with Baba Mim....
Check out my other websites too:
Not Retired From Learning! http://www.notretiredfromlearning.com
Bizic Education Enterprises.
"The Power of Three"--> www.mimbizic.com
And the Moon Township Historical Society website:
By Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic October 9, 2016
Pomoži Bog! I can’t begin to tell you what a GREAT honor it is for me to be with you on this 102nd anniversary of St. Sava, Merrillville, from the ashes of old “Srbska Geri,” to this huge 140 acre, white-gleaming Flagship that serves as a beacon in the Midwest for our Serbian Orthodox people everywhere!
I am so grateful to V. Rev. Fr. Marko Matich, of whom I’ve heard only the most saintly things!, and to FB friend, Danica Pejnovich, your President and Chairperson for this event, and to her husband, Dusko, for being my chauffeur from the airport, to my hostess with the most-est, always, our Roz Opacich, for inviting me to share this historical day with you, amongst so many of my old friends, then—with new friends, including those on FB I’m meeting for the first time in person like your website and Wikipedia genius, Christopher Kosovich, your film expert Simo Glumac, and the hard working ladies of the KSS.
And best of all, I thank you for this opportunity for such a wonderful flood of memories of those hard-working, most pošteni pioneers I studied, who have gone before us, onto their Heavenly rewards! Their great deeds make them live on forever! Vjecnaja Pamjat!
Only last week you had a memorable visit from Prince Alexander and Princess Katherine of Serbia. Hearing that phrase of “Vjecnaja Pamjat” makes me want to pause here to remember that on this particular day, October 9, but in 1934, 82 years ago, one of the most deserving Serbs of mention because of HIS great deeds both on the battlefield and as a peacemaker, was King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. He was so mercilessly gunned down in Marseilles, France while on a Peace Mission with France’s Prime Minister, Louis Barthou, to help stem what they saw then as the beginnings of WWII. “Vjecnja pamjat” to both of them.
Interestingly enough, my Aunt Rose Mamula of Pittsburgh and your Gary’s Ned Marich, son of Jovo Marich, were two of the scholarship winners in Belgrade, representing the Serb National Federation at King Alexander’s funeral in Belgrade. The ten SNF Stipendists in total, from all over the USA, presented a huge floral display conveying America’s sorrow in a country shrouded in black and in deep mourning.
Perhaps some of you have forgotten that around that time, there were TWO churches in Gary in the 1930’s, which had been making efforts to unite into one. King Alexander’s death and the interventions of the dobrovolci volunteers who fought in the wars for the liberation of Serbia, helped bring them together. My father always said that anytime something catastrophically happened to them, the Serbs would always come together, and he was right, like in this last war. We were ONE. “Daj Bože da se Srbi Slože!”
A wonderful example is the work the 4 Kolos played/plays in helping the orphans of Serbia and Serbian Relief efforts for more than 20 years now.
I was here in Merrillville, only one time before, when our beloved +Milan Opacich took me on a tour here before the huge birthday party for Čiča Adam Popovich’s 90th birthday celebration in Lansing, IL 17 years ago. Your priest at the time was V. Rev.Fr. Jovan Todorovich who greeted me warmly and I met a few of your church leaders, hard-working, but very much in-a-hurry, busy men donating all their time to fix yet another problem or cause.
Your Founding Fathers would be so proud of you all! You have worked together throughout the years to apply yourselves to so many causes, to achieve such great things knowing Fault Finding and FINGER POINTING doesn’t work, but finding solutions does. “Tri prsta nas vode, do časnog Krsta!”
Here’s a great “Tri Prsta” first example!
I loved perusing the 50th anniversary booklet of St. Sava-Gary, finding out how your first St. Sava Church was established and got its name through the recollections of Jovan H.T. Popovich.
Popovich mentioned that at first, not ALL people were in favor of a church to begin with, because many of them wanted to return to Europe. Their needs weren’t the same as those who had relocated their families and wisely understood the vital need for a place of worship.
Let me pause for a moment here to ask you--- “How many of you have St. George as your Slava? Sveti Nikola? Sveti Jovan? I could go on and on, …but let me continue Mr. Popovich’s story":
“The meeting was held at Ribljan Hall on 21st and Washington Street. Jovo Kladarin gave Mr. Popovich the records and asked him to take the minutes for the meeting at which Stevo Orlich presided. “Picture, if you will, all the men suggesting the names of their personal saints of their krsna slavas. (Only another Serb could possibly understand with what fervor and devotion these names must have been submitted.) A stalemate ensued.
“Mr. Popovich then delivered a bombshell by quietly announcing that though all these saints were recognized and beloved by the church, they were NOT, of all things, Serbs. The only LOGICAL choice should be that of St. Sava, not only because of his great contribution in education and religion, but the fact that he alone, of all the Saints, was a Serb. Pandemonium erupted and Mr. Popovich, with the help of his good friend Djukan Rapajich to escort him out, wisely left the hall.
“Several days later, Vaso Dubraj and Vajo Bozanich met with Mr. Popovich and berated him for his TRAITOROUS remarks against their saints. Mr. Popovich calmly explained that they were all Christians, but not Serbian. Well, they reluctantly accepted these truths, but EARNESTLY asked that Mr. Popovich please not mention this to anyone else. (Shh….mum’s the word!) “
At the next meeting, the church was officially named for its greatest saint and educator, St. Sava! That was on 20th and Connecticut Streets in Gary 1914. (The first meeting was held in 1910.)
What else was going on at the time? WWI in Europe! Just think of all your Dobrovolci-Volunteers who wanted to go back to help the Old Country! (Some even went back for the Balkan Wars (1912-1913). Because the U.S. was not yet involved in the war officially, your Gary priest had petitioned American President, Woodrow Wilson, to approve the signing up of volunteers in your community. Two of your earliest WWI volunteer soldiers were Marko Kerkez and Steve Raschevich.
By the time the official Serbian Military Mission left Gary, Dec. 22, 1917, 450 young men, among them the Vajagich Brothers, went from Gary with the greatest hero-to-be among them, Risto Vajagich, who then went on to earn the highest Serbian medal, the Karadjordje Star with Swords.
Now these next few sentences are of utmost importance as there are MANY who are seeking to rewrite our history! Pay attention!
(1) Since it was so close to American Christmas (Dec. 22), the Gary Evening Post Tribune was writing about subscribers sending Christmas Gifts for the Serbian orphans on the front page! (We know they are sending gifts to the ALLIES!)
(2) The local paper talked about how your Gary Serbian volunteers were crowned with the highest honors, leaving under the direction of veteran Serbian officer, Col. Milan Pribicevich; how they left Gary for Chicago where they were joined with 600 more Serbs.
The paper reported that the Mayor and Chief of Police led the parade, the entire Police Department followed, and they marched down to the Depot with Serbian Patriotic Music being played by Perry’s Municipal Band!!!! I know “Marshilala, Marshilala!” had to be one of those selections! Even Governor Lowden of Illinois, made a special trip to Springfield to pay honor and respect to the Serbian Volunteers, making an enthusiastic and patriotic speech bidding the men goodbye. In Chicago, they say 25,000 people witnessed the procession. ***
***This is important history for ALL of us to remember, as there are so many out there in the world today who are trying to rewrite history, and it is history NOT FAVORABLE to the Serbian people.***
While still on the subject of WWI, let me share two little vignettes about Serbian bravery:
(1) Radaje Radovanovic, in a poem about the love of truth and freedom bred into every Serbian, wrote: "We are the sons of a country where the smallest child, as soon as he learns to walk, already knows how to die."
(2) This is a “Did You Know?” question….The German Emperor Wilhelm requested from his General August Mackensen, the winner of the Eastern Front, to bring him at least one Serbian regimental flag from WWI.
So how many were surrendered? The answer is NONE. Not one! From 56 regimental flags the Serbian army possessed, NOT ONE fell into the hands of the enemy which a precedent in the history of modern warfare. That’s who we are!
