100th Anniversary of St. John Parish in Vegreville

Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of St. John the Baptist Russo-Greek Orthodox Church in Vegreville, Alberta

St. John the Baptist Russo-Greek Orthodox Church in Vegreville, Alberta

St. John the Baptist Russo-Greek Orthodox Church in Vegreville, Alberta

On a beautiful sunny day, Saturday, July 8th, St. John the Baptist Russo-Greek Orthodox Church of Vegreville, Alberta celebrated the 100th Anniversary of its foundation as well as its Patronal Feast.

The Archpastoral Divine Liturgy and festive Moleben was conducted by His Grace Bishop Iov (Job), Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada.

Before entering the temple of the Lord, Bishop Job was greeted by the President Gloria Sen with bread and salt, and the Secretary-Treasurer of the parish, Janet Michalcheon, presented him with flowers. The rector, Father Igor Kisil, greeted Bishop Job inside the Church.

The co-servers at the service were parish priests Fr. Igor Kisil, Fr. Alexii Suraiev (Rector of the Orthodox V parishes) and Fr. Andrei Boldireff, deacon of St. Barbara‘s Cathedral in Edmonton.

The beauty of the Divine Liturgy and Moleben was enhanced by the mellifluous singing of a church choir of the Orthodox V parishes under the direction of Andrea Zacharuk.

After the Liturgy a Moleben with the Lesser Blessing of Water was conducted inside the church. “Many Years” was then sung.

After that, a Memorial Litia (prayer) was served for the departed founders and parishioners of St. John the Baptist Church followed by “Memory Eternal”.

At the end of the service, Bishop Job greeted all the parishioners and guests on the occasion of the Patronal feast of St. John the Baptist and on the 100th Anniversary of the foundation of the church. He wished all people present God’s abundant mercies, the protection of the Theotokos, and thanked them for keeping the faith of their forefathers and for their love of Holy Orthodoxy.

On behalf of the parishioners and guests, Fr. Igor Kisil thanked Bishop Job for his Holy prayers, his archpastoral blessing, and for his visit to the parish. Fr. Igor prayerfully wished His Grace bountiful health in his archpastoral service, good health, and many years of life.

Following this, a festive Anniversary banquet and jubilee program was held in the church basement.

Janet Michalcheon, the Secretary Treasurer of the Parish and the master of ceremonies, declared the jubilee festivities “open” and introduced the head table to all those present. Then the prayer “Our Father” was sung and the meal was blessed by His Grace Bishop Job. After the meal, the festive jubilee program took place.

Bishop Job presented an Archpastoral Gramota (Certificate of Merit) to the church board and the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Church on the occasion of the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of their parish, and in recognition of their hard work and zealous efforts toward the consolidation of Holy Orthodoxy in Canada. His Grace Bishop Job conveyed to the gathering congratulations and the blessing of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, and thanked the President, church board and the parishioners for organizing and preparing everything for the jubilee.

The President of St. John the Baptist Church in Vegreville, Gloria Sen, in her speech talked about the history of the parish.

Congratulatory messages were then delivered by the Secretary of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada and President of St. Barbara’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Edmonton, Roman Lopushinsky, President of the Orthodox IX Parishes and President of St. Mary’s Church in Nisku, David Borys and Vice-President of the Orthodox V Association, Jim Nemirsky.

At the end of the program the Parish Priest, Father Igor Kisil, expressed his gratitude to Vladyka Job, to the clergymen, to the President, the church board, the choir director Mrs. Andrea Zacharuk and church choir, to the Parishioners and the guests and to all who helped put together this joyous celebration.

The hall was also arranged with several stands of pictures displaying the 100 year history of the parish. A special Anniversary Booklet, consisting of the Message of His Grace Bishop Job, History of the Parish and the Life of St. John the Baptist was prepared by Father Igor.

The banquet ended with the singing of a closing prayer, Bishop Job’s blessing and the singing of “Many Years” by all parishioners and guests. Following this, a time of fellowship and reminiscing was shared.

It was a beautiful celebration that lifted the spirits of all gathered. We want to thank you all for coming and helping us celebrate this, our 100th Anniversary. We honor our forefathers for their contribution to the life of our church.

May God Grant the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Church in Vegreville and all of us Many, Many Years! На Mногая Літа Bсім!

Archpastoral Message of His Grace Iov (Job), Bishop of Kashira, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada on the Occasion of the 95th Anniversary of St. John the Baptist Russo-Greek Orthodox Church in Vegreville

Dear Fathers, brothers and sisters!

Distinguished guests!

From the bottom of my heart I congratulate all of you with the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and with the 100th Anniversary of St. John the Baptist Russo-Greek Orthodox Church in Vegreville!

Today we have gathered in this holy temple, in order to celebrate the Nativity of John the Baptist. We give thanks to God for this 100th Anniversary of our parish and honor the saint for whom this event commemorates!

The coming of a righteous person to the world is always a gracious gift of God to people, since the world owes its very existence to the holy people. Lets recall, that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself indicated that St. John the Baptist is one of the greatest righteous men ever.

From the Holy Gospel we know that the birth of John the Baptist and the Forerunner of the Lord was accompanied by miracles. For example, St. John was born to the elderly couple of righteous Zacharias and Elizabeth, who were very old, and it was the Archangel Gabriel, who foretold Johns father about the future birth of the child.

Why was this man of whom Christ said that “among those born of women there has not risen a person greater than he”, not born to a young couple?

We always associate youth with something good, bright, and joyful. But we see a different logic in the Gospel. Nothing is impossible for the Lord: so if God wills, even an elderly woman and a Virgin may give birth.

The birth of John the Baptist was not just a historical fact. It was an important sign to all people. Long-lasting childlessness of the righteous parents of John the Baptist was seen as humiliation to them. In this time, children were seen as a true blessing of God which they did not have.

The barrenness of humanity due to a disconnection with God after Adam’s sin is symbolized by Elizabeth’s childlessness. However, God provides the opportunity to change this barrenness with the birth of John.

For John the Baptist, his life’s goal was to return humans to God through baptism and repentance. St. John calls each and every one of us to start our path toward Christ from the very beginning of our life. He prepares every man who is born into this world for the coming of the Saviour.

Today in the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada, we celebrate a Triumph of Orthodoxy. We celebrate it in Vegreville  a truly Paschal town, since the largest Paschal egg in the world is located here! Our heart should also be like this egg, since the true faith should be born in the heart of every human being. Christ Himself should be born and risen in every heart. We should remember that what is happening in every human heart is of utmost concern to God. The repentance of St John the Baptist starts here.

The main business of our life should be the establishment and fashioning of the internal temple of our soul. Only in such a way may we restore Gods Image and Likeness in us and to revitalize faith and facilitate liturgical life in our parishes, including this great parish at Vegreville.

May St. John the Baptist help us witness the Truth and Christ everywhere and as long as we live  this constitutes the strength of the Orthodox Church and our power!

Let me express my deep gratitude to the Rector Very Rev. Igor Kisil, to the Parish Board and to all the parishioners for organizing this celebration, also to all the clergy and all members of our parishes, to all guests for Your prayers and participation in our todays celebration of the Orthodox faith on Canadian soil.

Many years to the Vegreville Parish and to all our parishes! Many years and Gods blessing to all of You, my dear brothers and sisters!

+ Iov (Job), Bishop of Kashira, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada July 8, 2017

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