It was truly a day of sanctification, that is, participation in the holiness of God. It must be said here that holiness or sainthood is a gift (charisma) given by God to man, through the Holy Spirit. His Grace, Bishop Maxim, entered the church with the singing of ‘The Angel Cried’. The Matins and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy were served with responses sung by St. George parish choir. Divine Liturgy began with the triumphant singing of “Christ is risen”, the joyful proclamation of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2017-05-07-sd-slava-01Serving with Bishop Maxim were: Protopresbyter Bratso Krsic, parish priest, Protopresybter-stravrophor Milan Vukovic, retired priest from St. Petka parish, San Marcos, Deacon Paul Germain (St. George parish), Deacon David Williams (Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos parish, Orange County), and Deacon Vladan Radovanovic, the Bishop’s deacon. Protopresbyter-stavrophor Bozidar Draskovic, retired priest from St. George parish, was also present at the Liturgy and celebration. Two more priests joined in the celebration during the banquet and the program that followed the Liturgy, a Lytia (procession around the church) and the blessing of the Slava kolach: Protopresbyter Milovan Katanic, parish priest from St. Petka, San Marcos, and Protopresbyter Ramon Merlos, parish priest from Our Lady of Kazan Russian Orthodox Church, San Diego.
His Grace Bishop Maxim in the Paschal joy reminded everyone with his Archpastoral sermon of the meaning of the fourth Sunday after Pascha. In his sermon, the bishop stressed that the Gospel of John is only read in Church during the Paschal season, since it is for those who are baptized. As it is known, in the early Church, Pascha was the time for baptism, and the baptismal tone of this period is still there in our liturgy. The bishop also explained that the man specified is to be thirty-eight years old because he belongs to the Old Testament. But the most striking truth about this event is that the paralytic did not even know who Jesus, who healed him, was in reality. It is only when Christ confronted him in the temple, that he recognized Him as the Savior. So Bishop Maxim concluded that the Gospel today forces us to think we also will not recognize Christ amongst the noise and disturbances of the world but in the Eucharistic peace and grace of the Church.
Following all the services, the fellowship continued in the social hall with a program led by Kate Thickstun, the parish council president. Zeljko Milasinovic, the Slava Kum, with his wife Marija greeted everyone wishing them a happy and blessed Slava. The parish folklore groups, Morava Sr., Morava Jr. and the peewees performed a selection of songs and dances (kolo). Everyone present was enriched with the Slava celebration and left for home empowered to proclaim the Risen Lord giving thanks to God for His Great Martyr, George the Victorious.