I have on my babamim.com website, a story about “THE MAGIC SWORD”, written up in the 1951 issue of the National Geographic magazine by George Long. He said, "I watched a new film "THE MAGIC SWORD" being made from a 7th Century Serbian fairy tale. I watched enthralled while a lowly shepherd won the hand of a princess by defeating all of his rivals answering a riddle:
What is the SHARPEST thing in the world?
What is the STRONGEST?
What is the MOST BEAUTIFUL?"
Take a moment to think… what would you have said? ========
The young lad thought for a moment and spoken like a true Serb, he said:
The SHARPEST thing is the world is the TRUTH.
The STRONGEST thing in the world is LOVE.
The MOST BEAUTIFUL thing in the world is LIBERTY!
Brave. Defiant! Those men who refused to let a WWI regimental flag fall into the enemy’s hands were following in the footsteps of Bosko Jugovic from 1389!
We Serbs never give up, no matter what the odds! And you, Gary - Merrillville’s brave, defiant and RESILIENT Serbs, never quit either, no matter what happened or happens!
They say the four pillars of Resilience are Purpose, Confidence, Community and Adaptability. You have stayed on course, even when things got tough. You all believed in yourselves and your dreams and you’ve built a great support system here of friends and mentors, who mirror(ed) your hopes and dreams of a community with a church at it’s center.
We all know that life doesn’t go exactly as planned, but you found solutions, you didn’t give up on your dreams, you stayed the course.
Take the disastrous church fire of 1978, for example… you didn’t give up on your goals because of that horrible set back. No, indeed, you rolled up your sleeves and made things happen!
Again, let me mention Fr. Todorovich here. He reminded me that he was blessing a home, saying “Spasi Bože,” and sprinkling water in the rooms when the Domačica received a telephone call telling her to tell him that the church was on fire. He said he almost dropped his Basil….and when he arrived at the scene, it was like one big flame. However, he also told me of the miracles… the 3 altar boys finding the Holy Corperal—and a week later how Radmila Milovojevich, the KSS President, found the aluminum-like box with the wax with the relics from the Holy Table!
And I know I’d probably hear about it if I didn’t mention Fr. John’s happiest times here was when the saintly +Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory, led the Reconciliation of the church split here. Dear Merrillville, leaders, YOU are the ones who made the jump from where you were to where you needed to be, taking great leaps of FAITH. Think of Stevan and Zagorka Micic who personally guaranteed the collateral of the loan for purchasing this property for $833,712, or $6,000 per acre.
No, not one of you here at St. Sava’s climbed this beautiful ladder of success with both hands in your pockets. You worked. You donated time, talents and treasures. You never threw in the proverbial towel! Instead, you used it over and over to wipe off the sweat and kept on going!
You’ve always had great leaders. Just one small example I’ll mention here is how Nicky Joe Sever, Greg Traicoff and their crew made Milan Opacich’s dream of relocating the WWII monument from the old church location back here, come true, a stupendous task! The Severs and their friends didn’t only work physically, but gave monetarily in honor of Jovo Sever, WWII, who captured a whole Bulgarian battalion by himself, receiving five golden medals for bravery, including the Karageorge Star.
I’ve heard how Fr. Matich led you in prayers this past Memorial Day, at the memorial, rededicating yourselves to work for peace, goodwill and love among all people. And again, how we all made the trip to the monument this morning, not only to pay homage to those to WWII volunteers, but to remember all those wonderful Serbian Orthodox pioneers who sacrificed over the years for Gary/Merrillville, who are no longer with us. + Memory Eternal!
You are here today---our Inspirational People…. Starting with Fr. Matich! We thank God for such Catalyst Leaders, those Energetic, Supportive and Forward Thinking ones, who manage to spark action in others, building trust, respect, empathy and shared values, bringing people together with their strengths.
The list goes back to your earliest pioneers. Being positive, persistent, patient, resilient and adaptable, THEY and now YOU were/are able to achieve the goals of building a church, then another, a hall, a new church, and now a cemetery! Please just take a moment to think of all those you know, including yourselves, from St. Sava’s past to the present, who said “YES” when asked.
