IN THE NEWS: At home and abroad

Lazarevac, Serbia:  OCA Military Chaplain concelebrates with Serbian Military Bishop

military chaplain
Fr. James receives blessing from Bishop Jovan.

During a recent visit to Serbia, Father James Sizemore, CH (LTC), a US Army Reserve chaplain based in Ohio, concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with His Grace, Bishop Jovan, the Serbian Orthodox Church’s Military Hierarch, and Serbian military chaplains at the Church of the Great Martyr Dimitri in Lazarevac, Serbia in conjunction with the State Partnership Program the Ohio National Guard [ONG] maintains with Serbia.

“The Chaplain Corps has offered guidance to the Serbian Armed Forces [SAF] since 2010 on the development of a chaplain corps within the SAF,” explained Father James.  “There were no chaplains in the SAF during the communist era.  In 2013, the SAF military academy graduated its first class of chaplains.  The ONG was present for this occasion.  Since then, the ONG has traveled to Serbia twice to offer assistance and the SAF chaplains have traveled to Ohio once.”

Father James went on to explain that “during these times, training is offered to the SAF chaplains on functions of the chaplains and chaplain assistants within the military.

“During the Liturgy, members of the American military and Serbian soldiers who served during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia worshiped together,” Father James added.  “This is another sign of the strengthening partnership between the two nations.”

Overland Park, KS:  Holy Trinity Parish celebrates 100th anniversary


On the weekend of October 7-8, 2017, His Grace, Bishop Paul presided at the 100th anniversary celebration of Holy Trinity Church, Overland Park, KS.

Bishop Paul was welcomed by Archpriest Timothy Sawchak, Rector, on Saturday, October 7.  A meeting with parish teens and a Memorial Service for the founders, benefactors and clergy of the parish followed.  In the evening, Great Vespers was celebrated; a reception followed.

Serving with Bishop Paul and Father Timothy at the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy were Archpriest John Zdinak, Chancellor of the Diocese of the Midwest; Priests Christopher Rowe, Michael Medis, and Joshua Lollar; and Deacon Brent Beasley.  During the Liturgy, Fathers Christopher and Michael were elevated to the dignity of Archpriest, while Father Timothy was awarded the jeweled cross.  A Synodal Gramota was presented to the parish at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.

A gala celebration was held on Sunday evening, which featured a special video presentation on the theme of 100 years of Faith and Witness.

Lawrence, KS:  Parish celebrates annual blessing of vineyard

St. Nicholas faithful help with grape harvest.

For several years, Priest Joshua Lollar and the faithful of Saint Nicholas Church, Lawrence, KS, have gathered at Blue Jacket Crossing Vineyard and Winery to help with the grape harvest.

“Blue Jacket is a vineyard just outside Lawrence where the parish gets wine for Liturgy,” explains Father Joshua.  “Our participation in the harvest each year presents us with a different experience and a different grape, depending upon the weather, and this year we helped harvest the chambourcin vines, a variety that is used in the wine we use at Liturgy.”

This, Father Joshua added, was a record-setting year for production at the vineyard.

Fr. Joshua blesses vineyard.

“We. along with dozens of other local volunteers, harvested 17,000 pounds of grapes during the morning work session,” Father Joshua said.  “After the harvest and lunch with the other volunteers and vineyard staff, we blessed the vines as we do every year: ‘O God our Savior, who wast well-pleased that thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ should be called a Vine, and who didst show the fruit of this Vine bringing forth immortality by the grace of thy Spirit: do Thou Thyself now bless this fruit of the vine, O Master, and grant sanctification and prosperity of soul to all of us who shall partake of it.’”

Princeton, NJ:  Archbishop Michael addresses Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black annual conference

St. Moses Conference participants after Divine Liturgy.

His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey was one of two hierarchs addressing participants in the 24th annual Ancient Christianity Conference sponsored by the Brotherhood of Saint Moses the Black. October 6-8, 2017.

Also addressing the 100-plus participants was His Grace, Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic.

“Growing Closer to Christ, Growing Closer Together” was the theme of the conference, which was held at the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow Church, Princeton, NJ.  Over a dozen other presenters—among them Archpriests Moses Berry and John Kowalczyk, Priest Jerome Sanderson, Hieromonk Alexii [Altschul], Prof. Al Raboteau, and Mother Katherine—further developed the conference theme.

A highlight of the conference was the annual Young Preachers’ Panel, moderated by Hieromonk Alexii.

The Brotherhood of Saint Moses the Black is a Pan-Orthodox organization which has desired through its efforts to make the Orthodox faith available to the African American community and help the Church itself in realizing this goal.