News and Events - August 2014

NEWS AND EVENTS - Tuesday, August 4, 2014 


Alhambra, CA - The 21st Church Assembly (Sabor) of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America is set to begin on August 4th, 2014 at St. Steven’s Serbian Orthodox Church in Alhambra, California. The Assembly brings together the hierarchs, clergy, congregation board presidents and congregation delegates from all five dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.

The last Assembly was held in August of 2009 at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Canton, OH.

Monday’s activities centered around registration of delegates, the Clergy Seminar and the annual meeting of the Serbian Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood.

The Clergy Seminar was opened with the prayer. His Grace Bishop Longin of New Gracanica and Midwestern America welcomed the keynote speaker His Eminence Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in America Kyr Demetrios who spoke on the theme of The Priesthood and Servant Leadership. His Eminence underlined the fact that discipleship and leadership are linked closely. Discipleship is a call from Jesus Christ, reitereated His Eminence, outlining five aspects: discipleship is a call by Jesus Christ; discipleship is understood as a mission to preach, to proclaim; discipleship as service-diakonia, i.e. function of diligent and unfailing service; discipleship as knowledge of Christ; discipleship as a total offering of oneself; radical existential decisions are required of disciples. These reflective pastoral and theological thoughts prompted further discussion and contemplation by the clergy.

The Archbishop's address can be read in full here.

Archbishop Demetrios of America was born Demetrios Trakatellis in Thessaloniki, Greece on February 1, 1928. In 1950 he graduated with distinction from the University of Athens School of Theology.  In 1960 he was ordained a deacon, and in 1964 a priest.

He was elected Bishop of Vresthena in 1967, an auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop of Athens with the primary responsibility for the theological education of the clergy. From 1965 to 1971, on scholarship from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, he studied New Testament and Christian Origins and was awarded a Ph.D. "with distinction"in 1972.  After receiving this degree, he returned to his ecclesiastical position in the Archdiocese of Athens and undertook responsibilities for the theological education of the clergy, ministry among the youth, and other duties related to theological conferences in Greece and abroad.

In 1968, he was elected Metropolitan of Attika and Megaris, but he did not accept the post for reasons related to the canonical order of the Church and to the political conditions in Greece at that time.

Later, in 1977, he earned a second doctorate, namelyaTh.D. in Theology from the University of Athens “with distinction.”  From 1983 to 1993, he served as the Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts.  Serving as a faculty member for more than a decade, he taught many of America’s Greek Orthodox clergy.  He also taught at Harvard Divinity School as Visiting Professor of New Testament during the academic years of 1984 to 1985 and from 1988 to 1989.  On August 20, 1991 the Sacred Synod of the Church of Greece elevated the then Bishop Demetrios of Vresthena to a Titular Metropolitan of Vresthena with the simultaneous elevation of the Diocese of Vresthena to the rank of the Metropolis.After several years in the United States, he returned to Greece in 1993 to pursue full-time scholarly writing and research.  At the same time, he resumed his responsibilities at the Archdiocese of Athens.

Elected Archbishop of America on August 19, 1999 by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archbishop Demetrios was enthroned on September 18, 1999 at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City.  He leads a church of more than one and a half million Greek Orthodox Christians in the United States.

Following vespers and dinner over 40 priests participated in the evening meeting, which was called to order by the president Protopresbyter Djokan Majstorovic. Mrs. Jasmina Boulanger, Vice President of the Diocesan Council of the Western American Diocese, gave a presentation on the Housing, Health Care and Retirement planning.

The meeting was chaired by Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Dragoljub Malich. Brotherhood president Prota Djokan Majstorovic gave a report on the Brotherhood activities of the last few years, including publishing and educational, charitable and social. Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Dragoljub Malich gave a brief presentation on the clergy pension plan, and a financial advisor gave a more detailed presentation on caring for each person’s pension account. Officers for the coming year were elected.

Later in the evening, the Central Church Council met in preparation for the beginning of the Assembly on Tuesday.

The host parish of St. Steven’s Cathadral has clearly worked hard to organize this Assembly, and registration and the other events of the first day proceeded in an orderly and expeditious way.

Tuesday is scheduled to begin with Divine Liturgy at 9:00 am, followed by the opening of the Assembly with the Invocation of the Holy Spirit, welcomes, the opening session. A highlight of the morning will be The Divine Liturgy and the Keynote Address: “Servant Leadership” by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios.

We will post news and photos from each day of the Assembly on this web site on as timely basis as possible.

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