His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Porfirije officiated at the Divine Liturgy at the Serbian Club in New York, where services are temporarily held because the church of Saint Sava was badly damaged in a fire on Easter 2016.
Concelebrating with His Holinesss were His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of the Canadian Diocese, Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Velibor Dzomic and Protopresbyter- Stavrophor Zivojin Jakovljevic, Protonamesnik Milan Dragovic and Protodeacon Dragan Radic.
Following the Divine Liturgy, His Holiness, the patriarch, cut the Slava Kolach together with the youngest members of the Serbian church community in New York, who later performed during the richly cultural and artistic program which followed. To the joy and delight of all the children His Holiness presented them with St Sava presents, after which he addressed the pious faithful with an archpastoral homily: -
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy One and the Spirit. Dear brothers and sisters, today we are filled with immense joy, but also with the blessing and grace of God, because without God's blessing there is nothing worthwhile in our life. Especially without the blessing and grace of God, there is no true and real joy. It may be that some events, some successes, some little things from this world can produce in us a momentary feeling of something that might seem to us to be joy. However, the very fact that any such experience that is the fruit of an experience that is based only in this world, that has its beginning and end in this world, is always short-lived. Without God's blessing, without His will, without His providence, there is no true and real joy.
The Lord has blessed us today to gather here, in the city of New York, to gather in the Serbian Club, because due to the given circumstances, the fact that our church has burned down and has not yet been rebuilt, but God will allow it to happen as soon as possible. God, therefore, has blessed us to meet here and to celebrate our first Serbian Archbishop and educator, teacher and father, Saint Sava. And truly there is no greater blessing and no greater joy than when we gather with the grace of God in the name and image of Saint Sava. We all know that Saint Sava did much among our people and for our nation. We all know that thanks to this spiritual feat, podvig, love, effort, prayers and dedication to God of Saint Sava, our people became one which made history and make up a part of civilization. We wouldn't be what we are today had it not been for Saint Sava. He placed that most important seal on our people. He led us on the most important path. He determined that we live our lives always looking first to the heavens, then at ourselves, and only then at our surroundings. He taught us that the earthly kingdom is for a short time, that it is for a short time if we are the most successful, the most famous, wealthiest, the most valued and respected. Looking at our people and ourselves individually, if what we are and what we have is not founded on Christ, the living God, it does not have any great goal in and of itself.
Saint Sava would not be what he is had it not been for Christ. Many today - sometimes knowingly and tendentiously, and perhaps at times out of ignorance - view St. Sava from various aspects and see him predominately as a historical figure. Yes, he belongs to the history of our people, but he transcends time and space through Christ. He would not have been what he was had he not belonged to Christ, had he not been an Orthodox Christian, had he not been dedicated to the Gospel, had he not understood at an early age that without prayer, fasting, faith in Christ, faith in God, we are nothing but historical circumstances which pass quickly.
In the second part of his visit to the United States of America, from January 29 to February 4, 2023, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Porfirije will visit the Orthodox Theological Faculty of St. Sava in Libertyville near Chicago, where he will hold several meetings with the dean, administration, teachers and students of the only higher education institution of the Serbian Orthodox Church on the North American continent, and he will also attend the solemn celebration of St. Sava organized by teachers and students of that faculty. A meeting with His Holiness with the hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North, Central and South America is also planned to be held at New Gracanica monastery on Third Lake.