Magnificent Event in Miami: Grand Consecration of the Church of St. Simeon the Myrrh-gusher

The preparations for this event began as far back as 1978 when a small group of Orthodox Serbs expressed the desire to have an organized church community. Once they gathered a sufficient number of member signatures for the establishment of the parish, they approached the competent Diocesan Bishop Christopher, and in March 1979, received his blessing. The first temporary board members were appointed: Michael J. Marinčić, president; Branislav Kvajić, co-chairman; Rudi Matijević, treasurer; Olga Matijević, secretary; Members: Peter Knežević, Andrew Kosović, Stanimir (Stanley) Stojković, and Janet Mestrović.

In those years, in April, with the visiting priest Bogdan Zjalić, assistance was provided in establishing the Cultural and Sports Society “Empress Milica.” Already in June, an extraordinary membership assembly voted to dedicate the church to St. Simeon the Myrrh-gusher.

By decision of Bishop Christopher and with the proper documentation, they approached the state authorities and officially became the Mission of St. Simeon the Myrrh-gusher. The joy they felt at that time can only be imagined by us today.

Immediately after that, with Fr. Petar Milosević, they began exploring locations to purchase a suitable plot with a house that would fit their financial capabilities, and in 1979-80, they found what they were looking for. The house with the plot at the current address was initially sufficient. It became the residence of the priest, and it was adapted as both a place of worship and a hall for social activities.

As they were a young Mission, someone had to guarantee the loan, and Rudy and Olga Matijević provided their house as collateral. In 1980, when the young priest Petar Petrović arrived, they repaid the loan and started making plans for a temple. They consecrated the cross and the site for construction but eventually abandoned the project. From today’s perspective, this turned out to be a good decision because we wouldn’t have such a large church today capable of accommodating a much larger number of people than there were at that time.

Later, they acquired an adjacent plot that expanded their existing property, and in 2003, they started construction on a hall. It took a lot of effort and sacrifice for our Serbs to build a large hall with a residence, kitchen, and auxiliary spaces. However, with the hard work and foresight of the Church Committee led by Ratko Kravljanac and the priest Prota Stokan Ćirković, the building was constructed and adapted for worship. The spacious stage was transformed into an altar, where the Holy Liturgy was celebrated, and after the service, a curtain would be drawn before the altar, turning the hall into a space for social gatherings, lunches, and celebrations.As time passed, church life developed, and with the arrival of the priest, Prota Svetozar Veselinović and younger people in the Committee, the desire to build a temple emerged.

The young president of the Church Committee, engineer Predrag Vaskršić, along with Jovica Malešević, also an engineer, heading the Building Committee, architect Mr. Doboš was provided with the necessary information to create plans for the new temple.

In 2013, permits were obtained, and construction began. Unfortunately, in the midst of construction, in September 2015, they lost their spiritual leader, Fr. Svetozar Veselinović, who passed away due to a severe illness, moving on to the Heavenly Kingdom.

By August 2016, Prota Milan Krstić arrived, for whom this was already the third temple in whose construction he would participate. He joined the group leading the construction and, with his experience, ideas, and solutions, contributed to the completion of the temple.

As the temple was nearly finished, we celebrated its first Patronal Feast – Slava in 2018 with our present Bishop Kyr Irinej in the new temple. That morning, before the Holy Liturgy, our Bishop performed the lesser blessing of the temple to enable worship inside, and since then, we no longer returned to the hall.

Meanwhile, the temple has been completely finished, down to the last detail, so the time had arrived for the


The date was set for February 24, 2024, and our Bishop decreed that the Diocesan Assembly be held in our hall two days before the consecration, so that we can have all the devout clergy of our Diocese participating in this holy ceremony. Preparations for such an event began several weeks earlier, with numerous volunteers working together on this pleasing task.

After the Assembly, which took place on Thursday and Friday, February 22-23, on Friday at 6 PM, the clergy welcomed His Grace Bishop Irinej in front of the temple. His Grace, vested in liturgical vestments, and ceremoniously carried the holy relics of St. Mardarije of Libertyville and the relics of the Holy Martyrs of Jasenovac and Prebilovci into the temple.

A multitude of people came to venerate and kiss the holy relics after the evening service. His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Canada, who was the overseeing bishop during the blessing of the temple’s foundation and the beginning of its construction, also attended the evening service.

We were honored by the visit of Bishop Peter Eton of the Episcopalian Communion, who resides in our vicinity and oversees the Diocese of Southeastern Florida. (It is worth noting that we received from the Episcopalian Communion, the current St. Sava Cathedral in New York, which sold it to us out of respect for St. Nicholai of Žiča. It is also noteworthy that the Serbian Church has always had excellent and friendly cooperation with them.) Bishop Irinej, along with Fr. Milan, took the opportunity to ask him to occasionally allow us the use of a temple in Key West, so that we could have monthly liturgies for our people living there, which he graciously approved.

After the evening concluded, and all the guests dispersed, and our volunteers started preparing for the next day. Finally, the awaited day arrived on 02.24.2024. The night before, a light rain fell, just enough to cool things down for all the people who would come.

