Jocey and I were ready to start selling our NOLE cookies to help raise money for the Serb National Federation’s Scholarship fund! 😉 Holy Trinity St. Sava’s Cemetery in Castle Shannon, PA.
Thanks to Chee-Chee Czubak from Johnstown, PA for sending us this latest news about Novak. He has been appointed as the UNICEF Serbia Ambassador “to continue his push to defend children’s rights and provide access to early childhood education. The tennis ace is in New York this month competing at the US Open and vying to capture his third Grand Slam title of the year.
“I am very honored to partner with UNICEF to help increase awareness for the importance of early childhood education,” said Djokovic. “I look forward to working with UNICEF to help make a difference in the lives of young children throughout Serbia, particularly those who have fewer opportunities to learn and develop to their full potential.”
“Novak Djokovic is a natural fit for UNICEF,” said Rima Salah, Deputy Executive Director (a.i.). “He cares deeply about the welfare of Serbian children, bringing the same passion and enthusiasm for his career on the court to addressing issues affecting children.”
“Djokovic’s work as a National Ambassador will kick off with a focus on early childhood education. The importance of investing in learning opportunities for young children is well known, with abundant evidence that laying solid foundations in the early years results in better life outcomes for the individual child and society as a whole. This is the case for all children, but even more striking for children from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. In Serbia, less than half of all children under-five attend early education programs, dropping to less than one-in-ten for those from vulnerable groups. Expanding early education to include all children is increasingly recognized as a key priority in Serbia. “
“In accepting the appointment, Djokovic said, “Through my work with UNICEF, I want to help Serbian children realize their dreams. I want to help them understand that they have rights and that those rights should be protected. I want them to believe that anything is possible.”
“Djokovic began playing tennis at age four and made his pro debut at 16. Since then, he has won three Grand Slam singles titles, the 2008 and 2011 Australian Open championships and the 2011 Wimbledon Championship, becoming the first player representing Serbia to win a Grand Slam singles title and the youngest player in the open era to have reached the semi-finals of all four Grand Slam events, separately and consecutively. Amongst other major titles, he also won the 2010 Davis Cup.”
“UNICEF Ambassadors are well-known and highly respected personalities who promote children’s rights and mobilize support for the work of UNICEF and its partners. In the 50 years since celebrities began working with UNICEF, they have helped sway government policies on behalf of children, publicized children’s issues around the globe and raised funds for UNICEF-supported programs.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org
St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church Choir, under the masterful direction of
Professor Boris Dobrovolsky
I found two old SRBOBRAN articles in my “kufer,” one of them an obituary for Professor Boris Dobrovolsky who passed away on Sunday, June 22, 1969, and I thought to myself, it’s best to share all this info here on the website, lest it be forever lost!
This tribute to Prof. “Dobby” is to make up for my wasting of his valuable time when I was@ 10 years old, taking private piano lessons from him and not respecting his position enough to study hard.
Of course my parents, Milan and Laura Karlo always raved about what a genius the man was, but at my age, I truly didn’t realize what a great gift had been given to me!
But six years later, how proud I was to be a part of his Philip Visnich Choir of St. Sava Church in Pittsburgh, and I will NEVER forget being 16 years of age, my FIRST away-from-home choir trip, singing in Canada to a full-house high school auditorium, even the upper gallery level jampacked.
Our choir came proudly on stage but only uttered two words of our “Ratne Pesme” song arranged by Adam Popovich, before the Candian crowd went wild, standing on their feet by this time, clapping and singing along with the music before sitting down at the part where we whispered the words: “Kazi milo, kazi pravo, jel’ li Cica Draza zdravo?” Then, just as we were taught by Dobby, we belted out the fourth verse: “Jeste, jeste, kazi svima, u srcu je svi Srbima!”
Again, the crowd was up and stomping their feet and hands in applause so great, I thought I’d have a heart attack from joy. Of course, Professor Dobrovolsky was a master at getting these kind of responses from his audiences……
An anonymously written article in the SRBOBRAN of Sept. 15, 1965 said that the history of the Serbian Singing Federation was yet unwritten, and lest Professor Dobrovolsky’s important contributions to Serbian music passed into oblivion, the former singers, students, associates, officers of the Serbian Singing Federation and countless friends wanted to pay a belated, but highly deserved tribute to “Dobby” for his outstanding contributions and achievements in the field of Serbian choral music, sacred and secular.
Professor Dobrovolsky came from a family with a military background, high in the ranks of Russian nobility. He was born in Petrograd, Imperial Russia in 1885 (his 1969 obituary says he was a native of Riga, Lavia), one of five children, with two brothers and two sisters. His early life was rich in cultural heritage of the city of Petrograd, where he received his Conservatory and Imperial Law School degrees. This was the epoch of great Russian novelists, poets and musicians, and this unsurpassed to this day culture molded his ambition and career. Boris Dobrovolsky later became the foremost interpreter of Serbian choral music, but first had to earn a law degree, at the insistence of his father. But his heart was dedicated to music. He earned the equivalent of a Master’s Degree in Liberal Arts at the Conservatory of Music in Petrograd, studying harmony under Rimski-Korsakov, balancing education in the humanities and fine art.
Finishing his formal education, “Dobby” became acquainted with Albert Koates, the leading conductor at the Imperial Opera in Petrograd, an excellent interpreter of Russian music, and also befriended Napravik, one of the best symphonic and operatic conductors Russia ever had. However, these numerous musical contacts were severed with the advent of WWI. Although drafted into the military service in 1914, the gathering storm of social unrest following the Great War drove Prof. Dobrovolsky from his homeland.
The year 1919 found him in Ljubljana and by 1921, he was Director of the Ljubljana Opera Chorus until being invited to Belgrade by Stasha Binicki, Composer and Director of the Belgrade National Opera, and Conductor of the well-known “Singing Society Stankovich,” who was a student of Stevan Mokranjac.
When he first arrived, not fully understanding the Serbian language, he recalled his first rehearsal thusly: “Carried away by the beauty of the harmony and rhythm of the composition, I stopped and abruptly turned to Mr. Binicki asking: “What is this divine music about and who wrote it?”
“It is about the life of common people and it is the work of Stevan Mokranjac, one of the greatest composers of choral music in the world,” answered Mr. Binicki.
“As I further became acquainted with Morkanjac’s Rukovets, I realized that no truer words were spoken,” continued Dobby.
“That was the first encounter of Prof. Dobrovolsky with the works of Mokranjac, whose music he later interpreted in America with rare virtuosity and elan,” wrote the anonymous writer of the 1965 Srbobran article.
With Binicki, his 1969 obituary says, Dobrovolsky studied all of Mokranjac’s compositions and especially the interpretations which Mokranjac intended and requested.
Professor Dobrovolsky said that he knew of no other composer who could better use the potentialities of the human voice to produce the most perfect sound. “I was very proud to have been able to introduce Mokranjac’s compositions to the American youth for the first time.”
And thus, this is how the American youth became acquainted with Serbian folklore!
While in Belgrade, Professor Dobrovolsky was in the company of such eminent Serbian composers and conductros as Kosta Manojlovich and Petar Krstich. He became friends with Milenko Zivkovic, a promising young musician, and Stevan Hristich, an eminent composer. Dobby knew them all! Personally!
While in Belgrade, Dobby also conducted the Symphony Orchestra “LYRA” with “Stankovich” and they made extensive tours throughout Yugoslavia. There was much Serbian-French cooperation then, and Dobby directed the Stankovich Choir in Nice, Lyons, Grenoble and Paris. In Belgrade, he was honored with a permanent membership in the choir society “Karageorge.”
Wherever he went, he earned for the Serbian comosers their well-deserved recognition and acclaim. In addition to Karageorge, Dobby led the “Zeleznicar” and had successes in Rumania and Bulgaria. He was the one who made the European community aware that the Serbs had arrived with their contributions to Europe’s musical and cultural heritage.
Dobby renewed his friendship with Basso Fedor Chaliapin, unsurpassed in the dramatic execution of op-vocal teacher while being the conductor of the “Russian Opera in Paris” (Opera Privee de Paris). Dobby operated his private studios teaching voice and piano, and with “Opera Privee” he traveled widely on tours through the Latin American areas of Paraquay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Cuba and Mexico.
Back in France, he was honored with membership in the choral society “Orpheon of Grenoble” and “Harmonie of Lyon,” and traveled widely through the Benelux countries as conductor.