At this time, I’d like to mention the names of Mile Kosanovich and Nick Chabrija who made so many wonderful things happen.
I would like to say that many people I know from my past, helped you preserve some of your history.
Of course there is my father, Milan Karlo, who as owner of the American SERB LIFE magazine photographed your St. Sava Church and the Memorial in 1948. He was there, present at that dedication of that monument! As the Sports Editor of the American SRBOBRAN and the Yugoslav Reflector, dad Milan Karlo covered all those early Basketball games in Gary. And as the editor of the Diocesan Observer, he told of all the great events happening in Merrillville.
Going back to the Yugoslav Reflector, you had as a fine leader, Lou Christopher, a great friend of my father’s and a real leader of the Serb National Federation during its most important times. I still have letters from Lou to my father worrying about how the Communists were taking over Yugoslavia, spreading lies about General Draza Mihailovich.
Let me pause for a moment to share a story with you. My father had a job working at the San Francisco CHRONICLE during the war years, thanks to his friend, Mila Logan, from California, who married well and was in the position to offer him the job. For two years, everything was fine, as America was backing General Draza Mihailovich. But things were changing and my father saw how the news was being manipulated, just like it is today. They were supposed to write about Tito, downplaying Draza, turning him into someone he wasn’t. My father was always a good judge of character. He couldn’t do it. He knew that the things being said about Mihailovich just weren’t true. Mila told him to “go with the flow, “ to bend. He could not. He quit.
My father did not leave us anything monetarily, but we said that that was the greatest gift he could have ever given us: To stand up for what you know is the truth and justice. We were always so grateful for that wonderful gift!
From my hometown parish of St. Elijah, you had a great friend in Steve Gaćeša, who did all of the stonework here (with the guidance of Mike Djordjevich-“Visko”) on this magnificent edifice. Steve also did the brickwork for the church at Shadeland and New Gracanica Monastery, under the leadership of Father/Bishop/ Metropolitan Irinej, who we all dearly loved.
Mike said yesterday that he doesn’t think this magnificent edifice would have ever been finished if it weren’t for Steve Gacesa.
I understand from my friend Alex Malich that his “Tata,” V. Rev. Fr. Dragoljub Malich who has served his St. Nicholas Church in Monroeville, PA for 47 years, was ordained a priest here in Gary!
I could never leave out movie star, Karl Malden, who everybody knows and has always respected. You honored him with the street sign, so you never forget. Nor let us forget to mention his incredibly talented father, Petar Sekulovich.
Nor could I forget our beloved “REAL KUMA,” Sonja Kalember, who baptized my youngest sister, Alexandra, and was so active in the SNF and your Karadjordje Choir. Congratulations, Karageorge Choir of Merrillville, with your 50 years of SOCA this past June! What a treat it was yesterday to meet Kuma Sonja’s niece, Mary Kmiec at Roz’s welcoming party, who treated us all to the 8 x10” black and white photos of Kuma Sonya in South Side, Pittsburgh, at the baptism of our little St. Sava Church on South 21st and Sidney Streets. I was able to share with all present that that Christening gown at the time cost $100, an incredible sum even today, yet alone in 1953! I’ve never seen one better since!
And Glisho Rapaich! He was in EVERYTHING…. The choir, the plays, the SNF Conventions, representing Lodge #31, year after year. I truly thought he and Kuma Sonja and your Eli Roknick who is here today with his family, would live forever! When they attended the conventions, their chests were full of medals showing their service years, from top to bottom! We’re lucky we still have Eli with us! I know Eli would join me in saying, “Join the SNF!” It keeps us as one!
And with Glisho, Eili and Kuma Sonja, I remember David Bundalo from the SNF Conventions. From your 50th anniversary booklet, I read that when the Displaced Persons Law was enacted, when many of your parishioners-newcomers—refused to return to Yugoslavia from the European camps. If you remember, those that the Allies sent back were murdered. It was David Bundalo who personally and in the name of your congregation, signed 350 affidavits to bring them into this country. A church fund was established for this purpose.
