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Our Parish
Our Parish



Please allow us to tell you a little about ourselves, and our church.

Who are we?

We are Orthodox Christians – those who confess the Nicaean-Constantinopolitan Creed (composed at the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in 325AD, and the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 381AD) as it was originally written. Our Faith stands on the pillars of Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. Our members are Serbians from Serbia proper, and the regions that composed the former Yugoslavia – Montenegro, Dalmatia, Kordun, Krbava, Lika, Banija, Slavonia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina (Republika Srpska), as well as Serbians born in the United States and converts to Orthodoxy. Our Church is hierarchical; we are part of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America, and our Bishop (His Grace, Rt. Rev. IRINEJ) has his See in New Rochelle (New York) NY. Our Diocese is part of the fully self-governing (autocephalous) Serbian orthodox Church headed by His Holiness Patriarch PROPHRIJE, whose See is in Belgrade, Serbia. Our Church is part of the family of fully self-governing Eastern Orthodox Churches: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russia, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland, Albania, The Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Sinai. In addition, there are several “autonomous” (largely, but not fully) self-governing Churches: Finland, Japan, and China. It is important to note that while divided purely for administrative purposes, we are united by our common confession of Faith and teaching.

Our church in Philadelphia PA.

      The first Serbian ever to enter the United States of America was George Shagich, who came to Philadelphia PA. in 1814. The first large scale migration of Serbs to this area occurred at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. On November 30th, 1902, The “Serbian Benevolent Society Dositej Obradovich” as organized under the auspices of the Serbian National Federation. Its goal was to gather Serbs in Philadelphia and vicinity and nurture their national and religious consciousness. To assist the ill and those injured at work, the “Assistance to the Ailing” (Bolno Potporno Drustvo) was organized on August 10th, 1909.

     The Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, as well as World War I, prevent our first immigrants from organizing a church, as that had desired from the beginning. The small size of the Serbian community, as well as the Great Depression and World War II, circumstanced our people to rely on local Russian and Romanian Orthodox churches for their spiritual needs. The aspirations of Philadelphia Serbians for their own church were finally realized by a “Foundational Assembly for a Church-School Congregation” on February 20th, 1949.  Property for a church building was purchased on North Hancock St. in Philadelphia on March 25th, 1951. The church was finally consecrated on October 18th, 1953.  This location served spiritual and social needs of Serbs in Philadelphia and area until March 2009 when our community moved to its current location.


   Upon entering any Eastern Orthodox church, one cannot help but notice the icons and frescos. That icons are not idols was decreed by the Seventh Ecumenical Council, held in the ancient city of Nicaea (just as was the First Council!), in 787AD. This Council decreed that: “Icons…are to be kept in churches and honored with the same relative veneration (But not worshipped, which is reserved exclusively for God) as is shown to other material symbols, such as ‘the precious and life-giving Cross’ and the Book of the Gospels” (T. Ware. The Orthodox Church p.39). The presence of icons and frescos reminds us that The Church is The Kingdom of God on Earth, and that when we gather to worship God we are "compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses” Heb. 12:1). At the front of our church an iconostasis, or icon screen, separates the Altar from the Nave of the church. “The iconostasis or icon screen in the Orthodox Church exists to show our unity with Christ, his mother and all the angels and saints. It exists to show our unity with God. The altar table, which stands for the Banquet Table of the Kingdom of God, is placed behind the so-called royal gates, between the icons of the Theotokos and Child and the glorified Christ, showing that everything which happens to us in the Church happens in history between those “two comings” of Christ: between his coming as the Savior born of Mary and. His coming at the end of the age as the King and the Judge.

   The icons on the royal gates witness to the presence of Christ’s good news, the gospel of salvation. The four evangelists who recorded the gospels appear, and often also an icon of the Annunciation, the first proclamation of the gospel in the world. (In Greek the gospel is the evangelion, the authors of the gospels the evangelistoi, the annunciation the evangelismos).

   Over the doors we have the icon of Christ’s Mystical Supper with his disciples, the icon of the central mystery of the Christian faith and the unity of the Church in the world. It is the visual witness that we too are partakers in the “marriage supper of the lamb” (Rev 19:9), that we too are blessed by Christ “to eat and drink at my table in my kingdom” (Lk 22:30), blessed to “eat bread in the Kingdom of God” (Lk 14:15).Over and around the central gates are icons of the saints. The deacon’s doors in the first row (for the servants of the altar) usually have icons depicting deacons or angels, God’s servants. The first row also has an icon of the person or event in whose honor the given building is dedicated, along with other prominent saints or events. Depending on the size of the iconostasis, there may be rows of icons of the apostles, the major feasts of the Church, the prophets and other holy people blessed by God, all crowned on the top by the cross of Christ.” (Fr. T. Hopko, ed., The Orthodox Church – Worship). Our Iconostasis was designed by the famous Russian iconographer, Alexander Biczenko, and the icons and frescos in our church were written by the same in 1953.

The Divine Liturgy

   Our central service is the Divine Liturgy, which is celebrated every Sunday and Holy Day by the community led by the clergy. The word “Liturgy comes from the Greek words loas = people and erga = work. Thus, the people are not passive spectators, but active participants.  “The Divine Liturgy is the common action of Orthodox Christians officially gathered to constitute the Orthodox Church. It is the action of the Church assembled by God in order to be together in one community to worship, to pray, to sing, to hear God’s Word, to be instructed in God’s commandments, to offer itself with thanksgiving in Christ to God the Father, and to have the living experience of God’s eternal kingdom through communion with the same Christ Who is present in his people by the Holy Spirit.” (Fr. T. Hopko, ed., The Orthodox Church – Worship).

Thank You!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:

Fr. Milorad Orlic

215-258-1155 (h) or 440-864-7346 (m)

May God Bless you!


St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church
506 Stahr Road; Elkins Park, PA 19027

St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church
506 Stahr Road; Elkins Park, PA 19027