Diocesan News

Fourth Annual Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Institute Held in Florida - Day Two

Day One | Day Two

2018 institute day two 4751The feast day of the Meeting of the Lord, the second day of the Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Orthodox Institute began with the Holy Hiearchical Divine Liturgy. Officiating at the Divine Liturgy was His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America with the con-celebration of Bishop Irinej of Eastern America and Bishop Kirilo of Dioclea, twenty-six priests and six deacons. The liturgy was followed by the cutting of the Slava Kolach on the occasion of the local parish Kolo Slava. In his address after the service Bishop Irinej said: “My dear beloved Bishop Maxim thank you for joining us and leading us in celebration of this holy and divine liturgy. I also thank their Graces Bishop Kirilo for con-celebrating with us and His Grace Bishop Longin who is also here present. I thank the clergy who have gathered from all over. And on this day kindly allow me to express my heartfelt sentiments with regard to the great national feast day of our Serbian people, in addition for this being the great feast of the Meeting of the Lord today is the day of Serbian national statehood as we celebrate as a people. And it is no mere coincidence that we celebrate on this glorious feast of the Meeting of the Lord. For on this day during the course of the Second Serbian Uprising we gained our freedom from the Ottomon Empire and its clenches and thereafter we on this day proclaimed the Serbian Constitution, one of the first constitutions ever proclaimed in modern day Europe. Truly a great achievement for a small people such as we are and we deserved our rightful place among the nations of the world. And finally I would be entirely remiss if I did not once again reitereate my congratulations to our dear Sisters from our Kolo Srpskih Sestara who on this day celebrate their own patronal feast. As the late Metropolitan Irinej once stated, the church is like a plane and it cannot fly without it's two wings. With one wing, which is the Kolo Srpskih Sestara it flies to the heavens and it soars with the other wing which is the choir that sings at the Divine Liturgy.“

2018 institute day two 4838Following a continental breakfast the clergy and participants of the Institute reassembled in the meeting hall where Bishop Irinej introduced guest speaker Fr. John Behr. Fr. John is Dean, Rector, Director of the Masters of Theology Program and Professor of Patristics at St. Vladimir's Seminary in Yonkers, New York. In his talk, entitled “Creation and Becoming Human: Protological or Eschatological?“, he spoke of the need to read Scripture as Scripture. Just as Moses is described as having a veil over his face when speaking to the people to shroud the glory of the Lord, all of Scripture is veiled, hidden, until the coming of Christ, more specifically until His Cross and Resurrection. This unveiling or revealing is oftentimes described in Scripture as being an “apocalypse“ which means, a revelation. When St. Paul writes to the Romans he refers to this when he says, “to him who is able to strengthen you, according to the apocalypse of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages....“ (16:25-27). God the Father is the one who reveals – uveils the mystery - to St. Peter, allowing him to confess that Christ is the Son of the living God. All the Apostles, and in fact the whole world, will be able to know this after the Lord's Passion and Resurrection that's why the Lord calls Peter Satan after he tells the Lord he doesn't want Him to go to his suffering. Anyone who places themselves between Christ and the Cross is the enemy, satan. The reading of scripture, therefore, is cryptic: it is unveiled; it is harmonious: it speaks about Christ from beginning to end; it is contemporary: that's why Christ will say “Moses spoke about Me...“, in other words what Scriptures talks about is not merely historical but in the here and now; and it is inspiring not in a modern sense of the word that we are “inspired however we read it“ but rather it was the prophets and apostles who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

More coming soon!


Fourth Annual Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Institute Held in Florida

Day One | Day Two

2018 Orthodox Inststiute Day1 25For the first time since its inception four years ago this year's St. Sebastian and St. Mardarije Orthodox Institute was hosted by a parish outside the Western American Diocese. The St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Clearwater, Florida of the Eastern American Diocese, was host to this year's event. Registration in the late afternoon hours on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, marked the beginning of the event. After Vespers, served by host priest V. Rev. Stavrophor Dragan Zaric, Their Graces Bishop Irinej of Eastern America and Bishop Maxim of Western America greeted all the gathered clergy and participants both in the church and later after dinner in the fellowship hall. Also attending this year's Institute were His Grace Bishop Longin of Midwestern America and His Grace Bishop Kirilo of Dioclea.

