Archpastoral Visit of His Grace Irinej

It is with great joy we announce an episcopal visit from our Bishop and Father, His Grace +IRINEJ on July 25th, 2021 for Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 10am.  At this time, His Grace will ordain Dn Mark Resanovich to the Holy Priesthood.

We are planning a celebratory luncheon and would love for our community to be there in great numbers to welcome Bishop, and to support Dn Mark.  Please follow this link to RSVP so we can make sure we have the appropriate amount of food, number of seats available, in the Event Center.

You do not have to sign-up to attend Liturgy – you only need to sign-up for the Luncheon.  Masks are required for those who are not vaccinated; for those who are vaccinated, you are welcome to remove your masks if you feel comfortable doing so.

Funeral Service for Dusan Bogunovich

Funeral Services for +Dusan Bogunovich will be live-streamed Monday beginning at 10:30am – click here to watch

Born in Grahovo, Bosnia, (Yugoslavia) on April 3, 1938 Dusan, the “kind of person that always looks forward to tomorrow” departed this world on November 12, 2020.

Dusan was preceded in death by his father Brane Bogunovich, infant brother Jovan, mother and stepfather Milka and John Treitinger and dear granddaughter Mia Bogunovich. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Lillian Bogunovich, children: Kathy (Mike), Danny (Debbie), Milan (Lori), David (Kelli) and Mark (Sabrina); grandchildren: Daniel (Kelly), Rebecca (Dale), Caroline (Austin); Stephanie (Joshua), Sarah (Kyle) Rachel (Ryan); Nicholas (Erica), Lily; Kirsten; Garet, Giana, and Gylian and great grandchildren: Daniel, Pierce and Milana. In addition, Dusan is survived by his Kumovi, the Kecman family, and the large Rogish family with many beloved nieces and nephews. He was a “brother” to sister in laws Gerry, Mary, Robin and Becky and brother in law, Nick and their spouses. Dusan had many friends in Akron, Springfield Township, Marlboro Township, at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in North Canton where he was a member and past board officer, and in the Kosovo Choir, where he served as President.

Dusan was the owner of Portage Awning in Randolph where he worked alongside family for over 40 years. For many years, Dusan and Lillian enjoyed boating on Salt Fork Lake with family and their friends John and Janice Winovich. Blessed with a strong singing voice, Dusan sang in various Church choirs and was most proud of his efforts with the Kosovo choir in recording Serbian heritage and Liturgical music. Dusan had a special friendship with Sam Coso and the other men in the choir. Dusan was a friend to anyone he met. He was a Veteran, having served as a US Army medic and leader of a cross country ski patrol in Alaska in the late 1950’s. Dusan loved to watch pro sports and particularly followed Serbian basketball players. Above all, Dusan loved Lillian, their children and grandchildren and time spent together at holidays, Slava, vacations or best of all-just ordinary days. He was Dad, “Dan”, Grandpy Dusan, Duchie, and Uncle Duncle. Dusan’s story of immigration to the United States of America, his resilience and survival is too big to tell in a simple obituary. His departure, coming after a short battle with metastatic breast cancer, will leave a large void in the lives of those who loved him. We pray that God will remember him always in His Kingdom. Memory Eternal! Vecenaja Pamjat!

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, North Canton.

Adopt-a-Family Outreach for Christmas

Help give a little bit of hope and Christian love to some families that need some extra help this holiday season by signing up to adopt-a-family for our 2nd annual LTN “Adopt-a-Family” Christmas event.

By signing up, you will work with our coordinator to help offer some gifts for families in need – and by so doing you’ll not only lift their spirits, but yours as well!

