On the occasion of the celebration of the feast of “the first crowned among martyrs,” St. Stephen the Protomartyr and Archdeacon, His Grace the Rt. Reverend Maxim, Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Alhambra and Western America, visited the parish of St. Stephen in Portland and its sister church, St. John the Wonderworker, in Eugene on January 11th and 12th.
Reminding his flock in Eugene of the truth that at Christmas “the boundless Essence is wrapped in swaddling bands in Bethlehem” (Church hymn), he says that Christ comes to us during this Nativity season as a friend, speaking to us like one of us, as He did to Abraham and the other patriarchs, Vladika Maxim, noted that His taking on flesh is the supreme expression of embodying an event. For Christ is not an idea but a person for us. He Who the Father reveals as “My Servant Whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased,” (Matt. 12:18) is a light that all of His followers can try to follow, for His sheep know His voice and follow it (John 10:27).