On a sunny day, Sunday, November 24th Saratoga parish organized their annual Church Slava Celebration with His Grace Bishop Maxim and neighboring clergy in attendance. The Matins Service and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy started at 9:30 AM in our new and yet unfinished Church. Although the morning was cool and the Church is still without heating, that did not stop the faithful of St. Michael Parish and a good number of believers from neighboring parishes to come and fill our Church to its full capacity.
During the Liturgy, His Grace Bishop Maxim delivered a very thoughtful and inspiring sermon, in which he focused on the importance of unity in Christ, detailing also on the Gospel reading of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).
Responses during the Liturgy were sung by well known Serbian students from Berkeley (Ivan and Lazar) along with a few ‘home’ singers. The Epistle lessen was read by Kristina Bjegovic our ‘rising star’ and future pillar of our Church.
Very good acoustics of the Church made a great impression on all who were in attendance, especially on our guest-priests: Fr. Dusan Bunjevic retired priest of San Francisco, Fr. Vasilije Cvijanovic of Moraga, Fr. Djurica Gordic of San Francisco and Fr. Zoran Savic of Oakland.
Numerous children and youth created yet another positive impact on all of us, especially during the time when they received Holy Communion and showed us that there is a bright future for our Church and Community. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Grace our Bishop Maxim made a few more remarks in which he asked people to stay firm in our Holy Orthodoxy and support the Church both spiritually and materially.
Altar servers deserve to be mentioned! They did an excellent job, so my personal thanks go to Paul Bunjevic, Milutin Janjc, Predrag Jovic, Marko & Mirko Macura, and Vladan Bunjevic
After a brief rest and refreshment in the parish house, His Grace Bishop Maxim and the rest of the clergy moved to the Church Hall, which was filled to capacity, where Slava Bread and Slavsko Zhito were blessed. This was followed by a short singing program of old Serbian music by our newly established Choir (no name yet) which had a very impressive presentation. His Grace Bishop Maxim was quite satisfied with chanting, and made a request; when he comes again, to see this same choir responding in Church. So, it is up to us to make this happen!
The banquet and program started at one o’clock. Again, our children and youth were seen serving to all guests and their service was done very skillfully. Master of Ceremony Rasha Bozinovic led the program by introducing important guests at the main table and throughout the hall including our Bishop Maxim, all the clergy, and presidents of the church-school congregations. Church President, Chris Milosovich made a short greeting and welcomed all guests and asked all to support the building of our new Church. Mark Hill our financial secretary reminded people that he has sent letters in which he introduced the initial Fund-Raising program for the furtherance of the building, and God-willing completion of our new Church. Several parishioners responded with significant donations ranging from $5,000-10,000.
His Grace Bishop Maxim took the podium and made a brief remark about the 200th anniversary from the birth of Petar Petrovich Njegosh our great poet, Bishop, and ruler of Montenegro. Then he talked about another poet Jovan Duchich in which he unveiled and introduced the newly published book of his poetry in Serbian and French (French translation by Prof. Petar Bubresko) printed by our Sebastian Press and edited by Ljubomir and Genevieve Mihailovich from Paris. This book was the life work of his wife Leposava who came so close to seeing the final version come to reality and passed in August, just 5 days after His Grace visited her with the news that publication was imminent.
His Grace continued with the presentation of the yet another book ‘All Roads Lead to Jackson’; a book of Jackson’s history written by our parishioner Milina Jovanovic-Gajic. The author was present and she gave a very detailed description of the contents of the book.
This lovely day was concluded with the closing prayer followed by signing of the newly published books.
Thanks be to God for everything!
Fr. Slobodan Jovic