Chicago, IL: Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Resurrection
About a year ago, I started my third year of college. I had to move to Chicago and change my whole routine, including my church. However, my new parish is simply beyond words. It is the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Resurrection in Chicago, Illinois. It is the oldest Serbian church in Chicago, and it traces all the way back to the second half of the 19th century. It is filled with Serbian history as well as Orthodox history. That history can be felt just by walking into the church. So many liturgies have been served there, that the smell of incense is embedded in the walls, frescoes, icons, and those old wooden church pews.
Long before I even thought of moving to Chicago, I had visited the church a couple times before. Every time I did, I fell more in love with it. It is crazy to think you can fall in love with a church, but sometimes you can feel that the church is right for you. I always felt this here. Moving here permanently would have been so much harder without my new parish. The three priests are always there to help and offer advice whenever I need help. I finally managed to find a spiritual father who I can go to for confession and be truly open and trusting with. I also found a community of love. I made many friends and have started teaching Sunday school. To be completely honest, I can be very cranky because of stress. However, when I am there, I am always so joyful. I am surrounded by people who show love to each other and the presence of God can truly be felt there.
The congregation of the church is gigantic. Even though the church is the biggest Serbian one here, we still cannot fit everyone for Easter and Christmas and other big feast days. It is simply impossible. Keeping that in mind, so many people requires a lot of work. Fortunately, everyone works very hard to run the church as efficiently as possible. The church also has a school from 1st to 8th grade. The school is academically advanced and it is in both Serbian and English. The church choir competes in many competitions and is widely known among the Serbian and Russian communities.
Despite the enormous size of the church, it still and always fells like home. To me the church is a second home, if not my first. I feel completely at ease there, and whenever life gets difficult because of school stress, work stress, friend problems, etc., I know that I can just drive to the church and it will always be open. Many times when I am overwhelmed I just get in my car and go there. As soon as I walk in, I feel the stress and all the problems just disappear. I come to the front pew and sit right in front of the icon of the resurrected Christ and everything else just fades away. It is only God, my church, and I. And that is why my church is so special to me. It and its people are always there and every time I am there, I am reminded that I am an Orthodox Christian before all else.
Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+.