Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy - Seminars inaugurate new year of Church School
community of faithful at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in
Chicago, Illinois, inaugurated a new year of Church School classes in a fitting
manner on Sunday, September 13, 2009, with a Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy
and prayers asking for the Lord to bless the church school children and their
parents, as well as an educational seminar for the entire Cathedral community.
The festive Hierarchical Divine Liturgy-which by its very essence is prayer par excellence-was celebrated by special guest hierarch, His Grace Bishop Dr. +Maxim of Western America, and concelebrated by the Cathedral clergy: V. Rev. Fr. Dennis Pavichevich, Rev. Fr. Darko Spasojevic, Rev. Fr. Radovan Jakovljevic, Rev. Fr. Vasilije Vranic, and Rev. Deacon Damjan Bozic.
His Grace Bishop Dr. +Maxim delivered an instructive sermon following the proclamation of the two Gospel readings, the first for the assigned Sunday and the second for the feast of the Synaxis of Serbian Saints which happened to fall on that day as well, weaving together the parable about the King who had prepared a wedding feast for his Son with the second reading in which Christ tells the disciples: "You are the light of the world..."
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, at which scores and scores of children and youth approached the Holy Chalice to commune with the most precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, Bishop Dr. +Maxim officiated at a service invoking the blessings of the Holy Spirit upon the church school students, parents, and teachers.
Following the liturgical festivities, the Cathedral community was invited to a luncheon and seminar featuring presentations by Bishop Dr. +Maxim on the theme "Life of the Christian Between Biochemistry and Freedom in Christ," and Ms. Kathryn Saclarides - a contemporary Greek Orthodox missionary from the Chicagoland area who spoke of her experiences in Africa in a talk titled "Faith Unashamed, Love Unfeigned."
In his presentation, His Grace Bishop Dr. +Maxim drew on data from the latest medical discoveries about the inner workings of the human body to discuss the question-if we as humans are so affected by biochemical and physiological compositions, where then is our freedom in Christ? Bishop Maxim answered the question based on Scripture, and applying the teachings of ancient and contemporary ascetics, to conclude that in comparison to other creatures man is made unique by his yearning for God-for обожење. Thus, even when confronted with conditions peculiar to our human nature, our freedom is maintained and expressed in our communion with God through our life in the Church.
After the Bishop's presentation, Ms. Saclarides inspired the Cathedral parishioners with stories of her experience from missionary work in Ethiopia, a country with approximately 50 Million Orthodox Christians, among the country's poor and children orphaned due to the AIDS epidemic. In a captivating graphical presentation that incorporated her own photos and verses from Orthodox prayers and the Divine Liturgy, Saclarides demonstrated how many opportunities Orthodox Christians in America have to put their "faith in action," whether in their own parishes and communities-or by witnessing and serving on a far away continent.
Throughout the day's events, parishioners and visitors were able to view exhibition booths set-up in the social hall that promoted the work of St. Sava Academy, the Church School, International Orthodox Christian Charities, and other parish and local Orthodox organizations.
Church school classes begin next Sunday, September 20th, 2009, at 9:45 AM.