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The Serbian Orthodox Church
to her spiritual children at Christmas, 2021
By the Grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Christmas greeting:
PEACE FROM GOD! CHRIST IS BORN!
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
St. Luke 2:14
We know that the birth of Bethlehem’s Divine Child is at the center of the world’s history and that the Christian wreath of values is founded upon the salvation of mankind in our Lord Jesus Christ. The birth of the God-Man surpasses even the creation of the world, for with the arrival of God’s Light in the world, under the arch of a humble cave near God’s city of Jerusalem, mankind was enlightened by the possibility of eternal life. In the Light which has shone forth in darkness but which has not been overcome by the darkness (cf. St. John 1:5), Christian culture and civilization have blossomed. The New Adam has replaced the old one so that the Holy Spirit renews the entire creation through Him. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation”, exclaims the Apostle Paul, “the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) In this spirit the Evangelist John gives us the glad tidings that everything has come into existence through God’s Logos (St. John 1:1-3), Who took upon Himself human nature and restored the communion between God and mankind, making the covenant between them eternal.
Love, dear brothers and sisters, is the primordial mover of all the events in the history of salvation, and especially in the coming of the Christ Child, the little God, into the world at Christmas, so that we can only experience the beauty and strength of today’s Feast Day with pure love. Moved by love, God created the world and mankind. Guided by love, He came down amongst us, causing humanity to receive into its bosom the Divine, as well as causing the Uncreated to embrace the perishable. In all the wisdom of the Holy Fathers of the Church, the central thread stands out that the Son of God became one of us so that by grace we may become what He is. God's love made the created world, not to be overcome or destroyed by divine power in the God-Man Christ, but to be healed and saved by following the narrow path of the Lord's humility. That is why in today's festal joy, it is important to understand that the birth of the God-Man in the humble cave of Bethlehem invites us to true love, imbued with a sincere sense of brotherhood among people. Hence, the joy of the feast day should be nourished by the nobility of our Christian witness, love guided by our care for others, and not the selfish illusions of communal life that the global culture, especially in these holidays, uses for commercial purposes, without bringing true peace and pure joy. Let us, therefore, draw near to each other by entering into the humility of Bethlehem’s cave, and let us see that the Son of God was born to show us that we need each other, God to man and man to God, friend to friend and relative to relative, everyone to everybody, for the one without the other cannot exist! Let us not burden ourselves with the question of who is our neighbor, but instead of evaluating what others are doing towards us, let us ask ourselves to whom are we neighbors and what are we doing for others. Let us, therefore, be neighbors to everyone to whom we are directed by the measure of Christ’s love.
If this principle of love comes to life in us, we will, in this world which deeply yearns for love, have germinated the sprout of salvation and will nurture it. There is no true and eternal love without Christ the Savior in Whom God’s love toward man and man’s love toward God have met and united. Saint Justin of Celije’s thought that only love has the fragrance of immortality, for its fragrance is that of God resounds with the power of the Gospel. Love teaches us the possibility of growth in God and eternal life in Christ’s love. If we neglect Christ’s love within us, we fall into a tragic dead end, but if we renew it with effort and grace, we grow towards the fullness of life. The source of spiritual joy is love, the source of unconquerable moral courage amid life’s difficult trials.
Our people, who in these joyous days bring to life the tradition of exchanging God’s peace amongst themselves, have known this from ancient times. In family and neighborhood, amongst relatives and in the workplace, in all places where we find ourselves, reconciliation with God and one’s neighbors is accompanied with the ancient greeting – Peace from God, Christ is born! With this greeting the biblical prophecy of the great Isaiah is made manifest: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given… And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Let us therefore during these blessed days pray to the Lord and King of peace (cf. Hebrew 7:2), to extinguish animosity among nations, to save people throughout the world, and that He be merciful and love mankind so that we may be worthy of our ancestors according to flesh and spirit; that we be worthy of the blessing promised to us from prophets of old, given to us in the God-Man Christ.
And as we prayerfully look at each other during these holy days, the feeling that our joy is not complete smolders in our hearts. We celebrate the birth of Christ the Savior in a world filled with fear and unrest, an atmosphere of misunderstanding, mistrust, and intolerance, leading all the way to estrangement and exclusion stemming from an advanced culture of selfishness and the exhibition of individualism, essentially the leading values of the global consumer mentality. Besides this, in a world of constant change in which the only thing that is not evaded is the fear of the loss of life’s security, it is as if today’s man is not being helped by medical, industrial, and technological achievements. It seems as if our society in essence is no longer the same, for scientific and technological contributions, under the influence of informational technology, tend to change the way of communication among people, ever increasing their estrangement and loneliness. It is enough to see the insecurity surrounding curing basic illnesses, so that fear takes on an extreme existential form.
