Diocesan News

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. 



Slava of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2017

Fairoaks(00)00aThe celebration started with a bounty of fresh flowers adorning the church prepared by Luba Karnaookh. Saturday Vespers and Blessing of the Five Loaves was lead by Bishop Maxim, our  resident clergy and two guest deacons: Deacon Vladan Radovanovich and Deacon Branislav Kedzich, professor of Theological school from Belgrade, Serbia. We were also blessed with the presence of Sister Irina a nun from monastery Gracanica in Kosovo, who made this day even more festive. 

Our Church Slava celebration began with the children of our parish welcoming Bishop Maxim and presenting him with flowers outside the church. This was immediately followed by the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, which included the tonsuring of Luke/Ethan Livingston to Reader. It was a pleasure to see so many of you receive Holy Communion. We continued with a procession around the church and memorial services for the founders and supporters of our church. Proto Dane invited all in attendance to join us for the blessing and cutting of the Slava Kolac in our church hall. Kumovi for this year's Slava were Lindsey and Jeffery Gray, a couple who's grandparents were founders of our church. The youth prepared a beautiful program for all our guests, we are blessed to have such good and talented children in our church. A wonderful complimentary lunch followed, that was provided by our Kumovi. The wonderful women from our parish treated us with homemade sweets.

After lunch there was a short presentation about life in Kosovo, by Sister Irina. Bishop Maxim introduced Books about Kosovo Heritage in Serbian and English and many people purchased books and/or donated financial help for Kosovo. 

On this day, four of our parishioners were recognized by Bishop with Gramata, for their long work and devotions in our parish. Gramata recipients were: Anna Bradarich, Biserka Delich, George Mironenko, Nada Kosanovich.  We thank God for their willingness to serve for these many years, and also pray that God grant them many more years of health and all good things.

Our Kum Jeffery Gray gave a beautiful speech on how to love and care for our church and each other.

It was truly a wonderful and blessed Feast Day enjoyed by all who attended.  



Holy Dormition - Slava of the First Serbian benevolent society in San Francisco

colma 11Успење Богородице - Слава Првог Српског добротворног друштва у Сан Франциску

У суботу 26. августа 2017. године Прво Српско Добротворно Друштво прославило је своју 137. славу. Друштво је основано давне 1880 године, и то је најстарија српска организација на западноамеричког обали. 

Црква (параклис, капела) Успења Пресвете Богородице подигнута је на гробљу у Колми 1929. године. 

Ове године славу Српског друштва и капеле увеличало је присуство Епископа западноамеричког г. Максима који је служио Свету Литургију уз саслуживање оца Слободана Јовића, пароха у Саратоги, оца Василија Цвијановића, пароха у Мораги, оца Ђурице Гордића, пароха из Сан Франциска и ђакона Владана Радовановића и Бранислава Кеџића.

Литургији је присуствовао већи број верника и чланова Српског друштва. Епископ је пререзао славски колач и поздравио присутне беседом, нагласивши значај празника Успења Пресвете Богородице. 

По резању славског колача одржан је пригодан славски ручак у новоподигнутом павиљону, као и изложба различитих уметничких дела. На ручку је Епископа, свештенство и народ речима добродошлице поздравио дугогодишњи председник српског друштва, Милорад-Мико Голубовић, коме је Епископ уручио Монографију, Задужбине Косова и Метохије.

The organization of the first distinctly Serbian society in America, then known as the Serbian Montenegrin Literary and Benevolent Society of San Francisco, in 1880, came about at the same time as a number of important historical developments. In 1878, the Austro-Hungarian military authorities occupied the South Slavic provinces of Bosnia and Hercegovina, instituting policies of "Divide and Rule", and compulsory military service, particularly resented by the Serbs. In Dalmatia the Serbs organized separate political parties and newspapers in 1878 and 1880. Serbian immigration to the United States increasedsubstantially beginning in the 1880's. A significant· portion of the newer immigration originated in the newly occupied districts of Hercegovina, where emigration began immediately after the occupation.

