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NEWS AND EVENTS - Tuesday February 9, 2009
ST SAVA ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF THE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
Milwaukee, WI - On February 7, 2009, our St. Sava Serbian Orthodox School of Theology held its annual St. Sava celebration hosted by the St. Sava Cathedral in Milwaukee. The official celebration began with the Vespers service, celebrated by V. Rev. Dr. Milos Vesin. His Eminence Metropolitan of Midwestern America Christopher was present, together with a number of clergy and teaching staff. All the students of the School, some thirty of them, took active part in the service by beautifully singing the responses.
Following the Vespers service, the Milwaukee community invited all the present guests to the festal dinner in the St. Sava Cultural Center, sponsored by St. Sava Junior Dancers, Sumadija Folklore Ensemble, and the United Serbian Youth Soccer Club. Very often all those “Marthas and Marys” of church events, whose dedication and diligence in making preparations for the event and who are the driving force behind its success, remain unrecognized. Thus, here I must mention Darinka Sever, Diane Markovina, Donna Marinkovich, and Zorica Miskov who tirelessly worked to make this feast possible. We must also commend the representatives of the St. Sava Cathedral Church Board on generously provided their time and efforts in the organization of this celebration. Following a generous dinner the students of the St. Sava School of Theology, lead by their professor V. Rev. Dr. Milos Vesin, treated all the present to a truly magnificent and well-planned festal program. The program was a well-balanced combination of selected church hymns and declamations. Everyone present was simply immersed into the touching message of the program, the message of charity, love, and dedication to the sacred pastoral mission of the Church. The high point of the evening was a touching witness of Dr. Vesin about the extraordinary and exemplary spirit of charity and pastoral responsibility of our St. Sava students of Theology. In an amazing development of events, and nothing happens by chance, the students stumbled upon a moving story about a young boy in Serbia who at the tender age of 10 had to take care of his several years younger sister and his ailing father. This he did with remarkable self-sacrificing, he had a workday of about 19 hours and no weekends or holidays, and he did all of this without grumbling. When our students heard about this, they immediately started collecting funds of their own, which they then sent as the gift to the young boy. Now, one has to understand that our students gave from their own money, which they are greatly struggling to earn at student jobs while having no other financial support. Indeed everyone, besides being touched by this expression of our students’ Christian love for the neighbor, must be grateful to God that a generation of loving, kind and responsible pastors is getting ready to minister the Church.
After this spiritually fulfilling evening, one cannot but admire the vision of the founders of the School of Theology, headed by the late bishop Dr. Sava Vuković, V. Rev. Milan Markovina, Mico Radotic, Luka Bajic, et al. Their vision for the School had been shaped by the immediate necessity that our Church on this continent experienced – the necessity to educate and prepare the next generation of priests. This mission has been successfully accomplished. In its twenty years of existence, the School numbers over fifty ordained clergymen among its alumni. However, this accomplishment of the original goal of the School by no means should mark its closure. This is an excellent opportunity for our Church on this continent to build upon the existing legacy of the School and form a representative academic Orthodox presence at the American Midwest. In the Eastern America we all pride in St. Vladimir's Academy, the Holy Cross College, and the Jordanville Seminary. In the Western America, the Greek Archdiocese recently opened a Theological Institute in memory of the Patriarch Athenagoras in cooperation with the University of California - Berkley. And our St. Sava School of Theology is an excellent opportunity for our Serbian Orthodox Church to make the Orthodox presence in the Midwest felt. It could be accomplished by joining one of the larger University networks, e.g. University of Chicago's Theological Federation, just as Holy Cross cooperates with the Harvard Network, or the Athenagoras Institute works with the Berkley Theological Federation. This still remains in the realm of desire, but with God's help and with our joint prayers and efforts it might just become reality.
At the very end, I must say that it is somewhat a pity that more people did not come to see and enjoy the wonderful program, and take part in the spiritually uplifting event. Each year, another parish in the Chicagoland area hosts the St. Sava celebration of the School of Theology so that the student can meet their future parishioners, and that the people can become familiar with the mission and the life of the School. It is my hope that next year more people will get to enjoy this wonderful event and share in our joy. Finally, I would like to congratulate our St. Sava School of Theology staff and students on the successful St. Sava celebration and to wish them MANY YEARS in the service to Christ and His Church.
Rev. Vasilije Vranic,
Director of Religious Education, Metropolitanate of Midwest
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