In 1932 he was back in Belgrade, but by 1936, he arrived in the United States anticipating a furthering of his own musical career. It wasn’t long before he met Ziloti, a professor at Julliard, a great pianist, a conductor, and the last pupil of Franz Liszt. He also met Ziloti’s cousin Rachmaninov, who was on a concert tour through Europe and the United States. At this time, the Consul-General of Yugoslavia, Mr. Stojanovich, persuaded Professor Boris Dobrovolsky to stay in this country as the interpreter of Serbian classical music.
We were taught by the BEST!
Dobby accepted a position as Director of the St. Nicholas Choir of Wilmerding, PA (now Monroeville), and also opened a studio in the colorful Nixon Building which was then the hub of the city’s musical activity. He also trained and developed such outstanding choirs as “Phillip Visnich” of Pittsburgh, “St. Nikola” of Johnstown, “St. Elijah” of Aliquippa and Midland’s “Laza Kostich.”
Aliquippa alone, had 300 singers under the direction of Dobby over a span of twenty-five years. And there are several still alive today who remember when in 1948, the Metropolitan Soprano, Danica Illich, sang selections of Serbian composers with the St. Elijah Choir of Aliquippa.
One of the most memorable achievements was the performance of the combined St. Elijah and Phillip Visnich Choirs, under the common name of “Stevan Mokranjac” sang at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh in 1952. The program consisted of several musical compositions including “Kozar,” which really impressed the Pittsburgh music critics in attendance who were lavish in their praise. Dobby said that without a doubt this was the most excellent choral work ever written.
Dobby also directed the Preseren Slovenian Singing Society and Javor Choral Society of Pittsburgh.
Professor Dobrovolsky was married to the former Stella Wallace (Vuletich), also an alumna of the St. Elijah choir, and was its soloist on many occasions. Their son Michael was a graduate of Missouri University, where as a Phi Beta Kappa, he was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, wherein he chose Harvard University for his post-graduate work.
The SRBOBRAN article goes on to say that he conducted piano and voice lessons for numerous students unabated with enthusiasm and vigor in his studio in Dormont, a suburb of Pittsburgh, and I, ashamedly, was one of them, never taking my lessons as conscientiously as I should have, being only ten years old at the time.
However, we are ALL eternally grateful to Professor Boris Dobrovolsky for bringing the best of Serbian music to the American people, and especially, the Serbs of America!
At the excellently attended banquet held in his honor in Aliquippa, many tributes were paid to him, one announcing this life membership in the Serbian Singing Federation of America. The testimonial ended with a mass choral group composed of singers of all different choirs and of many different years, but all students of Professor Dobby singing many selections, which he had taught, and which only he could interpret.
And as I finish this piece, I fondly remember him chastising us—“no books, no music. You know it, now sing it.” And of how in the middle of our song, he walked off and stood in the wings, showing off his/our talents, and then coming back on stage for thunderous acclaim and then another encore! “Bravo! Bravo, Professor Dobrovolsky!”
Professor “Dobby” died at age 84. The SRBOBRAN editor (Bobby Stone?) said:
“No one packed so much life and accomplishment in so many years— it was a rich and full life. Although he acquired many tributes and honorary degrees before coming to this country, he did not sit upon his laurels, but instead proceed triumphantly on.
“He was one of the best choral directors of music on this continent, his work always notable and remarkable.
Direction of the SSS St. Elijah Girls with Metropolitan Opera Singer, Danica Ilich, at the 1948 Pittsburgh SSF FEstival, singing “Buji Baji.”
Direction of the SSS St. ELijah Choir with Mokranjac’s 5th Rukovet.
Direction of the SSS Phillip Visnich Choir of Mokranjac’s 6th Rukovet, “Hajduk Veljko” in Gary Indiana, with Nick Stone as soloist.
Direction of the Stevan Mokranjac Choir (Combined St. Elijah and Phillip Visnich Choirs) in Chicago, IL for the SND and King Peter II, singing “Primorski Na Pjevi.”
Direction of his own composition of “Vjeruju” with his wife Stella, as soloist.
Direction of the SSS Holy Trinity Choir of Pittsburgh of Mokranjac’s 11th Rukovet.
Direction of Mokranjac’s 2nd Rukovet with Tosho Erdel as soloist.
His rousing and exciting interpretation of Adam Popovich’s “Ratne Pesme” in Niagara Falls, Canada, for Serbian Day.
His unparalled style of folidng his hands in the middle of a choir song, remaining motionless, except for his eyes, with which he continued to direct, to the thrill of the audience.
His unexpected departure from the state in the middle of a song to permit his well-trained choir to complete the song without him, but as he taught so well, to the extreme pleasure of the audience.
His unusual but interesting translation and explanation of songs, before singing.
His uncanny ability to ward off “choir jitters before a concert.
His own compositions of “Oce Nas,” “Svjai Boze,” “Zdravo,” “Veruju,” Serbian Christmas carols and more.
His most intimate understanding and interpretation of Mokranjac music, his forte.
His broad ability to be personalbe with amateur and professional.
To those of us who have known him–whether as a director, composer, arranger, teacher or friend, he was one of the GREATEST friends we have ever known.
We shall remember him for his many accomplishments in a full life, but most important, we shall remember him for his indispensible contribution to Serbian choral music on this continent.”
May the good Lord have mercy upon his soul.”
If you click on the lower right end of the image below, you will see the Professor Boris Dobrovolsky supported my father in his efforts to establish the American Serb Life magazine. In 1948, when money was very valuable then, he donated $25, almost an unheard of sum! Thank You, Professor Dobrovolsky. Memory Eternal, Vejcnaja Pamjat.
And please forgive me for not practicing that piano more!
With Love From Kosta
A simple ad in our neighborhood bulletin a few days ago from a teen-age youngster seeking income, brought a flood of memories to the fore, unearthing beautiful treasures. I felt like the day we were on Norfolk beach decades ago. A high tide after a nighttime storm had brought a huge chest bouncing enticingly close to the shore….just like in the movies! Oh, the excitement! The adrenaline rush! The chase was on! Right out of a page on “Aladdin!”
For five dollars apiece, my genie Zach would change any LP album you had to a CD or MP3. So digging I went, into the bookcase closet that probably hasn’t seen a daylight beam inside for many years.
Lo and behold, up surfaced one golden memory after another. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty dollars. The conversion rate on the albums started adding up. “I need this one, and oh yes, this is a definite. I can’t pass this one up because I remember where we were when we bought this.” And so it went.
“I remember when Barbara Topich sang ‘Hajde Slusaj’ for Jules and Cheri’s wedding!” And another “chink, chink!” was added silently as I found and held up the HTC (Holy Trinity Choir) album to the light.
“Oh, and here’s the album songs that Lackawanna’s Kosta Choir sang when they came down to Aliquippa the last time we held the SSF festival who knows how many years ago….. Everyone just LOVED them! Hmmm. Add another Lincoln.
When Zach (in regular teen-age dress as opposed to silk pantaloons and turban!) showed up at my door, I’m sure he was surprised to find himself leaving with 13 albums in his hands to work his magic. Nor does he know I have some more for him as soon as he finishes that task. Joi!
But I’ll pay for the job just like I did as a teenager. I remember working for two weeks at the Pittsburgh Mercantile Company (Jones & Laughlin Steel Company Store!) located on 26th and Carson Streets, just a block from our 25th and Carson Street home. On payday, I would almost run down to 17th Street record store to buy my albums! One at a time. Paycheck to paycheck. How much was gasoline then? 25 cents per gallon!
God willing, when the albums are finished being converted, I might be able to load a few songs onto the website for you and others to enjoy hearing too.
Oh, and about that chest that was bobbing along in the water in Norfolk? I was determined to swim out to it to bring it home for my family waiting on shore. But it kept going out further and further. Now I was no Esther Williams in form, but I was proud of the fact that I was a good swimmer, having honed my skills in the Monogahela River, at the 22nd Street Community swimming pool and South High School’s pool on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Were those gold nuggets serving as bolts to keep the chest together? Further and further I chased the elusive chest until I got too tired and only treaded water as best as I could. Tooooo tired to even come back. I looked to the shore and everyone seemed so far away….so tiny.
I realized right then and there it was too far to go back to shore. I could never make it. The box I was sure was filled with all the gold and rubies of Arabia was still out of my reach.
But it was closer than the beach. One last attempt to swim to the “treasure chest” despite the desperate and now very faraway cries of “Come back, come back!”
I knew Gus couldn’t come rescue me as he had such a low center of gravity that he could only swim so far without walking on the bottom of a pool!
I used the left, right, left rule before making a life-threatening decision. With a last burst of “do or die” energy, I lunged ahead and finally grasped onto the box exhausted, hanging on it for dear life.
It wasn’t too long afterwards that a rescue boat came out and took me to shore. Dreamily, only half present mentally and physically, I remember my heroes telling Gus that we were the lucky ones…as three people had died in this same deadly current only the day before.
