Priest Ivitsa Kalinovich (center) with brother priests
Catacomb church services have been held here in Radovanye at the home of Fr. Ivitsa Kalinovich since Pascha of this year. His Grace Bishop Akakije gave his blessing for services to take place here so that believers from the area could attend the Paschal services during the “Covid-19” persecution of the church and multiple-day lockdowns.
The holy services in the house chapel continued after the “Covid-19” lockdowns regularly, taking place almost every Sunday and feastday. A good number of believers, for whom this is the nearest STOC church, have begun to gather around Fr. Ivitsa and his catacomb chapel. Therefore Bishop Akakije gave his hierarchical blessing for the establishment of a parish of the Uteshiteljevo eparchy here for the southern Danube region, which of course also means a blessing to build a church.
The feastday of the Nativity of Our Lady was chosen to be the patronal feastday of the parish, so it happened that this year’s celebration of this beautiful and joyous feast of our Lady in Radovanye was at the same time the first celebration of this parish’s feastday.
Father Ivitsa, with the help of his family and parishioners, organized a beautiful, prayerful celebration for their first parish feastday on his lovely property which is decorated in a traditional Serbian village style.
Along with its ruling bishop, His Grace Bishop Akakije, the Radovanye celebration was also honored by the presence of His Grace Bishop Nektarije of Shumadia.
The beautiful communal divine service (because of a lack of space, a hierarchical service was not held), sermon, blessing of the slava (feastday) bread, homey hospitality, а rich feastday banquet, pious toasts, speeches and songs left a beautiful impression on all those present. It was truly a beautiful start of a new oasis of True Orthdoxy, which will surely be an important spiritual center of True Orthodoxy not just for the sub-Danubian region but farther as well.
Most Holy Mother of God, save us!