Skip to Navigation

125 Years of Orthodox Christianity in Chicago: A Jubilee Celebration

Seven Orthodox hierarchs and clergy led by church school children wearing national costumes of many Orthodox jurisdictions, processed into Lane Tech Auditorium in Chicago, on Saturday, September 30, 2017, to celebrate a pan-Orthodox Hierarchical Divine Liturgy commemorating 125 years of the Orthodox Christian presence in Metropolitan Chicago. Sponsored by Greater Chicago’s Orthodox Christian Clergy Association [OCCA], who represent nearly eighty parishes across the metropolitan area, this anniversary honored the pioneers of Orthodoxy in Chicago and remembered in prayer the founders who built our communities with great faith and personal sacrifice.

Chief Celebrant The Rt. Rev. ILIA, Bishop of Philomelion of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese, was accompanied by presiding Hierarchs, Metropolitan NICOLAE (Romanian Patriarchal Archdiocese),  Archbishops PETER (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad) and DANIEL (Western Eparchy, Ukrainian USA), Bishops LONGIN (New Gracanica Serbian Midwestern), IRINEJ (Serbian Eastern), and PAUL (OCA, Midwest), along with more than sixty clergy, deacons and servers from ten jurisdictions throughout Greater Chicago and neighboring states.

Choral responses under direction of Gordana Trbuhovich were gloriously sung by the well-known pan-Orthodox Choir of Greater Chicago whose singers represent twenty-three parishes and eight jurisdictions. 

His Grace, Bishop IRINEJ (Dobrijevic) of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America, delivered a most inspirational homily entitled “Saints and Sanctity: Orthodoxy in Chicago.” The congregation listened attentively as His Grace intertwined the beginnings of Orthodox Christianity in Greater Chicago, with five of today’s saints whose impressions on our growth were marked by their footsteps in this city. The Sermon concluded with the most recent impression in this city - also marked with a memorial Trisagion at the conclusion of the liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan IAKOVOS of Chicago. A tribute to him, for being the ‘face of Orthodoxy’ for thirty-eight years, was also prominently dedicated in the 125th Commemorative Book. 

The liturgy was followed by a celebration banquet at Chicago’s Marriott O’Hare Hotel, where His Grace Bishop ILIJA delivered an encouraging directive for unity and harmony—rather than independent divisions—among Orthodox Christians living in the same city.  The Rev. Dr. Stanley L. Davis, Jr. Executive Director of Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC), delivered a congratulatory message on behalf of the Council.

The Very Rev. Nicholas Dahdal, OCCA Chairman for the celebration, along with Event Coordinator Gordana Trbuhovich, extended their appreciation to the dedicated pan-Orthodox committee of volunteers who helped produce this event. The altar iconography was graciously loaned by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox parish in Chicago. The youth procession was organized by Presbytera Georgia Alikakos, Director of Education of Chicago’s Greek Metropolis.

The historic liturgy concluded with the exclamation: “Grant O Lord, a prosperous and peaceful life, health, safety, and furtherance in all good things to all Chicagoland Orthodox Christians who are celebrating 125 years of their faith in this great city; and in appreciation, O Lord, of our ancestors who, since the year 1892, founded and established nearly eighty Orthodox churches throughout Greater Chicago, and to all who worship in them, O Lord, bless and preserve them for MANY YEARS!”

Historic commemorative books and collector gifts are available to parish bookstores, by sending an email to: