The Slava of our Parish here in Monroeville is the translation of the relics of St. Nicholas. It is important to notice that an event itself is not celebrated but the Saint who is involved in the event. Let us read together about our slava from the Prologue of Ochrid by St. Nikolai Velimirovich:
THE TRANSLATION OF THE RELICS OF SAINT NICHOLAS THE WONDERWORKER OF MYRA IN LYCIA.
In 1087 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Alexius Comnenus and Patriarch Nicholas Grammaticus, the body of this saint was translated from Myra in Lycia to the town of Bari in Italy. This occurred because of the Moslem assault on Lycia. The saint appeared in a dream to an honorable priest in Bari and ordered that his relics be translated to this town. At that time, Bari was Orthodox and under an Orthodox patriarch. During the translation of this saint’s relics, many miracles occurred either through touching the relics or from the myrrh [oil] that abundantly flowed from them. Also on this day is commemorated the miracle St. Nicholas wrought on the Serbian King, Stefan of Dečani. This was when St. Nicholas restored sight to the blinded King Stefan.
WHY WOULD I CARE ABOUT MY PARISH SLAVA?
The society we live in is very individualized. This is reflected in the way we perceive our Church also. We tend to think or are tempted to think that our parish is our “religious service center”. We go there to perform a certain duty as Orthodox Christians and we go back home to our families to enjoy their company. To spend time with your family is never a bad thing! However, if we think that by coming to Church it is only our family that matters we are committing a mistake in judgment.
Our Orthodox faith teaches us that in addition to our biological family, we have our parish family as well! As St. Nikolai Velimirovich liked to say: “The bond of the Holy Spirit is tighter than the bond of body.” In this sense, when we celebrate our parish slava, this is something that is tightly related to each and every one of us. Missing out on the parish slava, from the perspective of the Church family, is the same as us ignoring our personal family slava and not showing up for it.
As a parish family, we care for each other! We want to experience each other’s company and rejoice together at the place where our salvation is being accomplished. Let us cast aside the mentality of this world where only what is related to us by the flesh is considered to be our true family. Let us show love to each other by coming to Church for our slava and showing that we understand what the transfigured mentality of an Orthodox Christian truly is. The mentality, which in the eyes of this world can be considered crazy, but in the eyes of the Lord is the only normal one. It is the mentality where all of us who belong to St. Nicholas are a parish family that cares for each other and rejoices when our parish slava comes.