Click here to sign-up online

St. George in North Canton & COVID-19

As many churches in our community, St. George North Canton is striving to keep our house of worship available, while at the same time ensuring the safest-possible practices to combat the spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

UPDATE – JULY 14 2021
As many churches in our community, St. George North Canton is striving to keep our house of worship available, while at the same time ensuring the safest-possible practices to combat the spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus).Keeping in mind current CDC guidelines and recommendations, in addition to local and state recommendations, and with the blessing of our diocese, the following rules are currently in place:

  • If you are NOT VACCINATED, then masks must be worn at all times in church – NO EXCEPTIONS – if you cannot wear a mask, please join us online
  • If you are VACCINATED, then you may remove your mask in the church, and in church facilities
  • Social distancing is encouraged, where possible
  • Those receiving Holy Communion must follow the instruction of the celebrant
  • Hand sanitizer is available for those that enter the building, or need it during the service
  • Those who feel ill are encouraged to stay home

This represents a much closer return to normal worship in the life of our community, particularly for those who are vaccinated.  Current data suggests that, for the vaccinated, not only is transmission of Covid-19 much more difficult – but the virus, itself, is less impactful if contracted.  As such, we can begin, once again, to gather in greater numbers, venerate icons, remove masks, and use other shared-space items as we did before.

Still, for those who do not yet feel comfortable coming to church for any reason you are invited and encouraged to participate via streaming services on the parish Facebook page.  Please contact Fr. Aleksa to schedule a pastoral visit, with appropriate safety-precautions, if you are homebound.

It is important to note that online services are not a substitute for regular services – if you are healthy (IE – fever and symptom free) then you should be joining us in church, worshipping together and receiving the sacraments with your church family.  Our Lord has called us together in unity and oneness, and it is difficult to do that from home on a long-term basis.

The near-future is uncertain, and ever-changing, so the information provided is current as-of the date listed above – but may change again, or even without broader notice, pending any government orders or regulations.

For the time being, I will be continuing our new ministries of online services via Facebook, “Small Steps” sermons posted to YouTube, Morning Prayers, and other innovations started during the pandemic.

Please keep up-to-date on Facebook for news regarding events and services.


If you are worried of contracting COVID-19 due to respiratory issues, age, or personal health concerns – please be sure to do what makes you feel safe and in good health. Contact Father Aleksa to make sure he knows, and so he can reach out to you.

Through God’s grace, we have come quite far with regard to the pandemic.  Our community, through prudence and love, has not been a breeding ground for spreading covid.  It has been difficult, but we have persevered.   Now is the time for us, once again, to gather together in worship so we can continue the good work and life in our St George parish!

Yours in Christ our Lord,

~Fr Aleksa

Love Thy Neighbor Mission at St. George

On Sunday, February 9th, the Love Thy Neighbor mission of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church hosted an informational coffee following Divine Liturgy.  As parishioners enjoyed sandwiches, snacks, and desserts, the recently formed committee presented activities and future plans for the parish mission – to help those in need in the local community.

Linda Cameron, mission director, began the presentation by sharing a history of Love Thy Neighbor, calling out the many people who helped during the organization’s early days. She was followed by Melissa Laskovski who talked about the “Blessing Bag” program, “Comfort Boxes” and other mission projects.  

Protinica Emily Pavichevich followed by inviting the congregation to “March to Marcha in March” – a Love Thy Neighbor outreach opportunity that will lead a group of faithful to New Marcha Monastery in Richfield, Ohio during Great Lent with a care basket of items, to help clean, and to tend to the monastery grounds.  

Finally, Tiffany Kochovski rounded out the presentation by sharing a bit of the good work of Love Thy Neighbor, specifically the fantastic “Adopt a Family” Christmas program that provided gifts to dozens of families throughout Stark County.

May God bless this wonderful mission and grant them many more years of fruitful work!

2020 St. Sava Program

This year the children of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church prepared a special program to celebrate St. Sava of Serbia, the “first-enthroned hierarch and teacher of the way that leads to life.” In a break from previous years, the students prepared a full-length play on the life of St. Sava taken from a new publication by the Director of Religious Education for the Eastern American Diocese, Protodeacon Jovan Anicic:  “Saint Sava Book of Plays for Children.”

Dressed in full costume, the students from age 5 to age 17 shared the story of St. Sava’s call to monastic service to a hall full of parents, grandparents, friends, and guests.  

Immediately following the play, the “St George Folklore Group” put on a fantastic play of challenging kolo dances to the delight of all in attendance.  As is customary, the event ended with the children leading the entire community in a dance.

