New Church Board Sworn In

Click on the link for Serbian:


Fr. Predrag’s address at the swearing-in ceremony:

There is an old Latin saying: “ Vox populi, vox Dei”, meaning the voice of the people is the voice of God. However, for this to be true people have to be true godbearers. Only those who bear God can indeed manifest His glory and articulate to us His Holy Will.

People of this parish have chosen a new Church Board and I pray It will be revealed as the true will of God in the continuation of their years-long work in the Church, evident and known to all of us. They are not standing next to the Cross today by accident. Today Fr. Vasilios spoke about the mystery of the cross, thank you, Father. This mystery is revealed in service, it is unreachable to our intellect until we humble ourselves. Until we open ourselves to it. Until we accept this mystery with sacrificial love, which only then will reveal to us the true meaning of the Cross; how it becomes, from a symbol of shame- to a symbol of victory, a symbol of power, a symbol of might, a symbol of glory. A place of willing self-crucifying with Christ. It is not just some Christian symbol of ours, instead, it is a larger place which we enter through humbling ourselves, where we crucify ourselves with the Lord and become partakers of his glory, being that we willingly unite ourselves to His crucifixion. That is what Christ spoke about. Something for the Church counselors to keep in mind, but also for all of us to remember. Great Thursday is coming in a few weeks. What is it that Christ has done on Great Thursday? Tying a towel around His waist, he knelt down, and washed the feet of His disciples, exemplifying that those who want to be first must be ready to serve all. When Peter snubbed — No my Lord, God forbid that you wash my feet, Christ told him – You will have no part in me if you do not allow me to do so-, to which Peter replied, Then here’s my head, arms, and feet, everything, just so I have a part with you..
Christ also spoke these words: “The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” Mk. 10:45. The gospel from today tells us to humble ourselves. Those who do not renounce themselves and pick up his cross cannot go after Christ. The mystery of authority is unbreakably tied with the mystery of serving with sacrificial love. Authority cannot(it’s better to say it should not) be held by one who is not ready to serve. Authority cannot  (should not)  be held by someone who is not prepared to sacrifice himself, even unto death. This is why and how authority without humility becomes an autocracy, sometimes even tyranny.  If we are to follow Christ, we must be prepared to die. For Christ, but also for one another. Every service, every meal, every cleaning in this Church, every rose placed, every good gift which you taste from Him is the mystery of serving, the mystery of sacrifice. These people, especially if I may say, the women, exemplify this. The sacrifices women make is most often greater than those of men. Since the beginning, it has been like this.  There is a wonderful poem of ours.
“Two paths lay before me: one of flowers, another of thorns,
My legs are made of iron, and I’ve decided to return to the thorns.
I leave the path of flowers for soft feet to trot,
let women walk on flowers, thorns are for a man to walk”.
It is a beautiful poem; however, I have to make a correction – The weak walk on flowers regardless of their sex (not exclusively women) Thorns are for people, for a true man/human. (the word human in Serbian – čovek, refers to a person with character. It applies to both men and women, however, is sometimes connoted more with a man because of the way it sounds). A man, not in the sense of gender, but in the true sense, a true man/human, a man who is turned towards eternity with his entire being. With his forehead turned towards eternity. (This is a play on words. “Čelo” means forehead, “vek” – eternity. Čovek sounds a bit like the two words combined. A Serbian writer coined this phrase to describe that man is a being created to have his eyes set on God and eternity). So we know our path, the path of a God-man, the path of Christ. That is the cross-bearing path. May God give strength and sacrificial love to our counselors. Also, most vital of all, no service can be performed in the Church until “I” is removed. There is no “I’ in Church, there is only “Us”. As long as “I” exists, there can be no service that is cross-bearing or pleasing to God. More precisely- the ego must be extinguished in order for Christ to be kindled within us. This allows us to take Christ’s burden upon ourselves, the light burden, to be carried in honor and service of the Holy Trinity. This Sunday is dedicated to the veneration of the Holy Cross, and it should be an inspiration to all of us. This Sunday we also celebrate the beginning of our Salvation, the Feast of Annunciation. It is the moment when St. Arch.  Gabriel appeared to the Most Holy Theotokos, and announced that Christ/Messiah was to be born from her., The Mystery hidden from the beginning of time that has been so long waited for. This is a very blessed day.
And let me just briefly say. We may also call this Sunday the Sunday of Saint Justin of Ćelije as well. Let us not forget our great Father, a blessing to the entire Orthodox Church, especially to our Serbian people. Kicked out of University, Imprisoned- held in a monastery prison (He was forbidden from leaving and was under constant observation and harassment by the government), exiled, persecuted by communists, and so on; he served in the same way bearing the cross. He was born on “Blagovesti” (The Feast of Annunciation), given the name Blagoje, spent his entire life “blagovestivši”(Bearing the good news/ Spreading the gospel)  and finally fell asleep in the Lord on the Annunciation Feast in the year 1979. Someone may say that this is a coincidence. How can something like that be a coincidence? Let us remember him as well. All of this comes together today as an encouragement to our Church counselors before whom many tasks stand. Your help is needed in completing them, in doing what we are called to for the glory of our God, our Serbian Orthodox Church, and our Protector Holy Father Sava. May it be to your health, and salvation, and the keeping of our Holy Orthodox Church. Amen.
Very Rev. Predrag Bojovic

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