NEWS AND EVENTS - Monday, July 11, 2016
PATRONAL FEAST CELEBRATION IN EUGENE, OR
Eugene, OR - "When you visit a certain place, your visit, in fact, begins when you leave for then the place begins to visit you!"
With these words of our father and Bishop Maxim addressed to the sons and daughters of the Orthodox Church, the People of God, gathered at the Church of St. John of Shanghai, of San Francisco and all Orthodoxy, began the visit of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, held recently in Crete, in liturgical communities worldwide.
And as the Spirit "blows where he will" we cannot plan or foresee His actions, the process of the reception of the Council began, by God's Providence, not there where by human logic we would expect it to, in great church centers or diocesan cathedrals near Crete, but in a geographically far and distant parish in the small town of Eugene in southern Oregon in the small parish which with its leader and father, Bishop Maxim, celebrated its Parish Slava on Saturday, July 2, 2016.
St. John of Shanghai, as a true "Homo Universalis", or we can actually even say a "pan-human" (as St. Abba Justin called Dostoevsky), demonastrated anew his universal dimension on Saturday in Eugene when in beauty and love (Ps. 132:1) he gathered brothers and sisters of various different nationalities as well as clergy from different jurisdictins. This universality of his is surely a result of his life-long following of the God-man Christ and the opening of himself up for the Holy Spirit, as our Bishop Maxim noted in his homily, for the joyful submission to the will of Him as well as the humble and sacrificial service to God's Church.
Following the Holy Eucharist, as the Icon of the Kingdom of "eternal good things" but also it's living presence "here and now" the Slava Banquet followed for the nearly 150 who were present, participants of this heaven-earthly celebration. Then, spontaneously and without any prior planning (the nicest things and events oftentimes ocurr like this), Bishop Maxim, in an inspiring address, related his impressions and a fragment of the atmosphere from the recent Great and Holy Council (Αγία και Μεγάλη Σύνοδος) in Crete. And just as the very meaning of the word “Σύνοδος” (joint trip) implies, the People of God, co-travelers on the journey to the Heavenly Fatherland, showed their living and unadultered interest for the Council conscious of the fact that it checks, directs and orients our journey through the rough waters of this world.
Many questions followed on the theme of fasting, jurisdictions, the council procedures, reception of the Council Acts, etc. In a country where time is very valuable, by the will "from above", it was as if it stopped! No one was in a rush, the children played without having to be attended by their parents whose attention, instead of being on them, were directed on themes of existential significance. A calmness and a priestly experience dominated the gathered. And how would it not? The Council visited us.