St. Nikolaj Velimirovic on Halloween

As Orthodox Christians we must carefully examine every aspect of our involvement in the world, its activities, holidays and festivals, to be certain whether or not these involvements are compatible with our Holy Orthodox Faith. For a while now everything in the outside world is reminding us that Halloween is near: at school our children are busy painting pumpkins, cutting and pasting bats, ghosts and witches and planning the ideal costume in which to go trick-or-treating.

Most of our schools, local community organizations and entertainment on television, radio and press will share in and capitalize upon the festival of Halloween. Many of us will participate in this festival by going to costume parties, or by taking our children trick-or-treating in our neighborhood after dark on October 31st. Most of us will take part in the Halloween festivities believing that it has no deeper meaning than fun and excitement for the children. Most of us do not know the historical background of the festival of Halloween and its customs.

The feast of Halloween began in pre-Christian times among the Celtic peoples of Britain, Ireland and Northern France. These pagan peoples believed that physical life was born from death. Therefore, they celebrated the beginning of the “new year” in the fall, on the eve of October 31st and into the day of November 1st, when, as they believed the season of cold, darkness, decay and death began. Instructed by their priests, the Druids, the people extinguished all hearth fires and lights and darkness prevailed.

According to pagan Celtic tradition, the souls of the dead had entered into the world of darkness, decay and death and made total communion with Samhain, the Lord of death, who could be appeased and cajoled by burnt offerings to allow the souls of the dead to return home for a festal visit on this day. The belief led to the ritual practice of wandering about in the dark dressed in costumes indicating witches, hobgoblins, fairies and demons. The living entered into fellowship and communion with the dead by this ritual act of imitation, through costume and the wandering about in the darkness. They also believed that the souls of the dead bore the affliction of great hunger on this festal visit. This belief brought about the practice of begging as another ritual imitation of the activities of the souls of the dead on their festal visit. The implication was that any souls of the dead and their imitators who are not appeased with “treats”, i.e. offerings, will provoke the wrath of Samhain, whose angels and servants could retaliate through a system of “tricks”, or curses.
In the strictly Orthodox early Celtic Church, the Holy Fathers tried to counteract this pagan new year festival by establishing the feast of All Saints on that same day (in the East, this feast is celebrated on another day). The night before the feast (on “All Hallows Eve”), a vigil service was held and a morning celebration of the Eucharist. This custom created the term Halloween. But the remaining pagan and therefore anti-Christian people reacted to the Church’s attempt to supplant their festival by increased fervor on this evening, so that the night before the Christian feast of All Saints became a night of sorcery, witchcraft and other occult practices, many of which involved desecration and mockery of Christian practices and beliefs. Costumes of skeletons, for example, developed as a mockery of the Church’s reverence for holy relics. Holy things were stolen and used in sacrilegious rituals. The practice of begging became a system of persecution of Christians who refused to take part in these festivities. And so the Church’s attempt to counteract this unholy festival failed. This is just a brief explanation of the history and meaning of the festival of Halloween. It is clear that we, as Orthodox Christians, cannot participate in this event at any level (even if we only label it as “fun”), and that our involvement in it is an idolatrous betrayal of our God and our Holy Faith. For if we imitate the dead by dressing up or wandering about in the dark, or by begging with them, then we have willfully sought fellowship with the dead, whose Lord is not a Celtic Samhain, but Satan, the evil one, who stands against God. Further, if we submit to the dialogue of “trick or treat,” our offering does not go to innocent children, but rather to Satan himself.

Let us remember our ancestors, the Holy Christian Martyrs of the early Church, as well as our Serbian New Martyrs, who refused, despite painful penalties and horrendous persecution, to worship, venerate or pay obeisance in any way to idols who are angels of Satan. The foundation of our Holy Church is built upon their very blood. In today’s world of spiritual apathy and listlessness, which are the roots of atheism and turning away from God, one is urged to disregard the spiritual roots and origins of secular practices when their outward forms seem ordinary, entertaining and harmless. The dogma of atheism underlies many of these practices, denying the existence of both God and Satan.

