Sunday February 10, Their Graces the Bishops Dr. Mitrophan of Canada and Teodosije
of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, visited the pious people of the city of
Windsor and surroundings and on that occasion served Holy Liturgy in Windsor’s
Gracanica Church. The Holy Liturgy was
served by both Bishops together with Archimandrite Ilarion, Prior of Draganac
Monastery, who accompanied Bishop Teodosije, Protopresbyter-stavrofor Miroljub
Todorović, retired from long service as parish priest at Windsor’s Gračanica
Church, as well as Reverend Vladimir Vranić, the current parish priest at Gračanica
Church in Windsor. The Gračanica Serbian
Singing Society Choir, conducted by Dr. Rista Urukalo, as always sang impeccably
prayerful responses at the Holy Liturgy.
emphasize the wonderful gesture made by the number of choir members of our sister
church-school congregation Sv. Dimitrije,
to join in this occasion and with their talents to prayerfully contribute to the blessed enrichment of the Holy Liturgy. May the Lord reward them for love.
It will be remembered that the teachers and students of the church school in Gračanica made a special effort to prepare a formal reception for dear guests as an expression of the love and hospitality of our community. During the entrance, the students of the church school formally lined up in folk costumes to welcome our dear guests. This image will remain recorded in the history of our community, and will represent a reflection of one time and an example to future generations. On this occasion, we give our heartfelt gratitude to the wonderful children, their teachers and parents for their magnificent welcome on behalf of the overall community in Windsor. There is special joy made by seeing that most of the present students have received Holy Communion and blessing from the hands of two Bishops. Let the Lord bless this young generation, and always be with those who direct them, their parents and teachers.
After the completion of the Holy Liturgy, the Most Reverend Bishop Mitrophan, as the host Bishop, wished a warm welcome to his dear guests Bishop Teodosije and Iguman Ilarion. Then Bishop Teodosije made an appropriate address, expressing gratitude first of all to God for everything, and on this occasion also to the host Bishop Mitrophan on the love he shows for the suffering people in Kosovo and Metohija and for the hospitality during this visit, which was solely for the benefit of the survival of our people in Kosovo and Metohija. In witnessing the situation, Bishop Teodosije emphasized, among other things, that there are people in Kosovo and Metohija, especially emphasizing an impressive number of 120 monks in 20 monasteries. Monks and nuns, as well as all the Serbs who remain and survive in this area today are compared to the Myrrh bearing women who remained faithful to the Lord Jesus even on the Cross, but after were granted to be the first to herald the news of the Resurrection of the Lord.
On behalf of the overall Windsor community, Reverend Vladimir Vranić wished a warm welcome to the two Bishops and at the same time expressed his wholehearted gratitude on this historic visit and great blessing.
After the Holy Liturgy, a table of love was prepared at the Serbian Center for all present. A large number of devout people responded to the invitation to join this special spiritual gathering, to help and support the suffering people in Kosovo and Metohija.
When entering the Serbian Center, the two Bishops were again happily welcomed by children in a ceremonial line with bread and salt, which were brought by this year's sponsors for the St. Sava celebration 8th grade students Ana Jelić and Marko Špirić. At the entrance the choir SSS Gračanica greeted the Bishops and singing The Lord’s Prayer led all the attendees.
After the blessing of the table, the children once again delighted everyone present with their sincere welcome, then recitals, choral singing, as well as folklore dances. A short but comprehensive program, this time was carefully prepared by the efforts of devoted teachers and the equally great sacrifice of parents. But certainly, the most deserving are the children for the wonderful program that was organized on this occasion, and we especially thank them and invoke God's blessing for their perseverance in goodness.
A short, but comprehensive program was led by Mr. Djordje Velicković, who has been unselfishly involved in Gračanica Windsor for years, but this year especially, to the joy of both the parish priest and the pupil, taking on himself the duty to teach the Serbian language to the oldest students. Many years of long life!
First there was an address by the president of the church-school congregation Gračanica, Mr. Vladimir Pribojan, who on behalf of the Governing Board of Gračanica Windsor wished a heartfelt and warm welcome to Bishops Mitrophan and Teodosije, as well as Iguman Ilarion, at the same time greeting the current president of the church-school congregation of Sv. Dimitrije, Mr. Goran Jamina, and all those present at the Serbian Center, expressing gratitude to all those who, for Windsor, supported this historic event and in any way contributed to organizing it at the desired level within a very short period of time, in a matter of days.
