New York, NY - On Sunday, January 30 His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America officiated at the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, assisted by the local clergy Fr. Djokan and Fr. Vladislav, in the filled church in Manhattan. During the liturgical celebration the Slava kolach and wheat were blessed with this year's kum Milivoj Zivkovic. The kum, Milivoj, presented our cathedral with a beautiful icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of Arizona, a copy of the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God from the St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery in Arizona. We thank them for the icon and may God grant him many years! Mira Luna was chosen to serve as next year's Slava kuma.
His Grace Bishop Mitrophan, in his homily, touched upon the morning's gospel reading of the blind man from Jericho noting the need of the "opening of the spiritual eyes of all Serbs, all of those who call themselves Orthodox." Continuing in that allegorical vein the bishop particularly pointed out the need of educating our children and youth but not only building their knowledge but also their character, that spiritual character which makes a man a man.
Following the Divine Liturgy, as is the tradition on St. Sava day, our Church School children performed a recital to St. Sava, demonstrating and proving that our parish community concerns itself with its youngest ones and their education and the creating of a future generation of Orthodox Christians and successors of St. Sava. Working on this goal has been from the beginning of the Church School year our Baka Lilja who has been assisted with a new energy in the person of teacher Anastasija Ilijan. Everyone present sensed the hard work that Anastasija Ilijan (or as we affectionately call her "Sister Anastasija") put in with the children, creating a beautiful relationship with the children which has brought visible fruits.
After the St. Sava recital, as the first part of the St. Sava Academia 2011, we moved to the parish center where the second part was held. Performing in the second part were: Milos Raickovic - composer, Dusica Bijelic - soprano, "Svetosavski Zvoncici" - the St. Sava children's choir, Nevena Arizonovic - conductor and the folklore group "Opancici", who are attached to the Serbian club.
And, in the end, the formal luncheon was served, prepared by our hard working Serbian Sisters. We take this time to thank all of our guests for their kind donations which will go towards renovations on the roof of the parish center and work on the interior of the church.
It was truly lovely being a guest at this year's celebration and sitting at the rich table for which we thanked God and our St. Sava for all the good things He has poured on us. As our church board president Aleksandar Grimpas said: "Thank God every year there are more and more of us. We are not perfect but we make the effort and give it our all - which is the most important and pleasing to God!" God grant that next year's celebration be even nicer! Amen.