NEWS AND EVENTS - Monday, April 25, 2016
LENTEN VESPERS IN JOLIET
Joliet, IL - On Palm Sunday, April 24, 2016, St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Joliet, Illinois, held Lenten Vespers for the Chicago Deanery of the Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America. Leading the service was the Hierarchical Dean of the Chicago Deanery and Parish Priest Emeritus of St. George Church V. Rev. Stavrophor Nedeljko Lunich. Serving with him were V. Rev. Stavrophor Bogdan Zjalic, V. Rev. Stavrophor Lazar Kostur, V. Rev. Stavrophor Luka Lukic, V. Rev. Stavrophor Ilija Balach, V. Rev. Dobrivoje Milunovic, V. Rev. Marko Matic, V. Rev. Dr. Aleksandar Novakovic, Rev. Aleksandar Savic, Rev. Dr. Vasilije Vranic, Rev. Vladimir Lange and Rev. Deacon Nenad Jakovljevic. Singing the stichera from the kliros were V. Rev. Stavrophor Dr. Milos Vesin and host priest Rev. Nikolaj Kostur. Parish Choir S.S.S. Mita Topalovich under the direction of Alexandra Starcevich sang the responses beautifully.
The service was attended by many faithful from Joliet and Chicagoland. At the end of the service, Rev. Dr. Vasilije Vranic of Holy Resurrection Cathedral gave an inspiring homily about the feast of the Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem, explaining its meaning for us as we walk the journey of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection from the grave. He also explained one of the fundamental sticheras of the feast, "The grace of the Holy Spirit today has assembled us. Taking up Thy Cross we sing: 'Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” Historically in some monasteries, monastics would go into the wilderness for the period of the Forty Days of the Fast for greater spiritual struggle and then return for Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday in order to be in the monastery and church for Holy Week and Pascha, which is why we still sing this stichera, as we gather by the Grace of the Holy Spirit in order to greet Christ the King with palms and branches.
Following the service, Rev. Nikolaj Kostur welcomed all the guests from other parishes as well as the clergy of the Chicago Deanery who came to take part in the service and invited all of the guests to return to St. George Church in Joliet for its Slava (Patronal Feast Day), scheduled for Bright Saturday, May 7, 2016, when His Grace Bishop Longin of New Gracanica and Midwestern America and His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland (ROCOR) will officiate at the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Vasilije Vranic blessed the faithful as they venerated the Festal Icon and Cross. Afterwards, all were invited to the parish’s Social Center for a Lenten Meal prepared by the Kolo of Serbian Sisters of St. George Church and were greeted by the Church Board President Dr. Howard Grundy and once again by Fr. Nikolaj. The parish looks forward to this event every year and welcomes all the guests with open arms and hearts.