Over 30 priests and hieromonks, along with two deacons, formed a line in front of the temple to welcome our bishops:

  • His Grace Irinej, the overseeing Bishop of Eastern America,
  • Bishop Longin of the New Gracanica-Midwestern Diocese, and
  • Bishop Mitrophan of the Canadian Diocese.

 What had been anticipated since that distant year of ’78 could finally begin:


In the beautifully adorned temple, prayers are read, and the bishops, along with specific priests in the altar, sprinkled the Holy Table with Holy Water, washed it with rosewater and wine, wiped it with sponges and towels. Then, the bishop took the Diskos with the Holy Relics from the table in front of the altar and held it above his head. The procession, formed with the icon of the Venerable Simeon the Myrrh-gusher, the cross, banners, and liturgical fans, started making its way around the temple while chanting “Holy Martyrs” and “Glory to You, O Christ our God.” During the procession, Fr. Petar Petrović sprinkled the temple with the sanctified water.

After the procession, the solemn ceremony continued on the steps. With a specific liturgical dialogue between the Bishop in front of the closed doors and two priests inside the temple: The bishop chants three times: “Lift up your gates, O you princes, and be lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall enter!” The priests inside the temple responded each time: “Who is this King of Glory?” Then, the Bishop taking the Diskos with the Holy Relics and made the sign of the Cross on the doors of the temple three times, chanting: “The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory!” The priests inside the temple responded: “The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory!” After that, upon the bishop’s knocking with his staff, the doors open, and everyone enters the temple, where the consecration ceremony continues.

After entering, the bishop anoints the Holy Relics and the Holy Table with Holy Chrism and places the reliquary with the Holy Relics in the center of the Table, pours wax mastic over it, and affixes icons of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John at the corners of the Altar Table. Afterward, he blessed a white shroud on which is inscribed: “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, on the day of the consecration of the temple of St. Simeon the Myrrh-gusher, February 24, 2024 AD, we placed the relics of St. Mardarije of Libertyville, the Holy Martyrs of Prebilovci, and the Holy Martyrs of Jasenovac in the Holy Altar,” and all the bishops sign it.

The bishop the draped the Holy Table with its vesture and placed the Antimension (a corporal) that was also previously consecrated, while the priests arranged and adorned the altar with all the necessary vessels for the service.

While Bishop Mitrophan censed the temple, and Bishop Longin sprinkled the walls, Bishop Irinej anoints all four sides of the walls with Holy Chrism.

Then, our Bishop, entering the altar, lights the candle from which all other candles and lamps are lit. The first candle is handed over to the sponsor of the temple consecration – Kuma, Mrs. Jagoda Sokolović, who held it throughout the entire Divine Liturgy.

Throughout the consecration of the temple, curious children gather in front of the altar, surrounding our Bishop, who patiently and inspiringly, as only he can, explained every detail of the consecration.

The Holy Hierarchical Liturgy followed, presided over by Bishop Longin. At the end, Bishop Mitrophan blessed the festal offering and cut the Festal bread – Slavski kolac for the feast of St. Simeon, hosted by Mr. Marko Karović – Kum. Mr. Jovica Malešević received the Slava by taking one quarter of the Festal Bread from him for the next year.

At the very end of the Divine Liturgy, Bishop Irinej exited the altar and, praising the effort and work of the devout parishioners, presents the Order of the Holy King Milutin, which the Holy Synod, headed by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Porfirije, awarded to our Parish. To make the joy complete and the surprise even greater, he instructed the deacon to read the proclamation declaring our temple a Cathedral: Axioi! Worthy! Axioi!

After distributing antidoron and offering gifts to all present, including a copy of the icon of St. Simeon from our iconostasis, a wooden cross, and a piece of the white garment the Bishop wore during the consecration, the gathering moved to the banquet hall.

In a crowded hall and under outdoor tents, a festal lunch was served. Meanwhile, a slide photo album displaying crucial moments of our parish from the period of ’78 until the present day is showcased on the stage wall. During this time, our priest and his daughter, Anastasija, read a portion of the parish history, occasionally accompanied by songs performed by Teodora Krstić and Tara Radivojević. Marta Milošević-Branković, our renowned pianist, performed her composition “Serbia” to the general enthusiasm. In the end, our Bishop awarded Episcopal Grammata to the most distinguished contributors to the construction: the Circle of Serbian Sisters “Empress Milica,” Radomir Penjević, Jagoda Sokolović, Jovica Malešević, Predrag Vaskrsić, Danilo Ivančević, Milan Pavlović, (Posthumously) Petar and Ruža Ilić, (Posthumously) Dimitrije Garchev, Nada and (Posthumously) David Stevens, Miodrag Simić, Dr. Zoran and Biljana Drmanović, and Radiša Pašić.

Thanks to all contributors who, with their love, sacrifice, effort, and dedication, brought to fruition the dream of all those who once visited, showed interest, or helped in any way to complete such a God-pleasing project, to the joy of ancestors and generations that will pray in this temple. Special thanks to our father and Bishop Irinej, who encouraged, supported, and advised us in order to reach this point.

Thanks also to everyone who gathered in prayer to glorify this day together in Christ and with the prayers of St. Simeon, our patron, builder, and founder of our Orthodoxy!

“Amen! Amen! Amen!”