Source: Serbian Orthodox Church
December 7, 2017
The first US-born Orthodox Christian monk and priest, together with the Serbian miners who had come from Herzegovina and the Bay of Kotor, founded this small but beautiful church in the peaceful capital of the Amador county in 1894, as the first Orthodox Christian church built by the Serbian immigrants on this continent.
The celebration started with Vespers on the eve of the feast. His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America came to Jackson from his episcopal see in Los Angeles in the early afternoon and antiphonally chanted with protopresbyter Predrag Bojović from Los Angeles, while the parish choir sang the responses. Prota Stevan Tumbas and Deacon Dragan served. At the blessing of five loaves, presided by Vladika Maxim, they were joined by Archimandrite Damascene, Abbot of Saint Herman of Alaska Monastery, who came with monks Sebastian and Andrew from his brotherhood, and Prota Vasilije Cvijanović from the Holy Trinity Church in Moraga, California. The unpretentious but irresistible beauty of the Jackson’s sanctuary was created not by an abundance of sources but by the sacrificial love of the immigrant miners. Together with the ancient beauty of the Orthodox Christian worship and the grace-filled presence of the holy relics of Jackson’s patron, venerated long after the end of the service, it left an equally profound mark in the souls of pilgrims from afar and the local faithful. Hence many of them commented at the dinner that it was one of the most beautiful services they had ever experienced and that at some moments they felt were in an Athonite monastery or in one of the renowned medieval Nemanjić monasteries, like Dečani or Studenica. After the dinner, prepared with love by the parish KSS, a few church songs were sung by the youth and musicians of the parish and then everybody enjoyed an exhibition of art works (photos, paintings, quilts, etc.) made by the artists of the parish and some of them inspired by their beloved church. Actually, not only Serbs and not only Orthodox Christians of Jackson say that, when they drive back to their home city, once they see this white beauty with the cross on the top, their hearts start dancing with joy and excitement and whispering: „We are at home“. Attheconclusionoftheevening, HisGraceBishopMaximwishedeveryoneablessedfeastday andsaidafewwords on significance, presence and role of Saint Sebastian in our lives.Finally, heblessedeverybodyandthencontinuedhisapostolicjourneytoouranothergreatandholyshrine, thefirstSerbianOrthodoxmonastery of Saint Sava in Libertyville, Illinois, for the annual meetings of the Episcopal Council and Central Church Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.
On Thursday, the Lord granted us another lovely autumn day. Per Bishop Maxim’s blessing, Abbot Damascene of Platina Monastery, who wrote the first account of the life of Saint Sebastian, served the Matins, while Prota Djurica Gordić of San Francisco and Prota Predrag Bojović of Los Angeles chanted from two cantor stands, and then he presided the Divine Liturgy, served by nine priests and two deacons. Protodeacon Triva Pavlov was prayerfully present. He was one of the initiators of the transfer of relics of Archimandrite Sebastian from Žiča to Jackson. Among the presbyters, Prota Stephen Tumbas, a former parish priest at Saint Sava’s, served, as well as Prota Dane Popović of the Holy Assumption Church in Sacramento, Prota Vasilije Cvijanović of the Holy Trinity Church in Moraga (near San Francisco) and Prota Djurica Gordić of the Saint John the Baptist Cathedral in San Francisco, who was blessed to participate in uncovering of the holy relics of Saint Sebastian in Žiča Monastery ten years ago. Prota Predrag was there, as well as Monk Ignatius from the Venerable Silouan the Athonite Monastery (ROCOR) in Sonora, California. It was a joy also to have two priests from Sacramento: Andrew Jacobs of the Elevation of the Holy Cross Church (OCA) and Paul Volmensky of the Holy Ascension Church (ROCOR), who came together with twenty five of his parishioners. The church was packed with even more people than the previous evening, mostly thanks to many pilgrims, who came to Jackson from all over California. So many participants at the Divine Liturgy and so many communicants this church has only for the greatest feast days. Taking into consideration the high employment rate and that it was a business day (several people took a day off from their jobs), it was a true little miracle of God and Saint Sebastian and the proof than nothing like holiness gathers and unites people.
...Read the rest at Serbian Orthodox Church.