“It was an experience of a lifetime for the Rev. James Sizemore, an Ohio Army National Guard chaplain and lieutenant colonel, to participate in a Serbian Orthodox Divine Liturgy June 17 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, in Vranje, Serbia.

Sizemore led a portion of the sermon, translated by the Rev. Goran Sandic, the church deacon and the chief Orthodox chaplain for the Serbian Armed Forces, and provided communion to the church’s many parishioners.

‘My experiences have been very good,’ Sizemore said. ‘I’ve learned a lot about the Orthodox church in Serbia.’

According to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center on religion and public life, less than 1 percent of the American population are Orthodox Christians, compared to the nearly 87 percent of Serbians.

‘In the states, I’m a minority as an Orthodox priest because there aren’t many Orthodox in the United States,’ Sizemore said. ‘But here, this country is almost all Orthodox, so it’s a good experience for me to come to a country where most people are of the same religious background that I am.'” (DVIDS)