Gary, Merrillville, you have ALWAYS answered the cause.
And Steve Orlich. You heard me mention his name several times. My grandmother, Andja Mamula was always writing in her diaries about her Orlich relatives from “Geri,” including the time that SIX of the “Geri” people piled into a “machine” to come to my Aunt Marty’s (Belosh) wedding in Pittsburgh on June 13, 1938 and how the house was so full with their singing.
And we from Pennsylvania also gave you Bogdan and Helen Ciganovich Mamula! Bogdan was my grandfather Nikola Mamula’s nephew, my mother Laura’s first cousin. On FB, I met a new friend who belonged to St. Sava’s in Gary, Rade Obradovich, who is here in the audience today with his family. He says that Bogdan Mamula was very active in the church, and Helen even started the catering business at St. Sava’s where he grew up. He remembers how each year, Bogdan would bring him a lamb-shaped cake to their home for Easter.
And of course, how could I not mention your wonderful Dorothy Paunovich, who I met at the joint SSF-SOCA festival in Lansing! I’m such a devout follower of her and her son’s St. Sava’s work on FB and YouTube, especially that of your wonderful MUSEUM, with the Ercegs (Ted and Donna) and more!
And someday, when we have more time, I’d love to tell you the story of Roz and Milan “Opacichi” celebrating their 47th anniversary as a surprise party at my home, with Nick Lalich , WWII hero, opening the closet door and jumping out into our hallway, shouting, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!” just like Gomer Pyle!
Mentioning Nick Lalich made me remember the many sacrifices St. Sava Gary made in WWII, of course in human lives as evidenced on your WWII Memorial.
But in the 2001’s 100th anniversary book of the Serb National Federation, I wrote on page 106 about Gary’s Serbs. “The Gary Post-Tribune wrote on June 29, 1946 that in Gary, Indiana, Nick Lalich (OSS Halyard Mission) and Mike Divyak (radioman for the OSS Ranger Mission) were speaking at St. Sava’s Church at 1300 Connecticut Avenue, ‘marking Vidovdan, (did you hear what I said? Marking VIDOVDAN! Never forget!) at the time, the sorrowful 557th anniversary of the day Turks enslaved Serbians for 500 years. George Rapaich, head of the local chapter of the Serbian National Defense Council and chairman of the rally, said the slides shown were absolute proof that the communist dominated Marshal Tito, rather than Mihailovich betrayed the allied cause by starting a civil war in Yugoslavia.’ That night, the newspaper printed that local residents gave “$525 more last night to a ‘Save Mihailovich’ fund, pushing the total collected here to over $5,000. You were always there for the cause!
On September 3, 1964, your beloved St. Varnava, Gary’s own, remarked for the 50th anniversary, about you being the sword-bearers of Christ. “Your swords are not forged from steel or iron, but from Truth and Justice. “ As Serbian Knights, AS SERBIAN KNIGHTS!, you have always fought for the Holy Cross and Golden Freedom, “Za Krst Časni, I Slobodu Zlatna.” For ideals.
President Woodrow Wilson, once addressing Professor Michael Pupin said, “You are a good American because you are primarily a good Serb.” Gary, you are such good Serbs, GREAT Serbs!
St. Bishop Nikolai said: “NO ONE can be a good Serbian unless he is a good man to start with.” For your 40th Anniversary of Serbian Orthodoxy in Gary, St. Bishop Nikolai wrote how the Serbian people in America (just like today!) "very often turn their eyes to Serbian Gary; to see her achievements, to learn of her endeavors, to hear her sighs, to rejoice in her song and to feel her patriotic pulse."
For such a reason, he said, all American Serbs, from near and far, send sincere greetings to the organizers and to the fortunate participants in this celebration.
Such is the magnetism and electricity of our shared Serbian ancestry!
