Consecration of St. Basil of Ostrog Serbian Church in North Carolina
The first Sunday after Pentecost is All Saints Sunday, and the coinciding Gospel reading is from St. Matthew chapter 10, where Jesus called His first disciples. His disciples would witness to His teaching and continue to spread the faith after His resurrection; and on this past Sunday this same faith and teaching is continuing in Kernersville North Carolina with the consecration of St. Basil of Ostrog Serbian Orthodox Church. Our community's faith in the face of continuous struggles has culminated in this wonderful event for many Orthodox faithful in the surrounding area of North Carolina.
The celebration began in typical Orthodox tradition in the evening, the beginning of our Liturgical day with the celebration of Holy Vespers, the service of Artoclasia, followed by Holy Matins. We were blessed to have leading our services His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher of Metropolitanate of Livertyville - Chicago, His Grace Bishop Vasilije of Srem, who traveled from Serbia for this occasion, His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western Diocese, and His Grace Bishop Mitrofan of the Eastern Diocese. Father Dragan Zaric our priest at St. Basil was joined by con-celebrants, Fr. Dragan Filipovic, Canton Ohio; Fr. Rodney Torbic Carmichaels, Pennsylvania; Fr. Milovan Katanic, Hermitage Pennsylvania; Fr. Savo Majstorovic, Banat, Serbia; Fr. Djokan Matstorovic, New York; Fr. Alexander Vlajkovic, Boston Massachusetts, Fr. Ljubisa Brnjos, Orlando Florida; Fr. Jovan Todorovic, Clearwater, Florida; Fr.Christopher, OCA High Point, North Carolina; Fr. Thomas Newland, Greensboro, North Carolina; Fr. Tom, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Deacon Dragoslav Kosic the Dioceasan Deacon, Fr Stanislav Kravljaca, Jackonsville Florida; and Deacon Gavrilo Milkovic, Raleigh, North Carolina.
After services there was a banquet held at the Holy Dormition Greek Orthodox Church in Greensboro. All those attending also enjoyed a cultural and spiritual program, prepared by the parishioners.
The following morning began with the welcoming of Hierarchs [named above] and the Holy Consecration of the Temple. This was followed by the Holy Hierarchical Liturgy, when many faithful approached to receive Holy Communion. The Liturgy was spiritually enhanced by the angelic voices of our guest choirs: the Eastern Diocese Youth Choir (ROCOR), from Boston Massachusetts and the Choir from the Holy Cross Orthodox Church of America.
Following Divine Liturgy the faithful were treated to the hospitality of our St Basil parishioners, who worked very hard to prepare the festive meal, with drinks and deserts, in our church pavilion. Our Kum and Kuma for the event were Miodrag Dragic and his lovely wife Mirjana along with their beautiful daughter Tamara. Metropolitan Christopher said how wonderful it was to find a gem of our Orthodox faith in what many might think as highly unlikely place, but it shows what can happen when we work for God's will and not our own. Other speakers included our Vladika Mitrofan who had originally blessed this holy endeavor when he came to this area, many years ago, to the house of Professor George Cvijanovic to hold Divine Liturgy for that first handful of Serbian faithful. Father Dragan Filipovic explained how it was now up to us and our children to continue what those first disciples were called to do - to spread Orthodoxy throughout this land we now live in and in all the world. Father Dragan was our first visiting priest, who kept coming for several years, gathered together more and more faithful, household by household, and extended the work that began with Vladika Mitrofan and Professor George. He conducted probably the most important and moving Divine Liturgy in 1999, on Vidovdan, in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was at this Divine Liturgy when over 250 people surprised us by their attendance and made us realize what was taking place. Another very moving moment took place this past Sunday, when we found out that His Grace Bishop Vasilije had brought us the relics of our martyred St Lazar, who gave up the earthly kingdom for the heavenly one, at the Battle of Kosovo, over six centuries ago.
How appropriate for all of this to begin and end with that example. St. Basil of Ostrog Serbian Orthodox church is nothing less than our realizing, to the fullest extent, our acceptance of the Heavenly Kingdom of Our Lord over our existing earthly kingdom.
We thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all we have been blessed with; we thank our Vladika Mitrofan for His continuous blessings and guidance, we thank all of the clergy, and most importantly, we thank all of our faithful, whose orthodox belief never faltered.
St. Basil intercede for us! Amin.