Our Holy Church, through Jesus Christ, teaches that God alone stands in judgment over everything we do and believe and that our actions are either for God or against God. No one can serve two masters. Therefore, let us not, as the pagan Celts did, put out our hearth fires and wander about in the dark imitating dead souls. Let us light vigil lamps in front of our Slava icons, and together with our families, ask God to grant us faith and courage to preserve as Orthodox Christians in these very difficult times, and to deliver us from the Evil One.

-St. Nikolaj (Velimirovic)

Monastery Slava – Protection of the Mother of God



“Today the Virgin stands in the midst of the Church and with choirs of saints she invisibly prays to God for us. Angels and bishops worship, apostles and prophets rejoice together, since for our sake she prays to the pre-eternal God.” [Kondak]

On October 14, 2014, the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos – “Pokrov”, His Grace Bishop Longin, many clergy, nuns, singers, seminarians, and the faithful gathered for a day of spiritual enrichment and joy. On this day, the Slava of New Gracanica, Bishop Longin also celebrated the 15 year anniversary of his installation (by Metropolitan Amfilohije at New Gracanica) and welcomed the Serbian Clergy Brotherhood who held their annual meeting in conjunction with the Slava.

His Grace Bishop Longin served the Divine Liturgy with a full Altar of clergy: V. Rev. Archimandrite Thomas Kazich, Rev. Hieromonk Serafim Baltic, Rev. Singel Serafim Milojkovic, Rev. Nikolaj Kostur, Rev. Hieromonk Filotej Petrovich, V. Rev. Luka Novakovic (Belgrade), V. Rev. Djurica Gordic, (San Francisco), V. Rev. Dr. Zivojin Jakovljevic (Cleveland), V. Rev. Aleksandar Vlajkovic (Boston), Rev. Sasha Petrovic (Omaha), V. Rev. Aleksandar Bugarin (Kansas City), V. Rev. Ilija Balach, Rev. Radomir Plavsic (Chisholm), Rev. Dr. Aleksandar Novakovic, Rev. Dobrivoje Milunovic, Rev. Aleksandar Savic, V. Rev. Radomir Cutilo, Rev. Nikola Radovancevic, V. Rev. Nedeljko Lunich, V. Rev. Dr. Branislav Koncarevic, V. Rev. Cedomir Kostic, Rev. Darko Spasojevic, Rev. Radovan Jakovljevic, Rev. Dr. Vasilije Vranic, V. Rev. Sava Bosanac, Rev. Peter Sailovic, Rev. Aleksandar Petrovic, Rev. Aleksandar Vujkovic, Rev. Dragan Petrovic, Rev. Dr. Predrag Samardzic, Rev. Marko Matic, V. Rev. Luka Lukic, V. Rev. Marko Pantic, V. Rev. Jovan Jovic, Rev. Miroslav Obretkovic, Deacon Milovan Gogic, Deacon Marko Bojovic, subdeacons Zoran Stojakovic and Marko Bojovic and Monk Symeon. Several nuns from the Nativity of the Mother of God (New Carlisle) were present at Liturgy as was Abbess Jovana visiting from Monastery Duga, Montenegro.

The Episcopal Choir sang the responses for the Tuesday Liturgy and the St. Sava Seminarians assisted in the Altar and procession, and with singing. The early morning’s overcast and rainy weather cleared up so that after the Liturgy, the Slava Litija could go forward outside. A sea of beautiful blue vestments worn by the Clergy led the Litija during which the Tropar was sung and Gospels were read, followed by the choir and faithful. The Slavski Kolac was then cut in the Church with the resounding singing of “Svjati Mucenici” by everyone.

