Steelton Parish celebrates 108th Slava
St. Nicholas Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church in Oberlin-Steelton, Pennsylvania observed its 108th Slava on May 22, 2011. Our Slava anniversary began with Divine Liturgy celebrated by our esteemed Archpriest Stavrophor Srboljub Jockovich with responses sung by the Serbian Singing Society Josif Marinkovich directed by Nadine Klipa. Our honored Kumovi for the day were Louis and Helen (nee Krstin) Vasity, respected stewards of our Church for nearly 40 years.
Near the conclusion of the Liturgy, Fr. Srboljub and the altar servers processed inside with Litija, the eyes and hearts of all the faithful followed intently as the procession made one stop at the entrance to the church. Fr. Srboljub read the 3rd Resurrection Gospel of Luke and then offered the supplication litany and blessed of the four corners of the church with the holy water. The prayers are so familiar, comforting and uplifting as Father prays for peace in the world, for our churches, our bishop, the civil authorities, every city and the people who live therein, and all stewards of our church. Then, flanked by Kum Lou and Kuma Helen, Father led us through the blessing of the Slavski Kolach, prepared by Kuma Helen, and Slavski Kolivo, prepared by steward Joyce Match. This church ritual and tradition is a dramatic spiritual moment filled with meaning and promise and we know we are truly blessed.
Following this special ceremony and carrying our good feelings with us, we moved to the Church social hall where a delicious dinner, prepared by steward Sylvia Sevenack and her team, was served to more than 150 guests. Among our special guests were Fr. Christopher and Popadija Andreja Rocknage. Fr. Chris is the pastor of Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church in nearby Lebanon, PA.
Our Church Board president Marcia Breinich acted as mistress of ceremonies and introduced Fr. Srboljub who reminded us of our rich history and many blessings. Fr. Srboljub has been our valued spiritual leader for many years as the parish continues to grow and thrive in the faith. Our Kumovi were introduced and warmly thanked for their faithful stewardship at St. Nicholas Church. We were blessed when Kum Lou and Kuma Helen Vasity moved from St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Elizabeth, NJ and relocated to Pennsylvania making St. Nicholas Church their new home parish.
Kum Lou and Kuma Helen were born in Romania and Kum Lou has vivid memories of meeting Kuma Helen and even giving her a kiss albeit with some encouragement from family members. At the time, Kuma Helen was only 4 years old and Kum Lou was 10. Kum Lou immigrated to the United States in 1929 and lived with his family in Elizabeth, NJ. Kuma Helen immigrated with her family to Canada in 1937 and reconnected with Kum Lou when she visited her grandmother in Elizabeth. In short order they built on that first kiss from long ago and were eventually married, settling in Elizabeth where Kum Lou was a barber. Just a week before the Slava, Fr. Srboljub offered a special blessing for them on their 65th wedding anniversary and they were honored by the congregation at the after-Liturgy fellowship hour.
For many years Kum Lou has been a valued member of the bass section of the Church choir and Kuma Helen is an active member of the Kolo Srpski Sestare. They are both active with the St. Nicholas Seniors. Kum Lou enjoys telling stories of his experiences with the US Army in World Was II and his many years working as a barber. When he was invited to make remarks at the Slava banquet, he readily stepped forward to the microphone. His speech was unusually brief though he was eloquently to the point. He told us the most important lessons from the Scriptures have to do with Christ urging us to love one another and to live in peace. His words prompted us to remember Christ's "new commandment" that we love one another as Christ loved us. This message is the basis for one of the hymns we often hear during the Divine Liturgy as Fr. Srboljub is taking communion. Kum Lou's simple appeal that we love one another holds the most profound meaning.about how we should conduct ourselves. His further appeal that we live in peace also calls to mind the first words Christ spoke to the disciples after His Resurrection when He greeted them with "Peace be with you." We hear this same phrase several times during the Liturgy. Again, the message is a straightforward one yet the significance is intensely heartfelt.
We were blessed to hear two selections from our own Marinkovich Choir and when they finished they surrounded Kum Lou, who was with them on the stage, with congratulatory hugs and kisses. The program was rounded out by performances from our recently reorganized Kolo Club that includes toddlers to teens; the increasingly polished vocals of the St. Sava Youth Choir, under the capable direction of Nina Radanovic; and the ever-popular St. Nicholas Tammies featuring a debut vocal solo by Jimm Werner accompanied on the violin by his son, Phillip, and the rest of the Tammies.
It has long been a St. Nicholas Church tradition to honor recent high school and college graduates. This year's high school graduates who each received a copy of the Orthodox Study Bible included Jessica Barry, Alex Filepas, Chase Hewitt, Amy Jacobs, Stefan Lazarevich, Anney Mierski and Djordje Miuljevic. They all have plans to continue their studies. Our college graduates included Kaila Hewitt, Jazmin Cruz, and Jordyn Reigel. Congratulations to all of them. May they all know and share God's love and peace!
The Slava program concluded with all present rising and joining in a spirited and joyful singing of the resurrection hymn, Hristos Voskrese. Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen.