With Paschal joy and Slava elation, the clergy and parishioners of St. George parish with their friends and guests, gathered for the central service of the Holy Orthodox Church – the Divine Liturgy, on Sunday, May 7th.
It was truly a day of sanctification, that is, participation in the holiness of God. It must be said here that holiness or sainthood is a gift (charisma) given by God to man, through the Holy Spirit. His Grace, Bishop Maxim, entered the church with the singing of ‘The Angel Cried’. The Matins and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy were served with responses sung by St. George parish choir. Divine Liturgy began with the triumphant singing of “Christ is risen”, the joyful proclamation of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Serving with Bishop Maxim were: Protopresbyter Bratso Krsic, parish priest, Protopresybter-stravrophor Milan Vukovic, retired priest from St. Petka parish, San Marcos, Deacon Paul Germain (St. George parish), Deacon David Williams (Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos parish, Orange County), and Deacon Vladan Radovanovic, the Bishop’s deacon. Protopresbyter-stavrophor Bozidar Draskovic, retired priest from St. George parish, was also present at the Liturgy and celebration. Two more priests joined in the celebration during the banquet and the program that followed the Liturgy, a Lytia (procession around the church) and the blessing of the Slava kolach: Protopresbyter Milovan Katanic, parish priest from St. Petka, San Marcos, and Protopresbyter Ramon Merlos, parish priest from Our Lady of Kazan Russian Orthodox Church, San Diego.
His Grace Bishop Maxim in the Paschal joy reminded everyone with his Archpastoral sermon of the meaning of the fourth Sunday after Pascha, the Sunday of the Paralytic, that Christ is the one who forgives and heals; He is the One who raises us up from our bed of ‘infirmity’, whatever it might be, but also, the cry of the paralytic in the Gospel of the day reminds all of community and individual responsibility and call to be that person through whom God works and helps others. “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up” – was the cry of the paralytic, but the true Man and true God, Jesus Christ, came to him and healed him. He comes to us too, telling and helping us to rise to a new life – life of fullness, joy and salvation.
Following all the services, the fellowship continued in the social hall with a program led by Kate Thickstun, the parish council president. Zeljko Milasinovic, the Slava Kum, with his wife Marija greeted everyone wishing them a happy and blessed Slava. The parish folklore groups, Morava Sr., Morava Jr. and the peewees performed a selection of songs and dances (kolo), while the Kolo sisters prepared a delicious meal. Everyone present was enriched with the Slava celebration and left for home empowered to proclaim the Risen Lord giving thanks to God for His Great Martyr, George the Victorious.