A lovely warm Slava luncheon was then held in the hall. Bishop Longin, overjoyed with the full participation of clergy and great attendance of people, addressed the crowd thanking all for coming and congratulating him on his 15th anniversary. Fr. Tom Kazich, Iguman of the Monastery, then greeted all and explained the significance of the Bogorodica in our lives. Fr. Deacon Milovan Gogic, who was hosting the program then called the Brkic children, visiting the US from Serbia, to sing several spiritual songs (a cappella) with one song from Bishop Longin’s home town. The Clergy Brotherhood’s participation at the Slava with president Fr. Dobrivoje Milunovic made the day even more special as they are dedicated and enthusiastic priests working diligently for the future of our Church. At the conclusion of the inspirational program, and benediction, all sang “Eis Polla Eti Despota” to Bishop Longin. All would agree this Slava day was an exceptionally prayerful day of unity, fellowship and good will.

Remember us in your prayers, O Lady Virgin Mother of God, that we not perish by the increase of our sins. Protect us from every evil and from grievous woes, for in you do we hope, and venerating the Feast of your Protection, we magnify you.”

Photos by Ruzica Maric

Промоција књиге Serbian for Kids у Ванкуверу

[извор: спц.срб]

Црквена школска општина Светог Саве у Ванкуверу имала је ту част и задовољство да се се баш у њој одржи прва промоција уџбеника за учење српског као страног језика за децу – Serbian for Kids (почетни 1 ниво). Промоција је одржана 21. септембра, на празник Рођења Пресвете Богородице, што је целом скупу дало не само информативни, едукативни, већ оно што је најважније и духовни значај.


Да радост буде потпуна, ауторке овог вредног уџбеника су Наташа Николић, дугодишња парохијанка наше ЦШО и учитељица у Српској школи „Свети Сава“ и Драгана Радмановић, такође учитељица у Српској школи и супруга јереја Марка Радмановића.

И једна и друга ауторка су из језичких струка. Наташа Николић је у Канаду дошла са дипломом проф. српског језика и књижевности коју је стекла на Филозофском факултету у Новом Саду на катедри за јужнословенске језике и са дипломом са Богословског института при Богословском факултету у Београду. Драгана Радмановић је у Канади завршила студије страних језика (немачки, шпански, француски) и Педагошки факултет на Wilfrid Laurier University и University of Western Ontario, где је стекла дипломе Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Literatures и Bachelor of Education.


Пред публиком, коју су чинили махом родитељи, ауторке су током промоције говориле о томе: како је настао уџбеник Serbian for Kids, који су све били мотиви да се седне и са тимом људи из Србије и Канаде напише једна овако потребна књига.

Наташа Николић се осврнула на своје тринаестогодишње искуство у предавању српског језика као страног деци и одраслима у Ванкуверу. Говорила је о свим оним изазовима са којима се у предавању српског језика, током низа година, суочавла и како их је превазилазила, истакавши као највећу препреку управо недостатак правих, најпре у свом концепту добро осмишљених уџбеника за децу широм дијаспоре, која у свом окружењу користе друге језике и уче српски језик као страни.

Драгана Радмановић се као неко ко предаје француски и шпански језик у приватној школи Stratford Hall у Ванкуверу, a говори немачки језик, осврнула на своја искуства најпре као тинејџерка у учењу српског језика у дијаспори по исељењу своје породице у Канаду. Затим је направила једно поређење како се други страни језици које предаје предају као други или страни језици и какав је случај са српским језиком, који то искуство једноставно нема. Нема га, јер још нико за учење српског језика као страног за децу (SFL), није саставио листу од тачно пробраног броја основних речи и израза, граматичких категорија за одређени ниво, како би се тачно знало који фонд речи би дете требало да има на крају одређеног нивоа.


Рецензент, мр Гордана Сокић, која је зналачки својим коментарима помагала настајање оваквог једног уџбеника, осврнула се на његов концепт и садржај, похваливши и истакавши да је уџбеник – Serbian for Kids управо у том и најважнијем делу, свом концепту, где су понајвише заступљене комуникативна метода и метода учења језика кроз контекст – први, а самим тим и другачији од свега што је досад од уџбеника објављено за децу у дијаспори.

Током промоције, ауторке су све присутне путем врло лепо осмишљене презентације упознале са садржајем уџбеника. У врло пријатној атмосфери публика је могла чути и видети изабране стране из уџбеника које су ауторке својим коментарима пропратиле.

