AT ST SAVA MONASTERY IN LIBERTYVILLE
Liberytville, IL - On July 19 Metropolitanate of Libertyville-Chicago hosted the Fifth Annual Pilgrimage of St. Nikolaj of Zicha. The Pilgrimage took place at St. Sava Monastery, the center of Serbian Orthodoxy in the Americas. The festivities began with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, which was presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan of Libertyville-Chicago Kyr Christopher. He was assisted by His Grace Kyr Longin, Bishop of New Gracanica Midwest, His Grace Kyr Peter, Bishop of Cleveland (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), and His Grace Kyr Dimitrios, Bishop of Mokissos, and a number of presbyters and deacons.
The children from the St. Sava Orthodox School in Milwaukee seized the day with a beautiful and most skillful singing of responses for the entire Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and the Akathistos hymn to St. Nikolaj that followed. The choir demonstrated an extraordinary gift for Serbian Church music by mastering the Serbian liturgical chant. Today, the children's choir actively participates in feast-day liturgies at the St. Sava Cathedral in Milwaukee. Presented for the first time at the Pilgrimage, Presbytera Jelena Vranic arranged the musical responses for the Akathistos for which we are very grateful. The Choir was led by director Mrs. Nadine Potkonjak, who was assisted by Mrs. Milena Walker, the director of SSS Stevan Sijacki from Milwaukee. All gathered bishops together with clergy and the faithful are immensely grateful to the St. Sava Orthodox School Choir from Milwaukee, their teachers Mrs. Nadine Potkonjak, presbytera Jelena Vranic, Mrs. Danielle Vorkapich, and Mrs. Milena Walker.
Following the services, Federation of the Circles of Serbian Sisters prepared the festive luncheon. Ms. Milly Terzic, the President of the Federation, together with Mrs. Danica Lukac and Mr. Mladen Vukovic, spearheaded the organization of the reception. Gratitude goes also to all the donors and contributors: The Federation Circles of Serbian Sisters and the auxiliary Circles of Serbian Sisters from St. George (Joliet), St. Archangel Michael (Lansing), St. Basil of Ostrog (Lake Forest), and St. Elijah (Merrillville). Special appreciation is reserved for the efforts of the Circle of Serbian Sisters from the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago, together with their generous parishioners who endeavored to make this day of St. Nikolaj a success. Also, our gratitude goes to these individuals: Federation Executive/Audit Board Members - Milly Terzic, Danica Lukac, Vicki Dorsey, Dolores Malinovich, Sophie Anderson, Nada Savatic, and Ana Henic, along with dedicated volunteers: Mladen Vukovic, Chedo Kuljanin, Sava Grujic, Dragan and Mara Popovic, Stella Necak, Marija Grubnic, Millie Wilson, Protinica Marija Stojanovic, Ryan Dorsey, Zora Voynovich, Austin Morrow, Katie Grabowski, John Voynovich, and with special mention to Djuro Vujatovich (who made a special trip from Milwaukee to coordinate the technical aspects of the camp presentation). Collectively, there was an enormous time and effort invested on the part of all individuals and organizations for which we are immensely grateful.
Following the luncheon all gathered bishops, clergy and the guests had the opportunity to enjoy the festive program. The program was masterfully led by V. Rev. Dr. Milos Vesin, who also treated all present to an inspiring and immensely informative and interesting speech on St. Nikolaj of Zicha. Dr. Vesin brought to the attention of his audience an unknown literary work by St. Nikolaj of Zicha, an Akathistos to the Risen Lord, which was originally dedicated to Fr. Justin Popovic (The Akathistos will soon be published by the St. Paisius Monastery in Arizona). The St. Sava Orthodox School Choir also contributed to the program with their magnificent, angelic singing.
The program was further adorned by an excellent oratorical piece delivered by Miss Katherine Potkonjak. Her speech has been selected to represent both the Metropolitanate of Libertyville-Chicago and the Diocese of New Gracanica - Midwest at the St. Nikolaj of Zicha Teen Oratorical Festival for 2009 in Canton, OH. She is one of the three finalists that will take part in the national competition. Miss Potkonjak is a dedicated parishioner of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Milwaukee. Her speech was on the topic of The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the bed-rock of our Orthodox Faith.
At last but not the least, Mr. Ryan Dorsey and Miss Zora Voynovich gave an inspiring presentation on the history and current program of the St. Sava Summer Camp traditionally held at St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville. They expressed their sentiments about the Camp, concentrating on the importance of the Camp program as a missionary effort of our Church, and how that program contributed to their formation as young Serbian Orthodox people who cherish their faith, traditions, and cultural heritage. Both Mr. Dorsey and Miss Voynovich have been very active in the Camp program for several years. By starting out as campers, they continued their commitment to the Camp by becoming counselors and currently hold positions as St. Sava Camp's Camp Coordinators (Head Counselors) for the past four years. Thus, they bring the refreshing combination of experience and youth to our St. Sava Camp program, making it an immense success. This is best testified for by the campers themselves who year after year await the beginning of the Camp program with great anticipation.
When one is trying to recollect and put in writing acknowledgments for events of considerable size, such as this one, one is bound to inadvertently leave someone out. Thus, I apologize for any omission that is bound to be made in this article. After all, we will all agree that the gratitude of men matters much less that the reward by God, which is reserved for those who do good. We should just remember that God does not forget. At the very end, I would personally like to express for one more time my deepest gratitude to all clergy, singers, the Federation of Circles of Serbian Sisters and auxiliaries, donors, contributors, workers, and guests for sharing with us the joy of celebrating the feast of St. Nikolaj of Zicha, the Saint who walked amongst us in not so distant past and whose prayers are even closer to us.