All this describes the atmosphere which was prophetically described by Ivo Andric, our Nobel laureate, who said that the real and the biggest danger is not the actual danger, but rather the fear that is within us. The Divine-Child Christ casts out that fear from us. This is witnessed by His beloved disciple John: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) But, before the Apostle of love, the message that unites many was written in the Old Testament: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) Therefore we need to search for the answer to our situation today which weighs on us in the words which our Lord Christ said to his disciples before His suffering: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (St. John 16:33) Let us rejoice, therefore, brothers and sisters, for the Victor comes to us at Christmas! Let us cast out the shade of fear, despite difficulties, and with a strong faith in God let us celebrate the birth of the God-Man, Whose New Testament name, Emanuel, strengthens us with its powerful literal meaning – God is with us. (Isaiah 7:14)
In the joy of this Christmas feast day, with explicit pastoral care and responsibility, we send our paternal greeting and prayers for our sisters and brothers in the homeland and diaspora, wherever Orthodox Serbs live, but especially to those in Kosovo and Metohija, our spiritual and national cradle. We send them the message that we know their trials are still present, but their Mother Church has always been with them, and she will continue to be so. Today we are with all of you, spiritually and prayerfully, in all places where you may be living. Every Orthodox home becomes a little Bethlehem in which the meaning of the yule log (badnjak) and the warming straw permeates us; in which together, we sing the song: “Your Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone to the world the Light of wisdom…”
With exceptional respect and gratitude we today wish a blessed and merry Christmas to all doctors and health care workers, for whom we offer our prayers to the Divine Infant Christ! We also pray for the sick and their speedy recovery, and that the epidemic that has attacked the world fades away! We also pray that we, Orthodox Christians, no longer fear for our lives and that we do not draw back in the face of the dangers which accompany the illness caused by the spread of the virus; rather, that we have a strong confidence in God, the true Physician of our souls and bodies, and that the feeling of fear stimulated by the suggested “social distancing” will not prevent us from doing that which is for the benefit of our neighbors and of the communities to which we belong in every way: spiritual, family, business. For us Orthodox Christians, this lesson has an eternal value: “You have seen the face of your brother, you have seen your God.” A centuries-long examination of our godlike nature has concluded that it is always directed towards communion with God, our brothers and sisters, and with the all of nature. The Church, therefore, calls us all during this pandemic to observe reasonable guidelines and recommendations of governmental and other relevant state and local institutions where our people live, but at the same time she reminds everyone to avoid exclusion; she calls us to respect human freedom as the highest and most valuable of God’s gifts given to mankind. Keep in mind the call of the Apostle Paul: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1) Let us remain free, but nonetheless responsible, safeguarding others and ourselves.
Confronting then the global threat of the Corona virus in this way, let us understand above all that man is created to labor in this world as the only true worker of stability and survival. Depending on the use of his free will, he may also be the only disruptive factor, the only real virus. By his disruption of human nature and violence against creation, man disturbs the magnificent harmony of everything God has created. In that sense the Corona virus, like any other virus, only reflects an incomparably deeper problem. Therefore it is, among other things, one expression of an instructional warning to man to return to the commandments of God, because when nature is violated and not lived in accordance with the order that God has established, it ceases to be our peaceful habitat. Nature remembers and suffers injustice for a long time, but sooner or later, she fights back. Nature therefore, must be respected, cherished, and preserved as God's most valuable gift.
The meaning of Christmas consists precisely in the fact that the Divine-Child Christ, in the event of His miraculous birth, once and for all gives us the possibility of restoration from our virus-like actions and the unique possibility of again restoring our relationship with God, creation and people.Let us be sober about it, listening to what the verses of John of Damascus, the great saint and church poet, tell us in the light of the Feast Day: "Heaven and earth are glad today, as the prophets said, and angels and men keep spiritual festival, for God, born of the Virgin, has appeared in the flesh to those who sit in darkness and shadow: the cave and the manger receive Him; the shepherds proclaim the wonder; the magi from the East bring gifts to Bethlehem: and with our unworthy lips we offer Him the praise of the angels: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace!”
May this day on which our Salvation and Redeemer Christ was born be happy and blessed by God. With these wishes and prayers to the Divine Infant Christ we, as a whole conciliar church body and also personally, wish you every true good in the New Year 2022.
PEACE FROM GOD - CHRIST IS BORN!
Given at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade at Christmas, 2021.
Your intercessors before the cradle of the divine Christ-Child:
Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch PORFIRIJE
Metropolitan of Dabro-Bosna
Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Coastlands JOANIKIJE
Bishop of Sabac LAVRENTIJE
Bishop of Srem VASILIJE
Bishop of Banja Luka JEFREM
Bishop of Budim LUKIJAN
Bishop of Banat NIKANOR
Bishop of New Gracanica-Midwestern America LONGIN
Bishop of Canada MITROPHAN
Bishop of Backa IRINEJ
Bishop of Great Britain and Scandinavia DOSITEJ
Bishop of Zicha JUSTIN
Bishop of Vranje PAHOMIJE
Bishop of Sumadija JOVAN
Bishop of Branicevo IGNATIJE
Bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla FOTIJE
Bishop of Mileseva ATANASIJE
Bishop of Düsseldorf and Germany GRIGORIJE
Bishop of Ras and Prizren TEODOSIJE
Bishop of Western America MAXIM
Bishop of Gornji Karlovac GERASIM
Bishop of Eastern America IRINEJ
Bishop of Krusevac DAVID
Bishop of Slavonia JOVAN
Bishop of Austria and Switzerland ANDREJ
Bishop of Bihac-Petrovac SERGIJE
Bishop of Timok ILARION
Bishop of Nis ARSENIJE
Bishop of Buenos Aires and South Central America KIRILO
Bishop of Australia and New Zealand Metropolitanate SILUAN
Bishop of Dalmatia NIKODIM
Bishop of Osek-Polje and Baranja HERUVIM
Bishop of Valjevo ISIHIJE
Bishop of Budimlje and Niksic
Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina DIMITRIJE
Vicar Bishop of Moravica ANTONIJE
Vicar Bishop of Remezijan STEFAN
Vicar Bishop of Toplica JEROTEJ
Vicar Bishop of Hvostan JUSTIN
Vicar Bishop of Mohac DAMASKIN
Vicar Bishop of Marca SAVA
Vicar Bishop of Hum JOVAN
THE ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF OCHRID:
Archbishop of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skoplje JOVAN
Bishop of Polog and Kumanovo JOAKIM
Bishop of Bregalnica MARKO
Vicar Bishop of Stobi DAVID
[Path of Orthodoxy Translation]
Српска православна заједница окупљена око виндзорске Грачанице ове године прославља 75 година свога постојања. Због тренутне епидемиолошке ситуације у нашој провинцији, ми смо се потрудили да поделимо неке лепе успомене на почетке заједнице, као и неке сачуване детаље из живота и развоја заједнице на нашим званичним друштвеним мрежама:
саму годишњицу, 29. децембра, биће служен
парастос свим свештенослужитељима, утемељивачима, ктиторима,
приложницима, добротворима и свим парохијанима Грачанице, који ће бити
преношен уживо путем
званичне црквене фејсбук странице.
