The weekend of July 22-24 this year was a festive occasion in Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Sudbury, Ontario. One of the oldest Serbian Orthodox faith communities in Canada celebrated 52 years since the consecration of its church at the hands of Bishop Dionisije (Milivojevic) of North America. The anniversary also coincides with the parish patron saints, or church slava. To celebrate this joyous jubilee, the parishioners of our congregation hosted three days full of celebratory activities, all done to the glory of God, our heavenly intercessors Sts. Peter and Paul, and our Serbian heritage.

On Friday July 22, 2016, Councillor Evelyn Dutrisac representing His Worship Brian Bigger, Mayor of Greater Sudbury, read a formal proclamation which highlights the role that our parish plays in the community outreach, and fostering of multicultural tolerance and neigbourly love in our great city. The event, held at Sudbury City Hall, where parish board president Miodrag Rodic received the official certificate of appreciation culminated with the Mayor announcing the day to be Serbian Orthodox Church Appreciation Day in Sudbury and raised the Serbian Flag at Tom Davies Square in front of city hall.

The following day was particularly special because we were able to showcase not only our music, dancing, and cuisine, but to share in our religious customs with people who are not familiar with the Orthodox faith. Over 200 people visited our tent party and partook of the delicacies, live music, and otherwise generous Serbian hospitality.

At 6pm the church bells rang, and we took a break and invited everyone present at Serbfest to participate in the blessing of the slava kolach and wheat, which was done right in the middle of the field where our festival was being held. We are so proud that many of our guests were able to see first-hand just how beautiful and rich our prayers and traditions are. The kum this year was Oleg Lee, with his wife Oxana, and children Maxim and Ana, who are loyal Russian Orthodox members of our parish. Tomislav Garich accepted the honour of being kum next year.

On Sunday, with the help of members of the choir from St. Nicholas church in Hamilton, on Barton Street, our choir sang like never before at Holy Liturgy which was presided by Fr. Jovan Marjanac, parish rector. Following the church service Fr. Jovan acknowledged the tireless work of Zandra Zubac, former president of the church board, and chair of the organizational committee for slava weekend 2016, and gifted her with an icon of St. John the Baptist, her family’s patron saint.

A luncheon banquet meal was prepared by the hardworking sisters of the parish, during which Vida Drmanic, Desa Dobric, and Milica Borota were recognized for their endless hours of work in the kitchen preparing for the weekend. This celebration was a success because of the sacrifices which many continue to make for their church and even though Sudbury’s parish is small in members it is huge in spirit and love. So few people perpetuating and bettering, the life of their Church successfully is proof that the Holy Spirit work in this congregation. May it continue to be so for many more years to come!