Eparchial (Diocesan) News
Per the decision of the jury, the award for publishers from the Diaspora went to the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America and their publishing house "Sebastian press" in the United States for the book "The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija - the Historical and Spiritual Heartland of the Serbian people" (in English).
The beautiful and spacious St. Steven's Cathedral in Alhambra was too small to receive all the faithful who came from many directions to witness the canonization of St. Sebastian of San Francisco and Jackson on Saturday, September 5, 2015.
The parking lot was nearly full before Matins even began. Visiting clergy from the pan Orthodox community could not contain themselves in expressing their great joy at being given the opportunity to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Diocesan clergy as well as visiting clergy from the Diocese of Eastern America, New Gracanica and Midwestern America, as well as Canada, not to mention the many clergy from the Pan-Orthodox community of greater Los Angeles formed a long line, escorting His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej and all the hierarchs into the overfilled church with many faithful standing at the front steps, as well beside the church where seating and television screens were prepared for the faithful to be able to watch the liturgy from outside the church.
Arrival of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch and visiting hierarchs marks beginning of this Year's Diocesan Days
Alhambra, CA - WIth much joy and anticipation the Diocese of Western America welcomed His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej on Friday, September 4, 2015 at the onset of this year's annual Diocesan Days, traditionally held Labor Day Weekend. This year's annual celebration is both historic and unique as the highlight will be the glorification of St. Sebastian of San Francisco and Jackson. This is the reason for His Holiness' visit and attendance at this year's event, but also the reason for the attendance and participation in the liturgical celebration of many other hierarchs. Arriving at the diocese today, besides His Holiness, were: His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Archdiocese, Grace Bishop Longin of New Gracanica and Midwestern America, His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America, His Grace Bishop Justin of Zicha, His Grace Bishop Benjamin (OCA), His Grace Bishop Savas of the Patriarchate of Georgia.
Before Thy Cross we bow down in worship, O Master,
and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify.
The spiritual echo of the beautiful words of this church hymn to the Honorable Cross and the Holy Resurrection permeated and warmed the souls of the faithful people of God who together with their clergy gathered around their Bishop on the third Sunday of Great Lent. With the blessings of Bishop Longin, the Lenten Vespers was led by the Dean of the Chicago Deanery V. Rev. Nedeljko Lunich. After the service the clergy and faithful people of God, together with their bishop, His Grace Longin, made prostrations before the Honorable Cross of the Lord.
On Saturday December 20th after Vespers in the Holy Trinity parish in Brunswick a crowd of more than 100 people gathered to listen to the talk of Fr. Arsenije (Jovanovic), who is well-known for his book: "God and Rock 'n' Roll" and who is currently a part of the brotherhood in the Ostrog Monastery in Montenegro. His Grace Bishop Irinej, together with Head Priest Fr. Miroslav Popovic and Fr. Petar Damnjanovic and a large crowd of predominantly young churchgoers heard the first of Fr. Arsenije's talks titled: "Orthodxy in the modern world".
At the end of the talk Fr. Arsenije was asked questions and donations collected for the Holy Ostrog Monastery, which amounted to 1,230AUD.
On Monday, December 22nd at the Greek Orthodox church of St Eustathios in front of 150 – 200 people His Grace Bishop Ezekiel, H.G. Bishop Irinej and Head Priest Fr. Chris were present as well as members of the Greek, Antiochian, Serbian and Russian Orthodox communities as well as non-Orthodox. Fr. Arsenije talked about his personal experiences in his younger days; his temptations, his search for success in the hustle and bustle of New York City and a chance meeting that would lead him to God and his current monastic life in the Ostrog Monastery.
At the end of the talk H.G. Bishop Ezekiel and H.G. Bishop Irinej expressed their heartfelt thanks to Fr. Arsenije for his sincere words from his personal experiences which touched everyone present. Indeed, it was an honour to listen to Fr. Arsenije speak and the silence during the two hour talk in the church was a testament to this.
On Tuesday, December 23rd, H.G. Bishop Irinej together with Fr. Arsenije and members of the Serbian Orthodox Youth Association (SOYA) visited the Hellenic Museum where exhibits from the illustrious Bennaki Museum in Athens were on display. They then met with members of the Greek media Ta Nea and Radio Hellas and familiarised themselves with their work. A short interview with H.G. Bishop Irinej concluded the meeting.
Fr. Arsenije's visit in Melbourne generated so much interest that additional smaller, more open forums were organised where attendees could not only ask questions but also engage in discussions. The first of these was in Keysborough at the parish of St. Stefan the Archdeacon (23 Dec) and then at the parish of the Holy Trinity (24 Dec). Finally on December 25th, Fr. Arsenije travelled to the St. Sava monastery in Elaine to meet all the youngsters taking part in the annual summer children's camp, where he told them about the history of St. Basil of Ostrog and the miracles that have happened and continue to happen there.
After months of planning, the choral workshop, symposium and concert of choral works commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of Serbian composer Stevan Mokranjac is now a fond memory. The Serbian Singing Society Branko Radichevich and Serbian Singing Federation's months of planning and revision finally took form starting on a chilly Friday evening, the 3rd of October, when participants in the choral workshop arrived at the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in on Chicago's northwest side.
Out-of-town presenters representing two continents, Dr. Danica Petrovic, musicologist and Mokranjac expert from Serbia and His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand also arrived Friday evening. Dr. Petrovic made the first of her three presentations during the weekend, discussing the history of Serbian liturgical music prior to Mokranjac. Friday's gathering also served as a "meet and greet" for all present.