And the wonderful treasure chest…. worth more than all a Sultan’s emeralds?
It turned out to be just a box full of cabbage heads! Sarmas (“pigs in the blanket”) anyone?
HVALA BOGU……Thank God…..
I lived to be able to hear and sing with these guys!
Don’t forget to click on the bottom right hand corner of all photos to enlarge…..
“The Balkan Serenaders were originally organized in 1947 and today boast three charter members. Today’s Serenaders collectively represent more than 120 years of Tamburitza artisty and are considered one of the leading proponents of Continental music.
“The family of instruments played by the group are called Tamburitze, or singularly, Tamburitza. The Tamburitze are stringed instruments, descendent from the lute, and similar in consturction and size to a classical guitar. The freted finger board is strung with steel strings and is played with a pick.
“With the revival and impetus of ethnic culture today, the Tamburitza takes its place among the Greek Bazouki, Russian Balalaika and Indian Sitar.”
“Oro se vije,” “Miserlou,” “Koliko te Srce Moje Vole,” “Cesto mi Dragi” and “Su Su Mile Kolo,” “Lene Bre Duso” and “Dajcevo Oro.” Side B featured “Granada,” “Proplakala Zumbul Ajsa,” “Vrati Mi Srce,”, “White Ribbons-Kolo” and “Kazi Leno.”
With every song I typed above, I felt years younger and hummed along…….
And who can ever forget the Kosta Choir from Lackawanna, PA? Their love songs made everyone smile with happiness. The “With Love from Kosta” album cover gave credit to their beloved director, +Nada Milosevich, her choral arranging, ingenuity and devotion to which they attributed their choir’s doubling of singers. Jim Raditich was president then. Instrumental musicianship was capably led by Charlie Smilinich, George Medakovich, Bob Ranic, Ron Conrad and Don Milosevich, the KOSTA COMBO. The cover was produced by Cathy Milosevich.
Click the bottom right hand corner of either of these “song books” to enlarge the contents to see better.
Side 1 featured (1) “Sjecaj se Srce” (Remember My Heart)….A love from one summer long ago, which lights up my very soul. (2) “Tuzna Su Proljeca” (Sad Are the Seasons)….I know you live far away with someone else, but I’d forgive you if you returned to build a home and find joy in life together. (3) “Ima Dana” (There Are Days) There are days of confusion, nights of restlessness, I love you deeply and you’re unaware of this. Return my letters, pictures, return my life. (4) “Sliku Tvoju Ljubim” (I Kiss Your Picture)…I constantly look at your picture and your smiling lips seem to speak. I kiss your picture, whisper your name and the wind carries a message to you, do not forget me. One of the songs, “Uzmi Moju Mladost,“(Take My Youth) bewails “as long as my heart beats and as the sun gives life, that’s how you effect me. Do not speak of love, for words often lie, but let your eyes speak the truth. Take my youth, take my days and my nights, I will go with you to the ends of the Earth!
No wonder why Catherine the Great of Russia is said to have loved her Serbian Lover the BEST of all!
The funniest one is the last song on the album, called “Ne Ovo, Ne Ono” (Not This, Not That). It warns smoking=cancer, an extra drink=your obituary is being written; love affair=morally wrong. Dont overeat=impacts are great. Conclusion=everything is forbidden, so…….
And on and on they go…forever ours!
Thanks to all from Lackawanna!
OLD, OLD RECORDS!
Steve Kozobarich, an extremely talented Icon Painter, has other talents as well. His father, grandfather, and GREAT-grandfather were all tamburashi and with their love of our Serbian music, they saved the old 78 RPM records which Steve painstakingly converted for all of us to enjoy. Here’s his excellent website that features old Serbian music from the 1920s. 1930s and 1940s. Click on the record label to listen to the song:
Here are some examples
of Steve’s icons:
Goodbye to Marty Kapugi! Almost reached 100!
Click on bottom right hand corner of all photos to enlarge.
Sloboda Choir members directed by Adam Popovich.
Adam wanted us to remember not only the singing of others, but to know the words to the songs too, so he made sure all of the words to the songs Sloboda Choir sang were listed inside the album, for which I am so grateful!
“Onam’ Onamo” was written by Serbian Prince Nicholas of Montengro.
Slobodan Zelich directed the Petar Krstich Choir of Steubenville, OH with “Za Cast i Slavu Srbije” (For the Honor and Glory of Serbia.) Soloists were Nick Karas and Nick Zatezalo. “Pjesme iz Srbije” (Songs from Serbia) and “Pjesme sa Tromedje” (Songs from Tromedje- where the borders of Bosnia, Lika and Dalmatia converge.) Pete Momcilovich was also a soloist here.
The back album featured “Vinska Pjesma” (Wine Song), “Pjesme sa Plavnog Jadrana” (Songs from the Adriatic) with soloist Adam Goykovich; “Davno je bilo to” (It was a long time ago) and finally “Molitva,” the Prayer.
Slobodan Zelich not only directed the choir beautifully, but he also composed most of the songs here too!
“Evo Nas!” (Here we are!)
Directed by Mrs. Nevenka Birac and assistant director, Mr. Millard Golusin. “The SSS Ravanica blends the stirring sounds of folk music with the solemn and beautiful musical strains of the Eastern Orthodox Church. This eight part acapella choir is composed of 50 singers and is one of the 35 choirs who hold membership in the Serbian Singing Federation of America and Canada.”
Bernard and Dorothy Teshich sang “Oce Nas” solos. Then followed “Ize Heuvimi,” “Jako Da Carja,” “Akatist Bogorodici,” “Slava Vo Visnji” (Christmas Carol), “Skazi Mi Gospodi,” and “Budi Imja Gospodnje.”
Side B of the album was always the most exciting for me: “Orao Klikce” and “Pesme Iz Srbije.”
Look how young these guys were! Don’t forget to click on bottom right hand corner to enlarge photo!
The fellows even signed this!
Bozhi (oldest on Brac), Bati (on Bulgaria), Peter & Paul (the TWINS!) on prim. with Vince Rodina on cello.
The songs they sang are “Jesen Prodje,” “Bosno Moja,” “Cacak Kolo,” “Ne Klepeci Nanulama,” “Sumadijo Sumovita,” “Ti Si Zena,” “Aj Doslo Vreme,” “Pesme Tamburasa,” “Oro se Vije” and “Pjevaj Prijatelju.”
The boys dedicated their first album to their parents, the Very Reverend Milan and Mary Bajich, “for all the encouragement and inspiration they have given them!”
And we thank God they did!
With Love from Kosta
Dr. Barbara Fredrickson , author of the book POSITIVITY (2009) said:
“When darkness appears, the daylily closes,” in reference to negativity that can creep into everyday life.
The Serbs needn’t worry.
With songs like the ones found on this page, and the friendships made throughout the USA, Canada, etc. by our choirs, tamburitza orchestras and singing fans, the world appears as a Bouquet of fresh open daylilies despite the evil things being said daily in the news about the Serbian people. We have Strength from Above.
We already savor Goodness and Share and Celebrate with one another.
We already count our Blessings and know that Kindness counts.
We already follow our Passions and Engage in Song and Play.
We already DO dream about the Future for ourselves, our children and grandchildren and those who will come after us well into the future and try to prepare a way easier for them.
We already apply our Strengths and find fulfillment by Connecting with others.
Listen to our songs. If they’re not about love and bravery or honor, they’re about God and the beautiful world he has created for all of us… the birds, the sky, the lambs in the fields, and our Gratefulness to Him for all. Others call this Nature.
We Open our Hearts and Minds to Him and find Positiveness there, Strength through the Holy Spirit.
We already practice:
Love, Joy, Gratitude, Serenity, Interest and Hope….. HOPE!
How many times do you remember hearing our old timers say, “Bice Boje.” Things will get better!
This website is a compilation of the Portfolios Dr. Fredrickson says we should seek: Our JOY portfolio, our GRATITUDE portfolio, our SERENITY portfolio, our INTEREST portfolio, our HOPE portfolio and our PRIDE portfolio, our INSPIRATION and our AWE portfolios.
Compassion and love. For all.
No wonder why Serbs say, despite all, “Thank God I’m Serbian!”
Life is about choices. Think Positive, not Negative.
From the Beaver County TIMES of Monday, March 16, 2009 comes this advice from Audioprosthologist, Bill Catley via his article, “GOOD REASONS TO LISTEN TO MUSIC” on p. 9 bottom:
“Recent research points out what an important role hearing plays in both our physical and emotional lives. When people listen to their favorite music, their blood vessels dilate in much the same way as when they laugh or take blood medications. In fact, this study was prompted by the discovery that laughter literally caused blood to flow more smoothly. After listeners spent an hour listening to favorite recordings, researchers noticed a similar effect. Blood that flows more smoothly is less likely to form clots that cause heart attacks and strokes.”
