Pan-Orthodox Liturgy honors centennal of the first Serbian Orthodox Diocese in North America

On Sunday, November 7, 2021, the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh had the honor bestowed upon them to host the Pan-Orthodox Hierarchical Liturgy honoring the Centennial of the founding of the first Serbian Orthodox Diocese in the United States and Canada.

The Holy and Divine Hierarchical Liturgy was celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh, together with our Father and Hierarch, Bishop Irinej of the Eastern American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Bishop Saba of the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church in North America, His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Church in America, and His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church.    

His Eminence Archbishop Joseph of New York and Metropolitan of All North America of the Antiochian Orthodox Church was represented by the Very Reverend Archimandrite Jeremy (Davis). The Very Reverend Archimandrite Makarios (Nnachette) from the Archdiocese of Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea of the Patriarchate of Alexandria also concelebrated. Blessing the faithful with their attendance was Gerondissa Theophano, Abbess of the Holy Nativity of the Theotokos Monastery in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, and Mother Christophora, Abbess of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.    

Many beloved clergy and brothers in Christ of our Eastern American Diocese gathered around their Father and Hierarch, Bishop Irinej, and our guest hierarchs, to join in the celebration of this momentous event of our Holy Serbian Orthodox Church. There were over forty priests and deacons, magnificently arrayed in their new Diocesan vestments, who participated in concelebrating at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy – a truly inspiring vision of liturgical beauty and unity! image  Also present during Holy Liturgy was His Excellency Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the United States of America, Mr. Marko Djuric, accompanied by his wife, Andrijana. The beautiful responses during the festal Liturgy were rendered by the Pittsburgh Deanery Choir under its conductor, Mr. Bozidar Bob Topich.    

On this occasion, His Grace Bishop Irinej elevated Economos – Protonamesnik George Veselinovic, Episcopal Dean of the Pittsburgh Deanery, Cathedral Dean and parish priest of Holy Trinity Cathedral, to the rank of protopresbyter, in recognition of his many years of fruitful service and labor in the vineyard of the Lord.    

His Eminence Metropolitan Savas delivered an inspiring homily on the encounter of the Widow of Nain with Christ in the Gospel of St. Luke. The Metropolitan emphasized how the Incarnate Lord manifests His two natures – God and Man, in one person, as He finds pity in His heart for a widow who has now lost her only son and will be subject to the loss of her own livelihood and future; while in His infinite compassion and love for the widow of Nain and for all humankind, raises her son from the dead.    

As the many faithful drew near “with faith and love” to partake of the Holy Eucharist, it was a reminder that our Holy Orthodox Church, as the Body of Christ, is indivisible, invincible, and unerring in its saving confession of the faith. Truly, a manifestation of our salvific community of faith and love.    

May the Lord God, through the prayers of our founder and first administrator, the Holy Bishop Nicholai of Ochrid, grant all of us His divine and deifying love, so that we may continue to celebrate in turn, with love and devotion, many more years of preaching and spreading the Truth of His Word across this great nation. Therefore, let us reiterate the words of our saintly founder as our own: “History, tell me who you are, so that I may know who I am?”