On Sunday April 2nd, 2017, Orthodox clergy and faithful from the Greater Philadelphia area gathered for Vespers at St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church in Gradyville PA., a parish known for its large collection of saints' relics which it accumulated through the energetic efforts of its rector, Fr. John Perich. Amongst the array of relics are vestments which St. Nikolaj (Velimirovic) wore. Present by their relics the "...great cloud of witnesses..." (Heb.12:1), gave an increased aura of holiness to the Vespers.
Responses were sung by the Pan-Orthodox Choir under the direction of Dan Drobash, and Alex Hubiak. Amongst the clergy were Fr. John Perich (rector of St. Herman's), Fr. Stephen Hutnick (Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church), Fr. Gerald Ozlanski (St. Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church), Fr. Emmanuel Pratsinakis (ret., St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church), Fr. Martin Browne (St. Mark Orthodox Church), Fr. Milorad Orlic (St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church), Fr. Nicholas Dellerman (Sts. Peter and Paul Albanian Orthodox Church), Fr. Zinoviy Zharsky (Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church), Protodeacon Gregory Moser (St. Mark Orthodox Church), Protodeacon George Zlakowski (St. Stephen Orthodox Cathedral), and Deacon Gregory Hubiak (St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church).
The homily was given by Fr. Stephen Hutnick. Fr. Stephen stressed the importance of motivation in all accomplishments, and that the spiritual life was no exception to this. Fr. Stephen drew on the life of St. Mary of Egypt of how she was motivated by her experience in Jerusalem (where she was unable to enter the church to venerate the Precious Cross because of her sins) to completely renounce her former life of luxury and pleasure, and endure all the hardships of the Jordanian desert, where God's Grace transfigured her from one of the greatest of sinners, to one of the greatest of saints.
Following the conclusion of Vespers, Fr. Perich invited all present to share in the fellowship meal that was prepared by the parishioners of St. Herman's.