Many thanks to our church school team: Director Svetlana McCully; Preschool teacher Marina Quinn; Primary School teacher, Gligo Sekulic; Teen teacher, Rajko Radonjich; teaching aides Jovana and Anastasija Sekulic. 

Many thanks also to Jasminka Kraguljac who led the kitchen and baked the kolac; Kathy Tobias who made the koljivo; and the many volunteers who cleaned, decorated, setup tables, and cleaned up afterwards. 

This event raised over $1000 to support our new St. George Folklore Group – an organization that, although newly formed, has given the children of the parish a way to bond and grow in friendship.

Thanks be to God!

Pilgrimage to Italy – June 2020

Our St. George parish is pleased to announce the location and dates for our 2020 pilgrimage:

Grand Tour and an Orthodox Pilgrimage to Italy
June 1-11, 2020

This tour is hosted by Orthodox Tours and will begin with service at the tomb of St. Nicholas in Bari, Italy, and will wind its way through some of the ancient Christian sites located in the Italian lands. Download the brochure today and contact Fr. Aleksa or Orthodox Tours (Fr Ilya) with any questions!

Download the Brochure (PDF)

A Journey through Holy Week

On Monday evening, a small group of Orthodox Christians gathered at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church to celebrate Bridegroom Matins of Holy Tuesday.  As Fr. Aleksa explained, out of anticipation for our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, all services during Holy Work are done well in advance of their ‘normal’ time during the rest of the year.  So the service that would normally be held on Tuesday morn, during this Great and Holy Week, was held on Monday.

That anticipation is meant to place the faithful into a mode of constant preparation, just as the troparion of the Bridegroom Matins reminds them, “Behold the Bridegroom comes and midnight – and blessed is the servant who he shall find watching, and again unworthy is the servant whom he shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep, Lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom. But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, are You O our God! Through the Theotokos have mercy on us!”

That message was repeated to the faithful on Tuesday evening as the faithful once again gathered for Bridgeroom Matins of Holy Wednesday. This service, however, Fr. Aleksa directed the faithful to the hymnographical juxtoposition of two figures:  the woman, repentant, who washed the feet of Christ with her tears; and Judas, the betrayer, who in his despair failed to repent and failed to trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness.

The following evening, Wednesday, many faithful came to church for the mystery of Holy Unction – anointing with oil unto the healing of soul and body.  Seven Epistles were read by seven different readers, and Fr. Aleksa alternated reading the Gospels with Dn. Mark.  Upon conclusion of the service, Dn. Mark, who recently wrote a paper on this sacrament, offered a reflection on the healing and medicine.  Spoken from his own personal perspective, he made clear the distinction between receiving medical care and the true healing, soul and body, that comes through Christ.

On Holy Thursday, the faithful arrived to a church in darkness with only candles lighting the nave and dim lights in the altar.  At the center of the church stood a podium upon which Fr. Aleksa and Dn. Mark read the twelve passion gospels.  Following the fifth reading, chanter George Rafilitis beautifully sung the 15th antiphon as Fr. Aleksa placed the large cross upon his shoulder and carried it to the center of church, placing Christ upon it.

As Fr. Aleksa remarked upon the service’s conclusion, this part of the service – nailing Christ to the Cross – is a powerful reminder of how our sin contributes to the painful crucifxion of our Lord.  Holy Thursday is a powerful moment for us to humble ourselves before he who was humbled upon the wood of the Cross, and to look within for where our thoughts and actions have led us to betray Christ and to shout out with the masses, “Crucify him!”

When the Matins of Holy Thursday, and the reading of the twelve Gospel passages, concluded, a number of faithful and hardworking individuals stayed late to decorate the tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to clean the church in preparation for Great and Holy Friday.

The following day, in a room aglow with the scent of flowers, the faithful served the Vespers of Entombment.  As has become tradition in the St. George parish, during the reading of the Gospel man woman, and one man, removed Christ from the Cross placed in the center of the church and wrapped him in a fine linen.  That body was then presented to Fr. Aleksa who carried it into the altar space.  A few moments later that body, in the form of the burial shroud, was dramatically carried from the altar space to the tomb prepared in the center of the church.  As the choir sang the beautiful, Bulgarian rendition of “The Noble Joseph”, all those present came forward to venerate the Holy Tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ.

