Theme: The Truths of the Gospel in the life of the Church
and of the Christians in the Church
Friday, October 29, 2010
Holy Resurrection Cathedral, Chicago
View Video of Lecture
Sunday, October 31, 2010
St. Petka Seriban Orthodox Church, Escondido
Audio of Sermon by His Grace, Bishop Atanasije Photo Gallery
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Saint Steven's Cathedral Alhambra 7:00 p.m.- Lecture and Dinner
Audio - Bishop Athanasius on the Truths of the Gospel in our Life - A lecture in Los Angeles Photo Gallery
By the Grace of God, we had another wonderful visit this autumn season of 2010. At the invitation of the organizers of a Festschrift event honoring the 40 years of academic achievements by Fr. Paul Tarazi, one of the most renowned Biblicists in the Orthodox world, His Grace, retired Bishop of Zahum and Hercegovina, Dr Atanasije Jevtic came to the United States. This great event was held at St. George Antiochian Church in New Jersey with Bishop Atanasije as a keynote speaker. Among nearly 50 participants, His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western Diocese, SOC was also invited to contribute with his presentation at the gathering. The Festschrift papers are being published by Peter Lang Inc. and will be available in the near future. The daylong symposium honoring Fr. Paul with a celebration banquet was a memorable experience, filled with wonderful academic exchange and brotherly fellowship.
Using this as an opportunity, Bishop Maxim extended his hospitality to Bishop Atanasije by organizing visits to many parishes throughout America.
During his stay on the East Coast, Vladika Atanasije, accompanied by Fr. Dimitrije from Tvrdos Monastery, together with Vladika Maxim, visited St. Sava Cathedral, St.Vladimir’s Seminary, and Princeton University in the New York area. Also, due to its close proximity, they paid a visit to the famous Byzantine Library in Washington, DC – Dumbarton Oaks Library and explored some of the rich inventory that this facility has to offer.
With the blessing of Bishop Mitrophan of the Eastern Diocese, SOC, Bishop Atanasije served the Holy Liturgy on Sunday, October 24, 2010 at St. Sava Cathedral with Fr. Djokan and Fr. Vladislav and the faithful flock. Bishop Maxim was the visiting hierarch in Florida, on the occasion of the celebration of St.Petka, the parish Slava.
While in the New York area, they were able to visit St. Vladimir’s Seminary and meet with colleagues and students in a friendly and close exchange and fellowship. They also made a short trip to Princeton University sightseeing this renowned academic institution and meeting with the Serbian family Visnjic, which has both of its children working on their doctorates at the university.
Nicely concluding the first part of their journey in the USA, they went on a two-day trip to Washington DC, where most of the time was spent at the Dumbarton Oaks Library, researching the valuable Byzantine manuscripts. There were also interesting encounters during this visit. Accidentally, during a tour of the Library, they met a Serbian student of the History of Art from Belgrade.
During a short coffee break, Bishops Atanasije and Maxim had a nice dialogue with Dr Paul McPartlan, a professor at Catholic University of America. In the Library’s Garden, they enjoyed unseasonably, beautiful weather, called Indian Summer (Miholjsko Leto) and talked about various theological topics, establishing useful bridges in understanding matters of East and West.
On Thursday, October 28, 2010, His Graces, Bishop Atanasije and Bishop Maxim, as well as Fr. Dimitrije arrived in Chicago, the largest Serbian community in the States. Upon a warm welcome at the airport, our dear guests went to Saint Sava’s monastery in Libertyville where they were greeted by professors and students of theological school and some visitors.
After a common lunch in warm and friendly spirits, Bishop Atanasije addressed all present with pastoral and divinely inspired words that will be memorable to all who are seeking the living word of the spiritual wisdom from our Fathers. In his authentic way, he talked about many different things, pointing out for example, the importance of careful and subtle work and attention toward raising children. This awesome responsibility and sacrificial love is at the center of the care for our youth. Our faculty professors as educators of our future clergymen had a unique opportunity to learn from one of the best teachers in the Orthodox Church. Bishop Atanasije’s tireless and selfless labor in the Lord’s vineyard, throughout decades of written and oral word alike, is on the forefront of Orthodoxia and Orthopraxia today.
His Graces Bishop Atanasije and Bishop Maxim, along with faculty students and professors, held a small pomen to Metropolitan Christopher of blessed memory, at his grave on the monastery grounds.
In the afternoon and evening hours, Bishop Maxim invited His Grace Bishop Atanasije to conduct a class in canon law for the faculty students.
On Friday, October 29, 2010, on the occasion of the Feast-day – Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion, which is Bishop Longin’s name day – both hierarchs and Fr. Dimitrije went to New Gracanica Monastery where they served Divine Liturgy with Bishop Longin of the Diocese of New Gracanica Midwestern America and Bishop Peter of ROCOR, many priests and deacons and the faithful flock. In his sermon, Bishop Atanasije offered inspiring words of evangelical wisdom, reflecting upon the Gospel’s story of the awakening birth of the faith of the Roman centurion Longinus. After the service, an agape meal was served for all present. With brotherly love and respect, the visiting bishops and all the clergy and faithful wished Bishop Longin many good and healthy years ahead (Mnogaja ljeta)
Later that day, Bishop Atanasije spent some time visiting ailed prota Milan Savic in the hospital. In the company of his children and dear bishop friend, Prota Savic expressed great joy for this visit and fellowship.
As a part of advanced planning, Bishop Atanasije held his public lecture that was hosted by Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago on October 29 at 7:00 PM.
