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Archbishop Job Visits Saint Josephs; Celebrates Feast of Nativity Old Style - 01/07/07

WHEATON, IL. [MW Communications] - Archbishop Job was welcomed by the parish clergy – the Very Rev. John Matusiak, the Very Rev. Mykola Bodnarchuk, the Rev. Joseph Kopka, and Deacon John Coleman – at 11:15 p.m. on Sunday evening in preparation for the midnight Divine Liturgy. Prior to the celebration of the Liturgy, he tonsured Jerzy Pietrowski and Igor Khlinov to the order of Reader. Jerzy and his family are natives of Siemiaticze, Poland, while Igor, a convert to Orthodox Christianity who for a number of years had served in the Chicago area as a Reformed pastor, and his family are from St. Petersburg, Russia. 

The entire congregation sang the responses to the hierarchical Liturgy and joined together in singing traditional Nativity carols. 

Following the Divine Liturgy, a “breaking of the fast” took place in the parish hall. 

The celebration marked the tenth consecutive year that Archbishop Job has celebrated the Nativity with the immigrant community at Saint Joseph parish, where a third Liturgy in Church Slavonic and English is celebrated at 11:30 a.m. every Sunday. While the majority of the faithful hail from Poland, the community also serves the needs of a growing number of Orthodox Christians from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzistan, the Crimea, Bosnia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and other lands. 

Saint Joseph parish, which today serves the spiritual needs of nearly 600 adults and children, was established in 1989 as an English language mission serving Orthodox Christians regardless of ethnic background in Chicago’s western suburbs. With the fall of communism, an influx of Orthodox Christians from central and eastern Europe began to worship at the parish. Under the patronage of the holy Child-Martyr Gabriel of Zabludow, a 17th century saint especially venerated by Orthodox Christians in northeastern Poland, the outreach ministry to recent immigrants was initiated by the parish 1997 when His Beatitude, Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and Poland, visited the parish during his tenure as Archbishop of Bialystok and Gdansk.  


In May 2008, the entire parish community will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Saint Gabriel community with a combined Divine Liturgy celebrated by Metropolitan Sawa and Archbishop Job, a patronal feastday procession, and a festive “zabawa,” or picnic dinner.

In recent years, four other bishops from the Orthodox Church of Poland -- His Eminence, Archbishop Adam of Przymysl; His Eminence, Archbishop Abel of Lublin; His Grace, Bishop Myron of Hajnowka; and His Grace, Bishop Jacob of Bialystok– as well as His Eminence, Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg, Russia, have visited the parish and prayed before the icon and relics of Saint Gabriel, who is especially venerated by the entire parish community.

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