After a short break, the faithful gathered together of the Matins of Holy Saturday – the Lamentations.  Fr. Aleksa stood in front of the tomb and sang the hymns in relative darkness while the chanters and readers participated in the mourning of our Lord.  That sadness, however, was broken up with the singing of the bright and resurrectional Troparia – the church, once in darkness, became bright as the chanters sang briskly while Fr. Aleksa and Dn. Mark censed the entire church.

Near the end of the service, at the conclusion of the Great Doxology, and with help from a few tall altar servers, Fr. Aleksa placed the Gospel upon his head and, standing on the burial shroud. led the congregation in solemn procession around the church. By God’s grace, the rain that had been falling only moments before ceased as the people began their candle-lit movement around the church building. 

On the morning of Holy Saturday, and for the last official service of Holy Week, the faithful gathered for the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, complete with 15 old testament readings. During the singing of “Arise O God and Judge the Earth” the clergy changed from purple vestments into bright white. Those gathered felt the joy of the empty tomb, placing their faith in Christ’s descent into hell and the release of those held captive.  With joy, all left that day awaiting for the tomb to be opened and Christ’s glorious resurrection to be proclaimed to the world!

The journey through Holy Week was long and full of beautiful services – but all those who dedicated this holy time to growing closer to Christ left fulfilled, and moved, by the powerful worship experience of their Orthodox Christian faith. 

Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday

Parishioners of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church began gathering long before preparation for Divine Liturgy on Lazarus Saturday, April 20th.  As has become customary for the church community, Fr. Aleksa offered an educational Divine Liturgy where the church school parents, families, and general parishioners could observe “Proskemedia” – the Preparation of the Gifts – as well as vesting and entry prayers.

With children gathered closely around him, Fr. Aleksa explained the prayers associated with each vestment, and quizzed the children on the liturgical tools and commemorations.  As this was the fourth annual Lazarus Saturday educational Liturgy, many of the children in attendance were able to identify and articulate the process and the various components present on the table of oblation.

During the commemoration of the living, the many people there early lined up to offer their names on the diskos. Near the end of the service the children, as is customary, rang their bells in joyous procession.

The following day, on Sunday, April 21st, parishioners at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church gathered for Matins and the blessing of the Palms.  People held their branches high in the air as the choir sang the Festal Troparion, “By raising Lazarus from the tomb…” and Fr. Aleksa blessed the waving branches with holy water.

This Palm Sunday, with the festal emphasis on children, Fr. Aleksa offered a “Children’s Sermon”, although it was as much for the adults as it was for the young people.  Immediately after the reading of the Gospel, the children of the St. George parish came to the front of the church and took a seat on the floor at the foot of the steps.  Fr. Aleksa spoke to the children of happiness that always seems to fade, causing us to seek more and more.  He then gave the children an easy way to remember how to find a happiness that does not dissappear – “joy”:  Jesus, first; Others, second; Yourself, last.

To the first, Father reminded the children that knowing who Jesus Christ is, as our Lord and Savior, reveals to us the depth of God’s love for humankind. Making our Lord Jesus Christ the first priority in this life not only teaches us that we are not alone, but it opens for us to a life that is rooted in light and resurrection.

To the second, Fr. Aleksa then reminded the children of the many times in Scripture where we are called to love our neighbor. He then offered that when we care for others, we open our hearts to a type of happiness that is firmly planted in the love of God.  That kind of happiness does not fade away so quickly.  In fact, spreading the love of God to other people spreads happiness an joy in the world.

Finally, Fr. Aleksa reminded the children that in true “joy”, “yourself” is last – and he spoke of the Lord’s great humility on the Feast of Palms.  He asked the children a series of questions:  Did our Lord ride in on a noble steed, or a great horse of war?  No?  What animal did carry him triumphantly into Jerusalem?  Did politicians and noblemen greet him with money and accolades?  No?  Who was waving the palms of victory and shouting Hosanna? In every instance the children, who sat quietly and with great attention, raised their hands and answered well.

The children’s sermon concluded with a final thought on ‘happiness’ in this life:  From our humility, and by putting ourselves last – after our Lord Jesus Christ and the “other” – we find a joy that does not end.

