"How beautiful and what a great blessing it is to be gathered here in church, in God's house," His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej exclaimed with joy at the conclusion of the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on the third and final day of this year's Diocesan Days. And truly what a blessing it is each and every year when the entire diocese - the clergy and laity - come together and gather in one place, around one altar, around their hierarch on that most sacred day of Sunday, the Lord's Day, for the Holy Eucharist.
This year the faithful of the Western American Diocesan had the added joy of having the first hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, lead them in that eucharistic joy.
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.
photo: Larry Angier
His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, has left for the archpastoral visit to the Serbian Orthodox Dioceses in the United States of America and in Canada on 3 September 2015.
His Holiness will stay in America until 24 September 2015. The first and the most important reason for this trip is an official proclamation of newly glorified Equal-to-the-Apostles missionaries of the Serbian origin: Bishop Mardarije (Uskokovic) and Archimandrite Sebastian (Dabovich). The celebrations, on this occasion, will be held on this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, at the seat of the Diocese of Western America in Alhambra (Los Angeles), and everything is organized by His Grace Bishop Dr. Maxim of Western America.