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A Concert in honor of the Canonization This Year of Sts. Mardarije Sabastian and in Commemoration of the One Thousand Anniversary of the Death of St. Vladimir of Kiev, Enlightener of the Russian people.
The Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos Serbian Orthodox Church hosted a spectacular evening to commemorate the Canonization This Year of Sts. Mardarije and Sabastian and in Commemoration of the One Thousand Anniversary of the Death of St. Vladimir of Kiev, Enlightener of the Russian people. The event was held on December 12th, 2015 at St. Wilfrid of York Episcopal Church in Huntington Beach. The night was simply glorious. It started with a lovely reception filled with hors d’oeuvres and sparkling cider where all the attendees mingled and waited with great anticipation for the concert to come. There was also a silent auction filled with many beautiful items from hand painted icons, picturesque paintings, a one of a kind Serbian national costume, wine from Sasha Vujacic and, much more. The celebration began with an invocation and prayer by Fr. Blasko Paraklis who in his welcoming remarks explained the meaning of holiness: What these three saints and all other saints share among themselves is holiness. What is holiness? We strive to understand the meaning of holiness, and how it is embodied and made manifest through the works and faith of holy people who become saints. There is a desperate hunger for the sacred and the holy in the hearts of people of every generation including our generation, but seemingly no certain way to find it. Yet, ironically, the sacred is all around us, and even within us; it is “everywhere present and fills all things.” The sacred is purely the presence of God. The sacred as felt in the presence of God is the manifestation of holiness. It is the sacred aspect of every person, but so many of us are too busy and distracted in our daily lives to discover this precious quality within us. The saints, however, have sought and found their sacred inner being which allows them to dwell in the presence of God. They offer each of us role models for our own lives. The existence of saints from ancient times to the present is an indispensable part of our faith guiding us to salvation and everlasting life.
Holiness is nearness to God. Truly it is real and may be found in real people. May we all strive to follow in the footsteps of Saints Vladimir, Sabastian and Mardarije.
After his opening remarks Fr. Blasko introduced the Mistress of Ceremonies, Zeljka Cvjetan Gortinski. Zeljka began the evening with a commentary on the Life of St. Mardarije.
The Chamber Choir Istochnik was led by conductor Goryana Zekich and produced an exquisite concert filled with heartfelt emotion. The first half of the concert ended with the a commentary on the lives of St. Sabastian and St. Vladimir.
The second half of the concert started with a thunderous applause and standing ovation for special guest and renowned mezzo-soprano Milena Kitic. She wore a beautiful evening dress as her voice penetrated the room. Kosta Babic once said, “There is no person in this world who sings my songs better than Milena.”
The evening was a success in bringing Serbian culture and community join the effort in generating additional resources to build a Serbian Orthodox church and parish center here in Orange County, California. The night of festivities was a lovely experience for all who attended and a true jubilee celebration.