800th Anniversary Commemorated in the Diocese of Canada


The Diocese of Canada celebrated the great jubilee of the Serbian Orthodox Church on Sunday, November 3, with the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Church of Kitchener, and a formal banquet at the St. George the Great Martyr church hall in Waterloo. Officiating at the Divine Liturgy was His Grace Bishop Sava, retired bishop of Slavonia, with the concelebration of His Grace Bishop Heruvim of Osek-Polje and Baranja and His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrophan of Canada and the concelebration of a large number of clergy from the Diocese of Canada. V. Rev. Protopresbyter Toma Bekurishvili (Georgian Orthodox Church), and Protodeacon Milovan Gogic (Diocese of Gracanica-Midwestern America). The parish choir ''St. Roman Melodist'', directed by Biljana Vazic, beautifully sang the responses.

An instructive word on autocephaly and the role St. Sava played in acquiring the same, was delivered by Protopresbyter Dr. Goran Gojkovic, dean of Holy Trinity Church. Following the Divine Liturgy, at which a large number of faithful communed, Bishop Mitrophan thanked all the participants and organizers of this great celebration and called upon Bishop Heruvim to deliver the homily. The bishop then called on all the faithful to be aware of the only complete assembly - the liturgical gathering around Holy Mystery of the Eucharist. He particularly noted that the grace of the Holy Spirit acts there where we are gathered in the Lord's name, in peace, unity and Christian love.

Following the prayerful gathering, over six hundred believers welcomed the bishops in the strikingly impressive hall of the St. George church-school congregation. On this occasion, the Royal Federal Cavalry of Canada awarded the honorary guard to the bishops, namely officers Lepa Pavlovic and Chuong Tiju. The program, led by Rev. Jovan Marjanac, secretary of the Diocese of Canada, began with a prayer and blessing given by Bishop Heruvim, and the national hymns of Canada and Serbia. The formal greeting was delivered by the host hierarch, His Grace Bishop Mitrophan, who greeted his brother bishops and presented them with gifts as a token of his gratitude. Additionally, the bishop thanked the representatives of the sister local churches in Canada, Protopresbyter Tom Bekurishvili (Georgian Orthodox Church), and Protopresbyter Julian Stojica (Romanian Orthodox Church), as well as all the assembled representatives of church, national and cultural organizations.

Greetings and congratulations to the diplomatic representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Serbia were expressed by the newly arrived Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Ottawa, Marko Milisav, and Consul General of the Republic of Serbia in Toronto Vasilije Petkovic.

On the occasion of this great jubilee, a diverse cultural and artistic program was organized with rich spiritual, poetic and folklore content. The program featured choirs Toronto and Kitchener, folklore groups and a singing group SKUD ''Oplenac'' from Mississaugua, ''Gavrilo Princip'' from Waterloo, ''Stevan Sinđelić'' from Kitchener. Special guests ''Iverioni '' and the singing group ''Iveron '' from the Georgian community in Toronto delighted everyone with their folk repertoire. The music intermeco during the service was performed by Marko Pejanovic (piano) and Marina Brankovic (violin), music professors.

On this occasion, Bishop Mitrofan presented the newly established Fund for Yout in the Diocese of Canada, which will encourage younger generations in Canada to serve various purposes in order to bring them closer to the Church. First of all, the board members of this fund will organize the first St. Sava Ball of the Diocese, on February 1, 2020, with the aim of improving the conditions of the summer camp for children.

The diocesan commemoration of the 800th anniversary of autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church ended with the closing letter and blessing of His Grace Bishop Sava, retired bishop of Slavonia, whom many of those present remembered from his service on the North American continent. With the full attention of the audience, Bishop Sava spoke in Serbian and English about the key moments for the Serbian Orthodox Church on this continent. The bishop referred to the period after World War II, the difficult division of the schism, the reconciliation of the same, and today. It is especially appreciated that Bishop Sava himself is a participant in all these historical events, having entered the Monastery of Sv. Save in Libertyville as early as 1956 as a novice.

In gratitude to the Lord and Saint Sava all left for their homes knowing that this historical gathering is a great blessing for all Serbdom in the Diaspora.

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