On the anniversary itself, December 29, a memorial service will be held for all clergy, founders, contributors, benefactors and all parishioners of the Gracanica church, which will be broadcast live via the church’s official Facebook page.
May the Lord give rest to the souls of all those who selflessly labored around His Church and may He crown them with imperishable crowns in His Kingdom, and may God compensate all those who continue good deeds in His Church today with spiritual and physical strength and mutual love so that our deeds may be deeds of love towards God first, but also towards others.
The Gracanica Library will start to have regular open hours to sign out and receive returned books. We can have up to 4 people in the room, wearing masks, to provide for social distancing. COVID protocols followed by Windsor Public Library are implemented in our library.
The library will be open regularly bi-weekly, concurrently with Serbian Center take-out times.
Again, thank you to our wonderful volunteer Ruza Ljumovic for being present to open our Library.
On the occasion of delivering the Bishop’s gramata to teta Djuja
Dear brothers and sisters, we would like to inform you that the Board of Directors of the Gracanica church-school congregation officially received a letter in February last year in which Mrs. Đuja Kričkić (Teta Đuja) informed the Board of the Serbian Center in Windsor about her intention to retire.
As the current president of the Circle of Serbian Sisters, teta Djuja was a person who has always been active in the Circle, she was the President of the Circle on several occasions, worked tirelessly in the kitchen of the Serbian Center for over 30 years, and finally she contributed to not only the Serbian Center but to the entire Windsor’s community. For these reasons, we wished as the church community to express our gratitude, at least modestly, for teta Djuja's decades-long commitment to the mother church.As everyone knows, our wish was to organize a banquet in the Serbian Center on March 15th last year on this occasion. The news that our Bishop, His Grace Bishop of Canada Dr. Mitrofan, confirmed his presence at this event, were received with a particular joy. Unfortunately, due to the restrictive measures that were more or less in force from exactly one year ago, we were forced to postpone the festive banquet until a better time, hopefully soon. However, our gratitude to teta Đuja and all the hard-working and deserving people who have been incorporating themselves into our community for decades is not only through a banquet, nor simply some kind of formal expressions of gratitude. But, with the joyful act of awarding the Bishop’s gramata to teta Đuja, we thank all those who have used their God-given talents and gifts for the benefit of the community around their Serbian Orthodox Church over the past decades. That is why Fr. Vladimir Vranić in his address on this occasion pointed out that the community around the Church resembles a family, and it was especially touching that teta Djuja’s family gathered in such a large number for the first time in the Church since the restrictive measures were introduced last year.
This is just the beginning of our gratitude to you, dear teta Đuja, and not least to all those who selflessly sacrificed for the community around the Serbian Orthodox Church. Your example should serve as a shining example and encouragement to younger generations to continue to work with the same or if possible even greater zeal, for joy and spiritual benefit of their ancestors and always for the good of the Church of Christ. That is exactly why our Diocese recognizes such work and sacrifice for the Church, and the gramata brings with it the blessing of our Bishop, His Grace Bishop Mitrofan - among other things, said Fr. Vladimir Vranić.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Gracanica church-school congregation, but also on behalf of our entire community, Mr. Vladimir Pribojan, President of the Board of Directors, expressed special gratitude, handing a special gift from the Board of Directors, a medallion with the image of St. Great Martyr George (the heavenly intercessor of the Kričkić family), and then solemnly announced the news of a special surprise gift - a church chandelier with the icons of saints placed in the narthex of the temple, which the Board of Directors granted to the Church in teta Đuja’s name.
This joyous gathering was crowned with a joint prayer and consecration of the newly installed chandelier, which will adorn our church in the most beautiful way possible, as a testimony of selfless work, and love for our Church.
New to our Church store, many have asked and we're pleased to announce we have available beautiful Icons, handcrafted in Greece, on Natural Wood, with Gold Leaves and Museum print standards. Icons are packaged in a sturdy box, great for storage and gift giving.
