Diocesan News

Bishop Maxim Ordains Reader Nektari Rodrequez to the Deaconate

2017 07 30 reno 005St. John the Baptist Serbian Orthodox Church in Reno, Nevada, celebrated the elevation of one of its own beloved members to the diaconate on Sunday, July 30. 

The parish celebrated the ordination of Nektari Rodriquez to the diaconate with calls of “Axios.” Deacon Nektari was previously a reader, tonsured in 2012. 

His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in America made his archpastoral visit to the Reno parish over the weekend accompanied by Deacon Dragan Stojanovich and his wife Victoria from St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Jackson, California. Bishop Maxim conferred the ordination during the hierarchical Divine Liturgy. After the ordination, His Grace reminded those in attendance that in the Byzantine iconographic tradition deacons have long been compared to the angels who perfectly carry out God’s will and that becoming a member of the clergy is not an individualistic achievement or attainment for the one being ordained, but is a part of the communal life of the church, for the benefit of that communal life. 

Deacon Nektari, in addition to being a reader and altar server, has also been integral to the parish’s ministry to prisoners at the Lovelock Correctional Center, a state prison in the desert about an hour to the west of Reno. He and Fr. James Barfield make monthly visits to a growing group of prisoners, some of whom have been baptized in recent years. 

After the Divine Liturgy, Bishop Maxim joined St. John’s parish members and visitors for a barbecue feast. The festivities included songs from several different people, including a beautiful selection from the bishop. 

Deacon Nektari spoke during the feast, expressing love toward everyone gathered and thanking them for their support. He also introduced his two sisters, who he met for the first time only a few months earlier and who came from California to witness the special event.



Camp Saint Sava 2017 in Jackson, CA


2017 07 21 campstsava 01The Diocesan Summer Camp continues to operate at full capacity!! Large numbers of parents and counselors have volunteered to serve each week. We have had some notable new members of our Diocesan clergy who have attended this year’s camp. Rev. Fr. Stephen Tumbas also did great job!



Our Holy Hierarch, Father Mardarije, pray unto God for us!

mardarije glorification 7 16Hierarchal Liturgy and Vigil service on the occasion of the celebration of Saint Mardarije of Libertyville and All-America was held on 15 July 2017.

Photo Gallery


patriarch stsava ny jul152017 01

His Holiness Patriarch Irinej, head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, while on a stopover in New York on his way the canonization of St. Mardarije in Libertyville, visited the site of Saint Sava Cathedral which was devastated in a fire on Pascha last year.

The Serbian Patriarch was met at the Cathedral site by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of America.

His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America, the diocesan hierarch, accompanied the Patriarch and Archbishop, and briefed them on reconstruction plans during the visit.

Clergy and representatives of the local parish community were also present to greet the Patriarch.

Photos Credit: Dimitrios Panagos - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese



patriarch airserbiaThursday, July 13th - His Holiness Patriarch Irinej, 44th successor of Saint Sava on the primatial Throne of the Serbian Orthodox Church, has arrived in New York en route to Chicago, where he will lead celebrations this weekend for the canonization of Saint Mardarije of Libertyville and All-America.

The AirSerbia direct flight connecting Belgrade and New York which carried Patriarch Irinej, operated by an A330 aircraft named after "Nikola Tesla," landed at JFK International Airport at 11:39 AM local time.

The Patriarch and his delegation will continue their onward journey to Chicago accompanied by His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America.

Fresno Parish Celebrates Slava

fresnoslava2017 08St. Peter the Apostle parish’s 66th annual commemoration of Ss. Peter and Paul (Petrovdan) was held on Sunday, July 9.   This day, at which we gather to honor our patron saint, is always a day of great joy.

On this very warm summer day here in the heart of California’s Central Valley, we gathered as a Eucharistic parish community which has been mystically identified with Ss. Peter & Paul—through Christ—to specifically ask them to intercede in our behalf, and to glorify God  “who is wonderful in His saints.”  Our beloved Bishop Maxim was greeted at the entrance of the parish temple by the parish rector Protopresbyter Stavrophor George Gligich, visiting priest Father John Mikitish, from New Haven, CT. and Deacon Joseph Wesseler, a recent graduate from St. Vladimir’s Seminary.  Deacon Joseph, who was from our St. Peter parish, was ordained at the Seminary by His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America, with the blessing of Bishop Maxim on Lazarus Saturday.  This was Bishop Maxim’s first opportunity to celebrate the Hierarchical Liturgy with his newest deacon.

Led by the altar servers into the temple, His Grace was greeted with the singing of “It is Truly Meet...” by the parish Youth Choir under the direction of Maria Briggs. The Youth Choir and St. Peter’s Choir (directed by Djakonitsa Peggy Matthews) sang antiphonally throughout the Liturgy adding to the joy of our Eucharistic gathering.  At the conclusion of the Liturgy the Litya procession around the church with the reading of the Gospel and sanctification with Holy Water took place.  Upon reentering the temple the Slava Bread and Wheat were blessed.  This year the Kumovi for the Slava were the Epperson Family, Jason and Lamia together with their children Braeden, Mason and Leila.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy His Grace warmly and lovingly greeted Father George and all of the faithful on the celebration of our Slava and the joy that he was filled with on being able to share this day with us.  Father George welcomed His Grace expressing the blessing of having our beloved archpastor once again in our midst.

Joining us for the Slava banquet in the parish hall were Father Jim and Presvytera Donna Pappas from the neighboring St. George Greek Orthodox Church.  They are also godparents for the Epperson children, our Slava Kumovi.  During the banquet the Parish Council presented the Epperson Family with an Icon the Holy Apostle Peter for their many years of service to the parish.  Jason and Lamia expressed their gratitude for being honored, the blessing it has been to work with the many children in our church school for over twenty years, and the love that they had for each and every parishioner.

During the banquet, Maria Briggs who is a professor of voice at California State University at Fresno presented a concert of various Russian songs, while also beautifully playing the piano.  At the conclusion of the banquet the St. Peter Youth Scholarship in the amount of $1000 was presented by Andrej Romanenko to graduating His School Senior Faith Bundros.  Faith is the daughter of parishioners Christopher and Shirley Bundros and had numerous academic honors from Clovis High School as well as outstanding participation in the activities and worship of our parish community.

The banquet was prepared by Ernie and Cheryl Duran and their dedicated committee and we our grateful to them.  This was truly a special day in the life of our parish community.  We thank God and through the intercessions of the Holy Apostles for His continued mercy and love for our parish!


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