Duluth, MN - On Sunday, November 1, 2009 on the Feast of the Prophet Joel and the Venerable Prochorus of Pcinja, the parishioners of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Duluth, Minnesota welcomed His Grace Bishop Longin for his first Archpastoral visit. His Grace visited the Twin Cities the day before and came to Duluth on Sunday to celebrate the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Bishop Longin recently became the new Bishop of the newly organized New Gracinica – Midwestern America Diocese.
His co-celebrants were Father Ljubomir Krstic from Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in St. Paul, MN; Parish Priest Father Zoran Savic, V. Rev. Father Bogdan Zjalic from St. Basil of Ostrog Serbian Orthodox Church in Chisholm, MN; Father Timothy Sas from Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Duluth, MN; and Protodeacon Pavle Starcevic from Nova Gracanica in Grayslake, IL.
The faithful of St. George were joined by their brothers and sisters from Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Duluth, which was closed for this celebration. Many parishioners from the Iron Range (St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church in Hibbing) traveled to Duluth to meet His Grace and participate in the Divine Liturgy. The service was very well attended and there were dozens of communicants during this celebration. The Liturgy was beautified by the voices of S.S.S. St. George Choir, under the direction of Stephanie Boyat. Diane Zimmerman read the Epistle during the service.
Bishop Longin ordained Reader Paul Kiprof to the Diaconate during the service. Deacon Paul's two young sons, Alexander and Nicholas were among the many Altar Servers. This was the first ordination in the 85 year history of St. George. Father Deacon Paul received his theological education from St. Stephen's program of the Antiochian House of Studies in the Antiochian Orthodox Church. He had been active in the Church as a Reader (tonsured by His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher), Cantor and Choir Member, a Lecturer and in assisting Father Zoran with weekly Bible Study Sessions. Deacon Paul was born in 1964 in Istanbul (Turkey) by orthodox parents with macedonian decents. As a child he moved to Munich ( Germany) were he finished his education and received PhDin the area of inorganic chemistry. He came to this country on postdoctoral research.Deacon Paul is a Full Professor of Chemistry and the Department Head of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
In his sermon, His Grace addressed the faithful and elaborated on the meaning of the Parable of the Sower for our life in today's world. Before the end of the service, Vladika Longin also blessed the beautiful new Table of Preparation, donated by the friends and family in memory of the late George Medich.
Following Divine Liturgy, more than 100 people joined His Grace Bishop Longin and the co-celebrants in the Church Hall for a wonderful banquet, lovingly prepared by the Ladies of the Kolo of Serbian Sisters. Deacon Paul was greeted by many well-wishers. In his remarks, His Grace bestowed God's blessings on the new Father Deacon Paul, his Diaconissa Alisa, and their children. He further complimented the parish on their quality of spiritual life.