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Religious Observances

Daily services throughout Lent at St. Sava Church – Merrillville, Indiana

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During Lent there are services taking place every day at St. Sava Church in Merrillville, Indiana. A complete schedule with daily times is listed below.

During the past year there has been much disruption in daily life schedules and routines. We encourage members, parishioners, and community members to continue following health guidelines.

Please join us during this season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter at the daily services offered below:

  • Mondays 6:00 p.m. – Akathist
  • Tuesdays, 6:00 p.m. – Akathist
  • Wednesdays, 6:00 p.m. – Presanctified Holy Liturgy
  • Thursdays, 6:00 p.m. – Akathist
  • Fridays, 9:00 a.m. – Presanctified Liturgy
  • Fridays, 6:00 p.m. – Akathist
  • Saturdays, 6:00 p.m. – Canon of Repentance to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Sundays, 10:00 a.m. – Divine Liturgy

Lenten Schedule: March 14 – 19 at St. Sava in Merrillville, IN

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This is updated schedule of services for the upcoming week:
  • Sunday night 3/14 – 6:00 p.m. – Sunday of Forgiveness, First Lenten Vesper service
  • Monday night 3/15 – 6:00 p.m. – Canon to St.. Andrew
  • Tuesday night 3/16 – 6:00 p.m. – Canon to St. Andrew
  • Wednesday night 3/17 – 6:00 p.m. – Presanctified Divine Liturgy
  • Thursday night 3/18 – 6:00 p.m. – Canon to St. Andrew
  • Friday morning 3/19 – 9:00 a.m. – Presanctified Liturgy
  • Friday night 3/19 – 6:00 p.m. – Canon to St. Andrew

Sunday of Forgiveness: First service of Great Lent – 6:00 p.m. Sunday, March 14 at St. Sava Merrillville

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Join us for the Sunday of Forgiveness, the first service of Great Lent taking place at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, March 14 at St. Sava Church in Merrillville, IN. Divine Liturgy also takes place earlier on Sunday morning at the regular 10:00 a.m. start time.

The Sunday of Forgiveness is the last Sunday prior to the commencement of Great Lent. On the Sunday of Forgiveness focus is placed on the exile of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, an event that shows us how far we have fallen in sin and separated ourselves from God. At the onset of Great Lent and a period of intense fasting, this Sunday reminds us of our need for God’s forgiveness and guides our hearts, minds, and spiritual efforts on returning to Him in repentance.

Biblical Story

The Sunday of Forgiveness, the last of the preparatory Sundays before Great Lent, has two themes: it commemorates Adam’s expulsion from Paradise, and it accentuates our need for forgiveness. There are obvious reasons why these two things should be brought to our attention as we stand on the threshold of Great Lent. One of the primary images in the Triodion is that of the return to Paradise.

Lent is a time when we weep with Adam and Eve before the closed gate of Eden, repenting with them for the sins that have deprived us of our free communion with God. But Lent is also a time when we are preparing to celebrate the saving event of Christ’s death and rising, which has reopened Paradise to us once more (Luke 23:43). So sorrow for our exile in sin is tempered by hope of our re-entry into Paradise.

The second theme, that of forgiveness, is emphasized in the Gospel reading for this Sunday (Matthew 6:14-21) and in the special ceremony of mutual forgiveness at the end of the Vespers on Sunday evening. Before we enter the Lenten fast, we are reminded that there can be no true fast, no genuine repentance, no reconciliation with God, unless we are at the same time reconciled with one another. A fast without mutual love is the fast of demons. We do not travel the road of Lent as isolated individuals but as members of a family. Our asceticism and fasting should not separate us from others, but should link us to them with ever-stronger bonds.

The Sunday of Forgiveness also directs us to see that Great Lent is a journey of liberation from our enslavement to sin. The Gospel lesson sets the conditions for this liberation. The first one is fasting—the refusal to accept the desires and urges of our fallen nature as normal, the effort to free ourselves from the dictatorship of the flesh and matter over the spirit. To be effective, however, our fast must not be hypocritical, a “showing off.” We must “appear not unto men to fast but to our Father who is in secret” (vv. 16-18).

The second condition is forgiveness—“If you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you” (vv. 14-15). The triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the world, is division, opposition, separation, hatred.

Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness—the return to unity, solidarity, love. To forgive is to put between me and my “enemy” the radiant forgiveness of God Himself. To forgive is to reject the hopeless “dead-ends” of human relations and to refer them to Christ. Forgiveness is truly a “breakthrough” of the Kingdom into this sinful and fallen world.

Icon of the Feast

The icon of the Sunday of the Last Judgment incorporates all of the elements of the parable from Matthew 25:31-46. Christ sits on the throne and before him the Last Judgment takes place. He is extending his hands in blessing upon the Theotokos on his right, and John the Baptist on his left. Seated on smaller thrones are the Apostles, represented by Peter and Paul, a depiction of the words of Christ in Matthew 19:28. (1.)

Prior to their descent into sin through disobedience, Adam and Eve were blessed with a beautiful relationship of communion and fellowship with God. However, they were tempted by the devil appearing in the form of a serpent to disobey God and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:15-17).

When they took of the fruit and sinned, they realized that they were naked. Further, when “they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden”…they hid themselves “from the presence of the Lord” (3:8). The icon shows Adam and Eve attempting to cover themselves with fig leaves as they try to hide, and yet they stand ashamed before the Lord.

Because of their disobedience the Lord expelled them from the garden. The icon shows the Archangel of the Lord directing them out of Paradise, through the gate of Eden where God placed “the cherubim and a sword flaming and guarding the way to the tree of life” (3:23-24). Adam and Eve are dressed in the garments of skins made for them by God (3:20).

Orthodox Christian Celebration of the Sunday of Forgiveness

The Sunday of Forgiveness is also known as Cheesefare Sunday. This is the last day that dairy products can be eaten before the Lenten fast. The full fast begins the following day on Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent. On the evening of the Sunday of Forgiveness the Church conducts the first service of Great Lent, the Vespers of Forgiveness, a service that directs us further on the path of repentance and helps us to acknowledge our need for forgiveness from God and to seek forgiveness from our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the first time that the Lenten prayer of St. Ephraim accompanied by prostrations is read. At the end of the service all the faithful approach the priest and one another asking for mutual forgiveness.

Orthodox Christians are encouraged to enter Great Lent in repentance and confession by attending these services, coming for the Sacrament of Confession, and dedicating themselves to worship, prayer, and fasting throughout the Lenten period. The first day of Lent, Clean Monday, signifies the beginning of a period of cleansing and purification of sins through repentance.

Join us for Zadusnice Memorial Service – Saturday, March 6 – St. Sava, Merrillville, Indiana

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Please join us for a special Zadusnice Memorial Service taking place Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Sava Church, Merrillville, IN.

We encourage anyone to attend. There is no need to bring anything special to this service other than your memories and prayers for your loved ones. However, we do encourage you to write down a list of departed family members and friends, if you wish, to bring with you to the service so that we may read the names and remember all of them.

The purpose of the memorial service is to bring comfort to both the living and the dead. As is sung in the concluding song – Memory Eternal – it also helps us keep the memory of loved ones alive.

Zadusnice, also known as Saturday of Souls or All Souls’ Day, is a day commemorating the faithful departed, particularly but not exclusively one’s relatives. This special observance takes place on a Saturday, a traditional day for prayer for the dead, because Christ lay dead in the Tomb on Saturday.

For the Zadusnice observance, there is normally a Panikhida (memorial service) served on the Saturday morning for which Koliva (a dish made of boiled wheatberries and honey) is prepared and placed in front of the cross or icon with a lit candle, before which the Panikhida is served.

After the service, the priest blesses the koliva and it is then eaten as a memorial by all present.

Zadusnice Memorial Service takes place four times per year. If you are not available this Saturday, we encourage you to join us for the next Zadusnice Memorial Service which will appear Saturday, June 19, 2021 on the St. Sava Church online calendar.

A Message from the Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children on Pascha 2020

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IRINEJ

By God’s grace

Orthodox Archbishop of Pech, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church – to the clergy, monastics and all the sons and daughters of our holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from Got the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, with a joyous Paschal greeting – Christ is risen!

It is the day of Resurrection! Let us be illumined by the feast, let us embrace one another and let us say to all, even to those who hate us! Let us forgive all things with the Resurrection and thus let us cry out: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (from the Paschal matins)

Read the complete Pascha 2020 message by downloading it in English or Serbian at the links below:

Holy Week and Pascha Services – Document Downloads and Live Video

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Documents for the services of Holy Week and Pascha Services as practiced at our parish are now available in PDF format for download and some services will be available for live video streaming through Facebook.

Versions of the documents below are available in both English and Cyrillic.

 

 

 

We encourage you to download the documents and to print them if you wish.

These documents are helpful for following along with the special live video streaming of services from St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Merrillville, IN.

Live video streaming of services is taking place through the “Facebook Live” platform.

The following services will begin streaming on Facebook at the following times:

  • Friday – April 17, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday – April 18, 2020 at 11:30 p.m.
  • Sunday – April 19, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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