Diocesan News

Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in Las Vegas

2016 09 11 las vegas 02Да ли сте се некада питали како један православни Србин живи своју веру у коцкарском граду? Ако јесте, а не знате одговор, дођите у Лас Вегас!Српска парохија Светог Симеона Мироточивог у Лас Вегасу нема дугу историју и једна је од најмлађих парохија у Западноамеричкој епархији. Парохијски храм који је у изградњи већ сада је једна од најлеших грађевина у крају и сада се јасно види колико ће бити величанствен када буде коначно завршен. У том светом храму служиће се Литургија ”овог свијета као и онога”. Сво ово поменусмо због тога следећег. За православни народ који живи у спољашњем бљеску Лас Вегаса веома је важно да схвате значај истинског празновања Дана Господњег и Божијих угодника.

Consecration of St. John the Baptist Church in Colorado

denver consecration 021aЈедна од врлинских особина српског народа, која датира још од светих и великих Немањића, јесте задужбинарство. Многи историчари се слажу у констатацији да је један од разлога зашто у Србији и српским земљама данас нема велелепних двораца и замкова као у западној Европи, тај што су српски средњевековни владари зидали цркве и манастире, од којих су многи сачувани до данашњих дана и убрајају се у бисере светске културне баштине. Дакле сва њихова стремљења и напори били су вођени јеванђелском заповешћу о стицању вечних и непролазних небеских блага, те су као такви били усмерени на спасење своје душе и просвећење свога народа, којег су задужили, остављајући му у наслеђе највеће светиње. Ова славна традиција задужбинарства постала је органски део српског православног етоса кроз векове.

Final Day of the 20th Diocesan Days in Jackson

Day One | Day Two | Day Three

angier 1609 20th diocesan days 03 1520aJackson, CA – Sunday, September 4, 2016 - The final day of the 20th Annual Diocesan Days celebration came on the Lord's Day, the 11th Sunday after Pentecost, the feast day of the Holy Martyr St. Agathonicus. The clergy were vested early during Matins Sunday morning in preparation to welcome and piously receive the relics of St. Sebastian of San Francisco and Jackson who, during the course of Matins, was escorted into the makeshift church by His Grace Bishop Maxim and all the clergy of the Western American Diocese. With the bishop's blessing Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Nicholas Ceko beautifully delivered the homily after the gospel reading during liturgy, speaking on relationships – both the ones we have with one another and our relationship with God. Singing the responses during the liturgy were the students of Prizren Seminary as they had all weekend.

After a continental breakfast the grand banquet was held in the main hall. The clergy and faithful were given one last time to listen to this year's guest speaker, Dr. Bogdan Lubardic, as he delivered his Keynote Address towards the end of the luncheon, entitled: Learning with St. Matthew: How are we to overcome and understand fear- on Christ the eternal source of Joy and Peace. His talk centered on the gospel event found in the 14th chapter of St. Matthews gospel. Namely, Jesus' walking on the water. The theme was the human conditioin of fear, which we collectively run away from but cannot escape. As he did in previous talks, Dr. Lubardic disected the reading from Scriptures in order to better understand its deeper meaning. This gospel episode which gives a deeper understanding of the human condition of fear reveals its twofold dimension: fear of the unknown and fear in not knowing Him who dispels all fear which, in fact, is a lack of faith due to sin. Dr. Lubardic tied his keynote address to Fr. Ceko's morning homily about relationships, stating that the only way man can overcome fear as an inherit human condition is through a living faith, that is, a living relationship with Christ our Lord who is the only one who dispel all our fears. Subsequently, it is interesting to note that when St. Peter, who began to slip upon walking on the waters, calls to Jesus "Lord, save me“, the waters become calm. Which is to say, that our confession of our faith results in peace in our lives. This slipping and drowning in the waves described in the gospel narrative, our guest speaker noted, will never occur and happen in our own spiritual lives as long as we keep our view focused on Christ.