Registration continued after dinner and the following morning after Matins, as clergy from all dioceses nationwide, including three clergy from the Diocese of Canada, continued to arrive. Following breakfast Bishop Maxim introduced this year's speaker Dr. Gayle Woloschak. Currently a professor of Radiation Oncology at Northwestern University in Chicago Dr. Woloschak is also an adjunct professor of Religion and Science at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She holds a Ph. D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Toledo (Medical College of Ohio), and a D. Min. in Eastern Christian Studies from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

2018 Orthodox Inststiute Day1 41Throughout the days presentation Dr. Woloschak spoke extensively on the relationship between science and religion and the negative connotations Christians almost instinctively have for science. Part of this is due to a misrepresentation and misunderstanding of science. While overcoming such obstacles requires dialogue, conservative Christians view their faith as ancient and subsequently fear any discussion that might introduce change. However, facts presented by science shape our understanding of diseases. For instance, in the early days of HIV when it was not known how the disease was spread, quarantining patients was an option. Later, when more discoveries were made about how it was spread this option became unethical. In other words, science should be used to help us better understand the world we're living in which, in turn, will help pastors better deal with some of the complex issues parishioners are faced with. St. Basil the Great noted in one place that "....the herbs which are the specifics for each malady do not grow out of the earth spontaneously; it is evidently the will of the Creator that they should be brought forth out of the soil to serve our need....Consequently, we must take great care to employ this medical art, if it should be necessary, not as making it wholly accountable for our state of health or illness, but as redounding to the glory of God and as a parallel to the care given the soul.. “.

Furthermore, Dr. Woloschak suggested the formation of pastoral teams who are more knowledgeable in various scientific fields to assist the priest in his pastoral work. There are many cases, for instance, of couples who bring babies to be baptized and the priest will only later learn that the baby was born by in vitro fertilization. There is such a divide between science and religion that most people wouldn't think to first consult the priest about something they are convinced he will categorically be opposed to. Another example are the prayers for a mother after a miscarriage which – based on scientific evidence – might result in the Church considering altering the prayers that they be more comforting.

Science is technology driven and that technology is rapidly changing. While a diagnosis of cancer in 1940 meant a certain death, today patients have other options to consider. The same applies to a childless couple who 50 years ago had no other option than adoption, today technology offers other solutions. The Orthodox Church needs to have a response to all of these new technologies, and a better understanding of the science behind it.  All of this and more supports the argument that there needs to be a dialogue within the Church on all of these topics.

Lively discussions were had both during the morning and afternoon talks. In the evening Great Vespers with the Litiya on the eve of the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord was served by V. Rev. Stavrophor Nicholas Ceko, Protosindjel Vasilije (Gavrilovic), V. Rev. Vasilije Vranic and Deacon Jovan Anicic. His Grace Bishop Longin blessed the five loaves. Dinner in hall was followed by fellowship as one by one the clergy left for their hotels in preparation for the next day's feast and Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.


Bishop Kirilo Visits Jackson, Sacramento, and San Francisco




Његово Преосвештенство Епископ диоклијски г. Кирил, по благослову епископа домаћина, г. Максима Западноамеричког, долетео је из Лос Анђелеса у престони град савезне америчке државе Калифорније, Сакраменто, у понедељак поподне, 23. јануара / 5. фебруара 2018. лета Господњег. На аеродрому га је дочекао протојереј-ставрофор Дане Поповић, старешина предивног, велелепног храма Успења Пресвете Богородице у насељу Фер Оукс, где се окупило мноштво народа да дочека уваженог викарног архијереја најмлађе епархије Српске Православне Цркве – Буенос Аиреса и све Средње и Јужне Америке, којом од оснивања администрира Његово Високопреосвештенство Митрополит црногорско-приморски Амфилохије. По доласку у храм, служена је вечерња служба, а потом је послужена вечера, те се прешло на разговор са драгим, гостујућим архијерејем. Будући да је пре монашења Епископ Кирил био универзитетски асистент професора математике, главна тема разговора са окупљеним народом била је „Вера и наука“, али је владика био вољан да одговори и на сва друга постављена му питања, а нарочито је било речи о молитви и посту. Веома интересантан разговор се протегао на пар часова све до касну вечер, када је цењени владика благословио народ, заблагодарио му за дарежљив прилог за његову многопотребиту епархију и повукао се на починак у парохијски дом проте Дана и протинице Милице.

