Diocesan News

Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Institute - Day Three

day three orthinst featureSan Diego, CA - Following Orthros on the third day of the Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Institute the fourth session, entitled "The Stages of the Spiritual Life", began with an introductory word from the moderator Monk Siluan. Fr. Maximos spent the majority of the morning session reading from selected texts of St. Maximos' writings, more specifically, selections from his Questions to Thalassios. This was followed by questions and answers resulting in a lively discussion. More discussion continued after a short break which began with a word of clarification by Fr. Maximos on the passions in light of the teachings and writings of St. Maximos the Confessor.

After lunch and an hour break the afternoon talks began with Session V: Contemplation of Nature moderated by His Grace Bishop Maxim.  Session VI: Contemplation of Scripture followed. During both sessions Fr. Maximos read and discussed in detail selections from St. Maximos' Ambiguum 10 which deals with contemplation. Fr. Maximos' comments on the text provoked questions and discussion that lasted until the late afternoon.

Dinner was served after Vespers. As dinner was coming to a close, the host priest Fr. Bratso Krsic called everyone's attention to two guests from the St. Nicholas parish in Indianapolis, Indiana who sang two selections, one a folk song and the other dedicated to St. Mardarije. In the main hall afterwards Fr. Maximos was given a final opportunity to take questions.

Closing the third day of the Institute was a special treat for all the visiting clergy and laity as the Morava vocal ensemble peformed a few numbers.


Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Institute - Day Two

sts sebastian mardarije institute feature day2San Diego, CA - The first full day of the Institute began on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 with the celebration of Orthros followed by coffee and refreshments. The first session of the Institute followed: Virture and Knowledge in the Theology of St. Maximos the Confessor. In the first session Fr. Maximos introduced the works and the complexity of the writings of St. Maximos the "father of Byzantine theology".  The session continued after a short break with a lively discussion. After lunch and a short break two sessions followed. The first was entitled "A Failed Worldview" was held, led by Fr. Maximos and moderated by Segurd Lefsrud. Afterward Fr. Damascene moderated the session "The Fall and Its Consequence" after which Fr. Gregory Edwards moderated "Reason".  The afternoon sessions  provoked much discussion.

The afternoon sessions lasted straight to the time alotted for Vespers. After the evening service everyone proceeded to the tented area behind the church hall for dinner. The keynote address took place in the hall after dinner. Entitled, "St. Maximos the Confessor: The Search for Truth", Fr. Maximos spoke on man's desire to seek, quoting Aristole "all men by nature desire to know"; it is the calling and impulse of man to search for the meaning of his existence. Archaeological discoveries of paintings on rock walls 40,000 years old, for example, prove that man has always had this yearing for meaning, truth, beauty. It is in man's nature. This, however, has come under attack so that symbols are in the process of being deconstructed since there is no real meaning in them for meaning is in the mind. The idea of beauty, for instance, is in the eye of the beholder. Things that stood as markers for beauty and virtue and good are now arbitrary. Fr. Maximos continued on, pointing out that if man is looking for God it must be true that God is looking for man. Thus, those who assert that life is meaningless are correct. That is, apart from God everything is meaningless. He gave an illustrative example of a porcelain vase. Scientists can examine such a vase and tell us every detail about it based on their research and all of it would be correct. But they could never tell us that this vase was given as a wedding gift. Drawing on this example, Fr. Maximos noted, if we don't see this world as a gift in the framework of our relationship with God then it is meaningless. This, he added, we see in the liturgy where we take the gifts from God and given them back to Him. Additionally, and in light of the liturgy, he spoke of another aspect, that is, when in the liturgy we sing, "We have seen the true light...". Though this might be true, most of us have not made that light our own. In this search for truth man is not limited to a knowledge soley through the reading of books in which one reads of another's experiences. Rather, it involves change, it involves practice. As St. Maximos wrote, "knowledge of fire does not warm the body". This search for truth is not merely cognitive but must, in the first place, be practiced.

After a brief discusssion the first full day of the Institute concluded with the singing of "Dostojno Jest".


Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Institute Begins in San Diego

 sts sebastian mardarije institute featureSan Diego, CA - The second annual St. Sebastian and St. Mardarije Ecclesial Orthodox Institute began on Monday, February 22, 2016, the leaving-taking of the Meeting of the Lord.  His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America and St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in San Diego, California are host to this year's event held in cooperation with the Clergy Brotherhood of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Registration in the late afternoon hours, followed by Vespers, marked the beginning of this year's event. At the conclusion of Vespers Bishop Maxim addressed all the clergy and laity in attendance with his warm words of welcome, expressing his joy at seeing not only so many clergy but also lay people who have come out of their great desire to learn more of their Orthodox faith. His Grace expressed his great joy in welcoming this year's speaker Fr. Maximos Constas. Formerly Associate Professor of Theology at Harvard Divinity School Fr. Maximos is currently Senior Research Scholar at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. 

A wine tasting and cheese reception followed dinner.

Храмовна Слава у Лас Вегасу

06У Недељу митара и фарисеја 21.фебруара 2016 године парохијска заједница у Лас Вегасу прославила је Крсну Славу и спомен свога заштитника, светог оца нашег Симеона Мироточивог, коме је и посвећен храм у изградњи у овом граду у држави Невади.
Прослава је почела у суботу 20.фебруара дочеком Епископа западноамеричког г. Максима,  и служењем Вечерњег богослужења, након којег је уприличена вечера у црквеној сали. 
Сутрадан у Недељу служено је Јутарње богослужење , а у наставку Света Архијерејска Литургија, коју је служио преосвећени Епископ г. Максим уз саслужење протојереја-ставрофора о. Лазара Васиљевића, протојереја-ставрофора о.Уроша Тодоровића, протојереја о. Драгомира Тубе архијерејског намјесника финишком, јереја Милана Унковића надлежног пароха, те ђакона Зорана Алексића и ђакона Озрена Тодоровића из Лас Вегаса.
Након прочитаног Светог Јеванђеља пастирском бесједом верном народу обратио се њихов духовни архипастир Епископ Максим. 
У току Свете Литургије Епископ Максим у чин протођакона произвео је парохијског ђакона у Лас Вегасу о.Озрена Тодоровића .
Након Светог Причешћа и завршетка Свете Литургије у црквеној сали Епископ Максим преломио је Славски Колач заједно са кумом славе г. Доном Брковићем , децом и народом.
У току ручка који су припремиле чланице Кола српских сестара на челу са госпођом Вером Малешевић уприличен је и славски програм у коме су учествовала деца из црквене Школе и Фолклорног друштва Цркве у Лас Вегасу. Парохијанима који су присуствовали ручку поздравним говором обратили су се и отац Драгомир Туба , као и свештеник Грчке Православне Цркве светог Јована Крститеља у Лас Вегасу отац Џон Хондрос.
Истога дана Епископ Максим благословио је и земљиште у црквеном дворишту, на коме ће бити изграђен фудбалски терен и игралиште за дјецу , те благословио новоосновано спортско друштво Свети Симеон , које дјела при нашој парохији.
Прослава Славе настављена је свенародним весељем парохијана , који се са великом љубављу труде и помажу изградњу предивног храма Светог Симеона Мироточивог.

Молитвама Светог Оца нашег Симеона Господе Исусе Христе Боже наш помилуј нас!

јереј Милан Унковић

Slava of Sretenje Monastery in Southern California

sretenje monastery slava 2016Escondido,CA - The Meeting of the Lord Monastery, located in the rocky hills of Escondido, California just north of San Diego, celebrated its Monastery Slava on Saturday, February 20, 2016. The festal celebration began with the arrival of the diocesan bishop, His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America. Concelebrating with His Grace at the Divine Liturgy were V. Rev. Stavrophor Lazar Vasiljevic, V. Rev. Blasko Paraklis, V. Rev. Bratislav Krsic and V. Rev. Milovan Katanic. Also serving were Deacon Zoran Aleksic, Deacon Paul Germain and Deacon David-John Williams.  At the conclusion of the liturgy and after the blessing of the Slava kolach and koljivo His Grace addressed the clergy and faithful and spoke of the joy of the feast of the Meeting of Lord, touching upon our own meeting with God at the eucharistic celebration and our meeting, our encounters with one another, our neighbors.

An agape meal was served for all clergy and faithful following the Divine Liturgy.

Presentation of the Monograph "The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija" in Oxford

naslovnaOn February 14, St Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality in Oxford hosted a promotion of a truly splendid production—monograph on The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija. Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Bishop Maxim of Western America and Prof. Olivera Popovic from Oxford University spoke about this volume.

Bishop Maxim gave a clear and helpful introduction to the book and to its purpose describing it as “a work of love”. The book itself is very beautifully prepared, and most of the articles are very moving, bearing witness to the sufferings of the Serbian people but also to their desire for peace and the finding of a way ahead which conserves the spiritual tradition of the Church and acknowledges the long history of Kosovo as the cradle of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Kallistos welcomed everybody at the launching of this, as he said, “fascinating volume with many learned and informative articles but also colored illustrations of very high standard.” He recalled visits that he made to Kosovo (first in 1970 and in 2014). Although the history of Serbia from the 14th century is a history of martyrdom, the heritage has not been destroyed and he expressed his belief that the Serbian will continue to be faithful to its heritage, that the memory of Kosovo will continue to flourish. With reference to the testimony of the book, which according to him is “a definitive book on the Christian heritage of Kosovo and Metohija”, Metropolitan said that we need to remember that beauty is a quality of God and of Christian life. And there is much that is beautiful to which the book bears witness.

Metropolitan Kallistos presented the book to the Bodleian Library, the main research library of the University of Oxford and one of the oldest libraries in Europe.

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