The Second Sunday of the Great Fast in New York City

On the Second Sunday of the Great Fast–dedicated to St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop and Wonderworker of Thessaloniki–the Serbian and Greek communities gathered together to celebrate this great holy day liturgically in the Church of St. Eleftherios in New York City.

The good will and positive energy of the clergy and faithful of the wonderful Greek Orthodox community in Manhattan is recognized by our faithful, for whom this church has become a house of prayer and a spiritual meeting place in this time when the Cathedral's faithful have been left without their own shrine.

During the Divine Liturgy the choirs harmoniously complemented one another, interchanging the different styles of chant, while the litanies and other prayers were offered in three languages: Serbian, Greek and English.

In his sermon, Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Zivojin Jakovljevic emphasized God's mercy as a model for Christian living and behavior. Prota Zivojin took this opportunity to thank their hosts from this holy church for their generosity and goodness in welcoming our Serbian community at this difficult time as their brothers and sisters in Christ. During Holy Communion many of the people approached the Chalice.

During the Divine Liturgy a memorial service was held for all the innocent victims of the bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by the NATO pact in 1999. His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America led the 20th anniversary memorial service for the victims of the NATO bombing. He used this occasion to teach the people of God present about the significance of a living liturgical remembrance of the departed servants of God for whom we pray. Bishop Irinej emphasized that in praying for their “eternal memory,” we pray that their names may live forever in the eternal Mind of God.

In remembering the tragic consequences of the bombing, Bishop Irinej expressed deep respect for the honorable Greek people, who with their own bodies prevented the passing of NATO military convoys through the holy, and for us Orthodox Serbs beloved, city of Thessaloniki. By their protests, and in many other ways, they showed the whole world by their deeds their love for their suffering fraternal Serbian Orthodox people.

Following the Divine Liturgy a lenten meal of love prepared by the parishioners of the church was served, for which Bishop Irinej most heartily thanked them.
Later that day at St. Eleftherios Church, the clergy and faithful of the area Serbian Orthodox churches participated in the Lenten Vespers Service. At the end of vespers, Bishop Irinej preached on the holy effort of the Fast and on God's perfect love, which should live within us, as we intercede that He turn not away his face from us.
Following the Lenten Vespers a tasty dinner was served to all thanks to the generosity of Zvezdan and Jovanka Radosavljevic, who covered the cost and prepared the food for the dinner. During dinner Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Zoran Radovic, parish priest in Elizabeth, NJ, gave an edifying talk on the importance of the Fast and its fruits which are necessary for correct spiritual growth.

Source: Eastern American Diocese