We can rightfully call him “Sir Bora” now…. Dame Draga too, for all they have done to preserve and perpetuate Serbian history, culture and heritage.
Bora Dragasevich, wearing his medals bestowed to him by HRH Prince Aleksandar of Serbia and his Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubille Medal with the red ribbon .
The Order of the Crown with the Great Cross is of the FIRST DEGREE. Bora has on the blue sash, medal oh his chest and on his hip.
THe Voice of Canadian Serbs, GLAS KANADSKIH SRBA, explains the significance of the order thusly: “Among the recipients of the Order of the First Degree are Serbian Kings, Princes, Prime Ministers, Diplomats, Nikola Tesla, and OUR BORA!
Above the red ribbon is the pin of the Srpska Narodna Odbran (Serbian National Shield Society).
Bora was honored with the high Order of the Crown with Great Cross, First Degree with a Royal Proclamation of the Order read by Dragomir Acovic, Chancellor of the Royal Orders and member of the Crown Council, acknowledging Mr. Bora Dragasevic’s work as a “Publicist and national worker in Canada, for his services to the Royal Dynasty, to the benefit of the people and their general good.”
Princess Katherine and Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic of Serbia
The Crown Prince himself placed the blue sash on Bora, praising him for his work and many years of service to the Serbian community in Canada and the diaspora.
The date was Saturday, May 12, 2012, on the feast day of St. Vasilije of Ostrog.
Draga explained Bora’s medal: ” The awarding of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal is authorized in her name by the Governor General of Canada. Members of Parliament actually bestow the Medal to recipients. As it turned out, a Greek Canadian Member of Parliament decorated Bora at a reception in the Consulate of the Republic of Serbia in December, 2012.”
Thank you both again, you make us so proud!
And my buttons almost popped off my coat with this warm tribute from Bora, and at the microphone, addressing the Sunday hall audience. Although Bora may write the same words to everyone, he certainly knew how to warm my heart that October 19, 2014 day in Canada after celebrating with the St. Sava Church Choir for their 59th Anniversary, with Draga Dragasevich serving as Mistress of Ceremonies!
On Nov. 10, 2014, Mim Bizic answered the doorbell to find a delivery man with a vase full of beautiful fall flowers. She was thrilled to see that they came from Sir Bora and Dame Draga and quickly placed them on her kitchen table.
We know that real flowers can’t last forever, but if a picture is posted here of the flowers, it will always serve as a beautiful memory remembering the love and friendship shared between our United States and Canada Serbs!
Ziveli and Mnogaja Ljeta!
Oh my dear Serb, my very own brother,
O my dear Serb, a long time sufferer,
Do not put faith in the help of strangers,
foreign help is always paid dearly.
Do not rely on love from a stranger,
a stranger’s love is full of bitterness.
He who doesn’t find enough strength in himself
will not be helped by the strength of others.
And so, listen, hear me, my Serbian brother!
This this torment be a lesson to you.
outside of your self you will ask in vain
Only unity will save the Serb.
so its written on his own coat of arms…
Liberty is sweet only when it is
won by oneself and by an entire nation,
a stranger will never bring it to him!…
And now let’s go to work, O my dear brother,
work wisely and with all your heart and soul:
Let that which has fallen get up again.
Let those who have been crying start to sing.
Let that which has crumbled be made whole anew,
Let that which has turned dark sparkle again ,
Let those who have drifted apart rejoin,
Let those estranged be brothers one more,
Let that which was in the grave rise back to life.
Let’s sing to harmony and unity!
(By Jovan Dragasevich, translated by Vasa D. Mihailovich)
It was with the deepest sorrow I learned about thepassing of my dear friend, Bora from the beautiful obituary written by his constant companion, his true partner all of their married life, Draga Dragasevich.
December 8, 1924 – February 13, 2020
After years of struggling heroically with many health issues Bora Dragasevich passed away peacefully at Baycrest Hospital surrounded by his loved ones.
Born in Serbia 95 years ago, he was grateful to make Canada his new home after the turbulent years of war in Europe.
A true Renaissance man with interests spanning many topics, his impact was felt far and wide throughout the Serbian community in Canada and even in Serbia.
His working career was spent as a mechanical technologist with Ontario Hydro.
Bora had an exceptional love of life, boundless energy, a keen intellect, generous spirit, sharp wit and a positive outlook.
He loved his Serbian Orthodox Church and faith and had a fervent passion for Serbia and his Serbian heritage which he actively promoted in broadcast and print media. In Canada he contributed to the development of its multicultural policies in the 1970s and beyond.
Greatly respected for his selfless work, he was instrumental in many noble initiatives including the Tesla monument in Niagara Falls and was the proud recipient of the Royal Order of the Crown with Great Cross, First Degree from HRH Prince Aleksandar of Serbia and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from Canada.
Beloved husband of Diane Draga, inspiring father to John (Maureen), George, Vera (Jim) and Doug (Debbie); devoted grandfather to Erin (Andrew), Mark, Shannon, Lara, Claudia, Megan and Jadyn; loving great-grandfather to Lauren; dearest uncle to nephews Dragi and Bora Zekavica.
The cottage that Bora built for his family 60 years ago continues to be a place of lasting, cherished memories.
The Serbian Orthodox traditions he taught his children have sustained their connection to the heritage of their forefathers. As a father, he was proud of the achievements of all his children and grandchildren.
Many have called “chika” Bora “a legend in his time”. There is no doubt his exemplary life is one to be celebrated. He left an indelible mark and will be greatly missed by his devoted wife, his family, friends and many in the broader Serbian community.
Rest in peace in God’s loving embrace, dearest Bora. You fought the good fight to your final breath. Your legacy lives on! May your memory be eternal.
In memory of Bora Dragasevich donations may be made to any of the following: Canadian Serbian Diocese, All Serbian Saints Church (Mississauga), St. George Church (Niagara), Serbian National Shield Society of Canada, Lifeline Humanitarian Organization, Serbs for Serbs, Serbian Heritage Museum (Windsor), Baycrest Hospital Palliative Care, Canadian Cancer Society.
History of Sts. Constantine and Helen Orthodox Church
by Mimo Milosevich, or more formally: Layman Milivoy Jovan Milosevich
a gift to all of us for Serbian Christmas, January 7, 2010.
God bless Mimo and all Members of Sts. Constantine and Helen!
“Guided by Saints”, “Priest of Three Kings”
IT HAS BEEN SAID….
His father was an Athenian Greek. When the first outbreaks of Greek Independence from the Ottoman Empire started on the Peloponnese Peninsula, his father, a fisherman crossed onto the peninsula to join the forces of famed Greek General Theodoros Kolokotronis, from a town in the middle of the Peloponnesus called Theraki. Eight years later, when Independence was achieved (with great help from the Allied Russian, English and French Forces); he settled in Egio (one of the oldest cities in the Balkans), Peloponnese Peninsula, Greece.
Born in November of 1833, young Theodoros was named for the famed Greek General. They called him “Theos” and he celebrated his Name Day each September 22nd (Julian Calendar in the 1800’s), on the Feast Day of St. HieroTHEOS, the Student of Saint Paul, the Apostle, who in 53 A.D. became the First Bishop of Athens.
Theodorus grew up fishing with his father, and spending time around the port; while his mother (a native of the Peloponnese Peninsula) pushed him to the Church. The era after Greek Independence was wrought with economic problems and the Armenians and Bulgarians had replaced the Ottomans as bankers and merchants, allowing our young Theos to become ever more acquainted with other cultures. Two-thirds of the population had vanished and the land was devastated.
His early schooling was in the Church of Panagia Trypiti that is built inside a cavity of the cliff just 150 stair steps above the Port of Egio and he helped the Priests with all their duties, occasionally traveling into the local mountains to visit Agia Lavras Monastery, about 20 miles south and up in the mountains. Greek Independence had started there with Bishop Germanos Declaring Independence with his blessing of the troops. Later the Ottomans burned the Monastery, but it was reconstructed with help from the Russian Orthodox Church.
Many of the Icons there were gifts from the Russian Monastery Panteleimon on Holy Mt Athos and the Be-jeweled Gospel in the Monastery was printed, signed and given by Catherine the Great of Russia.
History and multi-ethnic cultures literally surrounded him. As a young adult, he was Tonsured a Monk and was given the name Theoclitos. He soon traveled to Mt Athos where he was accepted as a resident of the Panteleimon Monastery, where he became fluent in Slavonic and studied Russian language and customs; and made regular visits to the Serbian Monastery Hilandar learning the Serbian language and customs. He had become fascinated with languages.
