The first Sunday of Great Lent – the Sunday of Orthodoxy, was prayerfully and festively celebrated in Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago. Divine Liturgy was served by all of the parish priests: Archpriests Darko Spasojevic and Dobrivoje Milunovic and Priest Nikolaj Kostur. S.S.S. Branko Radichevich Choir, directed by Jelena Stojakovic, sang responses at the liturgy. Also, many servers participated in the Altar. After the Prayer behind the Ambo, the clergy, servers and a large number of children with icons in their hands participated in a procession, in that way showing the triumph of the true faith over heresies, schisms and all temptations which the Orthodox Church has encountered from the beginning to the end of the world.
On the same evening, Pan-Orthodox Vespers was served in the Cathedral. This type of service is served every year in order to witness the conciliar character of the Holy Orthodox Church. The Vespers was led by His Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America of the Russian Orthodox Church, with presiding Bishop Longin of New Gracanica and Midwestern America and retired Bishop Sava of Slavonija in attendance. Over 50 clerics participated in the services, with a few hundred faithful from all the Orthodox jurisdictions in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. S.S.S. Branko Radichevich Choir sang responses under the direction of Dr. Peter Jermihov, while on the kliros students of the St. Sava. Thoelogical Faculty in Libertyville also sang.
Archimandrite Serafim (Baltic), Abbot of the Protection of the Mother of God Monastery (New Gracanica) gave an inspiring sermon. Touching on the meaning of the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy and the truth over the iconoclasm and all other heresies, Fr. Serafim reminded all of the suffering of Orthodox holy places and living icons of God in Kosovo and Metohija. Special attention was made to the faithful about the challenges with which Orthodox Christians meet in contemporary society, which have within them many barbaric characteristics. The only way to guard ourselves and to run away from the jaws of the beast, is to soberly protect and always renew the image of God in ourselves, remaining faithful to the Orthodox Faith and its ethos. To do that, repentance, fasting, prayer, showing mercy and, before all, the grace of God assist.
After the evening service, Archbishop Peter thanked the local Bishop Longin for his hospitality and brotherly love. He called on all of those gathered to continue to pray for the Orthodox who are suffering, especially the clergy, monastics and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its primate Metropolitan Onufrije.
Archpriest Darko Spasojevic, Cathedral Dean, thanked all for coming and invited them to the hall for fellowship, which was prepared by the Circle of the Serbian Sisters.