Many people, including some theological scholars and priests, came from all over the Chicago area, to hear Vladika speak on the theme: “From Revelation to the Heavenly Kingdom: The Truths of the Gospel in the Life of the Church and of the Christians in the Church”
In this remarkable presentation, Vladika spoke about the most important ecclesial themes for Christians in the Church, illustrating them with examples from everyday life in all aspects, from modern culture and economy to science, bioethics, philosophy and other religions. It was a great blessing to experience such a multilayered, profound reflection on our life in Christ and our path to salvation.
There is a recorded video of the whole presentation and it is available on the official website of the Western American Diocese, SOC at: www.westsrbdio.org
This well received lecture in Chicago concluded this part of the trip on the East Coast and Midwest, and marked the beginning of the West Coast tour.
Bishop Maxim, Vladika Atanasije, and Fr. Dimitrije spent Saturday, October 30 and Sunday, October 31 in Southern California, in the San Diego and San Marcos parishes, celebrating a parish Slava and enjoying pastoral visits with the faithful flock, which was happy to see Vladika Atanasije again, 3 years after his last visit.
During their stay in Southern California, they all visited Sretenje Monastery in Escondido, where Vladika held a small moleban in the monastery chapel.
All recorded audio files and a photo gallery are available at: www.westsrbdio.org
In the next several days, after some rest from the travels, the Bishops and newly arrived guests from Belgrade, Fr. Vladan Perisic and Popadija Gordana, went on a day-long cruise to Catalina Island (http://catalina.com/)
On Tuesday, November 2nd , Vladika Atanasije addressed parishioners from St. Steven’s Cathedral in Alhambra. In an inspiring lecture on “From Revelation to the Heavenly Kingdom,” everyone who attended were enlightened by his fatherly wisdom and deep knowledge of our Tradition, but also with his unique way of relaying crucial points of our ecclesial life in the most dynamic and convincing fashion.
In the next five days, the whole group went on a long journey to northern California, visiting San Francisco and the Bay area. They also went to Platina, home of the Saint Herman Monastery, spending time with the monastics and faithful people there.
On November 5, 2010, the St. Herman of Alaska Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Platina, California, had the honor or welcoming His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America, His Grace Bishop Atanasije (Retired Bishop of Zahum and Hercegovina), Rev. Dr. Vladan Perisic (Professor of Patrology, former Dean of the Theological Faculty, University of Belgrade, Serbia), Popadija Gordana Perisic, and Hieromonk Dimitrije of Tvrdos Monastery, Hercegovina. The visitors arrived in the evening to the ringing of bells, and were escorted to the candlelit church of the forested monastery. At the meal, His Grace Bishop Atanasije shared with the monastic brothers his rich experience in the Orthodox Church, speaking of the witness of the Faith in such traditional Orthodox lands as Georgia, as well as in missionary territories such as Japan, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. When asked about his spiritual father, St. Justin of Celije, Bishop Atanasije began to relate stories from the Saint’s life. He spoke much about St. Justin’s balanced view of ecumenism. St. Justin, he said, was against “the ecumenism of Geneva and Rome;” however, the Saint affirmed that the Orthodox Church is truly ecumenical in that it is for all the peoples of the world; it is open to dialogue with everyone as it shares the true Faith given to the Apostles and offers salvation to all. This true ecumenism was termed “theanthropic ecumenism” by St. Justin.
The next morning the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Maxim with Bishop Atanasije concelebrating, along with Priest Vladan, Hieromonk Dimitrije, and the monastery’s clergy Hieromonk Damascene and Hierodeacon Paisius (the monastery’s superior, Abbot Hilarion, was visiting the brotherhood’s monks and nuns in Alaska at the time). Bishop Maxim gave an edifying sermon in which he spoke of the mutual indwelling—perichoresis—of the Persons of the Holy Trinity as an image of the communion of love that Orthodox Christians should have among themselves, with each giving and extending oneself to the other.
At the meal following the Liturgy, Bishop Atanasije spoke to the assembled monks, the nuns from nearby St. Xenia Skete, and pilgrims. Responding to a question from one of the nuns, he discussed at length the relationship between work and prayer. Prayer in church and in the cells, he said, is the soul of the monastery, while everything else (various forms of work and activity) are the body. One cannot exist without the other. Again Bishop Atanasije related endearing stories about his abba, St. Justin.
The visit of the Bishops Maxim and Atanasije, together with the other guests from Serbia, brought much joy and inspiration to the brothers and sisters of the northern Californian monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Because Bishop Atanasije has built close ties with Orthodox Christians throughout the world, he carries with him a sense of the true ecumenicity of the Orthodox Church which St. Justin talked about. And because of his spiritual upbringing under St. Justin, he carries with him a powerful sense that Orthodoxy is not static formalism but true life and movement—a life lived in the light of the God-man, and a constant procession toward His Heavenly Kingdom.
His Graces Bishop Atanasije, and Bishop Maxim the went to Arizona, visiting the Greek Orthodox Monastery, St. Anthony’s, and the Serbian Orthodox Monastery, St. Paisius’, in Safford.
During those visits, they met with elder Ephraim and the monastics in a brotherly fellowship and Christ-loving spirit, conversing on various topics.
In Safford, both Vladikas were greeted by the St. Paisius community, spending a wonderful time together, serving the Liturgy in the newly built church and talking with Abbess Michaila and the nuns about the spiritual journey of the ascetic life of the Christians. Home-schooled children that live at the monastery gladdened the bishops by singing spiritual songs and joyfully sharing their school experience with them.
The blessed visit of His Grace Bishop Atanasije was most amazing and an inspiring event that overjoyed so many, and will be remembered and engraved in our hearts eternally!
May our Lord, the Savior grants him many years! Mnogaja ljeta dragi Vladiko I Oce!
Our deepest gratitude belongs to Bishop Maxim who was instrumental in facilitating this journey, and feeding those who are hungry and thirsty for the living word.