Icons can be viewed in our store every Sunday during Liturgy.
18 x 25 cm (7.1 x 9.8 in)
18 x 40cm (7.1 x 15.8 in)
28 x 38 cm (11 x 14.9 in)
40 x 60 cm (15.75 x 23.62 in)
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Orders will be ready within 1-2 weeks.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today is the feast day dedicated to Saint Sava, the first Archbishop and Enlightener of Serbia. Why is this feast day so important for the Serbian Church? Because Saint Sava, being the spiritual father of the Serbian people, he is equal to the Apostles, he gives birth to us in spirit, just as the Apostle Paul gave birth to the first Christian Church in spirit (Gal. 4:19). Indeed, there is no Serb who has more children, and lo, he gives birth to all of them in spirit.
Then our holy Church celebrates Saint Sava because he is a saint whom God glorified and exalted because of his love for God, because of his love for his people, but not least for his love for all the nations. Indeed, there is no Serb who loved his own people, as well as all other peoples, and who did more for his people than Saint Sava, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, he still continues and will always do good to the whole nation dedicated to God through Christ.
The Holy Serbian Church still celebrates Saint Sava because he is the true enlightener, having enlightened his own people, taught them the true faith in one true God, who came down from heaven for our sake and for the sake of our salvation and became man (see the Nicene Creed). Saint Sava taught that God willed so to become one of us, that He was crucified and died, but He rose from the dead, conquered death and gave life to the world and gave it to all the nations. Indeed, St. Sava is a Serb to be emulated, to whom we should always turn, to whom we should return and whose name should be engraved in our hearts.The Church was born among the Serbian people, brothers and sisters, but it so happened with the faith and work of Saint Sava. His faith was crowned and confirmed by the Lord Christ with the same words with which he confirmed the faith of the Apostle Peter when he said to him: And I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church (Mt. 16,18). Therefore, on that rock, he did not say on a man, because God does not build his Church on a man, but on the faith (the confession that Jesus of Nazareth is The Christ, The Son of The Living God), as Saint John Chrysostom teaches us. The Serbian Church, dear brothers and sisters, is the fruit of faith, sacrifice, love and the work of the holiest man of the Serbian nation. And what is that faith? It is the same faith that enlightened and sanctified him. This is the faith that the apostle Peter professed with the words: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16). And why do we say for faith to be the rock? Because on the faith, like on the rock, God promised to build His Church? Because all the saints and martyrs of the Church of Christ through their faith testify that to us from the beginning until today; that is why we remember them and that is why we celebrate them. If the Church had been built on something other than faith, it would have collapsed a long time ago. But, attacked from all sides, the Church of Christ still stands unshakably and firmly, relying on one and the same faith and confession of the holy and righteous people, the holy favored ones of God, from the beginning to this day. For the sake of his faith, the equal to the apostles Saint Sava also heard the words of the Lord: On that stone I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.So, where does the suffering come from, we ask ourselves today, if not even the gates of hell will overcome the Church? Sufferings are there, dear brothers and sisters, for the power of God to be manifested. Because if no one had fought against the Church and if no one attacked the Church today, someone could even say that it has been defeated and conquered. Sufferings are there, not to show the powerlessness of the Church or those who suffer, but to show the power of God and the perseverance of faith. And today, dear brothers and sisters, we are witnesses of the perseverance of that unwavering and indestructible faith of Saint Sava, that rock on which Christ builds His Church. There was and will be a war against the Church, storms were rising and there will still be a storm, but the Church always remained undefeated. The church stands steadfast as a lamp to the world, as a city that stands on a mountain and cannot be hidden (Matt. 5:14).
The Lord Christ did not say that the gates of hell will not attack her, but the gates of hell will not overcome her.All of us Orthodox Christians gather around that faith, that rock, that fortress. The faith of Saint Sava is the cornerstone on which the Lord Christ builds his Church among the Serbian people, and we are called to preserve and further it. Let us also incorporate ourselves into Saint Sava's faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Bearing in mind the greatness of the One who founded the Church of our martyred people, that is, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the one on whose faith He founded it, that is, the faith of holy father Sava equal to the apostles, let us than offer at least a grain of faith in the Church of God, for which the Lord says that even the gates of hell will not prevail against it, so that at least with that grain of faith, through God's grace, and through the prayers and love of our holy father Sava, we too may be worthy of future treasures - grace and philanthropy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, power and honor together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amin.
У име Оца и Сина и Светога Духа.
Данас је Свети Сава. Зашто је овај празник толико важан за Српску Цркву? Зато што је Свети Сава равноапостолни родитељ српског народа, јер нас рађа духом, баш као што је и св. апостол Павле рађао духом прву Цркву хришћанску (Гал. 4:19). Заиста, нема Србина који има више деце, а гле све их рађа духом.
Затим наша света Црква прославља Светог Саву јер је светитељ кога је Господ прославио и узвисио због његове љубави према Богу, љубави према своме народу, али и према свим другим народима. Заиста, нема Србина који је више волео свој народ али и све друге народе, и који је више учинио за свој народ од Светог Саве, а он још увек чини и увек ће чинити добро васцелом народу.