            Следећега јутра, Владика је кренуо пут прве српске православне цркве у Северној Америци, Светога Саве у Џексону. Тамо се поклонио моштима оснивача ове цркве, Светога Севастијана Џексонског и Санфранциског. Након вечере и разговора са свештенством, протојерејем-ставрофором Стеваном Тумбасом, протођаконом Тривом Павловим, ђаконом Драганом Стојановићем и јерејем Марко Бојовићем, као и бројним народом, служена је вечерња служба у навечерје празника Светога Григорија Богослова. На богослужењу су одговорала четири госта из рускога Петрограда, чланови појачког квартета Коњевец, који су након вечерње одржали концерт духовне музике, за који су морале бити унете додатне столице у цркву да би могли сести сви који су те вечери дошлу у џексонски светосавски храм жељни врхунског духовног и музичког угођаја. Неки од њих ушли су по први пут у један православни храм, те су задивљени још дуго након концерта делили своје утиске на дружењу у црквеној сали уз чај, кафу и колаче. Следећега јутра, служена је света литургија, Владика Кирил је беседио о лику и делу Светога Григорија и томе како су драгоцена места попут овог – где су небо и земља сједињени, коњевечки појци су ангелски појали, а у богослужењу је узело учешћа неуобичајено много народа за радни дан. Током доручка, квартет је отпевао још неколико народних руских песама, Владика Кирил је седео у челу стола под великом заставом црногорског краља Николе Првог Петровића и присећао се својих студија математике и богословља у Русији са гостима, те затим благословивши све кренуо пут најстаријег српскога гробља у овоме крају, у Колми код Сан Франциска.

            Владика Кирил се успут дивио природним лепотама као врхунским уметничким делима Божијим, а у Колми му је приређен диван дочек од стране архијерејског намесника санфранциског и старешине Цркве Светога Архангела Михаила у Саратоги, протојереја-ставрофора Слободана Јовића, умировљеног дугогодишњег старешине Саборног храма Светога Јована Крститеља у Сан Франциску протојереја-ставрофора Душана Буњевића и његове протинице Љиљане, као и садашњег старешине овога храма, протојереја Ђурице Гордића, уз неколицину чланова управе Првог српског добровољног друштва, на челу са почасним председником г. Милорадом Миком Голубовићем. Након уласка у гробљанску капелу и посету библиотеци и музеју, послужен је посни ручак и вођен топао разговор међу свим присутнима, а затим је Владика провежен целим гробљем, где му је указивано на значајне споменике на гробљу и значајне личности сахрањене на њему, а коначно имао је прилике да види и реплику капеле Светога Петра Цетињскога са Ловћена, одакле се даноноћно могу чути стихови „Горскога вијенца“, уз које је владика Кирил (Бојовић) поникао у својој родној Црној Гори.

            По растанку са драгим, гостољубивим домаћинима, Владика Кирил се упутио најпре у руски Саборни храм посвећен икони Мајке Божије „Свих жалосних радост“, где се поклонио моштима Светога Јована Шангајског и Санфранциског. Затим се са протом Ђурицом упутио у српску Саборну цркву, где је такође одслужена вечерња служба, послужена вечера, прикупљани прилози за Владичину епархију и вођен непосредан разговором са овим скромним и приступачним архијерејем. По ноћном починку, у четвртак изјутра, прота Ђурица је показао гостујућем епископу још неке знаменитости града Сан Франциска, те га одвезао на аеродом, где га је чекао лет за Кливленд, у савезној држави Охајо и Источноамеричкој епархији Српске Православне Цркве.

Долгоденствуј на многаја љета, Владико Кириле!  


Bishops Maxim and Kirilo visited San Diego parish

         2018 02 04 san diego 001  On the Lord’s Day, the day of Resurrection, the Sunday of the Prodigal Son on February 4, 2018, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. George parish was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western American diocese and concelebrated by His Grace Bishop Kirilo of Dioclea, administrator of the Buenos Aires and South Central America diocese with local priests, Protopresbyter-stavrofor Velimir Petakovic, retired parish priest, Protopresbyter Bratislav Krsic, parish priest, and deacon Paul Germain.

           Prior to the Liturgy, the Bishops were joyously welcomed by the clergy and faithful in front of the church with flowers and spiritual joy of the Lord’s Day and feast day of the Holy Apostle Timothy and Holy monk-martyr Anastasius, the Persian. After procession inside the church with hymns and after the vesting of bishops, the Liturgy was celebrated with participation of the faithful in singing and partaking of the Holy Communion. The presence of many children, the young church, brought joy to the Hierarchs and faithful.

           During his homily, bishop Maxim reminded everyone that our Lord in His love towards us invites us to return to our Heavenly Fathers embrace. The Church, our true Mother, prepares us for the joyous Lenten ascetic struggle, and with that for the celebration of the Feast of feasts, the Lord’s Pascha.