Then, Reverend Vladimir Vranić, on his own behalf, also used the opportunity to once more greet their Graces Mitrophan and Teodosije, and Iguman Ilarion. Father Vladimir first of all expressed the gratitude of the Windsor Community to Bishop Mitrophan for paternal love, which he constantly shows, as well as on continuous and archpastoral prayers, but: We are especially thankful to you at this occasion to receive the blessing of the Bishop of the Holy Land of Serbia, the land of Nemanjić, of Saint Lazar, soaked with the martyr's blood of all martyrs and new martyrs - Kosovo and Metohija. We are grateful to you, dear Bishop Teodosije, that you are here today with us, and we welcome you as a Bishop in whom the entire history, the whole blessing and all the blessings of the Holy Land of Serbia are gathered. Remember us when you are among the holy places of Kosovo-Metohija, Father Vladimir Vranić said, among other things, on this occasion.
As host, Bishop Mitrophan in his address on this occasion also greeted the guests Bishop Teodosije and Iguman Ilarion, directing all of us present to the New Testament example of St. Paul the Apostle, who called on his brothers, especially the brothers of one faith, to help each other, so are we also called today not to tire to help each other, and especially our suffering brothers and sisters in Kosovo and Metohija - said Bishop Mitrophan.
In continuation of his address, Bishop Mitrophan announced the decision to grant priest Vladimir Vranić the honor of protonamesnik, which is a special recognition to the entire community in which priest Vladimir Vranić serves.
In the end, Bishop Teodosije spoke, expressing his wholehearted gratitude to Bishop Mitrophan for brotherly love and warm hospitality. On this occasion, Bishop Teodosije presented a very touching testimony on the situation in Kosovo and Metohija and the suffering of the Serbian and non-Albanian people. However, Bishop Teodosije looks at the whole tragedy through the light of hope in the Resurrection, the strength of the Lazarus covenant and the sanctity of the Land of Kosovo-Metohija. Sanctuaries located in Kosovo and Metohija go beyond any human calculations and thinking: in Decani lie the relics of the Holy King Stefan of Decani. If the Holy King does not want to leave, how can we then think of leaving the Holy Serbian Land?
Monasteries and churches are not merely museums or monuments, but places where constant prayers continue to be attended by over 120 monks and a large number of priests. It is a living Church and there is no reason to change it.
The Living Church continues to generate new martyrs. Thus, last year's Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church canonized three new holy martyrs: St. Vasilije the Baker, St. Grigorije of Pec and St. child martyr Bosiljka from Pasjana. Particularly shocking is the testimony of St. Martyr Bosiljka, who was only 17 years old when she was abducted by the Arnauts and forced to marry and renounce her faith. Although she was a child, she remained steadfastly loyal to her Orthodox faith to terrible death. Her mother, while gathering pieces of the child's body, through tears, was still singing in the spirit of our Church that in all occasions prayers are carried up in song, with dignity saying that if her daughter being so young had preserved her honor and faith, then she, as a mother, would keep her dignity .
The Seminary in Prizren, which was destroyed to its foundations in 2004 in a terrible pogrom, has been restored today and has 50 young students. Bishop Teodosije, who himself teaches in that seminary, says: God willing, these will be the future priests and workers in the vineyard of the Lord and the best ambassadors of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija.
The bishop said that children in the area of Kosovo and Metohija are constantly being born and that the latest research shows that the Serbian population there is considerably younger than the populations in other parts of Serbia. All this instills hope for the Resurrection of the Holy Serbian Land.
Thanking once again Bishop Mitrophan and all those present for the warm welcome, as well as the unselfish donations that everyone had the opportunity to give for aid, with the aim of supporting the survival of the suffering Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija.
After reading the prayer, the Bishops visited the Serbian Heritage Museum - the only museum of Serbian heritage in this area, where Mrs. Julka Vlajić and Anne Dube acquainted them with the activities of the museum. There was preliminary agreement to organize an exhibition on the monasteries and shrines of Kosovo and Metohija in the foreseeable future. At the end, the guests, accompanied by the president of the church-school congregation "Gračanica", Mr. Vladimir Pribojan, also visited the non-profit residential property "General Mihailović" near Gračanica.
We are especially grateful to Aleksandar Media NEWS, whose goodness and professionalism recorded and immortalized this historic visit at a high professional level.
