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Parish Feast Day and Groundbreaking at St. George Russian Orthodox Church in Cincinnati, Ohio
   Three wonderful events were recently celebrated by the parishioners of St. George Russian Orthodox Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. To start, May 5-6 (April 22-23) the parish celebrated its feast day in honor of the Holy Greatmartyr and Trophy-Bearer George. Additionally, his Grace, Bishop Peter traveled from Chicago to lead the festal Divine Services. To top it all off, ground was broken to start the construction of the parish’s new Church and parish hall.

   Any one of these alone would have been a cause worthy of great joy. But to experience all of them at once meant that the common joy was multiplied many times over! Thanks be to God, who is merciful and loves us, despite our sinfulness! Thanks be to St. George, who –  as Bishop Peter mentioned in his sermon – visits those who keep his memory and whose intercession is palpable in all these events!

   Vladyka Peter arrived in Cincinnati on Saturday, May 5, bringing with him Deacon Alexander Kichakov and his altar servers, Andrei Urtiew and Nikolai Lochmatow. Rev. Fr. Ilia Marzev, acting Dean for Ohio, and Deacon Alexander Petrovsky, added their prayers to the feast day celebrations in Cincinnati.

   The festal Vigil, including Litia, was served Saturday night. The magnification of St. George, led by His Grace Bishop Peter, was sung with solemnity and great joy. Vladyka offered an inspiring homily after the Gospel reading, reminding all present that the word martyr means ‘witness’, so that a greatmartyr earns this title by being a great witness, not by virtue of the kind or amount of physical suffering which causes martyrdom.

   Sunday morning services began with the blessing of water, in preparation for the Procession with the Cross. His Grace Bishop Peter was greeted with the traditional bread and salt by parish starosta, Vladimir Tsibulsky. The assembled visiting clergy, along with St. George’s parish rector, V. Rev. Paul Bassett, recently-assigned assistant rector, Rev. Daniel Marshall, and attached clergyman, Rev. Pavel Akmolin, as well as a crowd of the faithful and the parish choir, welcomed their archpastor with love and joy. A special grace permeated the hierarchical Divine Liturgy, as noted by many participants. The large group of assembled clergy, the fervent prayers of the many faithful, and the beautiful singing of the parish choir  skillfully directed by Kurt Sander contributed to the glorious day. Most importantly, more than 70 clergy and faithful partook of the Body and Blood of Christ from two chalices.

   During the Procession with the Cross, a remarkable spirit and energy filled the prayer of both the clergy and the faithful as they sang, “O Holy Greatmartyr and Trophy-Bearer George, pray to God for us!” With this prayer still resounding, those assembled traveled to the parish’s future home in the Cincinnati suburb of Loveland. Prayers were once again offered, this time a Moleben at the Start of Any Good Work. Bishop Peter reminded all those involved to expect temptations in the course of the building project, since the Evil One fiercely opposes the construction of any new Church.

   The day concluded with a festal meal at a local banquet facility. A delicious meal was served, including desserts prepared by the parish Sisterhood, under the direction of Head Sister Helen Kaminsky and Assistant Head Sister Svetlana Pinkerton. It was a pleasure to have the local Orthodox clergy of Cincinnati represented at the head table by Rev. Fr. Paul Trubenbach of Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. 

   Following the traditional greetings and toasts, the chairman of the parish Building Committee, Kurt Sander, provided an overview of the parish’s $1 million construction project. Construction should be well under way by July. The highlight of the banquet was the blessing bestowed by Bishop Peter on the building project when he signed a poster-sized copy of the plans. In support of this process, it was also announced that an anonymous donor had offered the parish a $50,000 challenge grant. Each dollar donated to the parish by the end of this year will be matched by this donor, doubling all donations! 

   Those who would like to support this worthy project are asked to pray for its successful completion and to send contributions directly to the parish (4905 Myrtle Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45242-6134). Donations may also be made through the parish website: http://www.stgeorgeroc.org/donate 

   May God bless your support of His Holy Church!

   Before driving back to Chicago, Bishop Peter accepted the invitation of V. Rev. Petar Petrovic, rector of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, to join him in celebrating his family Slava in honor of St. George. 

   With the blessing of Bishop Peter, the gathered parishioners and guests departed the banquet, basking in the joy associated with the wonderful events which God’s Grace and St. George’s intercession had helped to bring about. 

   Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee!

   a participant

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