk dealt mostly of the importance of clergy to support one another, be their for one another, to rejoice in one another. He made a made beautiful point at one point of his talk saying, "there's a reason our Lord sent His disciples out in pairs. There is safety in numbers. DSC 1241aThere is a reason He said, 'For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst'. Two priests having a dialogue about matters of a personal nature, is far better than a priest who engages in a demonic monologue in his head". He spoke extensively, during both his talk and the question and answer portion that followed, of the need of clergy to support and help one another. Emphasis was also placed on self-care. He cited St. Mark's gospel: "In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there". In other words, the need for clergy to make time for themselves. A lively discussion ensued the talk.

DSC 1245aMembers of the Diocesan Council met in the late afternoon hours which ran into Vespers. Clergy and the faithful were given the great blessing of venerating the relics of St. Sebastian of Jackson and San Francisco, as the relics were brought to the cathedral by Fr. Marko Bojovic from the Jackson parish. Special guests to this year's Diocesan Days event were introduced after dinner which, besides the guest speaker, include: Sister Irina from Gracanica Monastery in Kosovo and Deacon Branislav Kedzic, professor at the Theological Faculty in Belgrade. During the post dinner Question and Answer session, questions were also addressed to Sister Irina of the life of Serbs in Kosovo. She spoke of the many hardships faced by Serbs who remained in Kosovo but also of the great blessings of the life there. 


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