He was invited to complete a formal education and become a teacher at the Slavic Greek Latin Academy and Theological Seminary at Holy Trinity – St. Sergius Monastery, better known today as the Moscow Theological Academy, just outside Moscow, Russia.
After under-graduate, a Graduate Degrees in Theology and a few years of teaching; he was called upon by the new Danish born King of Greece, George I, to tutor his son Prince George. Later, the King’s brother-in-law, Tzar Alexander III of Russia called upon him to tutor the Royal Family’s 6 children specifically in other Orthodox cultures including the Greek language. So, he became a Greek cultural teacher to the future Tzar Nicholas II of Russia, who was Canonized a Martyr Saint of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1991.
It is also said, Fr. Theoclitos was one of the 30 or so clergyman serving at the wedding of Nicholas II and Alexandra Fyodorovna, who was Canonized a Martyr Saint of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.
The Parishioners of Galveston would later call him …“The Priest of Three Kings”
It is known that with the outset of the American Civil War, a group of multi-ethnic Orthodox Christians were having regular prayer meetings in Galveston, as early as 1861, and they called themselves “the Parish of S.S. Constantine and Helen”.
Galveston is a seaport, and its citizens were accustomed to our Eastern European and Mediterranean People. Our Eastern Orthodox Christians were always around the port. There were those that came, returned home and came back again.
The first known Serbian in America lived in Galveston for a long time; his name was Djordje Sagic (aka: Djordje Ribar and/or George Fisher). He came to Texas in the late 1820’s after “jumping ship” (because of indentured servitude) in Philadelphia, and became the first Port Director of the Port of Galveston under the Mexican Government. He then became a Major in the Texas Revolutionary Army under General Sam Houston. He served in public office as City Councilman in Houston, Texas and Justice of the Peace in Harris County after the Texas Revolution.
Sagic had studied for the Priesthood in Karlovci Serbia, but left the seminary to join the last efforts of the first Serbian uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1813, lead by Serbian leader, Karageorge Petrovitch. He left the area in 1850 to ultimately retire in San Francisco, California as a Justice of the Peace and retained the status of the Official Greek Government Consul there until his death, in 1873. He knew 13 languages.
The First known Greek in Galveston participated in the Parish Church group. He called himself only by the name of Captain Nicholas. Captain Nicholas joined the notorious Privateer Jean Lafitte in New Orleans, when Lafitte sailed for Galveston, as Capitan of Lafitte’s prize schooner the Mirabella. Captain Nicholas sailed away from Galveston with Lafitte after burning everything they left behind.
Captain Nicholas returned to Galveston after Lafitte’s death, becoming a farmer on west Galveston Island and recounting old pirate stories at the waterfront. He lived more than 100 years and is believed to have died in the Hurricane of 1900.
Some have said that with Lafitte came the first of many nationalities to Galveston, but I am unable to corroborate any other Orthodox Christians.
During the late 1880’s and early 1890’s these Orthodox Christian Serbian, Russian, Greek, Bulgarian, and Arab (Lebanese) immigrants to Galveston had organized and started gathering monies for a church.
Aside from the religious group, they each started several individual nationalistic groups. Each had separately written many petitions to their former Bishops back home for a Parish Priest and had received only denials; justified by the facts of distance and costs, but these denials were in some cases including the suggestion that they petition the Russian Orthodox Mission Diocese in North America.
So the culture in Galveston was ripe for the addition of an Eastern European & Mediterranean Priest of Arch. Fr. Theoclitos’ stature.
Nicholas II became Tzar of Russia on November 26, 1894. The Romanov Royal Family had created and supported the Russian Orthodox Mission into North America through Alaska since 1784.
AT THAT TIME, BECAUSE OF THE ROMANOV FAMILIES’ TRULY UN-MATCHED WEALTH, THE RUSSIAN MISSION INTO NORTH AMERICA WAS THE ONLY ORTHODOX JURISDITION ON THE CONTINENT PRIOR TO 1922.
So, the Slavs, headed by Risto Vukovich; and the Greeks headed by Athurs Menutis gathered and decided to petition the Russian Mission Diocese.
They sent three telegrams written in Cyrillic and signed by Vukovich, Christo Chuk, and Milosh Porobich which explained the diversity of the parishioners to; (1) the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, (2) Tzar Nicholas II personally, and (3) His Grace Bishop Nicholas in Sitka, Alaska.
A short time later the parish board received a telegram personally from Tzar Nicholas II, stating his acceptance of their plea. The Tzar had a large Gospel Printed, all the Vestments and Liturgical necessities including a signed Antimins, and all the Icons for an Iconostas painted and assembled including the icon to be used for the name day of the future Church (His own Namesake, Saint Nicholas); and he chose his teacher Fr. Theoclitos to go to Galveston, telling him “Let there be an Orthodox Church in Galveston”.
By this time, Fr. Theoclitos was 61 years of age, was a well traveled man and spoke more than a dozen languages; Greek, Russian, Serbian, Slavonic, Latin, Bulgarian, Arabic, Hebrew, Danish; and some Spanish, English, French, German, and Romanian.
The Ambassador of Russia to the United States acquired U. S Citizenship for him even before he left Russia!
Prior to leaving Russia, Fr. Theoclitos was given the heavy cross he always wore by Tzar Nicholas II and he was elevated to the rank of Right Reverend Archimandrite, because he would soon be the Priestly leader of a flock of Christians so far away with little known chance of a visiting Bishop anytime soon.
His journey to the far off land of Galveston, Texas began with six companions. With him were; the Very Reverend Archimandirte Rafael Hawaweeny (Glorified a Saint in March of 2000 by the Orthodox Church in America) and his three Deacons Constantine Abu-Adal, Istvan Moldowanyi and John Shamie (later Shame was a Priest in Galveston); and Archimandrite Fr. Theoclitos’ two Russian Deacons, Theodore Pashkowsky and Joakim Zubkowsky, and his Romanian Deacon Pavel Grepashewsky; and Fr. Peter I. Popoff.
First leg of the trip was by train to Berlin, serving liturgy there at the Russia Embassy Church; then on to the Port of Bremen.
Next leg was by passenger ship to Southampton for a change of ships, then on to New York aboard the passenger ship, S.S Havel out of South Hampton, as a United States Citizen.
Only 82 passengers sailed that day. Although a group of Priests were at the port of New York to greet them on the Morning of November 14, 1895, they were required by customs to spend one night in Quarantine.
The Next Morning, they were joined in New York by Bishop Nicholas Ziorov of the Russian Orthodox Mission in America to consecrate the First Arab-Syrian Orthodox Church in America under the Russian Mission’s jurisdiction, and to install Archimandrite Rafael as Pastor, with his three deacons.
A few days later, Arch. Fr. Theoclitos, his three Deacons; and Fr. Popoff traveled with Bishop Nicholas by train to Washington D.C., then to western Pennsylvania, where Fr. Popoff was to serve and then on to Kansas City.
At this point, it was decided that only the Romanian Deacon Grepashewsky would travel to Galveston with Arch. Fr. Theoclitos; and Bishop Nicholas and the other two Deacons would go on to San Francisco. Arch. Fr. Theoclitos stopped in Hartshorne, American Indian Territory, Oklahoma to have Liturgy for a group of Russian Miners, just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma before reaching Galveston.
The distances from Galveston to either San Francisco or New York are about 1600 miles. Although his rightful rank was high, which gave him the right to consecrate his own chapel including the right to wear a Mitre (Crown, but with a flat, not standing Cross on top) and carry a Pastoral Staff (Bishop’s Staff); he lived his life in Galveston as a meager Monk, teacher, and Pastoral Priest. The Church Congregation never paid Arch. Fr. Theoclitos, because he received his pay directly from the Tzar (1500 rubels a month and 500 rubels as expenses; about $120 total, at that time) until Arch. Fr. Theoclitos passed away in 1916, a year and a half before Tzar Nicholas II and his Family were murdered.
The Trustees of The Existing Congregation Board (Chris Vucovich, Chris Chuoke, Athurs Menutis and Mitchael Mihaloudski) formally received their State Corporation Papers on January 13, 1895 and subsequently purchased a 43’ wide x 120’ deep property that is at 4107 Avenue L, Galveston, Texas on December 15, 1895.
They started to build a rectangular wood frame Orthodox styled Church, and when Arch. Fr. Theoclitos arrived, in January of 1896, he directed the finishing of the Church. The congregation was astonished to be blessed with an Archimandrite and a Deacon, not just a Priest, and best of all he was somewhat of a linguist.