We thank God for the opportunity to be part of such a sublime, dignified and above all special spiritual assembly, and to incorporate ourselves, at least a little with our prayers and contributions, in the Holy Land of Serbian Kosovo and Metohija.
protonamesnik Vladimir Vranić
Translated by Milica Jaksic
Among many national customs, the Serbs have a special one in which we REMEMBER and TIE as well as give gifts on Children’s, Mother’s, and Father’s Day.
The Church Books dedicate the two Sundays preceding Christmas to the Forefathers and Fathers, the Righteous Ones and the Prophets of the Old Testament, who awaited the coming of the Saviour, symbolically depicted Him and prophesied His Advent, but did not live to see Him.
Why did the Church choose to institute this commemoration of the Old Testament Fathers just before Christmas, the day we celebrate the Birth of the Creator of the New Testament? The Church felt it obligatory to portray to its adherents the connection between the old and the new, to teach us to see the history of mankind as a whole, and to show us that God’s plan is a continuous one.
The Serbian people willingly adopted this tradition from the Apostolic Church, and through the years have faithfully kept its teaching. However, being of a very practical intellect, the Serbian people have applied this ancient custom to enhance their lives in the way most beneficial to them.
They divided this commemoration of the Fathers so that one Sunday was dedicated to Children, one to Mothers and one to Fathers. Why? Because Serbs put a strong emphasis on the importance of unity and sharing in family life.
Enlightened by Orthodox Christianity, and realizing that family observances are a priceless tool in preserving family unity, the Serbs guard and nurture their family observances with unparalleled zeal.
Knowing that the Birth of Christ is a fulfillment of the past, a reality of the present and promise of the future, the Serbs, in their preparation for the solemn celebration of the Christmas Holiday want the entire family to participate in demonstratively incorporating itself for the most important and climactic day – the Christmas Feast.
Just as the blood relationship between parents and children is indissoluble, the religious tie between true Christians and Christmas is inseparable. This is the reason why our calendar proposes three holidays before Christmas: Children’s, Mother’s, and Father’s Day. In doing so, we remember the holy children, the holy mothers, and the holy fathers: we link children with parents and parents with children. All three of these observances have one and the same purpose: REMEMBERANCE and TYING.
In celebrating CHILDREN’S DAY we remember all the holy children of God, those innocent creatures of God who Christ Cites as the prime example to those of us who want to enter the kingdom of heaven. For He said: “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18, 3).
Then he continued: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come to me: for such is the Kingdom of Heaven “ (Matthew 19, 4). And He concluded: “Whoseever offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a milestone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18,6).
When we cease to be children physically, we lose the receptiveness, naturalness, and candor characteristic of children, which, if properly nurtured, may inspire divine feelings of happiness, esctasy, and charity. Through proper education the children learn to respect their parents, and concomitantly, earn the reputation of being good children and good Christians.
In our celebration of MOTHER’S DAY we dearly remember all the holy mothers from the past history of the Christian Church plus those from our own Serbian Orthodox Church. If there were no holy mothers, many of the Saints would not have been pious, virtuous people, nor would they be commemorated in our calendar today. “Mother” is a holy Name. She suffers much for children both spiritually and physically. Like Christ, her love is inexhaustible. Why did Christ give Himself to be crucified for the sinners? Because He saw in every sinner some good under the shadow of evil. In like manner, only the mother can see something good in her most corrupt son or immoral daughter. And it is very hard to understand Christ’s Love for mankind if we do not properly understand the love of a mother for her children.
In celebrating FATHER’S DAY we remember with esteem all the holy fathers from both the old and new Church. We also remember all the Serbian fathers who gave their lives for “the Holy Cross and golden freedom.”
Psychology and Religion agree that a child receives its first idea about God from its parents. And the role of the father is vital in developing that idea. Traditionally, one of the first things we teach our children is to cross themselves and pray, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Consequently, the word “Father” is tied to God from the very beginning. Also, the first prayer we teach our children is the Lord’s Prayer which begins with “Our Father…” Again, here is a tremendous responsibility imposed upon the father since the word “Father” is tied directly to God. With this concept we are telling our children that God is like our Father. And this puts a heavy load on the father for he must be an example of everything good, moral, and charitable. Perhaps we should mention here also that children can get a totally opposite conception of God if their earthly father is a drunkard, or without love, understanding or forgiveness – or if he doesn’t care for his children. But in such cases, the mother comes to the rescue. By showing her devotion and inexhaustible love for her offspring, she overshadows the father’s weakness and molds a beautiful picture of God on their children.
In addition to REMEMBERING, TYING is a representative factor in celebrating these holy days. On Children’s Day parents tie their children, on Mother’s Day children tie their mothers, and on Father’s Day children tie their fathers. The loosing is done with an exchange of gifts. And giving gifts represent devotion and love.
