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Orthodox bishop visits S'ville church

2014-04-06T19:30:00Z 2014-04-07T00:07:04Z Orthodox bishop visits S'ville churchChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

A visit from the leader of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the United States could have a lasting impression on parishioners at Descent of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church.

Bishop Gregory spent the weekend at the Schererville church.

It was his first visit there since he was ordained bishop about 16 months ago.

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The Rev. Lev Holowaty, the priest at Descent of the Holy Spirit, said it's been many years since a bishop has been to the church.

"It's a special moment for us," Holowaty said of Bishop Gregory's visit.

The diocese consists of 81 parishes in the United States and Canada. Bishop Gregory, whose birth name is George Tatsis, said visiting each of the parishes is a multiyear process.

He said there are administrative responsibilities for a bishop, but his top priority is the parishioners.

"The job of the bishop is to go and see the people," Bishop Gregory said.

He compared the relationship of a bishop and parishioners to a marriage. He said they need to love each other for the relationship to work.

His visit to Northwest Indiana started Friday, when he attended a fish fry at Descent of the Holy Spirit.

Although it was his first time meeting church parishioners, it seemed like they had previous interactions.

Bishop Gregory displayed an amicable personality as he quickly started conversations with several church members before he sat down for a meal.

On Saturday, Bishop Gregory blessed icons and the bell tower at Descent of the Holy Spirit. He also participated in the church's Lenten mission.

Repentance and confession were main topics Bishop Gregory discussed, and he urged parishioners to examine their "spiritual state."

Bishop Gregory said the goal for Christians is reaching "paradise" (heaven). He said it's unknown when death will occur, so Christians need "to be ready everyday."

On Sunday, Bishop Gregory celebrated Divine Liturgy at the church.

He referred to Divine Liturgy as a full-body experience that engages all of the senses.

"Liturgy is supposed to be heaven on earth," he said.

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