Of the eight founding members of the First Serbian Benevolent Society, six were from Boka Kotorska: Antonije Vukasovich, Krsto Gopchevich, Jovo Pavkovich, Rade Begovich, Jovan and Vladimir Jovovich. Djuro S. Martinovich was from Montenegro, and Mihail Rashkovich from Vojvodina, a rarity in a colony overwhelmingly by origin from Boka Kotorska, Hercegovina and Montenegro.



Bishop Maxim visits St. Herman Monastery and St. Xenia Skete for Feast of Transfiguration

33Good to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. His Grace had made an episcopal visit to the monastery and skete less than a month earlier, on July 26-27, and it was a joy for the monks and nuns to welcome him back so soon.

In the evening of Friday, August 5/18, 2017, the eve of the Feast, His Grace arrived at the St. Herman Monastery together with Sr. Irina of Gracanica Monastery in Kosovo. After a brief meal, everyone—the monks of the monastery, the sisters of St. Xenia Skete, and the pilgrims—gathered in front of the catholicon. From there they began the procession to the places where, according to local tradition, the beginning of Transfiguration Vigil is celebrated: the men to the “Transfiguration Skete” atop Mount St. Herman, and the women to “St. Elias Skete,” which lies to the west of the monastery, atop Noble Ridge.

During the Vespers services atop Mount St. Herman, the monks sang the services while Abbot Damascene served and Bishop Maxim pronounced the blessings. At the Aposticha, both the men and the women went in procession from their respective “Sketes” to one of the crosses that overlooks Beegum Gorge. Each of the processions was accompanied by the singing of hymns.

In the old days, it had been a tradition of the monastery that, when the men and women had gathered at the cross at this point the service, Fr. Seraphim (Rose) would give a sermon on the Transfiguration. Two of these sermons of Fr. Seraphim had been partially recorded: one, in 1974, by Fr. Seraphim himself, in his Chronicle of the St. Herman Brotherhood, and another, shortly before his repose in 1982, by a sister of St. Xenia Skete. It has become a more recent tradition of the monastery to read aloud these recorded sermons of Fr. Seraphim at this point in the service.

That is what we did this year. As everyone gathered to listen around the cross, Fr. Damascene read the sermons from Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works. The procession then continued back to the monastery catholicon, where Vespers was concluded. Bishop Maxim, vested in an omophorion and an epitrachelion, celebrated the Litya together with the monastery priests, blessing the loaves, wheat, wine and oil at the end. Before distributing the blessed bread with wine, he congratulated the faithful with the Feast. It was beautiful, he said, to go up the mountain for the beginning of the service. It has been a practice from the early days of Christianity to go up to a high place to celebrate the Feast of Transfiguration. This, the Bishop said, can also can be seen as a prayer that we be lifted up spiritually.

The Vigil concluded with Matins and First Hour.

The next morning, the hierarchical Liturgy for the Transfiguration was held in the outdoor chapel at St. Xenia Skete. The monks from St. Herman Monastery, Fr. George Elliott, Deacon Philip Mayer and parishioners from the St. Andrew Serbian Orthodox Church in Anderson, California; Archpriest Christopher Stanton, Matushka Mary Sara, and their six children from the St. Innocent Cathedral (OCA) in Wasilla, Alaska; and other pilgrims came for the celebration. His Grace celebrated the Liturgy together with Abbot Damascene, Hieromonk Paisius, Fr. Christopher, Fr. George, and Deacon Philip.

In his sermon, Vladika said that not only the Lord but also the disciples were illumined by the Transfiguration; that’s how they could behold Him in His transfigured state. Speaking of the Uncreated Energies revealed as Light at the Transfiguration, Vladika noted that the Energies can never be separated from the Person of God, or from the experience of God as Person. His Grace stressed how the Feast of Transfiguration is important for all Christians in their striving to transfigure their entire lives in the light of Christ; it has become especially significant for monastics in their striving toward the Kingdom.

After the Liturgy, His Grace read the Prayer for the Blessing of Fruits, according to the tradition for this day, and the blessed grapes were distributed to the faithful along with antidoron.

