This year, for the Feast of St. Nicholas, His Grace, Bishop IRINEJ once again increased our joy by visiting our St. Nicholas community.
The festivities began with the Church School St. Nicholas Project, which included our children offering their time and talents as they mounted icons in order to sell in support of Princess Katherine’s LIFELINE charity. Lifeline is an organization dedicated to easing the suffering of the orphaned children of the recent wars in the lands of former Jugoslavija.
The children also cleaned and helped to prepare the Church for His Grace’s arrival the next day.
On Sunday morning, His Grace led the Holy Liturgy at St. Nicholas. After the Liturgy, the American Serbian Club hosted a free will luncheon in support of the parish. Later that evening, Fr. Christopher and family hosted His Grace and Protodeacon Milos Zdraljic at the parish house for dinner.
The Eve of St. Nicholas offered an intimate opportunity for the parish to get to know our bishop, as His Grace answered questions from those in attendance prior to the Vespers Service. His Grace was magnanimous in both his time and his responses, enabling those in attendance to both ask questions pertaining to the faith, and air any grievances. This provided a refreshing air of openness to begin the festal celebration.
The Feast of St. Nicholas itself was a beautiful, engaging and inspiring event that found its climax in the Holy Liturgy. Leading the celebration was His Grace, our Bishop IRINEJ, accompanied by Fr. Timothy Hojnicki of Holy Apostles in Mechanicsburg, Fr. Dan Ressetar of Christ the Savior, Fr. Borjan Vitanov of Holy Resurrection in Lebanon and Fr. Christopher. Fr. Steven Vernak was in attendance as well, although not serving. During the liturgy, His Grace, Bishop IRINEJ of Eastern America ordained the Reader Bojan Gligorevic to the Holy Diaconate. Thus, for the first time in its 114 year history, our St. Nicholas parish has a deacon to serve at God’s Holy altar.
Throughout the ordination, our Bishop explained the beauty and purpose of each action from the laying on of hands, to the vesting of the newly ordained Fr. Dn. Bojan. The congregation all shouted resoundingly “AXIOS! DOSTOJAN! WORTHY!” confirming the worth of Fr. Bojan and his family.
Fr. Bojan and his family continuously and selflessly have offered themselves to God in support of our parish. He is exemplary as a father and a Christian, just as Djakonissa Sladjana is exemplary as a mother and a Christian. During the next few years, Fr. Bojan will study the Holy Orthodox Faith in practicum and theology, growing in his ministry as a deacon of Christ’s Holy Church.
At the end of the Liturgy, His Grace cut the Slava Kolach for our parish, while the accompanying clergy cut the kolaches of the faithful who were present and celebrating their slavas. After the services, all were invited to a luncheon in Fr. Dn. Bojan’s honor, where the parish offered him his first set of vestments.
May Father Deacon Bojan’s service be long, fruitful and blessed, guided by the Holy Apostle and Protomartyr Stephen, the first Deacon. May his family be blessed, and may they always find joy in Christ’s Holy Church!