So in closing, let me offer these few words on this blessed day, your 102nd Anniversary Slava:
Neka Vam od ovaga dana, sve krene na bolje
Da Vam sreća, zdravlje, I ljuba, budi kao najlepši san i
Sve Najbolje neka vam donese ovaj Bogati dan!
Happy 102nd Anniversary!
All 140 acres of St. Sava Merrillville!
Take a virtual tour of the inside of the church, read about the first Kumovi for the new church, learn more about their successful Serb Fests, and so much more! Explore!
Thanks to webmaster, Christopher Kosovich for this photo. You can see many more on their website.
Mim giving her speech on St. Sava history
Gramatas were given to these well-deserving people, like our Dorothy Paunovich! She and husband Mike do much for the church.
....including the Tutors who are in church each Sunday, "Sometimes even before me!" said our Rev. Fr. Marko Matich, jokingly!
Thank you to Proto Deacon, Milovan Gogic, Diocesan Deacon with a most magnificent voice! When he sings our historic songs, he melts hearts!
When he sang "Vidovdan," everyone was so attentive, enthralled at his message.
Many of these photos were taken by others in the St. Sava Congregation and are marked with 102nd Anniversary: St. Sava. We appreciate their sharing.
A VERY happy Mim Bizic
I was so honored to be asked to be Guest Speaker, but never expected the wonderful things that followed! It was a most memorable experience!
Fr. Marko Matich, Mim Bizc, St. Sava President Danica Pjeynovich, His Grace, Bishop Longin of the Midwestern Diocese, Banquet.10.9.16
Milly Reisbasan and Roz Opacich stop for a moment for a photo of the "SHLIVO WELCOME!"
Divine Hierarchial Liturgy was officiated October 9, 2016 with His Grace Bishop Longin, Rev. Fr. Marko Matic (host priest), V. Rev. Luka Novakovic, guest from Belgrade, Serbia who was visiting his relative, Fr. Aleksandar Novakovic from St. Elijah's in Merrillville, and Protodeacon Milovan Gogic.
St. Sava Past Presidents:
Bozo Trbovich, Georege Rapaich, Stevo Orlich, Petar Pritza, Jovo Marich, Luka Grkovich, Marko Lukach, Stevo Orescanin, Djuro Milijanovich, Krsto Bratich, Mihailo Ducich, M.B. Mihailovich, B.T. Martinovich, Jefto Wuletich, David Bundalo, Rudy Tatalovich, Nick Chabraja, Nick Sever, Zivojin Cokic, Jovo Sever, Gordon Gerbick, Theordore Erceg, Mike Galich, Dennis Svilar, Yvonne Orlich, Mike Ajder.
SATURDAY, Oct. 8, 2016
All photos can be enlarged by clicking on the lower right hand corner of the photo.
The wonderful welcoming committee of St. Sava Merrillville, at Hostess Roz Opacich's home. I loved the huge sign in the back that says "St. Sava Welcomes Mim Bizic!" How couldn't I? xoxox
Our Kuma Sonja Kalember's niece, Mary Kmiec, surprised me by showing me 8x10" black and white photos that my father, Milan Karlo, had taken at my sister Alexandra Karlo Nolan's Christening in 1953.
Look at the fantastic stonework that was done by New Brighton, PA-St. Elijah native son, Steve Gacesa! It was Steve who also did the brickwork on the Shadeland church and New Gracanica Monatery.
A personal tour to the St. Sava History Museum, by some of the dynamic curators pictured here. Dorothy Paunovich took this photo and all photos that I am in! Thanks, dear friend!
The hallway leading to the St. Sava Serb History Museum dedicated to the memory of +Milan Opacich who conceived the idea and worked hard to make it happen.
Xenia Jancarich shows a photo of Mrs. Felman, the widow of Richard Felman, sharing the Major's Gramata. Mrs. Felman gave the entire collection of OPERATION HALYARD information collected by Maj. Felman, to the Milan Opacich Museum of Serbina History at St. Sava's!
Just one part of Major Richard Felman's total collection that was donated to the St. Sava Merrillville History Museum!