After Liturgy, the children of the parish joined their church school teachers to complete their “Passport to Pascha” as the parents and other members of the church community enjoyed fellowship over Lenten food and coffee.

5th Annual Lenten Retreat in NYC

With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Irinej, 20 members of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in North Canton, Ohio, embarked on their 5th annual Lenten retreat to New York.  The program began began on Friday, March 22nd, when the faithful group gathered at the Cloisters Museum in New York City. This museum is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and houses art and architecture of medieval Europe.  Woven into the fabric of the building are a number of elements from medieval monasteries that, together, house over 2000 works of art.

Immediately following their visit to the Cloisters, the attendees departed for New Rochelle, New York, to seek the blessing of their diocesan bishop, His Grace Irinej.  The group arrived shortly after the lunch hour and received a personal tour of the Diocesan Center from their beloved hierarch. The group marveled at the beauty of the historical elements and artwork preserved for display. His Grace Bishop Irinej, together with the diocesan staff, showed the faithful of North Canton great hospitality, joining them for conversation over coffee and Lenten snacks in one of the diocesan meeting rooms.  As a final show of love and appreciation, His Grace offered each member of the group a parting gift, as well as His blessing.

The day finished with a visit to St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Crestwood, New York, where the group met with Mat. Robyn Hatrack, the Events, Hospitality, and Alumni Officer.  She took the group on a tour of the seminary grounds, including a visit to the bookstore for SVS Press. The tour concluded in the Three Hierarchs Chapel where the faithful enjoyed a Lenten reflection by Fr. Chad Hatfield, Seminary President.

Fr. Chad reflected on how historical Christianity has always been counter-cultural, with Christians confessing their faith in ways that their contemporaries did not expect or understand. Given the trajectory of modern culture, Fr. Chad exhorted the faithful to be prepared for the challenges of living an Orthodox Christian life in the 21st century.

The retreat concluded with Divine Liturgy on Sunday, March 24th, with faithful from St. George in North Canton joining the faithful of the St. Sava Pro-Cathedral community at St. Eleftherios Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan. This year, as an additional blessing, the Serbian Orthodox faithful concelebrated with their Greek brethren for Divine Liturgy. Hymns alternated seamlessly between the magnificent St. Sava Choir and traditional Byzantine chanters.

Following the service, a memorial prayer was offered by His Grace Bishop Irinej for the innocent victims of the NATO aggression and bombing of Serbia on the 20th anniversary of that tragic event.

His Grace thanked the loving community at St. Eleftherios for supporting the Serbian faithful of New York during their reconstruction.  He offered that faithful Greek Christians had long offered support and care to their Serbian brethren, including, but certainly not limited to, a show of support during the NATO aggression in 1999. In addition to sending professionals, doctors, and aid workers, Greece collected many tons of humanitarian food and medicines for those Serbian people suffering from the NATO bombing. After the luncheon, His Grace invited everyone to join in the singing of “Memory Eternal” in Serbian for all of those who innocently perished at the hands of NATO aggression.

During the Lenten meal that followed, His Grace also offered His blessings to the St. Eleftherios community on the Prefeast of Annunciation, and the eve of Greek Independence Day. His Grace remarked on the accomplishment of the Greek people, fighting for their freedom after centuries of Ottoman oppression. The Greek faithful were moved by His thoughtfulness and kind words and joined him in singing in the Greek language the Kontakion to the Theotokos, “O Victorious Leader”, which is also sung, not only in honor of Greek Independence Day, but also, according to the  Greek Tradition, every Sunday during Great and Holy Lent.

Near the end of the meal, His Grace received a gift from noted Byzantine iconographer Ognyan Denev, an icon of the Granting of the Tomos of Autocephaly to St. Sava by Patriarch Manuel I of Constantinople. This superlative and holy image was created to commemorate the 800th Anniversary of the Autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church. Many faithful parishioners from the communities of St. Sava, St. Eleftherios, and St. George, came forward to venerate the icon and behold its beauty before departing.

For the faithful parishioners of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, this Lenten retreat, once again, helped strengthen their efforts during the Great Fast through prayer, worship, and education.