A Glorious Celebration of Two Jubilees in Boston (ENG + SRB)
Updated: Feb 5, 2020
Величанствена прослава јубилеја у Бостону
The year of the Lord 2019 is the year of jubilee for the fullness of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In the preceding months, many other dioceses and parishes of our Holy Church have celebrated the 800th Anniversary of the Autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church at a local level. The same was done in our own parish of Saint Stephen, celebrating together this magnificent occasion and the 60 years of our church at the current location.
On November 1 and 2, this important jubilee was celebrated on the Diocesan level along with the 130th anniversary of the birth of St. Mardarije of Libertyville and all America. By the Episcopal Proclamation of His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America, November 2, the feast day of St. Mardarije, is to be celebrated annually in all parishes of the Eastern American Diocese.
St. Sava Cathedral in Boston, Massachusetts was the gathering place for the faithful and the clergy around their Bishop. The joy of this day was great and it was shared with many guests from other Serbian dioceses as well as from other Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States.
From the early morning hours on Friday, the participants of this glorious celebration started to gather. His Grace Bishop Irinej, together with Fr. Aleksandar Vlajkovic, the Dean of St. Sava Cathedral, joined by Fr. Nektarije (Tesanovic), and Fathers. Branislav and Vladislav Golic, prepared the services for the upcoming celebration.
An exceptional joy to this glorious event was added by the consecration of the newly made antimensia for our Diocese. They were made out of the finest, carefully chosen materials, which will ensure outstanding durability and lasting use.
His Grace Bishop Irinej’s idea was rendered by the skillful hand of iconographer Uros Todorovich, PhD. The masterpiece brought together in harmony old Byzantsaintine art from the Paleologos era, the theological significance of antimensia, and remarkable events in the life of the Diocese in this day and age. On the antimensia, very vividly inscribed, are the words of the prayer: In the tomb with the body, in hell with the soul as God, in paradise with the thief, and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit, You fill all things, O boundless Christ. Also depicted on left side of the antimensia is St. Sava, holding the Cathedral of St. Sava in New York City in flames, extinguished by the trumpet of an angel. On the right side of the antimensia, St. Irinei of Lyon, the patron saint of His Grace Bishop Irinej, is depicted. Holy relics of St. Bishop Mardarije of Libertyville, as well as of the Holy New Martyrs of Prebilovci, were placed in the new antimensia.
In the late afternoon hours, all participants of this august celebration gathered together for a vesper service. The Very Rev. Archimandrite Maximos Constas, PhD, an Athonite monk and senior scholar at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, officiated the vesper service. Fr. Maximos represented his Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Archdiocese of America. His Grace Bishop Irinej and His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church were in attendance.
The holy relics of St. Mardarije were presented to all the faithful and displayed in a skillfully crafted sarcophagus. As noted by His Grace Bishop Irinej, this was a gift to the St. Sava Cathedral as a sign of appreciation for their selfless love and sacrifice in organizing this significant event. At the end of the vesper service, His Grace Bishop Irinej blessed the iliton, or the covering cloths, for the new antimensia. His Grace also greeted and welcomed all guests who came from near and far to take part in this celebration.
Following the vesper service, a formal dinner was prepared and served by the parishioners of the St. Sava community. A movie about St. Mardarije, entitled “The Quiet Corner of Christ,” was played at the conclusion of the night.
The second day of this celebration started with the blessing of the new antimensia. According to the established practice, joined by all of the clergy of the Eastern Diocese, His Grace Bishop Irinej first sprinkled the antimensia with holy water from the Jordan River. Then, accompanied by the chanting of psalms, the antimensia were blessed with a mixture of wine and rose water. In the end, they were anointed with myrrh - holy chrism. A procession was then made inside the church. His Grace carried all of the antimensia, while the clergy joined the procession, carrying in their hands candles from the Holy Land and receiving light from a candle that had been lit by the Holy Fire. The antimensia were then placed on the altar table upon which the liturgy was served.
His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western American Diocese officiated at the service. His Grace Bishop Irinej, as well as many visiting clergy, concelebrated with him. The choir, Lira, from Washington D.C. , directed by popadija Jelena Vranic, added to the beauty of this liturgical gathering. Given that the particular Saturday was a Memorial Saturday, a pomen service was held at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.
His Grace Bishop Irinej then entrusted a newly consecrated antimension to each priest for his respective parish to serve as a visible sign of the bishop’s authority and spiritual presence in each community.