On February 4, 2023 His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Porfirije officiated at the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at New Gracanica Monastery near Chicago.
Concelebrating with His Holiness were His Eminence Archbishop Peter of Chicago, of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and Their Graces Bishop Longin of New Gracanica-Midwestern American and Bishop Mitrophan of Canada, Bishop Nikodim of Dalmatia, Bishop Kiril of Buenos Aires and South American and Bishop Sava retired Bishop of Slavonia. On that occasion His Holiness preached the following:
Your Grace, venerable fathers, brothers and sisters, my heart is filled with true and not ordinary joy, fleeting joy, worldly joy, but heavenly joy, joy that is from the Holy Spirit. It is also the only true and real joy. Any joy that is not marked by the Holy Spirit, the grace of God, is diminished even for a short time. However, the joy that comes from the grace of the Holy Spirit is permanent and has a deep spiritual meaning.
I am filled with joy, because the Lord has gathered us here, in New Gracanica, in the church dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos, to celebrate Saint Sava, to pray to God together. I am also filled with joy because, ever since I set foot on American soil, I actually had the impression that I was in my own country, that I had not left the homeland, simply because the first step I took on this soil was sealed with the name of Saint Sava . And here, following his steps, we find ourselves here, in Chicago. It is only an indicator and a reminder of all that is truly valuable in our nation.
All that we are and have, that fulfills the meaning of our existence through the Scylla and Charybdis of history - all is sealed by Saint Sava. In our nation, streams and springs, hills and mountains, villages and many other things bear the name of Saint Sava. In everything that is wonderful, that is beautiful, that is valuable, our people saw Saint Sava, but they also looked and saw, and still see themselves today, as Saint Sava. Saint Sava once and for all paved the path we should follow. The faith of Saint Sava is nothing but the Orthodox faith, the faith of the Gospel, the faith of Christ, the faith that shaped us throughout the centuries. Even though the borders of the countries have changed, even though we went far away from our homeland, always and always the name of Saint Sava was not only preserved, but the name of Saint Sava, sealed by Christ and the Gospel of Christ, shaped us and gave us the opportunity to always and in every time be creative.
Nothing could be saind about Saint Sava, who is great in everything and can be talked about in various ways, but nothing could be said if he was not fully Christ's, if he was not a saint of God. That is what he calls us to do today. He calls us to believe Orthodoxy. He calls us to keep the commandments of the Gospel, because those commandments are nothing more than guidelines, sign posts, strength and power with which we build ourselves as individuals, but also ourselves as a community. If we live the Gospel of Christ then we keep the family together. What does the Gospel of Christ call us to? To love, and love means sacrifice for the one with whom we live with.
The New Gracanica Monastery is located in Third Lake, not far from Chicago. It is dedicated to the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos and is a replica of the ancient Gracanica monastery in Kosovo, the endowment of Saint King Milutin. The magnificent church, as well as the entire monastery complex, is a symbol of the strength of the Orthodox Serbian people who found refuge in the United States after World War II.