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Bishop Anthony Represents Patriarchate at the Glorification of Saint Mardarije of Libertyville

On the weekend of July 15–16, 2017, Orthodox faithful from across the country and around the world gathered at two Serbian monasteries: New Gracanica in Third Lake, IL and St. Sava’s in Libertyville, IL to offer glory to God’s new saint, Mardarije. His Grace Bishop Anthony of Toledo attended as the representative of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

Libertyville, Illinois is a small village located outside of Chicago. But this small place has long been a deeply important and historical site for the Serbian Orthodox faithful.

As the home of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery, Libertyville has served as the burial site for kings, bishops, prime ministers and Serbs from all walks of life. Most prominently, Libertyville is the home of St. Mardarije, the first Serbian Orthodox Bishop in America.

Saint Mardarije was added to the Calendar of Saints by the Patriarchate of Serbia on May 29, 2015, to be commemorated on December 12 (new calendar). Canonized for his exemplary life in Christ, the saint’s body was exhumed and found to be totally incorrupt after 82-years, confirming his sanctity. Saint Mardarije joins St. John Maximovitch and St. Alexis Toth, as incorrupt American saints.

When the body of St. Mardarije was exhumed and the casket opened, a sweet fragrance filled the air. It was discovered that his body was wholly incorrupt from the knees up and that his hair was soft as if he had just been buried.

The weekend of July 15–16 began with a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at New Gracanica Monastery, where hundreds came together in prayer, followed by a small banquet. That same evening, at least 1,000 faithful gathered at St. Sava’s Monastery in Libertyville, IL for Vigil. The beautiful Vigil concluded with the relic case being uncovered  for viewing and veneration by the faithful. Many noted the beautiful fragrance of the relics and the holy presence of being near his body.

On Sunday morning, sixteen hierarchs from various jurisdictions received His Holiness Patriarch Irenej of Serbia at the gates of the monastery and began a procession to the Holy Altar where the liturgy would be celebrated in Church Slavonic and English.

At the conclusion of the liturgy, the hierarchs, clergy and the people began a procession around the grounds of the Holy Monastery, stopping to chant the troparia of St. Mardarije. As the procession concluded, the relics were placed in their rightful location within the church and the faithful continued to venerate.

The festivities concluded with a banquet at New Gracanica Monastery where the faithful gathered together in a grand feast honoring this new saint, Mardarije of Libertyville. “There was a profound peace about St. Mardarije,” says Bishop Anthony, “even if there was no one there, the universe would have sung the hymns.”

O holy father Mardarije, intercede with Christ our God to save our souls!

(Photo Credits to the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of New Gracanica)