The Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross
His Grace, Bishop Maxim and Fr. Fr. Nikola Todorovic from St. Stephen the Archdeacon in Milwaukie, Oregon visited the parish of St. John the Wonderworker on the occasion of the Great Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, the triumphal feast commemorating both St. Helena's finding of the Precious Cross on which Christ was crucified and the freedom of this Cross from captivity by the Persians.
But, as His Grace reminded the Eugene, Oregon parish, this Feast also reminds us of the path of redemptive suffering that Christ opened to all mankind. He instructed them: "We are not created to suffer, but since we accepted temptation and divided ourselves from God, from there on we are to pass through the path of suffering and the cross...We are invited to accept our cross, to identify our own cross - our suffering - with Christ's cross and suffering. And this is very difficult, but this is the only way to be his disciple and followers." The occasion of His Grace's visit to Eugene on the feast was also the opportunity for St. John's priest, Fr. David Lubliner, to be elevated to the rank of Protopresbyter for his "many years of service in Christ's Church, his zeal in carrying out his pastoral duties, his devotion to preserving order and discipline in his parish, [and for] being exemplary in his personal and family life." To this honor, the parish responded with an enthusiastic "Axios!" for the new Protopresbyter David. Also on this visit, His Grace ordained Daniel Mackay, a parishioner of St. John the Wonderworker, to the diaconate. The newly ordained Deacon Daniel, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Oregon teaching literature and composition, is a native of Detroit, Michigan but moved to Eugene 12 years ago from New York City, where he pursued graduate studies and attended the Cathedral of the Protection of the Holy Virgin. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Bishop MAXIM presented Protopresbyter David and Deacon Daniel with crosses in order to remind them of the unique path of redemptive suffering of Christ's disciples. Parishioners from St. Stephen's, Dormition of the Theotokos Serbian Orthodox Mission (The Dalles), St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church (Portland), St. George Greek Orthodox Church (Eugene), Monk Nicodemus from St. Herman of Alaska Monastery (Platina, California), and the new deacon's family were also present to celebrate the feast, protopresbyterial elevation, and ordination with His Grace and the parishioners of St. John the Wonderworker.