Света Српска Црква још прославља Светог Саву јер је Просветитељ, просветивши свој народ научио га правој вери у једног истинитог Бога, који је ради нас људи и ради нашег спасења сишао с небеса и постао човек (види Никео-цариградски Символ Вере). Свети Сава је учио да је Бог постао један од нас и да је распет и да је умро, али је васкрсао, смрт победио и живот свету и свим народима даровао. Заиста, ето Србина у кога треба гледати, коме се треба враћати, коме се треба обраћати и чије име у срцима нашим треба уклесати.
Црква се родила у српском народу, браћо и сестре, али се то догодило вером и трудом Светог Саве. Његову веру Господ Христос је овенчао и потврдио истим оним речима којим је потврдио и веру апостола Петра када му је рекао: А и ја теби кажем да си ти Петар, и на томе камену сазидаћу Цркву своју, и врата пакла неће је надвладати (Мт. 16,18). На том камену дакле, а није рекао на човеку, јер не гради Цркву своју Господ на човеку већ на вери, како нас учи и свети Јован Златоусти. Српска Црква је, драга браћо и сестре, плод вере, жртве, љубави и труда најсветијег човека рода нашег. А која је то вера? То је иста она вера која је њега просветила и прославила. То је вера коју је апостол Петар исповедио речима: Ти си Христос Син Бога живога (Мт. 16). А, зашто кажемо за камен да је вера, јер на вери као камену Господ каже да гради своју Цркву? Зато што нам о томе сведоче сви светитељи и мученици Цркве Христове од почетка до данас и зато их се сећамо и зато их прослављамо. Да је Црква на нечему другом, а не на вери, била грађена, одавно би се урушила. Али, нападана са свих страна Црква Христова и даље непоколебиво и чврсто стоји, ослањајући се на веру светих праведника, светих угодника Божјих. Своје вере ради је и равноапостолни Свети Сава чуо речи Господње: На том камену сазидаћу Цркву своју, и врата пакла неће је надвладати.
Па откуд онда страдања, питамо се ми данас, ако је ни врата пакла неће надвладати? Страдања су ту, драга браћо и сестре, да се пројави сила Божја. Јер да нико није војевао против Цркве и да данас нико не напада Цркву, могао би неко и да каже да је савладана и побеђена. Страдања су ту, не да се покаже немоћ Цркве или оних који страдају, већ да би се пројавила сила Божја и истрајавање вере. И ми данас, драга браћо и сестре, сведоци смо истрајавања те непоколебиве и неуништиве светосавске вере, тог камена на којој Христос гради своју Цркву. Против Цркве се ратовало и ратоваће се, буре су се дизале и још ће бура бити, али је Црква остала непобеђена. Црква непоколебиво стоји као светиљка свету, као град који на гори стоји и не може бити сакривен (Мт. 5:14).
Господ Христос није рекао врата пакла је неће нападати, већ врата пакла неће је надвладати.
Сви ми Православни хришћани, окупљамо се око те вере, тога камена, око тога бедема, драга браћо и сестре. Вера Светог Саве је камен темељац на којем Господ Христос гради своју Цркву у српском народу, а ми смо позвани да је надограђујемо и одржавамо. Уградимо и ми себе у светосавску веру у Господа Христа. Имајући на уму величину онога који је Цркву нашег мученичког народа основао, дакле Господа Христа, и онога на чијој је вери основао, дакле, Светог равноапостолног родитеља нашег Саву, понудимо и ми макар зрно вере у Цркву Божју, за коју сам Господ обећава да је ни врата пакла неће надвладати, е да бисмо се макар тим зрном вере, милошћу Божјом и молитвама и љубављу Светог оца нашег Саве, и ми удостојили будућих блага - благодати и човекољубља Господа нашег Исуса Христа, коме заједно са Оцем и Светим Духом нека буде слава сила и част, сада и увек и у векове векова. Амин.
Thank you to Manojlo Seslija, for cutting and bringing in the church badnjak and Protinica Katarina, Jovan and Antonina for decorating the badnjak and church, Kolo Srpskih Sestara for bringing in the Poinsettias, Jovan Keca for providing all the badnjak branches (over 375!) for the Badnjak Drive true, and Cuckovic family for donating the walnuts that all of us enjoyed in our take out bags.
Thank you to the newly formed Serbian Orthodox Youth Association of Windsor-Essex, “SerbClub” for their efforts in preparing the badnjak for our community, handing them out on Badnji Dan, and delivering them to our senior Church members.
SOYA “SerbClub” is a new initiative in our community, to create a group and community for youth, revitalize the programs available to our youth, and to unite and support the Serbian Orthodox Churches in Windsor. SerbClub is a group for young Orthodox people to gather, socialize, create friendships, learn, travel, and more.
SerbClub’s mission is to unite the Serbian Orthodox youth of Windsor by actively engaging in meaningful discussions, fun social activities, and events surrounding Serbian Orthodox faith, religion, culture and heritage.
They are inviting all Orthodox youth ages 14 and older to join their group. You can find more information about the group, and sign up on their website https://www.soyawindsor.com/sign-up
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,
Has shown to the world the light of wisdom…
Dear brothers and sisters,
Here we are during the Nativity fast, with which we should prepare as worthily as possible for the feast of the Nativity of Christ, when it was truly shown that God, Emmanuel, is with us. This year, we will not, , celebrate this holiday of joy, this holiday of the household church, as we are accustomed due to the pandemic of COVID19 virus, which has spread all over the world.
