15th Anniversary Banquet

posted Jul 9, 2009, 4:28 PM by Edward Mansager   [ updated Jul 15, 2009, 1:59 PM ]
October 12th is the day that St. John’s Academy honors St. John of San Francisco, for it was on this day in 1993 that his relics were discovered to be incorrupt. The year of his canonization, 1994, was the year the Academy was founded. This year marked the Academy’s 15th year and was celebrated with a Banquet that was attended by approximately 150 people. The event was organized successfully by a committed group of parents, and many of the Academy’s alumni came, including members of the second graduating class (1998).

After the delicious dinner, a number of speakers spoke about the Academy and its mission to help develop dedicated Orthodox Christian young people. The speakers included Bishop of Seattle Theodossy (a former teacher at the Academy); the Consul-General of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir N. Vinokurov; Fr. Serge Kotar, who with his wife Maria founded the Academy; Fr. Dcn. Spiridon Jajeh, a current parent and a deacon in the Greek Orthodox Church; Oleg Merzlikin, an alumnus who graduated in 2004; Natasha Sabelnik, who represented Senator Leland Yee and presented Fr. Serge with a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of the California State Senate that honored St. John’s on the occasion of its anniversary; and Nikita Buick, a former churchwarden.

Mr. Buick told the audience of the time in the 1950s when he was a student and had learned to speak Spanish. One Sunday a number of clergy, including Archbishop John, came for lunch at his house, which was near a hospital. During lunch a knock came on door, and it turned out to be a Spanish-speaking man holding a baby. He said that his baby had been given less than a day to live, and seeing from the hospital a group of priests enter this house, he had come to ask for prayers for his child. Mr. Buick translated the man’s request, and Archbishop John immediately left the table and came to the door. He prayed over the baby, and then told Mr. Buick to tell the man that the baby was going to be all right. A year or so later, the man appeared at the door of Mr. Buick’s house again and said that he was passing by and wanted to let them know that his child was alive and well. This story is one of dozens, hundreds, that are told and have been written about St. John of San Francisco, and it is with his ongoing miraculous help and intercession that the Academy has survived and thrived for the last 15 years and looks ahead to the future.

See photo album for more photos of the 15th Anniversary Banquet.