           Bishop Kirilo, who with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Amfiloje of Montenegro and Coastlands and administrator of the Buenos Aires and South and Central American diocese, oversees the establishment and building up of parishes of the Serbian Orthodox Church in South America, also greeted the clergy and the faithful in the joy of the feast day, outlining the Gospel lessons read during the preparatory Sunday of the Great and Holy Lent. Bishop Kirilo reminded everyone that the task of the Church is to prepare her faithful for attaining life’s final goal, which is becoming Christ like.

           After the Liturgy, the Hierarchs, clergy and faithful continued the fellowship during the agape meal (a meal served with love and fellowship) in the social hall where a small program was presented. Protopresbyter Bratislav together with his parishioners presented to His Grace Kirilo a check in amount of five thousand dollars as a gift in support of his missionary work in South America. The San Diego parish called upon parishioners be a part of the Circle of one hundred families who would donate $100 each, thus collecting ten thousand dollars for the diocese in South America. The parish reached half of their goal.

           Protopresbyter-stavrofor Bozidar Draskovic, retired parish priest, was also present with his family.

         2018 02 04 san diego 002 The Orthodox Church is by her nature, a missionary church. Every parish has a dynamic life, in as much as it partakes in missionary work, not only within her geographical boundaries, but also beyond. This activity naturally flows out of the Eucharistic participation of the local community, which points towards the apostolic mission that began in the first century.

           The gathering was concluded with prayer and blessings from the bishops for the continuation of the Gospel witness in the local parish in San Diego of the Western American diocese.  


Епископи Максим и Кирило посетили парохију сандијешку

На дан Господњи, дан васкрсења, Недеља o блудном сину, 4. фебруара, 2018.г., Архијерејском Светом Литургијом у храму Светог Великомученика Георгија, у најјужнијем граду западне обале САД-а, Сан Дијегу, Калифорнија, началствовао је Његово Преосвештенство Епископ г. Маским уз салужење његовог брата у Христу и госта Његовог Преосвештенства Епископа диоклијског г. Кирила Бојовића и локалног парохијског свештенства, протојереја-ставрофора Велимира Петаковића, умировљеног парохијског свештеника, протојереја Братислава Кршића, старешине храма, и ђакона Павла Џермејна са парохијанима који су испред храма дочекали епископе уз поздраве празника дана Господњег и Светог ап. Тимотеја и Преподобног мученика Анастасија персијског. Окупљена деца, млада жива црква, удови тела Христовог, уручили су цвеће епископима, а потом узели учешћа у Светој Литургији појањем, служењем, и причешћем.

           За време јеванђељске омилије, Епископ (онај који надзире и води живот Цркве на одређеној локалној територији) Максим је поручио да Господ у својој љубави према нама позива нас да се повратимо у загрљај Оца нашег небеског. Црква, наша истинска Мајка, нас припрема за радосни подвиг поста, а самим тиме за прославу Празника над празницима, Пасху Господњу, која ове године пада у недељу 8. априла.         

          Епископ Кирило, викарни епископ диоклијски, који по благослову администратора Епархије буеносаирејско-јужноцентрално америчке Митрополита Амфилохија, надзире рад на оснивању и утврђивању парохија Српске Православне Цркве у Јужној Америци, је исто тако поздравио верни народ и свештенство честитајући им празник и скрећући пажњу на одељке јеванђеља који се читају у недеље пред почетак Великог поста. Задатак Цркве је да својим члановима помогне да постигну крајњи циљ живота, који је Христоликост, подсетио је Еп. Кирило.

           2018 02 04 san diego 003После Свете Литургије гости архијереји, свештенство и народ, наставили су заједничарење за време трпезе љубави у парохијској сали где је приређен кратки пригодни програм. Старешина храма, протојереј Братислав, заједно са парохијанима, уручио је чек у износу од пет хиљада долара Епископу Кирилу за његову мисионарску делатност у Јужној Америци. Наиме, парохија сандијешка је одлучила да умоли парохијане да изволе се убројати међу стотину породица које ће даривати прилог од сто долара и тако скупити десет хиљада долара за Епархију буеносаирејско-јужноцентрално америчку. Овом приликом они су стигли до пола пута овог свог трудовања.

           Поред горе поменутог свештенства слављу је био присутан и протојереј-ставрофор Божидар Драшковић, умировљени парохијски свештеник са својом породицом.

           Православна Црква је по природи мисионарска црква. Свака парохија има динамичан живот, само уколико, узима учешће у мирионарском раду, не само унутар својих парохијских територијалних граница, већ и изван њих. Ова активност уствари произилази из Евхаристијског учешћа локалне заједнице које упућује на апостолску мисију започету још у првом веку.

           Сабрање је завршено благодарном молитвом и благословом епископâ за наставак сведочења Јеванђеља у локалној парохији сандијешкој Епархије западноамеричке и широм васељене.





