On Thursday, November 21, the feast of the Holy Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers of Heaven, clergy of the Russian Church Abroad and the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA gathered at St. Michael Church (MP) in Philadelphia, PA to celebrate the parish’s patronal feast day.
Archpriest Mark Shinn (rector of St. Andrew Naval Cathedral in Philadelphia) celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by Archpriests Serge Lukianov (dean of New Jersey), Luka Novakovic (parish rector), Liubo Milosevich (rector of Holy Trinity Church in Vineland, NJ), and Alexey Bocharnikov (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Chester, PA), Abbot Tikhon (Gayfudinov; rector of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ), Priests Gregory Winsky (cleric of Holy Trinity Church in Baltimore, MD) and Valery Sukholobov (rector of Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Philadelphia), and Deacons Michael Ardan (parish cleric) and Michael Sidorochev (cleric of St. Nicholas Church in Chester).
Despite its being a weekday, parishioners and faithful from other churches in the city gathered for the feast, most of whom communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries. The parish choir sang the services.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Fr. Serge Lukianov congratulated Fr. Luka on behalf of Metropolitan Hilarion, on the occasion of the parish’s patronal feast and the 30th anniversary of Fr. Luka’s ordination, and with the First Hierarch's blessing presented him with a diocesan gramota for his many years of dedicated service to the Holy Orthodox Church in Serbia and now in the U.S.
A graduate of St. Sava Seminary in Belgrade and the Moscow Theological Academy, Fr. Luka began his service to the Church in 1988, when he was tonsured a reader, and would go on to work under the patronage and direction of three Serbian Patriarchs, defending his Master’s and Doctoral theses at theological institutions in Oxford and Rome.
Immediately after his diaconal ordination in November 1989, Fr. Luka began to his diaconal service in the Church of St. Sava in Belgrade, Serbia, of which he became the rector after is priestly ordination in January 2007. Starting in December 2009, he served as rector of St. Luke the Apostle Church. At the same time, he taught theology, and fulfilled his obediences as head librarian of the Patriarchate Library and secretary of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Court, and was the chancellor of the Serbian Patriarchate.
Since July 2017, Fr. Luka labored at St. Nicholas Monastery in North Ft. Myers, FL, and in October 2019, assumed rectorship of St. Michael Church in Philadelphia. His son followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from theological seminary in the U.S. and currently studying at the Sts. Cyril & Methodius Theological Institute in Moscow.
On behalf of His Eminence, the Metropolitan, the gathered clergy wished Fr. Luka good health, spiritual joy, and God’s unfailing aid in his pastoral labors. Fr. Serge presented Fr. Luke with a copy of the Kazan Mother of God and the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel.
Addressing the faithful with a sermon, Fr. Mark Shinn spoke about the intercessions and miraculous guidance of the Holy Archstrategist Michael, and noted that the Holy Archangel directed Fr. Luka’s steps to this venerable old church, in order to carry God’s word to the local community and the Orthodox of Philadelphia.
Fr. Luka thanked his brother pastors for their warm words, and invited all to a festal luncheon, which had been lovingly prepared by the parish sisterhood, and during which interaction between clergy and parishioners continued.