By the grace of our merciful God and with the Archpastoral Blessings of His Grace Bishop Irinej, on Saturday, July 29, 2023, the small community of our church in Warren, Ohio celebrated St. Elijah, our patron saint.
We were blessed to have with us His Grace Bishop Irinej, Presbyter-Economos Dragan Goronjic, parish priest of St. Demetrius Serbian Orthodox Church in Akron and Dean of the Cleveland Deanery, accompanied by Deacon Mihajlo Pancoe; Presbyter-Economos Bosko Stojanovic parish priest of Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Youngstown; Presbyter Mark Resanovich from St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Canton; Deacon Daniel August of St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, and Presbyter Vedran Grabic, our parish priest. Adding to the beauty of the festal celebration was the exquisite voice of Mrs. Evanthia Vucenovic, a faithful member of St. George in Hermitage.
Members of Saint George in Hermitage and both Holy Trinity parishes of Youngstown joined us in the celebration of our patron saint. The faithful people were visibly lighthearted, and our hosts very happy to see the Church full of people and children becoming one with God while partaking in the Divine Mysteries.
In the very inspiring sermon, His Grace made some remarkable points that will always stay in souls and hearts of people. His Grace thoroughly explained the patronal icon of St Elijah, ensuring the people how powerful their protector is. He explained the reason St. Elijah holds a black raven in the icon. The saint was in the dessert for over six years, where he was fed daily by a raven who brought him bread. This represents that even when we are alone and have nothing, God will still be with us and help us if we continue to have strong faith as St. Elijah did.
After the Divine Liturgy and the blessing of the Slava Gifts of Festal Bread - Kolac and Wheat - Koljivo, our Circle of Serbian Sisters prepared an abundant festal lunch, enriched with various treats from sisters of neighboring parishes. This was a wonderful opportunity for people to get to know each other better, to share their concerns and experiences, and to ask questions about the future of our churches in this area. All of us agreed that we should assemble around our Bishop, priests, and together preserve unity with God and our Holy Church.
This year's Hosts - Kumovi were brothers John and George Brakus with family, faithful members of our parish, who are generous donors and benefactors not only to our church, but to all those in need.
May the Lord, Christ our God, through the prayers of St. Elijah, preserve His Church, unite and multiply His flock for many more years to come.