The next day, Sunday the 31st of August, the church in Jones was filled to capacity for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Immediately after the vesting of His Grace in the center of the temple, Sandro Gomarteli, a young man who was recently trapped with his family by fighting in the Republic of Georgia, was tonsured a Reader; and Andrew Swanson was ordained a Subdeacon. At the end of the Liturgy His Grace led a procession with the Dormition icon around the exterior of the temple, stopping at each side for a Gospel reading and to bless the building, the city, the nation and the faithful with Holy Water.
All those present enjoyed a wonderful lunch, supplied by the St. Mary’s Sisterhood members featuring Oklahoman, Ukrainian, Georgian, Romanian, Native American and other ethnic foods. During the luncheon Vladyka made it a point to personally visit with those present. In addition, Father Raphael introduced his long-time, best friends – Jean and Gerald Krows to Bishop Daniel. Jean Krows is a Cherokee Indian, and both she and Gerald were dressed in Native American attire. Jean’s dress was a traditional “Tear Dress” recalling the infamous “Trail of Tears” when her people were forcibly removed from their ancestral homes in Tennessee and Georgia and forced to walk, in the cold of winter, to present day Oklahoma.
Fr. Raphael and the members of his parish family requested that His Grace make plans to for a return visit soon.