General Draza Mihailovich's dagger was given to U.S. Airman, Richard Felman, who donated it to the St. Sava Museum!
The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. General Draza Mihailovich's incredible dagger!
St. Sava Museum historian, Mike Djordjevich ("VISKO"), pointing our great WWII photos. Mike points to the photo of his father, Predrag Djordjevich, with OSS Major George Musulin.
And how did George Musulin celebrate St. Sava's Day, January 27, 1944? With George Ristich (2nd from l-r), and Predrag Djordjevich, far right, who was the City/State Prosecutor, Mike's father.
Dorothy Paunovich was so proud of her sister-in-law's, Lt. Col. Eleanor Paunovich's service to our American government. Two Paunovich ladies served, Eleanor is still serving!
Some of Gary's finest in WWII who were home on leave: Mickey Crncevich, Steve Barich, George Milovanovich, Ray Cherlovich, Miles Stepanovich, and Nick Sever.
This display (and ALL displays were so well done!) highlights the removal of the WWII Monument from the old church property to the new St. Sava site in Merrillville.
Kum Sam Kalember, of Gary. His brother, Milan Kalember, was killed in WWII.
Richard (Risto) Vrtikapa is a member of the Museum Staff.
Theodore (Todor-Ted) Erceg is also a member of the Hisotry committee at the church and is the author of the great book WITH PIOUS GRAVITY, that highlights the exploits of the WWI Volunteers, including his grandfather.
A more up-to-date photo of Ted Erceg and his wonderful wife, Donna, both members of the Museum Committee.
SUNDAY, October 9, 2016
His Grace, Bishop Longin
The church services were beautiful with the Bishop and two other clergy joining Fr. Marko Matic: V. Rev. Luka Novakovich, a guest from Belgrade, Serbia, who was visiting a relative and Fr. Aleksandar from Sveti Elijah in Merrillville, and Proto deacon, Milovan Gogic, Diocean Deacon with a most magnificent voice!
How thrilled I was able to capture this photo of Simeon (Simo) Glumac because he's always busy capturing the scenes for others to document the history of his beloved St. Sava Church in Merrillville, Indiana.
The Slava walk to the monument with flags, banners, wreaths.
Memorial wreaths: American and Serbian carried by Dusko and Pres. Danica Peynovich.
Memorial Services at the WWII Monument to pay tribute to all who served, but also, all pioneers of St. Sava's Churches in Gary/Merrillville.
Behind us is the WWII monument that was removed from the old church site.
The WWII Monument relocation/Re-Dedication too place on Sunday, June 7, 2009. Special thanks were given to Nicky Joe Sever and Greg Traicoff for their hard work and dedication on the moving of the monument. And to Nick and Melanie Sever and Frank and Barbara Skala for their monetary donation for the restoraiton of the monument. It was so historic for me to be able to pray in front of it on this day. It was save since February, 1978, when fire engulfed St. Sava's church, destroying the whole sturcture. But the monument was spared. 38 years later, it was brought "home." It commemorates the 278 young Serbian men and women from Gary whose lives were interrupted by the events of WWII, with 16 of them making the supreme sacrifice: Milan Babich, Emil Bain, Mirko Batinich, Dusan Chulibrk, Tomislav Elich, Milan Kalember, Branko Kootur, Nenad Kovachevich, Petar Radeka, Nikola Relich, Nedeljko Sibich, Maksim Stoyanovich, Milan Vukovich, George Wajagich, Milan Zecevich and Sava Kokotorovich whose remains were found in Belgium almost 60 years later.
How my heart fluttered when I saw how the Serbian pioneers in Gary/Merrillville saved these dates for history, including 1389 for the Battle of Kosovo!
What joy when the banners and flags come out in celebration!
Dorothy Paunovich and Melanie Gruyich Sever! They were like caring daughters, great friends to me! How I admire these two remarkable ladies! They do so much for their church, for all of us.
The Banquet Hall in the Center.
Eli Roknick, long-time SNF Lodge Leader was so proud to have his whole family present with him!