The parish of Saint Sophia has an established tradition to invite His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to Des Plaines, IL for the patronal feast of Saint Sophia and her three daughters Faith, Hope, and Love (Pistis, Elpis and Agape in Greek). It is a big blessing for the parish when His Eminence is able to celebrate with them, and this year was no exception.
The celebrations started with a dinner on Saturday evening in the Community Hall at Saint Sophia’s featuring an extensive folklore program and traditional dishes. Many of the parishioners attended, and in addition to marking the patronal feast, they answered the call to continue the mural beautification project.
On Sunday, His Eminence led the celebration of a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, with co-celebrants Fr. Grouu Tzonkov, Fr. Milan Radulovich, and Fr. Milovan Derasimovic. Our brothers and sisters from the Holy Martyrs of Zograf Mission joined to congratulate the parish of Saint Sophia and also welcome His Eminence. Metropolitan Joseph tonsured several readers and altar servers from the Mission. Worthy, Axios, Dostoin! Having the two parishes celebrate liturgy together was a beautiful event.
During the sermon, His Eminence emphasized the great sacrifice that Saint Sophia offered to God in encouraging her daughters to persist in the face of torture. She was recognized as a martyr by the Holy Church, equating her suffering as a mother to that of a martyr’s death. “We live in a different time,” compared Metropolitan Joseph, “and we are not asked for this kind same kind of sacrifice as parents. But it is still just as important as ever to instruct our children in the faith.” Amen.
The Parish Council, Parish Priest Stavroforen Sveshtenoikonom Fr. Grouu, and all parishioners at Saint Sophia expressed their immense gratitude to His Eminence for visiting them on the occasion of the Patronal Feast.