On Sunday, November 22, 2022, St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church of Akron parishioners and their guests celebrated parish Feast Day and church patron St. Archangel Michael. This year, parishioners celebrate the 35th anniversary of the church consecration as well.
A large number of faithful people gathered at the church to be present at The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy served together in concelebration by His Grace Bishop Irinej, Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Eastern America, Parish Priest V. Rev. Protopresbyter Milan Pajic, and clergy from neighboring parishes: Rev. Economos Dragan Goronjic, Rev. Presbyter Miljan Aleksic, Rev. Deacon Daniel August, and Rev. Deacon Michael Pancoe. During his sermon, His Grace emphasized that these parishioners are truly blessed to have St. Archangel Michael as their church patron whose very name means one who is like God. He is the commander of the heavenly armies and their protector and if they pray to him fervently, their prayers will be answered, and they will feel his presence.
Following the prayer behind the ambo blessing of Slava Kolac and Koljivo took place. After the Liturgy, Parish Priest V. Rev. Milan Pajic invited all the faithful to a festive Slava banquet in the church hall provided by this year’s honored Kumovi, Dragica and Milan Ninkovic. The festive program began with joint prayer led by His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America. After that, the members of the Folklore Group “Gracanica” had their performance, and everybody was delighted by their dancing skills. Festive Slava banquet followed. After the banquet everyone present was addressed by Parish Priest V. Rev. Protopresbyter Milan Pajic, President of the Executive Board, Representatives of the Church-School Congregation Organizations (Gracanica Folklore, Serbian Church School, Kolo Srpskih Sestara), and Mr. Kosta Papich, one of the founders of this beautiful church and the oldest parishioner. Certificates of appreciation and appropriate gifts were presented to individuals from neighboring parishes who contributed to the success of “Srbijada'' with their selfless help. The gift was also handed to this year’s honored Kumovi, Dragica and Milan Ninkovic. Kum Milan greeted everyone present and hoped that future generations will continue with the celebration of parish Feast Day. At the very end, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America addressed every present.
His Grace expressed his great joy that parishioners and their guests gathered together as a big family, that supports them as a nation, as Orthodox Serbs, and that they manage to preserve a wonderful custom of the parish Feast Day celebration. Followed by parishioner Mr. Kosta Papich, quoting the poet Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj “Where I stopped - you will go, whatever I owed - you pay it off”, His Grace emphasized the importance that previous generations had for the foundation of this church since this year is the 35th anniversary of the church consecration and he attended that important event. He is grateful for the past, appreciates the present, and looks forward to the future of this community. His Grace especially greeted and thanked the honored Kumovi for preparing such a delicious agape meal, for organization of this festive event and for everything else that Kumovi did for this community. He said that “this is the liturgy after the
liturgy”. After that he emphasized the words of Holy Bishop Nikolaj “History, tell me who you are so I can know who I am.” We cannot know who we are if we do not know who our ancestors were.”
“Where I stopped, you go, where you stopped, your children will go.” If we come here as a family, as one community, since in Orthodoxy there is no salvation without community, this church will live. And if this church lives, every person who embedded himself in one brick or in one fresco of this church will live forever as well and the words of Bishop Njegos will come true “Blessed is he whose name lives forever, a good reason had he to be alive!”. With these words His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America ended his address to those present.
This magnificent gathering was attended by a large number of parishioners and their guests and was concluded with a prayer. It was yet another beautiful day in which God’s love and blessing were celebrated, with God’s mercy pouring out on every present, strengthening their spirit and giving them the strength to follow the St Sava’s Orthodox way as the only righteous way, given by God Himself.