20th Annual Diocesan Days Continues

Day One | Day Two | Day Three

              20th Annual Diocesan Days - Day TwoJackson, CA - Saturday, September 3, 2016 – Chanting, the ancient melodies and hymns in glory and honor of the Holy Apostle Thaddeus whose memory the church commemorated on Saturday, 3 September, resonated through the crisp morning air. It came from the makeshift chapel under the tent at the St. Sava campgrounds and the morning Matins that prayerfully marked the start of the second day of this year’s Diocesan Days celebration. While the clergy filed in one by one, they received a blessing from their bishop and spiritual father, His Grace Maxim. During the course of the Matins service the clergy vested and gathered once more around their bishop for the start of the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand,” His Grace stood before the altar and announced to the gathered faithful. “Whenever we celebrate one of the Apostles, as we do today, we remember that they went out to preach the gospel and they preached exactly this dimension of our salvation, that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, it is here with us in our Eucharistic gathering and celebration.”

20th Annual Diocesan Begins with a Lively Clergy Seminar

Day One | Day Two | Day Three

angier 1609 20th diocesan days 01 0070            Jackson, CA - Friday, September 2, 2016 - Nestled in the rolling hills of Amador County is the beautiful and historic St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in the small, quiet town of Jackson, California. It was the site of this year’s Diocesan Days celebration of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America, which takes place each year on Labor Day weekend.

            By noon clergy, coming from various parts of the vast diocese, slowly began to arrive at the beautiful St. Sava Camp where they were met and received a blessing from their ruling hierarch, His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America. After lunch the clergy were ready for the first item on the day’s agenda - the Clergy Seminar. This year’s guest speaker was Bogdan Lubardic, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Orthodox Theology at Belgrade University. Mr. Lubardic’s topic was entitled, Learning with St. Paul: How is the word of God (kerygma) to be offered to the world – Evangelization, Enculturation, Mission. Professor Lubardic spoke eloquently, taking as a central point in St. Paul’s preaching his interaction with the Athenians in Acts 17:22-31. While the speaker spoke at length of the philosophical thought of the people St. Paul was encountering and gave a more clearer picture to his listeners that they might grasp his evangelization tactics – this offering of the word of God – to the people who had an altar to “an unknown God”, her offered points for pondering. First, St. Paul addressed the basic need, the problem of sin, death and corruption. Secondly, he indicated that we now have a Savior, Jesus Christ who provides the gift, which is the Church, a workshop through a sacramental life. And, finally, the challenge: not only do we have Christ but we’re called to emulate Him ourselves. The Book of the Acts of the Apostles as a historical book is in the middle of the New Testament, meaning it is placed between the Gospels and Epistles, which reassures us that it is a historical event and Mr. Lubardic gave a deeper insight into the historical atmosphere at that particular time. However, he also noted, that the Book of Acts does not have a concluding chapter and, subsequently, we are all called to action. Just as St. Paul encountered and challenged the Gentile world we are reminded that wherever Chris is rejected is the gentile world.

Slava Celebration in Fair Oaks - “Living a Moment in God’s Time”

angier 1608 dormition slava 728On Saturday and Sunday, August 27-28, 2016, the Serbian Orthodox Church of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fair Oaks California celebrated its Slava.  

One by one the cars started arriving and people began greeting each other. As we each entered our beautiful Church, we immediately felt the peace we would be blessed with for the entire weekend.  We were not to be disappointed.

As candles were lit, as icons were venerated, as our places were taken, all of us breathed in the scent of holiness. The flowers gracing the icons so lovingly made and placed by Luba Karnaaokh added the final element showing love to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

With the entrance of His Grace Bishop Maxim, the newly assigned Diocesan  Deacon Vladan Radovanovic, Deacon Dragan Stojanovich from Jackson, along with Proto Dane and Proto William, we were ready to begin.  The evening Vesper service was beautiful and somber.  Vladika Maxim led the prayerful group who had gathered.  Three talented young Chanters filled the Church with their upraised voices.  Our own Dusan Radosavljevic had invited two of his friends, Michail “Micho” Slavko (who is Bulgarian) and Dillon Diamandopoulos (who is Greek) to participate in the service.  Several times the absolutely perfect harmony of their voices merged with the voice of our Beloved Vladika Maxim.  At those moments the rest of us felt our hearts transported upwards.  Later, Dusan admitted “we sang the first part of Vespers according to the long sticheraic genre that the Athonites repopularized.  I felt like I had been transported to Chilandar Monastery.” (Mt. Athos) All of us who attended Vespers knew we had been truly blessed by the beauty and solemnity of the prayers we had heard.

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