The custom of tying symbolically connects the past with the present: we link them with mutual respect. The two generations are tied with mutual symbolize the love for God. So we see the Serbian people following the Lord’s words, “The wise father brings out of his household the old and the new.” This entire action of tying children with their parents vividly expresses a mutual bond of love between the generations.
A clear picture is exposed of one people, how should they go through their history and living a life of wholeness, combining the priceless treasures of the past with the new adornments of the present and the future.
This moral practice is greatly needed today when there is less and less attention given to the family and unity. Atheistic and other dark powers of this world are increasingly cutting the trunk of the family tree from its roots and creating animosity and divisiveness between the generations. Therefore, we should preserve and perpetuate this important Serbian tradition, one of our many beautiful customs, in celebrating Children’s, Mother’s, and Father’s day. it is imperative because the family observances complement the church and its effort to preserve family unity. Proper observance of these three holidays prior to Christmas, augmented with our diligent preparation for the Holy Day, will inspire a more meaningful and solemn Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
From the book, “Divine Liturgy, Prayers, Catechism,” St. Sava Seminary Fund, 1979.
NEW BANNERS IN OUR CHURCH
It is our exceptional
joy to share with our community that our church will be decorated with two new banners.
We would like to offer our deepest gratitude to Mile
and Vera Ostojic for their generous gift to the Church. We pray that God will bless the Ostojic family, as they have blessed us
with their selfless gift, and that He will fill them with even more love and
many bountiful gifts each and every day.
Please, join us at the Liturgy on Sunday November 18, so that we may all together share the joy of the consecration and placement of the new church banners.
Our Circle of Serbian Sisters invites all to join us for a festal luncheon after the Liturgy.
НОВИ БАРЈАЦИ У НАШЕМ ХРАМУ
Са посебном радошћу желимо да поделимо са нашом заједницом да ће наш храм красити два нова барјака. И овим путем желимо да изразимо нашу најсрдачнију благодарност господину Милету и госпођи Вери Остојић на њиховом великодушном дару Цркви. Молимо се да Господ благослови породицу Остојић, као што је њихов несебични дар благослов за нашу заједницу, и да их сваким новим даном испуњава љубављу и обилним даровима.
New altar items for Proskomidia have arrived on
Wednesday, October 24!
We are very grateful to Mr. Goran Todorovic who arranged the procurement and covered all the costs for the necessary altar items.
May God bless Mr. Goran Todorovic and his loved ones for this generous donation!
Please, join us at the Liturgy
on Sunday November 18, so that we may all together share the joy of the consecration of the new church items.
Our Circle of Serbian Sisters invites all to join us for a festal luncheon after the Liturgy.
Нови олтарски предмети за Проскомидију су пристигли у среду 24. октобра!
Свесрдно благодаримо господину Горану Тодоровићу, који је набавио и покрио све трошкове око прибављања ових неопходних предмета за потребе Светог олтара.
SERBIAN CHURCH SCHOOL FROM HAMILTON VISITED WINDSOR
Saturday October 20, we had the joy to welcome our dear guests from St.
Nicholas Serbian Church School in Hamilton who visited Windsor: our wonderful church
Gracanica, the Serbian Heritage Museum and our own Gracanica Church School.
It was an unforgettable day for all, and we look forward to our future mutual visits building closer connections between our Church Schools and communities in general.
RECOGNITION AND HONOR
We announce with great pleasure that on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at the Multicultural Council 45th Annual General Meeting, our parishioner Mrs. Snjezana Gacesa was honoured as the first Executive Director of the Multicultural Council. She started the organization in 1970 as an office of one employee with just a handful of volunteers. Her commitment built the foundation of the Multicultural Council 45 years ago. Kathleen Thomas, the current MCC Executive Director presented Snezana Gacesa with a plaque announcing that a room at the MCC has been designated as the "Snezana Gacesa Welcome Room". We are honoured to have Mrs. Snjezana Gacesa as a dedicated member of our community.
We also extend our congratulations to the Gracanica Serbian Village, and its Carrousel of Nations Committee, for winning the 2nd place as best Carrousel in 2018.
May God bless your good work! Ziveli na mnogaja ljeta!
1960 Meldrum Road ~ Windsor Ontario ~ N8W 4E2 ~ P: 519-945-8555 ~
©2013 Grachanica Serbian Orthodox Church
+ John Miloyevich