ARCHPASTORAL VISIT and 110th ANNIVERSARY PARISH CELEBRATION St. George Orthodox Church Buffalo, NY

by Very Rev. Jason Vansuch

“This is The Day that The Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

Over the weekend of September 23-24, 2023, His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, made an archpastoral visit to our beloved parish for the 110th Anniversary celebration of the founding of our parish.  The Anniversary coincided with the festal celebration of The Holy New Martyrs of Alaska – St. Juvenaly and St. Peter the Aleut as well as the 229th Anniversary of the missionary journey of St. Herman of Alaska and those with him.

We are blessed with a wonderful, loving and caring Diocesan Shepherd, Hierarch, and Father in Christ who guided us through the weekend with his love, care, prayers and words of exhortation and encouragement.

One hundred and ten years ago, St. George Orthodox Church began her ministry on East Street as one of the oldest Orthodox communities on the Niagara Frontier.  Our history reminds us that we are called to serve and welcome people of all backgrounds and ethnicities to worship with us and learn more about the ancient and unchanging path of Orthodox Christianity. The vision of the early Romanian community and then later the missionary parish under the name – Theophany Orthodox Catholic Parish which would become St. George/Theophany Orthodox Catholic Church, and then eventually St. George Orthodox Church has continued with the emphasis to live, proclaim and share the Gospel message of Our Lord Jesus Christ in our everyday living and everyday life.

This vision is centered on and embodies the Gospel message of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. A vision in providing a spiritual home for all who enter and want to know Christ, live, Christ, follow Christ and grow in their love and faith of Our Lord.  A vision which reflects The Great Commission of Our Lord given to all of us in the Gospel of Matthew: “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19).  Today, 110 years later, by the Grace of God and to the Glory of God, this vision, this mission is being fulfilled.

As we celebrated the great blessings God has bestowed upon us and our parish through the past 110 years, we rejoice in how our parish has grown spiritually and physically enriching the life and mission of our parish through the efforts, dedication, and leadership of its past clergy and faithful.  Over the past 10 years, our parish has grown from ministering to 75 souls to 175 souls with 13 Catechumens this past year, two of whom - William Herman Miller and Darlene Photini Miller - were chrismated at the start of our 110th Anniversary Celebration. Following the chismation and Great Vespers, we held a Wine & Cheese Reception in the Fellowship Hall where everyone gathered together with His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, local clergy and faithful.  The highlight of the evening reception was the showing of “The 110th Anniversary Celebration Video” which can be viewed on our parish website (www.stgeorgebuffalo.com)

On Sunday Morning, His Eminence spent time with our dear children, families, and parishioners with a “Q&A Session” after which children were able to assist the subdeacons in vesting Archbishop Michael, an experience they will never forget. The morning progressed through the beautiful Hierarchichal Divine Liturgy, procession, parish family group photo, presentation of Grammotas, and finally the banquet celebration. A highlight of the banquet was the presentation by the children during which they held 3 Boxes: (Past-Present-Future) and highlighted our parish over the past 110 years of her ministry and challenged all of us to ask ourselves – “Where do we want to go from here?” This was followed by our children’s choir joyfully singing and proclaiming the beautiful hymn: “Their Proclamation has gone out into All The Earth and their words to the ends of the Universe!”

Truly the entire weekend was a blessing for all of us! We invite all of you to come taste and see The Ancient Faith of The Orthodox Church by praying with us and growing with us!

This Anniversary, itself, reminds us of the constant need to re-evaluate and recapture that which is central to our lives as Orthodox Christians, to restore balance in all we do, and in giving thanks to God for these 110 years of proclaiming His Glory to make an earnest attempt to set aside the first portion of our time to acquire the peace of the Holy Spirit. This can be seen and fulfilled by way of our stewardship or commitment to Christ and His Holy Church. Stewardship is understood to be a spiritual exercise whereby we, as God’s Children, express our love and faithfulness in tangible ways through the giving of our time, talents and treasures for the building up of the Body of Christ as best expressed in our Parish life.

Through the Prayers of our Heavenly Patron - The Holy Great Martyr and Wonderworker St George, May God continue to bless and guide all of you and keep you safe and healthy in His loving care today and always!

May God continue to bless and guide all of us, our parishes, and our Diocesan family and keep all of us safe and healthy in His loving care today and always!

May the Joy of Our Lord continue to be with all of you and bless and enrich your lives as it does for us everyday here at St. George Orthodox Church!

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UPCOMING EVENTS ON THE DIOCESAN CALENDAR

March 1
Diocesan Council meeting
11:00 a.m. - Diocesan Chancery, Bronxville, NY

Meeting of Chancellors and Deans
2:30 p.m. - Diocesan Chancery, Bronxville, NY

April 25
Presbyters Council Meeting
11:00 a.m.
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