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On Monday, May 8, St. Mark Monastery of Sheffield Village, Ohio celebrated their Patronal Feast Day with great joy. His Grace Bishop Irinej presided at the Divine Liturgy, and faithful Christians from throughout the Cleveland Deanery joined the monastery in their festal celebration. Through his homily, His Grace reminded those present of the universality of the Orthodox Church by speaking to the missionary work of St. Mark throughout North Africa. Further, he offered the great witness of Christians in North Africa today, the spiritual children of St. Mark, who are persecuted for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Near the end of Divine Liturgy, the gathered faithful joined the clergy in joyous procession around the monastery church. The crowd of believers sang throughout this festal parade, alternating between the troparion of St. Mark and the troparion of Pascha.  On the one hand, they sang for the intercession of the Great Evangelist, and on the other they sang of the joyous defeat of death by our Lord Jesus Christ. Upon reentering the church, all gathered around the table where the Slavski kolac and koljivo were prepared.

Following the Divine Liturgy, a celebratory meal was prepared for all those present.  The food was hosted in tandem by St. Archangel Michael in Akron, Holy Trinity (Racoon Rd) in Youngstown, and St. Sava Cathedral in Parma. All those present enjoyed a wonderful meal, as well as joyous fellowship.

Concurrent to the meal, an exhibition of art provided by Dragana Crnjak, Associate Professor at Youngstown State University, was on display in the hall.  This collection was inspired by her travels to the medieval monasteries of Serbia during a 2015 sabbatical. Original pieces were offered up for sale, as well as prints, with all proceeds being donated to the reconstruction of the St. Sava Pro-Cathedral in New York City.

Joining His Grace Bishop Irinej for this festal celebration were many priests including St. Mark Monastery Abbot Archimandrite Leontije (Alavanje); the Very. Rev. Stavrophor Basil Stoyka, retired parish priest with more than 40 years of ministry at Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church of America in Lorain, Ohio; V. Rev. Stavrophor Rade Merick, Dean of Pittsburgh and parish priest at Holy Resurrection in Steubenville; Rev. Presbyter Dragan Goronjic, Dean of Cleveland and parish priest at Holy Trinity in Youngstown; V. Rev. Stavrophor Djordje Mileusinic of St. Demetrius in Akron; V. Rev. Stavrophor Rajko Kosic, Dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh; V. Rev. Protopresbyter Dragoslav Kosic, Dean of the St. Sava Cathedral in Parma; V. Rev. Protopresbyter Mijoljub Matic of St. Sava in Broadview Heights; Ven. Protosindjel Sava (Medakovic) of New Marcha Monastery in Richfield; V. Rev. Protopresbyter Milan Pajic of St. Archangel Michael in Akron; Rev. Presbyter Aleksa Pavichevich from St. George in Canton; Rev. Presbyter Bosko Stojanovic of Holy Trinity in Youngstown; Rev. Presbyter Sinisa Hrvacevic of St. George in Lorain; Rev. Presbyter Vedran Grabic of St. George in Hermitage; and the V. Rev. Protodeacon Ljubisa Mitrovic of St. Sava in Broadview Heights.

It was a day of radiant joy for the faithful of the Eastern-American Diocese as they gathered at St. Mark Monastery for this celebration. This monastery, under the omophor of His Grace Bishop Irinej, and under the spiritual leadership of abbot Archimandrite Leontije, continues to be a witness to Jesus Christ in this country, and a center of prayer and stillness in the midst of the Cleveland Deanery.  May God grant the St. Mark Monastery community many years!

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