Many ask us: How will we celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays this year? We answer them: As best we can. That is, as time and conditions allow. First of all, let us celebrate spiritually, as much as we can or are allowed, by participating in the Holy Worship Services, and especially in the Holy Liturgy, and partaking of the Holy Sacraments.
This is not the only time the Church has found itself in difficult times. Who knows how many times the Christians of the first centuries had to secretly celebrate in the catacombs, hiding from the Roman emperors and persecutors? Or, how did our ancestors celebrate these holidays during centuries of Ottoman slavery? And only God knows what diseases existed. They had to fight them too.
Here is how St. Dionysius of Alexandria writes about the plague: "Many of our brothers, out of great love, not caring for their own lives, take care of each other, visit the sick, attend to them constantly, heal them for Christ's sake; they died voluntarily with them, taking upon themselves their sufferings, washing out their wounds with devotion. Many of those who worked so hard for the sick and restored their health, themselves died … And this kind of death out of piety and firm faith is nothing less than martyrdom. They took the bodies of the saints with their hands and held them on their knees, closed their eyes and mouths, carried them on their backs like children, arranged them, attended to them, washed and clothed them. "
Let's compare that time with our time. Nothing is different. Are there not even today such wonderful examples of doctors and medical staff in hospitals, nursing homes and monasteries, who laid down and are laying down their lives to save others, regardless of religion, nation, race or class? They truly affirm the words of Christ: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). There is no greater gift to Christ than that gift! There is no greater virtue than love (I Cor. 13: 1-3). Our faith should work through love (Gal. 5: 6). For faith without works is dead (James 2:26).
This virus took away our first hierarch, the quiet and calm, of blessed memory Patriarch Irinej, the very respected and tireless of blessed memory Metropolitan Amfilohije, and faithful Bishop Milutin of blessed memory, several priests and many believers. Eternal memory to them and may God grant the forgiveness of their sins!
Dear brothers and sisters,
Let us take care of ourselves and let us take care of our neighbours. By protecting ourselves, we protect them as well, by not exposing them to danger. And they, guarding themselves, will guard us. If we cannot burn the Yule Log, let our faith in Christ burn in our hearts. If we cannot embrace one another, let us warm our hearts with love and prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ, for all those who suffer and perish. That is how we welcome His Birth. If we cannot celebrate our patron saints according to our Serbian custom, let us sincerely pray to our Defender with the hope that next year it will be more beautiful and festive.
Wishing you great physical and spiritual health, in order to overcome all these troubles, before these bright Christmas and New Year holidays, we send you heartfelt greetings with these joyous words:
PEACE FROM GOD! CHRIST IS BORN!
A HAPPY AND GOD BLESSED 2021!
Your intercessor before the Divine Child Christ,
BISHOP OF CANADA
Драга браћо и сестре,
Имајући у виду лошу тренутну ситуацију у вези са ширењем вируса Covid 19, а према упутствима надлежних институција за сузбијање вируса и по благослову Његовог Преосвештенства Епископа др Митрофана, желимо да поделимо са вама важну вест да ће се у нашем храму, Боже здравља, наставити богослужбени живот и наше молитве за све нас, али до даљњега без присуства верних у храму током богослужења. Ово је тешко време за све нас, али Црква Христова зна и за неупордиво тежа искушења, из којих је увек излазила само јача. Нека би дао Бог да тако буде и сада.
У исто време желимо да вас обавестимо да ће током богослужења верни моћи долазити у припрату ради прислуживања свећа (због ограниченог простора у припрати и како би други могли да прислуже свеће, молимо вас да се избегава дуже задржавање). Такође, уколико нисмо у могућности да дођемо, група младих људи посвећених нашој Цркви и нашој заједници омогућила нам је и да у нашем храму свећа буде молитвено прислужена у наше име. На томе смо им посебно благодарни. Вашу жељу да свећа буде молитвено прислужена и намену можете остварити кликом овде https://www.gracanicawindsor.com/apps/webstore/
Сва богослужења ће бити и даље доступна преко нашег званичног Facebook налога. Трудићемо се да најважнија богослужења буду видљива и доступна преко друштвених мрежа све док буду трајале рестриктивне мере, како бисмо остали у молитвеном јединству макар на овај начин.
Свесни смо да је време празникâ и славâ, те вас молимо да за освећење жита и колача у храму и све духовне потребе контактирате оца Владимира на један од котаката ради заказивања (firstname.lastname@example.org, или тел. 226-340-5115).
Унапред вам благодаримо на разумевању и подршци. Молимо се да Господ чува све нас увек, а нарочито током овог посебно изазовног времена.
С искреном љубављу у Господу,
Dear brothers and sisters,
Considering the unfavorable current situation regarding the spread of the Covid 19 virus, and according to the instructions of the competent institutions for the suppression of the virus, as well as with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrofan, we would like to share with you the important message that, with God’s help, in our church the liturgical life and our prayers for all of us will continue, however without the presence of the faithful in the church during worship until further notice. This is a difficult time for all of us, but the ever-triumphant Church of Christ also knows about the incomparably more difficult temptations, only to always come out stronger. May God grant it so now as well.