In Galveston, all properties faced either North-west or South-east, so they had chosen property that leaves our Church unusually facing South-east. And, although the Icon of Saint Nicholas was placed in the Iconostas to Honor Tzar Nicholas II as the Patron of the Church; it was Arch. Fr. Theoclitos’ decision to use the name S. S. Constantine and Helen Church, because the congregation that started on its own should be remembered.
Bishop Nicholas was invited and he accepted; and the Consecration of our church occurred on June 3rd 1896, the feast day of Sts Constantine and Helen.
Arch. Fr. Theoclitos’ decision on the name of the Church, was not unusual with him. He was known to have baptized children with names other than their parents had asked for.
My mother’s name was to be Ruza, Serbian for Rose, but he baptized her as Sophia which her parents accepted without question, and gave my mother and others an unusual lifelong connection to their Archimandrite. But then, his guidance and decisions were always accepted by his congregation. There have never been any questions of his guidance that were ever passed down through the years even though we Eastern Europeans have always loved a good argument. He had services in the Slavonic, Greek and Arabic languages. It was as though his congregation was standing with a Saint.
In 1897, Arch. Fr. Theoclitos purchased a 36 plot track in the Lake View Cemetery as a gift to his Congregation. He buried his flock in the next consecutive plot, without regard to couples or children or any Relationship, because he saw them as one congregational family.
In early 1897, Bishop Nicholas replaced Deacon Grepashewsky with a young Russian Monk, Fr. Mikhail Kurdinovski to allow Arch. Fr. Theoclitos time to travel and invited Arch. Fr. Theoclitos to San Francisco to speak in the Greek language on the mounting losses of the Cretan insurgents in their revolution against Ottoman rule.
Bishop Nicholas had to be acutely aware that his Archimandrite was the highest ranking Greek born Clergyman in America. While in route, we know that he also served Liturgy again in Oklahoma; and in Denver, Colorado.
After his sermon in San Francisco he was asked to traveled with Fr. (later, Archimandrite) Sebastian Dabovich (currently being considered for Canonization as a Saint), to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, where they served Liturgy in Slavonic, Greek and Arabic in both cities.
He again traveled to San Francisco in 1898, to participate in the installation of Bishop Tikon Belavin, as the new Bishop, replacing Bishop Nicholas of the Aleutians and Alaska (Diocesan name was changed in 1900 to Diocese of the Aleutians and North America). Although little is known about it, Bishop Tikon visited our parish in 1899, for the first of two visits.
It’s known that Arch. Fr. Theoclitos traveled extensively on the Gulf Coast going as far east as Mobile, Alabama, as far south as Corpus Christi, Texas, and into the interior north to Ft. Worth, San Antonio, San Angelo and Austin Texas, performing Marriages and Baptisms and serving Liturgy where ever he found our Orthodox Christians.
In 1897, The Wiemar, Texas newspaper had an article about him; where he borrowed the local Catholic Church in LaGrange, Texas to perform the wedding of a Greek Couple. The writer (obviously Protestant) posted the short article that follows.
Weimar Mercury, 29 Jan 1898
LaGrange, Tex., Jan. 25, –Married today, Mr, Abraham John to Miss Zeche Nemer, both Greek, at the Catholic Church by Rev. Theoclitos (Archimandrite of the Orthodox Church), Galveston, Tex. A very large crowd attended the ceremonies, which were “somewhat of a novelty”, no such ceremonies having ever been performed here.
Our Church Board additionally purchased a like adjoining property west of the Church doubling the size of the property in early 1900.
But, in his 66th year, on September 8th 1900, Galveston Island was hit by the greatest natural disaster in United States history when the massive Hurricane of 1900 came ashore. The Island was almost totally destroyed (est. of 8,000 to 12,000 deaths of a population of 30,000, which included 24 members of the congregation.
Arch. Fr. Theoclitos and Fr. Mikhail spent 30 hrs in the church praying and giving refuge to parishioners and neighbors that sought safety in the church. After the storm had passed, the Church structure was still standing although it had floated to the west about 10 feet partially onto the additional property just purchased. Those that were with him in the church believed Arch. Fr. Theoclitos and his church had truly saved their lives.
The congregation gathered and raised the Church, repaired the damage and early in 1902 petitioned Bishop Tikon, who had since moved the headquarters of the Diocese to New York, to visit and Re-consecrate their repaired Church.
Bishop Tikon accepted and arrived shortly before services on June 3rd 1903. This event made Arch. Fr. Theoclitos and his congregation’s church not only patronized by, but also consecrated by future Saints of Orthodoxy.
By order of Tzar Nicholas II, Bishop Tikon bestowed on Arch. Fr. Theoclitos the Royal Honors of (1) the Order Of St. Vladimir and (2) the Order of St. Anne (in his picture, the ribbon and cross like medallion around the neck to his right side is the order of St. Vladimir, the ribbon and medallion around the neck to his left side is the Order of St. Anne and the necklet with the large medallion was awarded him upon attaining his Graduate Degree in Theology from the Moscow Theological Academy.
While in Galveston, Bishop Tikon visited the cemetery, and became aware that it was filling fast. As a gift to the Congregation, Bishop Tikon,who was later made Patriarch of Moscow, purchased 27 additional plots next to the original cemetery track. Arch. Fr. Theoclitos and the Church continued with a new influx of immigrants coming to Galveston each year, even purchasing another 21’ to the west of the Church. Although he did keep constant communications with the Diocese, it is not clear whether he ever met with Archbishop Platon of New York, who replaced Bishop Tikon.
He was known to include the Romanov Royal Family each week in the Liturgy, as: (1) word of Tzar Nicholas II’s son, Alexander’s affliction with hemophilia began to spread, (2) World War I was building and (3) talk of revolution against the Tzar was in the news from time to time. Also, because of our multi-ethnic culture in Galveston, the shot by Serbian Gavrilo Princip that assassinated Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, (believed to be the shot that started World War I, was heard loudly in our Church making the War and the assassination more than an important issue.
On weekly trips to the business district, the neighborhood children would gather on the church steps and wait for his return. He would always have a large bag full of fruit and the latest sweets for them, saving a large portion for his parish children. He became acquainted with many people during his years in Galveston and was thought of respectfully, while they became somewhat enchanted with his customary meager but stoic Orthodox Monastic ways. He was a constant visitor to St. Mary’s Infirmary (the local Catholic Hospital) and John Sealy Hospital at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Following his heart, as the Apostle St. Paul guided him through his Name Day St. Hierotheos, he was known to give Confession, Baptizism and Communion to anyone who professed to be Christian. He truly became a friend to many families, who felt his visits to their loved ones in the hospital made those loved ones better. He converted to Orthodoxy many of these families: the Dambido family, the Matthews family and the Lelirra family to name a few.
In 1911, the Galveston-Houston Inter-Urban Train was instituted, allowing many of our Orthodox Christians in Houston (50 miles north and largely Greek and Lebanese) an ease of access to Galveston for Sunday Liturgy. The trains were one or multiple electric cars that ran from downtown Houston to downtown Galveston, and you could get on or off at any time. So, our members could get off, then on again, less than 800 feet north of the Church on the main road into Galveston. It was still a 75 minute trip, one way, but it was an inexpensive way for our Houston parishioners to get to church from time to time. It was later discontinued in 1936.
And then, in his 81st year, the Island was hit by another devastating Hurricane in August of 1915. Again, Arch. Fr Theoclitos and others prayed in the Church. This storm was even more tenuous for them, but never was anyone in the church lost in any storm. The Church floated to the north about 50 feet into the street, and the front wall was torn open and the Gospel given by Tzar Nicholas II was found by parishioner George Mandich another 200’ away in the city cemetery across from the Church, miraculously with very little water damage. The congregation repaired the Church and moved it back into place with mule and muscle.
The parish again, needed more future graves. This time, as a religious benevolent society, they purchased their own private Cemetery in the western part of the city, about a quarter mile from the other cemetery. The land was far larger (would easily accommodate about 300 graves) and would meet their needs for long years into the future. But they also divided it into two sections, the Greeks to one side, and the Serbians and other Slavs on the other.
Later in the following year, the Church was hit by the loss of their 21 year life with Arch. Fr. Theoclitos, just short of his 83rd year, on October 22nd 1916. He had become gravely ill six weeks before. He somehow knew his time was near, and had the Diocese notified of his illness, and he asked parish leaders to find a way for them to bury him under the Altar of the Church.
It was his belief that his grave would, by its nature, cause the Church to continue at the location for centuries into the future.