И ми вам овом приликом откривамо шта све садржи уџбеник Serbian for Kids (почетни 1 ниво). Уџбеник садржи око 400 страна + CD са звучним записима из лекција и азбуке. Намењен је деци од 7 до 9+ година.

2. Вежбе и понављања
3. Преко 400 илустрација
4. Листу од 60 глагола у презенту
5. Преко 115 израза и реченица
6. Део за читање и писање – азбуку, са вежбама
8. Речник на: енглеском, француском и немачком језику
9. Игре
10. Песме
11. Граматички приказ лекција
12. Звучни запис
13. Решења
14. Упуство за предаваче

Детаљније информације о уџбенику можете наћи на следећим странама:

или можете контaктирати ауторке на имејл

јереј Марко Радмановић

Abbot Methodije of Hilandar Visits New Gracanica

On Sunday, September 7, 2014, a beautiful sunny day, Abbot Metodije of Hilandar visited New Gracanica Monastery. The joyous spiritually uplifting day began with Hierarchical Divine Liturgy concelebrated by His Grace Bishop Longin, His Grace Bishop Mitrofan of the Eastern Diocese, Abbot Methodius and Hieromonk Alexei Altshul, Protojerej Marko Todorovic, Protojerej Milorad Loncar, Hieromonk Seraphim Baltic, Father Miroslav Obretkovic, Father Nikolaj Kostur, Father Sinisa Hrvacevic, Hierodeacon Sergei Puskar, Protodeacon Milovan Gogic, and Deacon Nenad Jakovljevic.
The Liturgy with antiphonal singing by the Episcopal choir and seminarians was followed by the prayer for the beginning of the school year at the seminary (prayer of the invocation of the Holy Spirit) read by Bishop Mitrofan and then memorial prayers for newly departed monk +Fr. Atanasije, the youngest monk of Hilandar, who lost his life recently in an accident while assisting others.
Following the Divine Liturgy there was a welcoming luncheon and words from the Clergy. Bishop Longin exclaimed that Archimandrite Metodije’s presence was both a blessing and a gift for New Gracanica Monastery. Iguman Metodije provided an update on the renovation progress at Hilandar Monastery and also inspired the faithful by describing a miracle. He spoke of a woman that was healed of an illness through the intercession of the Virgin Mary (‘Trojerucica’) who appeared to her. Fr. Metodije encouraged everyone to pray to the Virgin Mary at the icon of the ‘Trojerucica’ for all needs and confidently told the crowd that she will help all who ask for her intercession. Both Archimandrite Metodije and Bishop Mitrofan greeted the 2014-2015 seminary students and bless them as they study and prepare to serve the Church. Also present at the luncheon was Hieromonk Alexei Altschul who recently lived at Hilandar Monastery and now with the blessing of Bishop Longin is leading a new community of monks called Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete located in northwest Missouri (see their site for more information.
Sunday, September 7th was a meaningful day of fellowship for the clergy, students, visitors and church faithful. It was a special gathering that provided spiritual enrichment, encouragement and a call to an increased prayer life for all of us.

Labor Day Liturgy

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it, [Proverbs 22:6]. This is the mission statement of the St. George Serbian Orthodox Children’s Choir of Schererville, IN. who traveled to New Gracanica Monastery on Labor Day, Monday, September 1, 2014 to sing responses at Divine Liturgy antiphonally with the Episcopal choir. V. Rev. Dobrivoje Milunovic and Protinica Jelena along with choir director and teacher, Tijana Samardzija have organized and developed a youth choir that responds at Divine Liturgy and concerts. They have worked tirelessly to recruit singers and educate them in the faith. The group of approximately 25 children traveled by bus along with their parents and other parishioners from St. George, Schererville arriving early for Liturgy at New Gracanica.

Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on this day [Holy Martyr Andrew Stratelates/Dormition Feast] was served by Bishop Longin, Fr. Marko Todorovich, Fr. Luka Lukic, Fr. Zivko Kajevic, Fr. Serafim Baltic and Deacon Milovan Gogic. The Children’s choir assembled themselves in front of the ‘Trojerucica’ icon and from the first to the last ‘Amen’ just sang beautifully – smoothly – prayerfully and enthusiastically. The Epistles were read in both English and Serbian by Ana Zanza and Anastasija Andjelic who clearly chanted and were able to communicate every word of the text to the congregation. At the end of the Liturgy Vladika Longin thanked the children, remarking that it was easy to serve the Liturgy in concert with such wonderfully sung responses. He also expressed appreciation to director Tijana Samardzija for all of her work with the children, noting that she learned well from her father, +Proto Milan Bajich. We thank the junior choir from St. George Schererville whose participation in the Divine Liturgy sets an example for all in the Diocese. It was a great day and we hope they visit again and wish them success and many years!



О помоћи поплављеним подручјима

Епархија новограчаничко-средњезападноамеричка прикупља прилоге за Србе угрожене поплавама у Србији и Српској. До 14. јула 2014. године прикупљена је сума од 273,942.78 долара и послата преко фонда “Патријар Павле”. Паре су послате електронским путем. Објављујемо акт Епископа Лонгина о томе трансферу као и упутство како да се распореди послати новац.
Свим појединцима, црквеним општинама и парохијама као и националним и хуманитарним организацијама на територији наше Епархије благодаримо на овој акцији и молимо да њихово ангажовање на овоме плану не престане.
Из епархијске канцеларије

On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI

source1       source2

On July 28, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson gave the following message to the American people. It was read in churches throughout the country and published in virtually all major newspapers. The Serbian flag was raised over the White House and all public buildings in the nation’s capital. The message read:

To the People of the United States:

On Sunday, 28th of this present month, will occur the fourth anniversary of the day when the gallant people of Serbia, rather than submit to the studied and ignoble exactions of a prearranged foe, were called upon by the war declaration of Austria-Hungary to defend their territory and their homes against an enemy bent on their destruction. Nobly did they respond. So valiantly and courageously did they oppose the forces of a country ten times greater in population and resources that it was only after they had thrice driven the Austrians back and Germany and Bulgaria had come to the aid of Austria that they were compelled to retreat into Albania. While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken. Though overwhelmed by superior forces, their love of freedom remains unabated. Brutal force has left unaffected their firm determination to sacrifice everything for liberty and independence.

It is fitting that the people of the United States, dedicated to the self-evident truth that is the right of the people of all nations, small as well as great, to live their own lives and choose their own Government, and remembering that the principles for which Serbia has so nobly fought and suffered are those for which the United States is fighting, should on the occasion of this anniversary manifest in an appropriate manner their war sympathy with this oppressed people who have so heroically resisted the aims of the Germanic nations to master the world. At the same time, we should not forget the kindred people of the Great Slavic race–the Poles, the Czechs and Jugo-Slavs, who, now dominated and oppressed by alien races yearn for independence and national unity.

This can be done in a manner no more appropriate than in our churches.

I, therefore, appeal to the people of the United States of all faiths and creeds to assemble in their several places of worship on Sunday July 28, for the purpose of giving expression to their sympathy with this subjugated people and their oppressed and dominated kindred on other lands, and to invoke the blessings of Almighty God upon them and upon the cause to which they are pledged.

Woodrow Wilson, President
The White House, July 1918


And a comment from this day and age…>>>

Видовдан у Новој Грачаници

У Манастиру Нова Грачаница прослављен је Видовдан, дан Светог Кнеза Лазара, свих Косовских Мученика и свих српских мученика пострадалих за Православну веру, од Косова до данашњег дана. Храм је био пун народа на светој литургији. Служио је Епископ Лонгин заједно са 14 свештеника и 3 ђакона. Посебан гост на литургији је био Г. Војислав Михаиловић, унук Генерала Драже Михаиловића.

Ђакон Александар Петровић је на литургији рукоположен у чин свештеника.