At the same time, we would like to inform you that during the services, the faithful will be able to come to the narthex (patio) to light candles (please, avoid longer stay due to limited space in the narthex and in order that others can help themselves lighting candles as well). Furthermore, in case we are not able to come in person to light a candle, a group of young people dedicated to our church and our community enabled us to have a candle prayerfully lit in our church on our behalf. We are very grateful for that. You can express your wish for the candle to be prayerfully lit on your behalf by clicking here https://www.gracanicawindsor.com/apps/webstore/
All services will continue to be available through our church’s official Facebook account. We will try to make the most important worship services visible and accessible through social networks for as long as the restrictive measures are in effect, so that we can remain in prayerful unity, at least in this way for the time being.
We are aware that it is a time of holidays and Slava celebrations, thus in order to make arrangements for the consecration of Slava Bread and Wheat, and for other spiritual needs at our church, we kindly ask you to contact Father Vladimir on one of the contacts provided (email@example.com, or Ph. 226-340-5115).
Thank you in advance for your understanding and continuous support. We pray that God will always protect us all, especially during this particularly challenging time.
With sincere love in the Lord,
The Board of Directors
Due to the circumstances and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering our parishioners the ability to have a candle lit on their behalf in our church Gracanica. When adding your candles to the cart, you may indicate your intent for the prayer while lighting the candle (prayer, for health, for sick, for departed).
All requests submitted by 5 pm on Friday will be fulfilled on that Sunday. Requests submitted after 5 pm Friday will be fulfilled on the following Sunday.Virtually light your candles in church by placing an order here! Light a Candle Request
When entering Church, the first thing people do is light a candle. Candles symbolize Light of God or the Light of Christ. In the Bible, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). He came into the world to die on the cross to save us from our sins.
When we light a candle, it helps us remember that Jesus is the light of the world. That is why we refer to it as the Light of God or the Light of Christ. Jesus brought the world out of darkness of sin and into the light by dying on the cross.
Вјечан спомен и Царство Небеско!
Archbishop of Cetinje, Metropolitan of Montenegro and Exarch of the Holy Throne of Pec, Amfilohije, after having received the Holy Sacrament of Communion, reposed in the Lord in the Clinical Hospital Center of Montenegro, on Friday, October 30, 2020, at 8.20 am, on the eve of the feast of St. Peter of Cetinje.
Eternal memory and the Kingdom of Heaven!
СВЕЧАНО ПРОСЛАВЉЕНА СЛАВА ВИНДЗОРСКЕ ГРАЧАНИЦЕ
Ове године празник Успенија Пресвете Богородице – наша храмовна Слава нешто је другачије прослављена због свих рестрикција, поводом пандемије, које су још увек на снази. Но, упркос томе, благодарни смо Богу да су баш непосредно пред празник Успенија Пресвете Богородице државне власти попустиле мере и дозволиле приступ храмовима у значајнијем броју. Ми смо са радошћу и благодарношћу примили вест и литургијски прославили празник уз учешће кумова Славе и верног народа који је био у прилици да присуствује.
Литургију је служио протонамесник Владимир Вранић уз саслуживање протојереја-ставрофора Драга Кнежевића, и умилно појање чтеца при нашем храму Брајана Пејна, који је откако су почеле ристрикције испратио свако богослужење у Грачаници, без изузетка. Овом приликом желимо да изразимо посебну благодарност чтецу Брајану Пејну, али и његовој породици на огромној жртви и посвећености. Нека им Господ узврати својим благословом свише за добро које чине.
У исто време благодаримо овогодишњим надалеко чувеним и свима драгим кумовима храмовне Славе, господину Груји (чика Лали) и госпођи Јагоди Стеванов, на дивно организованој прослави, упркос свим изазовима око пандемије. Посебно је било дирљиво видети и присутне кумове прошлогодишње Славе господина Јована и госпођу Зорку Брујић, како присуствују моменту када кумови овогодишње Славе уручују део колача кумовима за следећу годину господину Ђорђу и госпођи Сузани Величковић. Тај моменат ће остати записан као најлепше могуће сведочанство о лепоти и благослову, али и важности и одговорности кумства и као светао пример млађим генерацијама.
На крају свете Литургије, уручене су дипломе ученицима црквене школе који су завршили осми разред, с надом да ће се увек сећати да су духовно поникли и духовно стасавали у Српској Православној Цркви, те да, имајући то у виду, никада неће заборавити своје корене и своју заједницу. За све то и много више, благодаримо Venture Labels Printing Company, као и директорки Црквене школе госпођи Мирјани Вујановић-Кнежевић, јер много тога чине могућим у неретко немогућим условима.
Иако наизглед мирнија, оно ни у ком случају не можемо рећи скромнија прослава храмовне Славе, јер је Литургијска прослава најсвечанија могућа прослава коју ми Православни хришћани имамо. Славу смо прославили литургијски. На свакој Литургији Господ нам нуди Себе, Своје Тело и Своју Крв ради сједињења са нама. Има ли ишта вредније или свечаније од тога да се сјединимо са Богом? На Литургији, чак иако се само свештеник причести, опет, макар једна душа се сједнила са Господом тога дана. Има ли ишта вредније и свечаније од тога? Богу смо благодарни што нам је дао да и ове године на најсвечанији могући начин, литургијски прославимо храмовну славу и нека би благослов Божји био на Кумовима храмовне Славе, као и на свима који на било који начин доприносе добру и јединству наше колоније овде у Виндзору, јер то је уједно на добро свеукупне Српске Православне Цркве.
