Serbian Church to welcome bishop to first parish visit

STEUBENVILLE — Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church in Steubenville will welcome its Bishop Irinej for his first visit to the parish on Sunday. He is the Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Eastern America, with his see in New York City.

Bishop Irinej is visiting to lead the celebration of the parish’s Petar Krstich Choir’s 75th anniversary celebration today, beginning with a free concert open to the public at 3 p.m. at at First Westminster Presbyterian Church in Steubenville.

He will later attend the anniversary dinner at Williams Country Club in Weirton.

Also scheduled to attend the celebration as special guest is the choir’s founder, Miryana Trbuhovich, who organized the choir in 1943 as the wife of the parish’s priest at the time, the Rev. Mladen Trbuhovich.

On Sunday, Bishop Irinej will celebrate the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the church at 528 N. Fourth St., beginning at 9:45 a.m. with visiting clergy and responses by the Petar Krstich Choir. A luncheon will follow in the church’s Lyceum, hosted by the choir. The public is invited to the concert and services.

Bishop Irinej was born in 1955 in Cleveland. After attending the Cleveland Institute of Art and St Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pa., he graduated in 1982 from St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York with a Master of Divinity degree with honorable mention for his master’s thesis “Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich: A 1921 Mission to America.” He did post-graduate studies in Greece.

He spent most of his career in the field of education, lecturing at Loyola University in Chicago, and at the Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade. For many years he was the co-editor of The Path of Orthodoxy, the official publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada.

Ordained a deacon in 1994, he received monastic tonsure in 1995 and was soon ordained a priest. He served as consultant to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on International and Interchurch Affairs and coordinator of the newly created Kosovo and Metohija Office of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate in Belgrade. He has been recognized for his work for peace and international understanding with many decorations and awards from governments, educational institutions and other organizations throughout Europe and America.

Among his many appointments, Bishop Irinej represents the Serbian Orthodox Church to the World Council of Churches Central Committee; is a member of the Jasenovac Committee and the Permanent Missions Board of the Holy Synod of Bishops; the advisory council of the Njegos Endowment for Serbian Studies at Columbia University; and the Editorial Board of the Tesla Memorial Society; and the communications committee of the Board of Directors of St. Vladimir’s Seminary; a member of the Serbian-American Center in Belgrade; and an honorary board member for ZOE for Life.

Previously, he was the editor-in-charge of the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church; executive director of the Office of External Affairs of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada, located in Washington, DC; co-chaired the Orthodox Advisory Committee of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in Metropolitan Washington; was a member of National Council of the Churches of Christ Environmental Justice Task Force; and served on the Board of Directors of International Orthodox Christian Charities; the Executive Council of The United States Conference of Religions for Peace, the Conference of European Churches, the Serbian Unity Congress, the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs in Chicago and the Chicago Human Rights Commission.

In 2006 he was elected and consecrated as Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Australia and New Zealand, where he served for 10 years and was chairman of the National Heads of Churches of Australia. In 2016 he was elected Bishop of Eastern America.

“The Holy Resurrection parish is overjoyed to welcome him on his first visit as the parish’s Bishop and Archpastor,” said the Rev. Rade Merick..

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