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Special Concert of the Jubilee Celebration

Gala Concert Collage 2015

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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.

Gala Concert Choir 2015The 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.

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