Срећна и Богом благословена Слава, на многаја и благаја љета и нека би и наши животи били преображени благословом Празника!
~ Свештеник Владимир Вранић
Address in English Below
Special in this Issue:
A SOLEMN CELEBRATION OF THE SLAVA OF WINDSOR’S GRAČANICA
This year, the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God – our church’s Slava - was celebrated somewhat differently due to all the restrictions ever since the pandemic started, which are still in force. But, in spite of that, we are grateful to God that just before the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God, the government authorities relaxed the measures and allowed access to churches in significant numbers. We received the news with joy and gratitude and liturgically celebrated the Feast with the participation of the Kumovi and the faithful people who had the opportunity to attend.
The Liturgy was served by protonamesnik Vladimir Vranić, with the concelebrating of the protopresbyter-stavrophor Drago Knezević, with the prayerful chanting of reader Brian Payne, who, since the restrictions began, accompanied every worship service in Gračanica, without exception. On this occasion, we would like to express our special gratitude to reader Brian Payne, but not least to his family for their great sacrifice and dedication. May the Lord reward them with His Blessings from above for the good they do.
At the same time, we are particularly grateful to this year's widely known and dear to all Kumovi of church’s Slava, Mr. Gruja (Lala) and Mrs. Jagoda Stevanov, for a wonderfully organized celebration, despite all the challenges surrounding the pandemic. It was especially touching to see present Kumovi of last year's Slava, Mr. Jovan and Mrs. Zorka Brujić, as they attend the moment when the Kumovi of this year's Slava hand over a part of the Slava Kolač to the Kumovi for next year, Mr. George and Mrs. Suzana Veličković. That moment will remain written as the most beautiful possible testimony of beauty and the blessing, but also of the importance and responsibility of the Slava Kumovi, and most certainly as a shining example to the younger generations.
Dear brothers and sisters,
With the desire to always inform you about further plans and steps regarding the opening of our church, we inform you that we will continue to act with the blessing of our Bishop, and in accordance with local provincial laws. For your convenience we enclose the act of the Bishop, as well as the instructions of the local state authorities regarding the measures that must be taken before the opening of the church.
It is very encouraging news that most of our province is slowly but surely heading towards opening up. In that spirit, we also plan our activities and the opening of the church. In order for everything to be in accordance with the regulations, we will need the help of committed volunteers.
If you are able to help by volunteering and are interested in taking a more active part in the life of our church, please send your wish and contact to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Board of Directors will make further plans and issue instructions based on the information at its disposal.
Your contact and your help are necessary for further timely planning.
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Драга браћо и сестре,
Са жељом да Вас увек обавештавамо о даљим плановима и корацима по питању отварања нашег храма, обавештавамо вас да ћемо и даље поступати по благослову нашег Епископа, а у складу са локалним државним законима. У прилогу Вам достављамо акт Епископа, као и упутства локалних државних власти по питању мера које морају бити предузете пре отварања храма.
Веома је охрабрујућа вест да већина наше провинције полако али сигурно иде ка отварању. У том духу и ми планирамо наше активности и отварање цркве. Но, наш циљ није само испуњавање слова закона, већ свеукупно здравље верних. Стога, да би све било у складу са прописима требаће нам помоћ посвећених волонтера.
Верујемо да бисмо осигурали безбедност верника испуњавајући све захтеве од стране надлежних, али су нам потребни посвећени волонтери који ће блиско сарађивати са Управним одбором и активно учествовати у спровођењу свих мера наведених у документима. Уколико сте у могућности да помогнете добровољним радом и заинтересовани да узмете активнијег учешћа у животу наше цркве, молимо вас да вашу жељу и контакт доставите на email@example.com. Управни одбор ће правити даље планове и издавати упутства на основу информација које буде имао на располагању.
Ваш контакт и ваша помоћ су неопходни ради даљег благовремног планирања.
We are very excited to celebrate with the community the purchase of the New Serbian Centre Property. When circumstances allow, we plan to hold a celebratory land blessing and fundraiser banquet.
While we wish we could see you all very soon, this event is
Postponed Until Further Notice
Community Members – The Serbian Centre needs our help during these difficult times.
Please join us in writing the stories future generations will tell and consider giving $50 for the future of the Serbian Centre.
Give $50 per person, $50 per family, whatever is in your heart to give will help us establish some certainty, amidst so much uncertainty.
When sending your contribution, please send a picture of yourself, or family, be as creative as you wish. It can be a video, saying “I am the future of the Serbian Centre” Or holding a sign saying the same. We look forward to seeing all the familiar community faces and sharing them on Facebook as they come in. For those that are harder to reach because of social distancing, perhaps your parents or grandparents, consider going to take a picture of them on their front porch or in their front window if they would like to take part.
We believe in our community, and this Easter weekend we encourage you to share the beautiful stories that you have from our Church and our Community Centre with your families.
Click the following link to submit your information should you choose to contribute.
Please share it with your friends and family.
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING PARISHIONER RECORDS
To ensure all our parish records are up to date, Fr. Vladimir is requesting that parishioners of the Gracanica Church fill out a quick form. Forms can be submitted at the church, or to any Executive Board Member.
Thank You for your cooperation.
VIEW AND DOWNLOAD THE PARISHIONER RECORD FORM HERE