"Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, even as wheresoever Christ Jesus is, there is the universal church." (St. Ignatius of Antioch). Our parish community demonstrates our agreement with the truth of these words through our actions – we eagerly gather to welcome our beloved Dedo Vladika Joseph when he visits Santa Rosa and surround him to receive his blessing and the fullness of grace he brings into our midst. Tuesday, August 28th, 2018, was no exception as His Eminence joined us once again on the occasion of our patronal feast, the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos.
Our celebration began with His Eminence presiding over the Vigil and Litya for the Feast on Monday evening. The Hierarchical Liturgy followed on Tuesday morning, during which Dedo Vladika Joseph and our local clergy – V. Rev. Fr. Michael Oyer (parish rector), V. Rev. Fr. David Skopp, V. Rev. Fr. Philip Tolbert, Protodeacon James Hughes and Deacon Samuel Woolums – were joined by guest clergy and long-time parish friends V. Rev. Fr. Lawrence Margitich (St. Seraphim of Sarov Cathedral - OCA) and V. Rev. Fr. Alexander El-Far (AOCA).
At the time of the small entrance with the Holy Gospel in the Divine Liturgy, Dedo Vladika Joseph elevated Deacon Samuel Woolums “now entering his eightieth year” to the rank of Protodeacon – Axios! Later, at the very end of the service, His Eminence also presented an “Award of Meritorious Service” to Mr. Stephen Rodier in recognition of his many years of service as parish president of Holy Dormition Church and as diocesan webmaster.
The Divine Liturgy was followed by a delicious Agape brunch, prepared by our parish Sisterhood and served under the redwood trees in the parish’s outdoor dining area to the delightful musical accompaniment of Ansgar and Mara Hoyle, Reader Mikael Habtezion, Subdeacon Timothy Zieminski and Subdeacon Matthew Sundahl.
Tuesday evening, the community gathered once again as Dedo Vladika and clergy celebrated the Vespers for the Afterfeast, led in Byzantine chant by Reader Mikael Habtezion. Vespers was followed by a lovely informal meal enjoyed by community and friends, likewise served outdoors on the parish property.
We are grateful to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for his presence at our festal celebration and for his wise and encouraging words. We look forward with anticipation to his next visit. Through the prayers of our Most Holy Mother the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, may the Lord God grant him many, many blessed years, in good health and strength, rightly dividing the word of His Truth!