He passed to his Creator at 8:15 in the evening, in St. Mary’s Infirmary Hospital. With the help of Church leaders, his body was prepared by Malloy & Sons Funeral Home, but the parishioners then took the body to the church and stood vigil over his remains continually, until his Funeral.
The New Archbishop Evdokim of New York ordered his Diocesan Secretary, Archpriest Fr. Peter I. Popoff (who had been one of Arch. Fr. Theoclitos’ companions on the trip from Russia), and two others of his Diocesan Council members; Fr. Louniky Kraskoff of Denver, Colorado (whom he had visited with on trips to San Francisco) and Hieromonk Fr. Paul Chubaroff of Hartshorne, Oklahoma to immediately travel to Galveston so that Our Beloved Archimandrite would be religiously cared for.
They finally arrived in Galveston six days later, on the morning of October 28th. Hierarchical Funeral Services were held that afternoon at 2:00 P.M.
During the six week wait, the Parish Board had received permission from the County Judge to place his remains under the Church’s Altar and workers prepared the Concrete Vault that was required by the Judge for his casket to be encased, where it remains today. As Arch. Fr. Theoclitos requested in his will, his Cross and Medals were all taken to Archbishop Evdokim by Archpriest Popoff.
In the following years our Church was served by numerous short-term or as they were called in those days, traveling Priests.
In 1929, the parishioners, spear-headed by Petar B. Kovacevich, built a wood frame Hall (32’ X 75’) with a parish home above, in hopes of having a Priest and his family, stay in Galveston. It helped, but, in 1933, our Greek brethren gathered and purchased their own Church, The Assumption of The Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church. Our parishes have helped each other thru the years, whenever either was without a Priest or there was a time of need, as our Arch. Fr. Theoclitos would expect of us.
The Hierarchs of the Church in those years were Archbishop Alexander,Metropolitan Platon, and Metropolitan Theophilus.
In 1934, Fr. Alexis Revera and his family arrived in Galveston and stayed for 27 years. In 1948, the parish decided it was time for the Church to receive some upgrades, mainly in the form of cosmetics. Wing additions were added to the elevated Altar area, the interior was totally painted, Stain Glass windows were added, hard wood flooring, a new roof coving, and the old siding was covered with a light brown brick; work was completed in 1949. The parish petitioned the Diocese, and in 1950, the newly elected Metropolitan Leonty, traveled to our fare city to re-consecrate the Church. Air-conditioning was added in the 1960.
In 1962, it had become apparent that the community was almost totally made up of Serbians. Metropolitan Leonty and Bishop Dionisije (right) of the Serbian Diocese met and sealed an agreement that put our beloved Church under the Serbian Diocese, while the Russian Diocese would receive under its control the Church in Billings, Montana, which was started by Serbian Bishop Nikolai (Canonized a Saint by the Serbian Orthodox Synod in 2003,) and Archimandrite Fr. Sabatian Dabovich; but had over the years become almost totally Russian.
They further agreed to guide these two parishes to remain multi-ethic and services were to be in both English and Slavonic and should include a litany of any other languages when needed for other ethnic parishioners.
In 1964, the Texas Highway Department was working on plans to expand the street next to the cemetery into a 6 lane highway. They were intending to put an over-pass over the Serbian Section. Two parish leaders, Ilija P. Kovacevich and John N. Milosevich went to the highway department with their plan to move the Serbian Section at the Highway Department’s expense. The Highway Department agreed. So, it became the work of parishioners; lead by local Constable and parishioner Sam Popovich to get every relative of a loved one in the Serbian section to sign the necessary papers. The highway department would provide 6 times the land they were taking and would bare all expenses of exhumation and reburial; where a solid caskets or a vault was not found, the earthen material would be placed in a vault to be transported; and the Priest would attend and be paid for a service of exhumation and re-burial for each grave. The new cemetery is much like a Church with a center aisle and rows of graves to each side; with small side-walks between the rows and an Alter table at the front.
In 1978 our Parish came under the Jurisdiction of one of it’s own, Serbian Bishop Christopher. The First American Born Bishop to serve an American Diocese. He was born and raised in Galveston and had been ordained a Priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1949. With his leadership, the congregation has prospered through the past 30 years, with him becoming Metropolitan in 1991.
Now we have been hit by another devastating Hurricane “IKE”, which came ashore on September 12th 2008. Our Church sustained minor damage with only a few inches of water inside and some wind damage (no doubt that our Arch. Fr. Theoclitos mystically was riding out the storm in his Sanctuary). But our Hall was in 3 feet of water. The old wood frame structure was left structurally unsound. The Parish decided to fix the Church first.
We then had the old hall destroyed, and are planning to break ground on a new hall in early 2010. Our Greek Brothers and Sisters, didn’t fare as well, their beautiful Church was inundated with 8 feet of sea water. The masonry Church and hall structurally survived, but the interiors didn’t make it. They are without a Priest, but have managed to somewhat re-do their Church and are working to completion. During this time, they have attended Liturgy on Sundays with us, and now that their Church is presentable, our priest Fr. Srdjan Veselinovich has liturgy on Saturdays for them.
In 2009 our parish was placed under the jurisdiction of His Grace, Serbian Bishop Longin, ending an over 40 year schism in the Serbian Orthodox Church in America. Interestingly, His Grace Bishop Longin and Arch. Fr. Theoclitos, both received Graduate Degrees in Theology from the Moscow Theological Academy at Holy Trinity – St. Sergius Monastery (name changed to Zagorsk Monastery in 1930).
And so, 168 years after the first parish meeting in Galveston, Texas, we beseech Our Archimandrite Father Theoclitos Triantafilides; his friends Archimandrite Saint Rafael Hawaweeny and Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich; Our Patrons Saints Tzar Nicholas II and Saint Trazistza Alexandra, Our First Metropolitan and Patriarch Saint Tikon Belavin, our first Serbian American Bishop Saint Nikolai Velimirovich and all those who with the Saints have guided our Parish in their goodness, to intercede on our behalf for yet another Century of existence.
From 1895 -2010, the Church-School Congregation of SS. Constantine and Helen was served by the following priests:
Archimandrite Theoclitos (Greek) 1895-1916
Father Michael Andriates (Greek) 1916-1918
Father John Shamie (Lebonese) 1918-1920
Father George Palamarchuk (Serbian 1920-1925
Father Marko Dimitrieff (Greek) 1925-1926
Father Pavel Markovich (Serbian) 1927-1928
Father George Milosavljevich (Serbian) 1928-1929
Father Joakim Tkoch (Russian) 1929-1934
Father Alexis Revera (Russian) 1934-1961
Father Damaskin Susjnar (Serbian) 1961-1965
Iguman Mitrofan Kresejovich (Serbian) 1965-1968
Father Jovan Trisich (Serbian) 1968-1969
Father, Dr. Tihomir Pantich (Serbian) 1969-1971
Father Constantine Pazalos (Serbian), (Greek Born) 1971-1982
Father Svetozar Veselinovich (Serbian) 1982-1985
Father Zarko Mirkovich (Serbian) 1985-1987
Father Dragan K. Veleusic (Serbian) 1987-1992
Father Oleg Vifliantsev (Serbian), (Russian Born) 1992-1994 Father Dane Popovich (Serbian) 1994-1994
Father Dejan Tiosavljevich (Serbian) 1994-1995
Father Srdjan Veselinovich (Serbian) 1995-Present
Marriages, Baptisms and Celebrated Liturgy in the following locations in America.
City/Town Aprox. Distance from Galveston
New York, New York 1416 miles
Washington, D.C. 1213 miles
Hartsborne, Oklahoma 380 miles
Dallas, Texas 269 miles
Ft. Worth, Texas 281 miles
San Angelo, Texas 363 miles
New Braunfels, Texas 199 miles
La Grange, Texas 132 miles
Galveston, Texas 0 miles
Houston, Texas 50 miles
Beaumont, Texas 90 miles
Eagle Lake, Texas 93 miles
Seattle, Washington 1937 miles
Portland, Oregon 1881 miles
San Francisco, California 1686 miles
Denver, Colorado 928 miles
New Orleans, Louisiana 287 miles
Lake Charles, Louisiana 117 miles
Mobile, Alabama 414 miles
Biloxi, Mississippi 362 miles
Port Lavaca, Texas 122 miles
Polacios, Texas 86 miles
Corpus Christi, Texas 181 miles
San Antonio, Texas 216 miles
Waco, Texas 209 miles
Austin, Texas 191 miles
Cameron, Louisana 81 miles
Rockport, Texas 154 miles
Indianola, Texas 35 miles
Brazos, Texas 60 miles
Sabine, Texas 75 miles
Approximate total missionary miles of work……..over 25,000
“by train or horse and buggie”
31 locations in 11 States in 21 Years
Extreme Post Script:
In retrospect, this writer remains in awe, that The Right Reverend, Most Venerable Archimandrite Father Theoclitos Triantafilides May….truly….be
“The Forgotten”First Greek-American SAINT
He was the answer to our predecessors every prayer.