At an outdoor gathering afterwards, the young pilgrims presented musical offerings. Fr. George’s son John, dressed in traditional Scottish attire, played several melodies on the bagpipe, ending with “Amazing Grace.” Fr. Christopher’s children sang Native Alaskan songs in the original language, accompanied by traditional dance.

Fr. George, who had recently returned from Scotland with John and his touring bagpipe band, presented Bishop Maxim with a gift: a Scottish “clergy tartan.”

His Grace presented a gift copy of the new English edition of the Prologue of Ohrid to the St. Herman Monastery, whose monks had helped to edit the book. Gratefully receiving it, Fr. Damascene told the gathered faithful about the features of the new edition, which includes a host of saints glorified by the Church since the publication of the first edition in 1928.

A meal was served in the Skete trapeza, after which Abbess Dorothea asked Sr. Irina of Gracanica speak about her monastery and life in Kosovo. Sr. Irina gave a moving account of the history of Gracanica, and of the adversities and present condition of the Serbs living in Kosovo. Bishop Maxim and Dr. Jelena, who was also visiting at the time, added to the account. His Grace told of his experience of being in Kosovo with Bishop Atanasije as a hierodeacon during the harrowing year of 1999. The talk was deeply edifying and also very informative in bringing us up-to-date about our brothers and sisters in suffering Kosovo.

The brothers of St. Herman Monastery and the sisters of St. Xenia Skete give thanks to Christ the Giver of Light for this unforgettable celebration of His Transfiguration.

--Iguman Damascene



A weekend full of joy and blessing - Bishop Maxim visited his flock in Portland, OR

20170813 111913Дани празничне радости и благослова - Епископ Максим посетио Портланд ​ ​ поводом летње храмовне славе Преноса моштију Св. архиђакона и првомученика Стефана.

Парохија Св. првомученика и Архиђакона Стефана у Портланду, савезна држава Орегон, прославила је свечано своју летњу храмовну славу, ​ ​ дочекавши свог драгог Архијереја Еп. Максима ​.​
У суботу 12. августа у поподневним часовима су млади чланови наше парохије окупљени око Игора Машића ​,​ који је својим чамцем приредио крстарење на реци Виламете која пролази кроз Портланд. После овог разгледања града са реке је Епископ у пратњи надлежног пароха дочекан у порти Храма од председника Небојше Мучибабића и већег броја парохијана и великог броја деце која су се обрадовала своме Владици који је свако дете и све присутне срдачно поздравио и благословио. Посебну захвалност дугујемо родитељима који су приредили деци разне игре и награде које је Владика поделио деци. Председница Кола српских сестара Славица Мучибабић се пожртвовано потрудила са чланицама и вредним парохијнкама да угосте најдражег госта и све присутне. Лепо и радосно дружење је завршено заједничком вечерњом службом, коју је служио надлежни парох. После вечерње службе је Епископ одржао састанак са Управом ове ЦШО упознавши се са предстојећим плановима за унапређење парохије и њене мисије.

