On 28 January 2023, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije presided over the Holy Liturgy at the Serbian Club in New York, where services are temporarily held because the church of Saint Sava was severely damaged in a fire on the Feast of Resurrection in 2016.
His Grace Bishop of Canada kyr Mitrofan, Protopresbyters-Stavrophores Velibor Džomić and Živojin Jakovljević, Archpriest Milan Dragović and Protodeacon Dragan Radić concelebrated with His Holiness.
At the end of the service, Patriarch Porfirije broke the Slava bread offering with the youngest members of the Serbian ecclesial community in New York, who then performed a rich cultural and artistic program. After making the little ones happy with Saint Sava’s Day presents, Patriarch Porfirije addressed the pious people with an archpastoral sermon:
– In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Dear brothers and sisters, today we are filled with an immense joy, but also with the blessing and grace of God, because without God’s blessing there is nothing worthwhile in our life. Especially without the blessing and grace of God, there is no true and real joy. It may be that some events, some achievements, some trivialities of this world can produce in us a momentary feeling of something that seems to us to be joy. However, the very fact that any such impression that is the fruit of an experience based only in this world, and that has its beginning and end in this world, is always short-lived. Without God’s blessing, without His will, without His providence, there is no true and real joy.
The Lord has blessed us today to gather here, in the city of New York, to gather in the Serbian Club, since the circumstances are such due to the fact that our church was destroyed in a fire and has not yet been rebuilt, but with God’s help it will happen as soon as possible. Therefore, God blessed us to meet here and to celebrate the first Serbian Archbishop and our enlightener, educator and father, Saint Sava. And there is truly no greater blessing and no greater joy than when we, with the grace of God, gather around the name and image of Saint Sava. We all know that Saint Sava is the one who did a lot in our nation and for our nation. We all know that owing to Saint Sava’s feat, love, effort, prayers and dedication to God, our people became one of those who make history and are part of civilization. We would not be what we are if there wasn’t for Saint Sava. He sealed us with what is the most important. He directed us to the most important path. He determined that we should live by having our eyesight directed primarily to the heavens, then to ourselves, and only then to what surrounds us. He taught us that the earthly kingdom is transient, that it is so even if we are the most successful, the most famous, the wealthiest, the most appreciated and the most respected people. Analyzing our people and ourselves individually – if that what we are and what we have is not based on Christ, the living God, it consequently lacks any great goal.
Saint Sava would have not been everything he used to be if he had not belonged to Christ. Many people today – sometimes knowingly and tendentiously, and sometimes due to the lack of knowledge – perceive Saint Sava from various aspects, seeing him as a historical figure. Yes, he belongs to the history of our people, but he transcends time and space through Christ. He would not have been what he was if he had not belonged to Christ, if he had not been an Orthodox Christian, if he had not been dedicated to the Gospel, if he had not understood at an early age that without prayer, without fasting, without faith in Christ, without faith in God, we are just something which was shaped by historical circumstances, and which passes quickly.
In the second part of the visit, from 29 January to 4 February, His Holiness will visit the Saint Sava Orthodox School of Theology in Libertyville near Chicago, where he will hold several meetings with the Dean, administration, teachers and students of the only higher education institution of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North American continent; and he will also attend the solemn celebration of Saint Sava which is to be organized by the teachers and students of this school. A meeting of His Holiness with competent Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North, Central and South America in the Nova Gračanica monastery on the Third Lake is also planned.