52 Churches 52 Weeks

Worship Exploration Journey

Week 21 – St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church

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When I walk into a place of worship I never know what I will find. Today can best be described as a beautiful color explosion in my brain! The “frescoes” of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church were the most amazing depiction of the story of Jesus that I have ever seen. The artists are from Belgrade and are known as iconographers. I was literally overcome by the beauty and surprise that I actually cried. It is almost indescribable through words. What amazed me most was every inch dedicated to the story of Jesus Christ. From his birth, through the last supper, to his death and finally his ascension into Heaven. I was struck with the idea that this story has survived 20 centuries and is the Greatest Story ever told. We love a good story and this one has all the elements that keep us wanting more. It also fascinates us to the point that beautiful art and architecture is still created to honor Him. The wisdom and depth is truly timeless. These frescoes were a labor of love in one of the truest senses.

Some Churches are dreary or uninspiring or simple or modern or….whatever, but this Orthodox Church was laced in intricate detail, wood panel doors, incense, gold, lanterns, Apostles, Stations of the Cross, history, tradition, color. The service was nearly two hours long in both Serbian and English, people floated in at their leisure. The choir was also incredible. As the Priest chanted the Choir would respond in song in a very symbiotic way. I didn’t notice the response at first but the longer I sat there the more apparent it became. There was a lot of crossing of oneself and one devoted follower stood the entire time. They took bread at the end of the service, bowed humbly and with trepidation kissed a plaqe of Jesus, the hand of the Priest and the Cross that he held. Steeped in tradition all the way, the Priest made the first announcement of an upcoming wedding and asked that if for any reason these two should not be married it must be made known. Fascinating.

The Priest asked us to dedicate ourselves to our Church community. Jesus has invited us to the Church and like a host at a party, he wants us to show up, eat, drink and participate. Jesus wants us to be happy and to have a big love for God. We are invited to find a new life in our Lord Jesus Christ.

St. Sava is having their annual SerbFest on November 5th and 6th and the Church will be open. They will be doing tours of the Church at various times throughout the day – I highly recommend it! Also, a little plug for the artists – Donna at the church is accepting airline mile donations to fly in one of the artists from Belgrade for the Blessing of the Frescoes on Sunday, December 4, 2011. If you have extra airline miles this would be a great way to share them. Donna can be reached at 602-275-7360.

I would highly recommend a visit to the Church just to be present in this beautiful space. If you are never able to travel to Italy to see the Sistine Chapel – make it here. You will never regret having exposed yourself to such beauty right in our very own community.

To learn more visit: http://www.stsava.com/

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