NEWS AND EVENTS - Monday, March 12, 2018
NORTH CANTON ANNUAL LENTEN RETREAT TO NEW YORK
With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Irinej, on Thursday, March 1st, parishioners from St. George church in North Canton departed for their 3rd annual Lenten Retreat to New York City. As in years prior, the group stayed in White Plains, north of the city, in close proximity to their retreat location at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Tuckahoe, New York.
Different from years past, the retreat began with a visit to the new Diocesan Residence in New Rochelle. Located just north of the Bronx, and within ten minutes of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, this residence is in a prime location for visitors and guests to enjoy the hospitality of the Eastern-American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The group was blessed with an official tour of the residence by their hierarch, His Grace Bishop Irinej. Every room was filled with items of great spiritual and historical value for all those in the Diocese, as well as Orthodox Christians everywhere. His Grace was a wonderful host, offering His time to the group and speaking with great knowledge about each item on display, providing the fascinating history behind the many icons, vestments, paintings, relics, fixtures, and furniture found in each room.
The retreat group was amazed that in such a short time, in the midst of the active work of the Diocese and the busy schedule of their Diocesan Bishop, the organizing the new Residence, including the unloading and sorting of the voluminous library and diocesan records, was well underway.
Highlights of the morning tour included Zora Pavichevich, age six, playing the piano for His Grace Bishop Irinej and the retreat group, as well as the group’s delightful conversation with His Grace in the conference room at the conclusion of their visit.
The Diocesan Residence will be a true center for the faithful of the Eastern Diocese - a place for visitation and pilgrimage - and a wonderful representation of the Serbian Church to visitors that pass through New York City from all over the world.
Following the tour of the Residence, the faithful travelled to nearby St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary to join the community for Presanctified Liturgy. Both the male and the mixed choirs sang magnificently, lifting the spirits of all those offering their solemn prayers during the service. Immediately after, the retreat group was invited to join the seminarians for a late-lunch in the refectory, which provided a wonderful opportunity for the parishioners of St. George to get to know the students they regularly pray for, and the community they joyfully support.
The group then enjoyed a tour of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, led by Deacon Larry Soper, a seminarian from the Eastern-American Diocese and former deacon at the parish of St. George in North Canton. The group embraced their former deacon with love and affection, and listened intently as he took them through the various campus buildings offering bits of history and information. The day concluded with a retreat group meal wherein Deacon Larry was happy to answer questions about life as a student and seminarian.
The following day, Fr. Aleksa Pavichevich offered a Lenten workshop entitled, “Forgiveness: A Miracle”, to clergy from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America. This workshop was unique in that the clergy were gathered at a retreat center in Pennsylvania, and Fr. Aleksa was with his St. George parish retreat group in New York. Harnessing the power and potential of social media, the distance between the two groups was bridged as the workshop was broadcast via Facebook Live. To the delight of both Fr. Aleksa and the group of Ukrainian priests, a number of participants from all over the world joined the live workshop and actively participated by asking and answering questions, joining in the discussion, and sharing their thoughts and feelings about “Forgiveness”.
On the final day of the Parish Lenten Retreat, the group of faithful from North Canton joined the St. Sava Pro-Cathedral community for Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Eleftherios Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan. His Grace Bishop Irinej presided, joined by many Orthodox faithful filling every corner of their functional parish space, and concelebranting clergy including the Very Rev. Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Dr. Zivojin Jakovljevic, Dean of the Pro-Cathedral; the Very Rev. Protopresbyter Aleksa Micic, currently attached to the St. Sava Pro-Cathedral; the Very Rev. Aleksa Pavichevich, parish priest at St. George in North Canton, Ohio; and Protodeacon Milos Zdralic, Diocesan Financial Secretary.
Following services, the Retreat participants departed for their home community of St. George in North Canton. The weekend, as in years past, offered the participants a chance to deepen their relationship with Christ, grow in their Orthodox faith, and make connections within their Diocese, and with community at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Glory be to God for all things!