Сутрадан у недељу ​,​ сабрали су се благочестиви верници са децом портландске парохије испред храма да дочекају свог Архипастира.
​На ​ Свет ​ој Литругиј ​и ​пастиреначалнику су саслуж ​ивали о. Серафим Бел, парох из Јуџина, Видослав Вујасин, надлежн ​и​ парох и Арх. намесник Бјутск ​и​ и протођакон Стивен Дајер из Јуџина. Свету Литургију су својим дивним појањем улепшали хорови из Јуџина и Портланда.
После прочитаног Јеванђеља, је о. Серафим ​произнео беседу на енглеском језику. Светој тајни причешћа су приступила сва деца и мноштво верника.
Кумови храмовне Славе су били Владимир и Сањ ​а Драшковић са њиховим кћеркама Еленом, Аном и новорођеним сином Луком. После благосиљања Славског колача су изабрани кумови за идућу годину, Паја и Надица Агатоновић.
Епископ је благословио благочестиви верни народ ове парохије пожелевши изобиље Божије милости ​,​ похваливши ревност парохијана.
На самом крају је презвитер Видослав Вујасин поздравио и захвалио, најпре Архијереју на љубави и пажњи коју указује својим парохијама, и свим свештеним саслужитељима и верном народу и кумовима на њиховом доласку и учешћу на храмовној Слави и позвао на свечану трпезу љубави која је припремљена добротом кумова и чланица Кола Српских сестара са својом председницом.
На свечани и изврсни ручак у пуној сали Храма су стигли и протојереј-ставрофор Метју Тејт као и протојереј Тимоти Павлатос.
Деца парохије су обрадовала ​с вог Владику са песмом о Патријарху Павлу, док их је Владика изненадио слаткишима које је Епископ у виду кише поделио деци, јер више од 50 дана није падала киша у Портланду. За време обеда је Владика Максим презентовао капиталну Монографију о Косову и Метохију, као и најновију књигу Еп. захумскохерцеговачког Григорија ”Преко прага” које су изашле у издању Епархијске издавачке куће Себастијан Прес (www.sebastianpress.org).
Благодарни Богу на свему већ сад се радујемо следећој посети нашег драгог Архијереја који радошћу долази да посети виноград Господњи у Орегону.

A weekend full of joy and blessing - Bishop Maxim visited his flock in Portland, OR

20170813 110825The past weekend of 12th and 13th August 2017 at the St. Stephens Archdeacon and Protomartyr Serbian Orthodox Church in Portland, Oregon was very blessed because our Diocesan Bishop His Grace Bishop Maxim visited our Portland parish. The reason of His visit was the celebration of our Parish Slava, which began with a joyful gathering on saturday afternoon when a lot of parish children full of joy and happiness welcomed His Grace at our beautiful Church property in Portland. Bishop Maxim blessed all the children and people who came to this gathering. After a delicious barbecue and childrens playing and talks we concluded the beautiful afternoon with a Vesper served by Fr. Vidoslav Vujasin the host priest in the presence of his Grace and the faithful followed by a brief meeting with the Board members who presented the Diocesan Bishop their plans for improvement and development of future projects on our Church property in Portland.

On Sunday His Grace Bishop Maxim served the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy together with the concelebrants, Fr. Rev. Seraphim Bell, from the St. John Maximovitch parish in Eugene, Fr. Rev. Vidoslav Vujasin, Episcopal Dean, Portland, Protodeacon Rev. Stephen Dyer, Eugene and many parishioners and guests.

The sermon based on the Gospel reading was given by Fr. Seraphim Bell. After the Holy Liturgy the Slava bread cutting ceremony took place with the Kums Vladimir and Sanja Draskovic with their daughters Elena, Ana and the new baby born son Luka. Our parishioners Paja and Nadica Agatonovic overtook the Slava for the next year.

A delicious luncheon followed, which was prepared by the Kums and the Circle of Serbian sisters under the presidency of Slavica Mucibabic. After services held in their parishes Fr. Rev. Matthew Tate, Rector of the OCA Annunciation parish in Milwaukie, OR and Fr. Rev. Timothy Pavlatos, St. Johns Greek Orthodox Church, Beaverton, OR arrived and joined us for the festive meal.

During the lunch there was a short performance with the lovely children from the Portland parish who sang a song for the Bishop and all guests. As a special blessing after more than 50 days without measurable rain Bishop Maxim let fall His famous Candy rain over the children who had much fun getting some of this sweet rain. After the lunch followed a book presentation by His Grace Bp. Maxim who presented the new issued capital Monography about the Heritage of our Church in Kosovo and Metohija and the newest book from Bishop Grigorije "Preko Praga", and the Biography of St. Mardarije which are all published by the Diocesan Publishing House Sebastian Press (www.sebastianpress.org).

We are grateful for these many blessings and looking forward to the next visit of His Grace Bishop Maxim, who is always very welcome in our Portland parish.

Fr. Rev. Vidoslav Vujasin



Switch mode views: