Category

Religious Observances

Resurrection Matins at St. Sava in Merrillville begin at 11:30 p.m. – Saturday, Apr. 15

By | General Information/News, Religious Observances | No Comments

Join us for the solemn Resurrection Matins beginning at 11:30 p.m. at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana.

The reason we begin the Resurrection Matins so close to to midnight is because it was in the very early hours of the morning that Christ stood resurrect.

When we enter the church tonight, we enter a darkened church, lights turned off, Christ’s body on the Plastanica (Holy Shroud) still in the tomb. The priest will bring out a single lit candle and all the parishioners will light their candles from it and share the light with one another as they begin a procession outside the church.

In the procession around the church three times, the walk symbolically represents the myrrh bearing women who went to the tomb in the early morning to find His body no longer there. When we arrive at the front door of the church at the conclusion of procession the priest begins the Matin Service. As the priest knocks on the door of the church, which represents the tomb of Christ at this point, the doors open revealing the tomb is empty with all the lights in the church are turned on symbolizing that Christ is resurrected.

Holy Week Schedule of Services at St. Sava Church – Merrillville, Indiana

LAZARUS SATURDAY LAZARUS SATURDAY – APRIL 8th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 – VRBICA
  • Holy Communion for children

PALM SUNDAY PALM SUNDAY – APRIL 9th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

HOLY WEDNESDAY HOLY WEDNESDAY – APRIL 12th 2017

  • Presanctified Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Holy Unction Service: St. George Church East Chicago – 6:00PM

HOLY THURSDAY HOLY THURSDAY – APRIL 13th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • The Great Vigil: Reading of 12 Passion Gospels at 6:00PM

HOLY FRIDAY HOLY FRIDAY – APRIL 14th 2017

  • Morning Service / Hours at 10:00AM
  • Vespers with laying of Holy Shroud and Funeral Service at 6:00PM

HOLY SATURDAY HOLY SATURDAY – APRIL 15th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Resurrection Matins at 11:30PM

PASCHA – EASTER SUNDAY – APRIL 16th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

EASTER MONDAY EASTER MONDAY – APRIL 17th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

EASTER TUESDAY EASTER TUESDAY – APRIL 18th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

SUNDAY – APRIL 23rd 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

Vespers with laying of Holy Shroud and Funeral Service at St. Sava Merrillville – Friday, Apr. 14

By | General Information/News, Religious Observances | No Comments

Join us for the solemn Vespers with laying of the Holy Shroud (Plastanica) and Funeral Service beginning at 6:00 p.m. at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana.

Evening services in Orthodox churches will late on Friday mark the time when Christ was removed from the cross on which he died in Jerusalem.

Before the service begins, a “tomb” is erected in the middle of the church building and is decorated with flowers. The priest will carry the painted or embroidered cloth representation of Christ from the altar around the church before placing it in the symbolic Tomb of Christ.

From Friday until midnight liturgies early on Sunday, bells will not be rang in Serbian Orthodox churches – also in observance of mourning.

Holy Week Schedule of Services at St. Sava Church – Merrillville, Indiana

LAZARUS SATURDAY LAZARUS SATURDAY – APRIL 8th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 – VRBICA
  • Holy Communion for children

PALM SUNDAY PALM SUNDAY – APRIL 9th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

HOLY WEDNESDAY HOLY WEDNESDAY – APRIL 12th 2017

  • Presanctified Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Holy Unction Service: St. George Church East Chicago – 6:00PM

HOLY THURSDAY HOLY THURSDAY – APRIL 13th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • The Great Vigil: Reading of 12 Passion Gospels at 6:00PM

HOLY FRIDAY HOLY FRIDAY – APRIL 14th 2017

  • Morning Service / Hours at 10:00AM
  • Vespers with laying of Holy Shroud and Funeral Service at 6:00PM

HOLY SATURDAY HOLY SATURDAY – APRIL 15th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Resurrection Matins at 11:30PM

PASCHA – EASTER SUNDAY – APRIL 16th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

EASTER MONDAY EASTER MONDAY – APRIL 17th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

EASTER TUESDAY EASTER TUESDAY – APRIL 18th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

SUNDAY – APRIL 23rd 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

The meaning of Easter eggs and color; Colored eggs are needed for Pascha – Sunday, Apr. 16

By | General Information/News, Religious Observances | No Comments

The Kolo Sisters of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church have been busy for weeks as they recently hosted their spring bake sale, but work continues as colored eggs are needed to be blessed Easter Sunday, April 16. Please bring colored eggs early to the church before Divine Liturgy begins Sunday.

The Meaning of Easter Eggs in the Orthodox Church

Easter Sunday at St. Sava Church, Merrillville, Indiana.

One of the most widespread Easter custom among serves as the coloring of eggs. This custom dates back to Mary Magdalene after Christ’s Resurrection. She traveled to Rome to spread the gospel. There she greeted the emperor Tiberius with “Christ is risen!” and gifted him with a colored egg. When the Christians learned what Mary Magdalene had done, they too followed her custom.

The custom is universal throughout the Orthodox East and, in fact, prevails throughout Christendom as a symbol of Christ’s Resurrection. In many places, eggs are color red, reminding us of Christ’s blood. While the color usually used for dying eggs is red, any bright color is permissible. The eggs may even be multi-colored.

The eggs signify the picture of life, death, decay, and resurrection of man. They represent the Resurrection and the second life, because eggs, too, are born twice: the first when the egg is laid on the second when it is hatched. The egg is protected by a shell. The same happens to man: the first his natural birth; the second his rebirth at Christ’s second Advent.

The custom of dying eggs is often a solemn process that often begins with prayer.

Following Divine Liturgy on Easter Sunday, the colored eggs are blessed and distributed to the faithful. They greet each other with “Christ is risen!” and exchange eggs.

Holy Week Schedule of Services at St. Sava Church – Merrillville, Indiana

LAZARUS SATURDAY LAZARUS SATURDAY – APRIL 8th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 – VRBICA
  • Holy Communion for children

PALM SUNDAY PALM SUNDAY – APRIL 9th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

HOLY WEDNESDAY HOLY WEDNESDAY – APRIL 12th 2017

  • Presanctified Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Holy Unction Service: St. George Church East Chicago – 6:00PM

HOLY THURSDAY HOLY THURSDAY – APRIL 13th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • The Great Vigil: Reading of 12 Passion Gospels at 6:00PM

HOLY FRIDAY HOLY FRIDAY – APRIL 14th 2017

  • Morning Service / Hours at 10:00AM
  • Vespers with laying of Holy Shroud and Funeral Service at 6:00PM

HOLY SATURDAY HOLY SATURDAY – APRIL 15th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Resurrection Matins at 11:30PM

PASCHA – EASTER SUNDAY – APRIL 16th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

EASTER MONDAY EASTER MONDAY – APRIL 17th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

EASTER TUESDAY EASTER TUESDAY – APRIL 18th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

SUNDAY – APRIL 23rd 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

View the Holy Week Schedule of Services at St. Sava in Merrillville

By | General Information/News, Religious Observances | No Comments

Everyone is welcome to join with us at St. Sava in Merrillville, Indiana as we commemorate one of the most important times of the year in the Orthodox Church. A complete listing of the Holy Week Schedule of Services is listed below.

Holy Week Schedule of Services

LAZARUS SATURDAY LAZARUS SATURDAY – APRIL 8th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 – VRBICA
  • Holy Communion for children

PALM SUNDAY PALM SUNDAY – APRIL 9th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

HOLY WEDNESDAY HOLY WEDNESDAY – APRIL 12th 2017

  • Presanctified Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Holy Unction Service: St. George Church East Chicago – 6:00PM

HOLY THURSDAY HOLY THURSDAY – APRIL 13th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • The Great Vigil: Reading of 12 Passion Gospels at 6:00PM

HOLY FRIDAY HOLY FRIDAY – APRIL 14th 2017

  • Morning Service / Hours at 10:00AM
  • Vespers with laying of Holy Shroud and Funeral Service at 6:00PM

HOLY SATURDAY HOLY SATURDAY – APRIL 15th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Resurrection Matins at 11:30PM

PASCHA – APRIL 16th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

EASTER MONDAY EASTER MONDAY – APRIL 17th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

EASTER TUESDAY EASTER TUESDAY – APRIL 18th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

SUNDAY – APRIL 23rd 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

Holy Week schedule of services at St. Sava Merrillville available now

By | General Information/News, Religious Observances | No Comments

Join us as we commemorate Palm Sunday with Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion beginning at 10:00 a.m. with Confession beginning as early as 9:00 a.m. Sunday, April 9 at St. Sava Church in Merrillville.

This weekend marks the beginning of Holy Week with special services taking place throughout the week. A complete list of services is available in the schedule below.

About Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is the holiday which commemorates the solemn entry of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into Jerusalem six days before the Passover (Matt. 12:1-12).

As Jesus neared the Mount of Olives, He sat on an ass and entered into the Holy City. Throngs of inspired people greeted Him as their King, singing and strewing their garments and green branches in His path as He rode. The crowds followed Him, carrying Palms in their hands and crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

In remembrance of that event the first Christians established the holiday, Palm Sunday. With the celebration of Palm Sunday the custom to bless palm branches was established to celebrate Christ’s victory.

Even prior to the Christian era Palms were awarded as a sign of victory.  Palms, always green, are said by old beliefs, grown out of their ashes. It signifies the glory of a victor who deserves an immortal name.

Heroes were greeted and decorated with palms. Therefore, the people greeted the Savior with palms because nothing could have dissuaded His voluntary sufferings: no Gethsemane horrors, no injustice of Judean courts, no insidious leaders, not even His mother’s love nor Golgotha’s horrible sufferings.

In pictures, palms in the hands of angels or saints represent their victory over the earth and remind us of a beautiful place in Revelations, “Then I saw many people of all languages, generations and races standing before the throne and lamb, dressed in white garb, and palms in their hands.”

The word “palma” according to the Greek fine interpretation was a phoenix with which Christ was met, or in a wider interpretation may mean a bud or a shoot.

In regions where there are no palms, a willow is blessed because it is the first one to become green after winter. It reminds us of a general resurrection. Our presence at the church service with green willows in our hand witnesses our belief in Christ victory over death.

Holy Week Schedule of Services

LAZARUS SATURDAY LAZARUS SATURDAY – APRIL 8th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 – VRBICA
  • Holy Communion for children

PALM SUNDAY PALM SUNDAY – APRIL 9th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

HOLY WEDNESDAY HOLY WEDNESDAY – APRIL 12th 2017

  • Presanctified Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Holy Unction Service: St. George Church East Chicago – 6:00PM

HOLY THURSDAY HOLY THURSDAY – APRIL 13th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • The Great Vigil: Reading of 12 Passion Gospels at 6:00PM

HOLY FRIDAY HOLY FRIDAY – APRIL 14th 2017

  • Morning Service / Hours at 10:00AM
  • Vespers with laying of Holy Shroud and Funeral Service at 6:00PM

HOLY SATURDAY HOLY SATURDAY – APRIL 15th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Resurrection Matins at 11:30PM

PASCHA – APRIL 16th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

EASTER MONDAY EASTER MONDAY – APRIL 17th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

EASTER TUESDAY EASTER TUESDAY – APRIL 18th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

SUNDAY – APRIL 23rd 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

Holy Week Schedule available, begins with Lazarus Saturday – Apr. 8

By | General Information/News, Religious Observances | No Comments

Join us for a special day for children as we commemorate Lazarus Saturday (Vrbica Day) with Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion for children beginning at 10:00 a.m. and Confession beginning as early as 9:00 a.m. Saturday, April 8 at St. Sava Church in Merrillville. Services will include a mini-concert by the Children’s Choir of St. Sava.

Palm Sunday Services begin Sunday, April 9 at 10:00 a.m. with Confession beginning as early as 9:00 a.m.

This weekend marks the beginning of Holy Week with special services taking place daily. A complete list of services is available in the schedule below.

About Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday

Lazarus Saturday is the first day of the Great and Holy Week. On this day we commemorate Jesus raising his friend, Lazarus, from the dead. Lazarus Saturday is a paschal celebration, and is a preview of the Resurrection that we will celebrate one week later. At the Liturgy for this day, Christ is glorified as the Resurrection and the Life, and the baptismal verse “All you who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ” replaces the Thrice Holy Hymn.  By raising Lazarus, Christ has confirmed that we all will one day be resurrected.

To gather pussywillows we walk in a festive procession on Lazarus Saturday. Coming back is particularly solemn. The clergy in their festive Garb are followed by festively dressed school children. They sing while they walk to the accompaniment of church bells. From the voices of innocent children who carry their willow twigs as a symbol of Christ’s victory reverberates, “HOSANNA…!” it is customary that each child is given a small bell which is rung during the procession thus proclaiming the Solemn Entry of our Lord into Jerusalem.

The picture remains indelible in the minds of children and continues into their later years. This is where the beauty of Orthodoxy is presented to them; this is where true dogmatic beliefs penetrate their souls to grasp resurrection from death. The beautiful holiday Troparion convinces them as well as nature which rested all winter and emerges to show itself stronger and more luxuriant.

Palm Sunday is the holiday which commemorates the solemn entry of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into Jerusalem six days before the Passover (Matt. 12:1-12).

As Jesus neared the Mount of Olives, He sat on an ass and entered into the Holy City. Throngs of inspired people greeted Him as their King, singing and strewing their garments and green branches in His path as He rode. The crowds followed Him, carrying Palms in their hands and crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

In remembrance of that event the first Christians established the holiday, Palm Sunday. With the celebration of Palm Sunday the custom to bless palm branches was established to celebrate Christ’s victory.

Even prior to the Christian era Palms were awarded as a sign of victory.  Palms, always green, are said by old beliefs, grown out of their ashes. It signifies the glory of a victor who deserves an immortal name.

Heroes were greeted and decorated with palms. Therefore, the people greeted the Savior with palms because nothing could have dissuaded His voluntary sufferings: no Gethsemane horrors, no injustice of Judean courts, no insidious leaders, not even His mother’s love nor Golgotha’s horrible sufferings.

In pictures, palms in the hands of angels or saints represent their victory over the earth and remind us of a beautiful place in Revelations, “Then I saw many people of all languages, generations and races standing before the throne and lamb, dressed in white garb, and palms in their hands.”

The word “palma” according to the Greek fine interpretation was a phoenix with which Christ was met, or in a wider interpretation may mean a bud or a shoot.

In regions where there are no palms, a willow is blessed because it is the first one to become green after winter. It reminds us of a general resurrection. Our presence at the church service with green willows in our hand witnesses our belief in Christ victory over death.

Holy Week Schedule of Services

LAZARUS SATURDAY LAZARUS SATURDAY – APRIL 8th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 – VRBICA
  • Holy Communion for children

PALM SUNDAY PALM SUNDAY – APRIL 9th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

HOLY WEDNESDAY HOLY WEDNESDAY – APRIL 12th 2017

  • Presanctified Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Holy Unction Service: St. George Church East Chicago – 6:00PM

HOLY THURSDAY HOLY THURSDAY – APRIL 13th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • The Great Vigil: Reading of 12 Passion Gospels at 6:00PM

HOLY FRIDAY HOLY FRIDAY – APRIL 14th 2017

  • Morning Service / Hours at 10:00AM
  • Vespers with laying of Holy Shroud and Funeral Service at 6:00PM

HOLY SATURDAY HOLY SATURDAY – APRIL 15th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Resurrection Matins at 11:30PM

PASCHA – APRIL 16th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

EASTER MONDAY EASTER MONDAY – APRIL 17th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

EASTER TUESDAY EASTER TUESDAY – APRIL 18th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

SUNDAY – APRIL 23rd 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

Holy Week begins with Lazarus Saturday, Apr. 8 and Palm Sunday, Apr. 9

By | General Information/News, Religious Observances | No Comments

Join us for a special day for children as we commemorate Lazarus Saturday (Vrbica Day) with Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion for children beginning at 10:00 a.m. and Confession beginning as early as 9:00 a.m. Saturday, April 8 at St. Sava Church in Merrillville. Services will include a mini-concert by the Children’s Choir of St. Sava.

Palm Sunday Services begin Sunday, April 9 at 10:00 a.m. with Confession beginning as early as 9:00 a.m.

This weekend marks the beginning of Holy Week with special services taking place daily. A complete list of services is available in the schedule below.

About Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday

Lazarus Saturday is the first day of the Great and Holy Week. On this day we commemorate Jesus raising his friend, Lazarus, from the dead. Lazarus Saturday is a paschal celebration, and is a preview of the Resurrection that we will celebrate one week later. At the Liturgy for this day, Christ is glorified as the Resurrection and the Life, and the baptismal verse “All you who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ” replaces the Thrice Holy Hymn.  By raising Lazarus, Christ has confirmed that we all will one day be resurrected.

To gather pussywillows we walk in a festive procession on Lazarus Saturday. Coming back is particularly solemn. The clergy in their festive Garb are followed by festively dressed school children. They sing while they walk to the accompaniment of church bells. From the voices of innocent children who carry their willow twigs as a symbol of Christ’s victory reverberates, “HOSANNA…!” it is customary that each child is given a small bell which is rung during the procession thus proclaiming the Solemn Entry of our Lord into Jerusalem.

The picture remains indelible in the minds of children and continues into their later years. This is where the beauty of Orthodoxy is presented to them; this is where true dogmatic beliefs penetrate their souls to grasp resurrection from death. The beautiful holiday Troparion convinces them as well as nature which rested all winter and emerges to show itself stronger and more luxuriant.

Palm Sunday is the holiday which commemorates the solemn entry of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into Jerusalem six days before the Passover (Matt. 12:1-12).

As Jesus neared the Mount of Olives, He sat on an ass and entered into the Holy City. Throngs of inspired people greeted Him as their King, singing and strewing their garments and green branches in His path as He rode. The crowds followed Him, carrying Palms in their hands and crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

In remembrance of that event the first Christians established the holiday, Palm Sunday. With the celebration of Palm Sunday the custom to bless palm branches was established to celebrate Christ’s victory.

Even prior to the Christian era Palms were awarded as a sign of victory.  Palms, always green, are said by old beliefs, grown out of their ashes. It signifies the glory of a victor who deserves an immortal name.

Heroes were greeted and decorated with palms. Therefore, the people greeted the Savior with palms because nothing could have dissuaded His voluntary sufferings: no Gethsemane horrors, no injustice of Judean courts, no insidious leaders, not even His mother’s love nor Golgotha’s horrible sufferings.

In pictures, palms in the hands of angels or saints represent their victory over the earth and remind us of a beautiful place in Revelations, “Then I saw many people of all languages, generations and races standing before the throne and lamb, dressed in white garb, and palms in their hands.”

The word “palma” according to the Greek fine interpretation was a phoenix with which Christ was met, or in a wider interpretation may mean a bud or a shoot.

In regions where there are no palms, a willow is blessed because it is the first one to become green after winter. It reminds us of a general resurrection. Our presence at the church service with green willows in our hand witnesses our belief in Christ victory over death.

Holy Week Schedule of Services

LAZARUS SATURDAY LAZARUS SATURDAY – APRIL 8th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 – VRBICA
  • Holy Communion for children

PALM SUNDAY PALM SUNDAY – APRIL 9th 2017

  • Confession at 9:00; Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

HOLY WEDNESDAY HOLY WEDNESDAY – APRIL 12th 2017

  • Presanctified Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Holy Unction Service: St. George Church East Chicago – 6:00PM

HOLY THURSDAY HOLY THURSDAY – APRIL 13th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • The Great Vigil: Reading of 12 Passion Gospels at 6:00PM

HOLY FRIDAY HOLY FRIDAY – APRIL 14th 2017

  • Morning Service / Hours at 10:00AM
  • Vespers with laying of Holy Shroud and Funeral Service at 6:00PM

HOLY SATURDAY HOLY SATURDAY – APRIL 15th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • Resurrection Matins at 11:30PM

PASCHA – APRIL 16th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

EASTER MONDAY EASTER MONDAY – APRIL 17th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

EASTER TUESDAY EASTER TUESDAY – APRIL 18th 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM

SUNDAY – APRIL 23rd 2017

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM

A message from Father Marko: Shining forth the glory of Christ’s resurrection by a radiant life.

By | General Information/News, Religious Observances | No Comments

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I don’t believe that anyone would argue that, this time of the year, is most beautiful. Spring lifts our minds and spirits as we come out of the winter months and look ahead to the warmer months of summer.

It’s at this time of the year that we also celebrate the gift of the new and everlasting life that is offered to us through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Before this month is out, we will once again join together to celebrate the solemn and beautiful services of Pascha, the Passover of our Lord: his passing over from death to life, from bondage to freedom, from darkness to light.

The brightness of these days is our own participation in the “true life” spoken of by Saint Gregory Nazianzus (+390). We can see this life all around us in nature.

In his homily on Pascha, St. Gregory describes many things in nature that reveal to us this new life springing up all around us. He says that everything is “conspiring together, rejoicing together, for the beauty of this feast.”

Everything all around us is hymning Christ who has sprung up from the tomb in order to bestow life on the whole world. He begins:

“Now the heaven shines more brightly, the sun stands higher and glows more golden; now the moon’s orb is more radiant, the chorus of stars gleams more clearly. Now the sea’s waves make their peace with the shores, the clouds with the sun, the winds with the air, the earth with the plants, the plants with our eyes. Now the springs gush forth with a new sparkle; now the rivers flow more abundantly, released from the bonds of winter’s ice. Now the meadow is fragrant, the shoots burst forth, the grass is ready for mowing, and the lambs skip through the rich green fields… All things sing God’s praise, and give Him glory with wordless voices. Now is the world’s spring, the spiritual spring, spring for our souls, spring for our bodies, spring visible, spring invisible.”

How beautiful are these words that express even creation’s response to Pascha.

In celebrating Pascha, there are really two Paschas that we celebrate. The first is our Lord’s and the second is our own. And ours is rooted in and made possible by the Lord’s: our Passover from death to life is made possible by Christ’s glorious resurrection. We are those in the tombs whom Christ has come to free and release.

Like Adam and Eve portrayed in the icon of the Descent into Hades, we are being yanked out of the slumber of death. It is during the radiant days of Pascha that we must continue to shine forth the glory of Christ’s resurrection by a radiant life.

What we also celebrate is our own passing from the tyranny of sin and death to victory and joy in the Kingdom. Just as during Great Lent we learn to fast and prepare ourselves to meet Christ, so must we learn how to truly celebrate the feast.

Feasting is not just about eating meat and dairy products. True Christian feasting, especially at Pascha, is a continual offering of ourselves to Christ. It is a feast of renewal where we put off the old man, and walk in newness of life (Ephesians 4:22).

“Let your old person become new! Celebrate the renewal of your soul!” says St. Gregory, stressing to us how we can continue to celebrate the Resurrection. He urges us to:

“Put restraints on everything that is the source of death, train all your members, develop a hatred for all the evil fruit of the tree…This is the way a human person is renewed, this is how the Day of Renewal should be honored: with this kind of finery, with a banquet such as this!…Bring this as your offering to the festival: be changed for the better…Scripture does not wish you to remain always as you are, but to be constantly in motion, beneficially in motion, even ‘a new creation’;—if you are a sinner, turning towards the good, and if you are upright, holding to your course.”

May the remaining days of our Lenten fasting lead us to true feasting and may the Lord receive our Lenten efforts as an acceptable offering. And may the upcoming celebration of the Lord’s Pascha be bright and joyous for you and your family.

A message from Father Marko: “How can we keep Great Lent?”

By | General Information/News, Religious Observances | No Comments

Lent is a Time of Slowing Down.

It is obviously impossible for us to go to Church every day. And since we cannot keep the Lent liturgically, the question arises: what is our participation in Lent, how can we spiritually profit by it?

The Church calls us to deepen our religious conscience, to increase and strengthen the spiritual contents of our life, to follow her in her pilgrimage towards renewal and rededication to God.

And, last but not least: there must be an effort and a decision to slow down our life, to put in as much quiet, silence, contemplation, meditation. Radio, TV, newspapers, social gatherings—all these things, however excellent and profitable in themselves, must be cut down to a real minimum. Not because they are bad, but because we have something more important to do, and it is impossible to do without a change of life, without some degree of concentration and discipline.

Lent is the time when we re-evaluate our life in the light of our faith, and this requires a very real effort and discipline. Christ says that a narrow path leads to the kingdom of God and we must make our life as narrow as possible. At first the natural and selfish man in us revolts against these limitations. He wants his usual “easy life” with all its pleasures and relaxations. But once we have tasted of such spiritual effort, once we have made by it one step towards God, the reward is great!

We discover a joy that cannot be compared to any other joy. We discover the reality of the spiritual world in us. We begin to understand what St. Paul meant by “the joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.” God Himself enters our soul: and it is this wonderful coming that constitutes the ultimate end of Lent: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)

Father Marko Matic
St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church – Merrillville, Indiana
www.saintsava.net

Lenten Vesper Service, dinner, and guest speaker at St. Sava in Merrillville – Saturday, Mar. 18

By | General Information/News, Religious Observances | No Comments

V. Rev. Father Dennis Pavicevich

You are cordially invited to Saint Sava Church for Lenten Vesper Service taking place at 6:00 p.m. with Lenten dinner following on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Merrillville, Indiana.

Vesper Service and veneration of the Holy Cross with His Grace Bishop Longin and visiting clergy and guests. Responses by Karagerge Choir and Saint Sava Children’s choir. Lenten dinner to follow.

Guest Speaker during the dinner will be V. Rev. Father Dennis Pavicevich.

Father Dennis Pavichevich (Dragoljub Pavicevic) began his theological studies at Saint Sava Seminary in Belgrade, Serbia. He returned to the United States after two years and completed his undergraduate studies at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science in 1972. Graduating from Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1975 with a Master of Divinity degree. He is well versed in the Christian Orthodox faith.

Father Dennis’s first parish was at Saint George in Schererville, Indiana, where he helped build the church itself as well as a parish home. While at his second parish with Saint Steven’s Cathedral in Alhambra, California, Father Dennis led a large Eucharistic revival while establishing an adult Bible study program that took place within parishioners’ homes.

Following Saint Steven’s, Father Dennis served at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago where he helped establish a full time parochial school – Saint Sava Academy.

Father Dennis is now at Saint Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church since December of 2012, and the congregation is very blessed to have him.