Bishops Maxim and Kirilo at Monastery Slava in Escondido

2018 02 03 sretenje 21

The Serbian Orthodox faithful from parishes throughout Southern California gathered at the Meeting of the Lord Monastery in Escondido, California just north of San Diego, to take part in the celebration of the Monastery Slava on Saturday, February 3, 2018. The festal celebration began with the arrival of the bishops, His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America and visiting hierarch His Grace Kirilo, Bishop of Dioclea and administrator of the Diocese of Buenos Aires and South America. Concelebrating clergy included V. Rev. Stavrophor Lazar Vasiljevic, V. Rev. Blasko Paraklis, V. Rev. Predrag Bojovic and V. Rev. Milovan Katanic. Also serving were Deacon Vladan Radovanovic and Deacon Paul Germain.

Two Slava kolaches were offered, in honor of the monastery altar feast and St. Maximus the Confessor on whose feastday the liturgy was served, Bishop Maxim's namesday. Bishop Maxim welcomed the special guest to the Diocese of Western America, His Grace Bishop Kirilo. In his homily Bishop Kirilo spoke of the quiet solitute and peaceful setting of this monastery where the faithful can come to pray and in their prayers meet the Lord. He also spoke in more detail of the theology of St. Maximus the Confessor, metioning that oftentimes the church fathers don't have a practical place in our lives. On the contrary, the bishop argued that the saint's defense of the two natures of Christ teaches us that our Christian faith is not an escapism like some eastern religions but involves, first of all, our free will as well as the participation of our whole being in our union with God, our salvation.

An agape meal was served for all clergy and faithful following the Divine Liturgy. Afterward, on their way to San Diego where they would celebrate the Divine Liturgy the next day, Bishop Kirilo visited St. Petka Serbian Orthodox Church in San Marcos where the host priest gave him a short history of the parish and hosted them for a short visit in the parish house.



Vicar Bishop of South America Visits Phoenix, Arizona

2018 01 28 phoenix 005This year’s annual Patronal Feast Day – Slava Celebration on Sunday, January 28th, 2018 at St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, Arizona, was very special in many ways, but most of all on the account of the visit of their Graces Bishop Maksim and Bishop Kirilo.  Bishop Kirilo was elected as hierarch almost four years ago as a Vicar Bishop to His Eminence Amfilohije of Montenegro, with a special appointment to take care of our Church in South America, for the first time visited Phoenix as a part of his larger North American tour.  

Fr. Dragomir, St Sava Parish Priest, Fr. Stanislav St. Nicholas Parish Priest, and Fr. Jovan Katanic Diocesan Deacon together with numerous children and faithful welcomed their Graces at the gate of the St. Sava Church property with a festive procession proceeding to the Church for the spiritually uplifting Holy Hierarchical Liturgy.  St Sava’s “Stevan Hristic” Church Choir was especially inspiring by their beautiful liturgical responses.     

At the end of Divine Liturgy, following the traditional Slava Procession around the Church, the Slava Kolac was blessed at the entrance doors of the Church surrounded by hundreds of people. Honored 2018 Slava Kumovi were Dr. Petar and Mrs. Milica Novakovic along with their children Nina, Natasa and Aleksandar.  

Following the Blessing of the Kolac, His Grace Bishop Maksim had a very special presentation.  He honored Parish Priest Fr. Dragomir by elevating him to the Rank of Protopresbyter-stavrophor.  Fr. Dragomir humbly thanked His Grace and asked all the faithful to proceed to the hall for the festive banquet prepared for all guests.

St. Sava Children prepared a wonderful program under the direction of Church School Teacher and St. Sava Program Director, Katarina Stanisic.  Besides reciting traditional poems, the children sang exceptionally beautifully accompanied by pianist Miss Isidora Jovanovic, Arizona State University doctoral candidate.  All four ensembles of KUD Gavrilo Prinicip performed for the program finale.

The next morning, on Monday January 29th, His Grace Bishop Kirilo first visited St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery near Phoenix accompanied with Fr. Dragomir.  He briefly met with Elder and Monastery Founder Fr. Ephrem, and afterwards he was received by Abott Paisus when many gifts were exchanged.  

In the evening of that same day, many faithful from St Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Phoenix had a chance to welcome their Graces Bishop Maksim and Kirilo at their Church.  An elegant dinner was prepared at the St. Nicholas hall in their honor, followed by a special evening talk with the Hierarchs.  His Grace Bishop Kirilo beautifully talked about many aspects of our faith and also about the life and struggles of the Serbian Church in South America.  



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