He traveled extensively on a global basis to serve the religious needs of many. He provided the “Connecting Link” for our multi-ethnic American lives, and through the teachings of Orthodoxy and his God-Given Art of Language, he lead us on the path of Saint Paul, the Apostle, past the ever separating ethnic divide.
Mimo of Galveston says:
“This picture of The Right Reverend, Most Venerable Archimandrite, Fr. Theoclitos Triantafilides is the only one I am aware of.
He was the first Orthodox Priest in Texas.
The picture did hang with Honor in the Church Congregation Hall of Saints Constantine and Helen Church in Galveston, Texas.
It has been saved from “Hurricane IKE’s Destruction” (September 12, 2008), and will hang there again when the new hall is constructed soon.
I live in Galveston, and I have been a part of the Church congregation since Baptism.
My Mother was baptized by Arch. Fr. Theoclitos and was very proud to tell people of that fact until her death in 2001.
I have studied everything I can find on this wonderful Priest over the years, including his Last Will, the Galveston Daily News archives, Immigration Records, the Rosenberg Public Library of Galveston, the Church records (Slavonic, long-hand written in Cyrillic), the Internet and greatly on the local “folklore” stories told of him.
Mimo’s email address:
Mimo’s auto dealer website:
Our Galveston Church Today
Currently our parish is served by Fr. Serge Veselinovich, who has been rector since October 1995.
Liturgy is served each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Call for Lenten and Festal service schedules.
How to find us
Our Church is located at
4109 Avenue L,
Galveston, TX 77550
Our parish phone number is 409-762-7282, and
Fr. Serge can be reached at 281-412-6911.
Fr. Serge’s email below:
Website (Click here—->: http://www.orthodox.org/galveston/
Mimo wrote 11/1/09:
Your site is so inspiring to me….all aspects of it….including famous Serbian Americans.
I thought you might want to know that i own a painting by Tonasko Milovich…..
“The story goes that Tonasko was a friend of my Djedo, Nikola N. Milosevich, of St. Louis……
“Djedo asked him to do a portrait of him in his Serbian outfit…..leevor (pistol) and all in 1929.
“Tonasko painted it and my cousin Tanya Sansone has it in Phoenix, Arizona.
“But the payment for the portrait was that my Djedo had to let his two girls pose for a portrait together that Tonasko would keep…..the painting is of my Strina Mara (Mary) and Strina Jela (Helen)….Helen was my cousin Tanya’s mother…..
“My Djedo died in 1931.
“He was a poet and was the guslar in St Louis area….his stage play“Another Look At Kosovo”was published in book form by the SNF before he died…..
“Any way…..my cousin Tanya and I would always wonder where that painting was….and even before my dad died…. I tried to to fine where it might be today…..i wrote an inquiry to all known art dealers on the Internet back in 1997.
“Five years later I heard back from a company called Treadway Galleries in 2002. They told me it was at one of their galleries in St Louis and I drove to St Louis to buy it….it was not cheap. The painting is now at my (widowed) sister-in-laws house where I evacuated to during the onslaught of Hurricane Ike.”
“My Uncle Sam (Sava) Popovich was the elected Constable here in Galveston….in Texas.
“Constables are the same as US Marshalls under the Treaty that makes Texas a State.
“Their authority, while elected by county and precinct….is state-wide law enforcement agents…..anywhere in Texas…..there are about 750 of them…..but there are more than 6,000 elected judges in Texas…..
“They are the only officers in Texas that can arrest the President of the US.
“Anyway Uncle Sam was elected in 1952, and stood for re-election every 4 years until 2000….making it 48 years in elected office….no one person has been elected to the same office more times than my Uncle Sam Popovich in TEXAS….he was known all over texas ….and was a small rancher and hog farmer on Galveston’s West End….he was a devoted Serbian & Orthodox Christian….was always a board member of the Church….he was born Jan 27th 1918 (Savin dan)…his funeral was a WHO’s Who of political person through-out the state….the county sheriff and city police stop traffic through-out the city for the motorcaid…..he was a big man, about 6’3″ and 280 lbs of pure muscle….and “He Never Carried a Fire Arm.”
Mimo’s good friend (kumovi too!) Elaine Mitrovich, also from Galveston, added these little historical gemstones in an email written to Mim Bizic 3/1/10:
“When your Dad came to Galveston, he would stay at Mimo’s parents home most every time. Years before, John-Mimo’s dad-would go to the SNF conventions in Pittsburgh and my dad always wanted to go too-but never got the chance. He loved your dad’s writings in the Srbobran and always wanted to meet him. From the time I was about 5 years old I remember the magazines your dad published. Daddy would tell me about them but I had to be very careful when I looked at them because he considered them to be very precious.
“Oh Mim-=how I wish we would bring back all those wonderful times. As time goes by I think about them so much. The hurricane did so much damage-especially all of the papers -both Srbobrans and Diocesan Observers that your dad wrote about Galveston Serbs. Mimo and I lost all of those treasures in the storm. All the pictures your dad took when he visited down here. Years ago I sent him and Helen some postcards from Greece (1984) and he wrote an article about my trip in the Observer. Wow-so many memories!!
Elaine points to a 1936 photo of her Mom and Grandmother as members of the Ladies Social Club Sts. Constantine and Helen Church has decorating their beautiful new hall! Best of all, each lady is named in a brass plaque beneth the photo. Great foresight here!
Parishioners admire a 1929 photo of the Building Committe of Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Texas. Again, there is a plaque with the names in admiration for all the early pioneer immigrants were able to accomplish.
Elaine is so proud of the work that Church President Mimo initiated and she helped to make sure all the Serbian graves in the Lakeview Cemetary were carefully marked.
If you click the lower right hand side of all of these photos, they will enlarge. This shows the Serbian Orthodox Christian Cemetery to be at 2802 Sixty-First Street, a private, sacred and regularly blessed property!
Besides the wonderful old photos of the early pioneers in Galveston, the parishioners also have beautiful copies of famous Serbian paintings, like this one of the MAID OF KOSOVO. Mim and Jocelyn liked this one a lot!
From Olga Trammel of The Woodlands, in Texas, this photo of Mimo, Mim and Elaine at the Consecration of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Cypress, Texas, a suburb of Houston, 2012.
Jocelyn Bizic in Cypress too!
The Serbs had many special friends, among them Peter (Pyotr) Ilich (Ilyich) Tchaikovsky who wrote MARCHE SLAV 1876 for a Red Cross charity concert to help fund purchasing shoes for Serbian soldiers who had none or had threadbare soles. Either through ignorance or on purpose, the title has been changed to read March Slave. Tchaikovsky used many Serbian folk songs in his composition, also incorporating the Russian National Anthem in what he described as his “Serbo-Russian march.” Especially interesting, Tchaikovsky performed MARCHE SLAV with the NY Music Society at the inaugural concert of New York’s Carnegie Hall, his first time in America, 1891.
Tchaikovsky photo from Wikipedia
Another special friend was Victor Hugo who gave his literary talents as well as money to help the suffering Serbian people.
William Howard Temperly, the British historian wrote an excellent history on the Serbs in 1918. He said: “Perhaps there is no race which has shown a more heroic desire for freedom than the Serbs or achieved it with less aid from others or at more sacrifice to itself.”
Russian composer, Nikolia Rimsky-Korsakov, wrote a musical piece called “Fantasia on Serbian Themes, Op. 6,” in 1867. Mily Balakirev conducted the first performed piece in May of 1867. It is also known as the Serbian Fantasy.
In his movie, FANTASIA, Walt Disney supposedly gave $5000 to Rimsky’s heir with a take it or leave it option since Disney could use Rimsky’s msuic which had only been copyrighted in Russia, and not the USA. Rimsky took it. Is there any connection between the first Fantasia and Disney’s? Just offered for thought.
We always said that their Mother and Father had to be SOOOOOOOO proud of these guys and their musical accomplishments. Well, the WHOLE SERBIAN WORLD is proud of this next “gig.” Congratulations, fellas, from all of us, your FAN BASE everywhere!
The Bajich Brothers went to Washington D.C., and WOWED them! Bozhi, Bati, Pete, and Paul Bajich of Kansas City have been playing tambura together for over 25 years all over the U.S. and Canada. They were invited to perform at the prestigious Library of Congress and the John F. Kennedy Center in our nation’s capital.
On Wednesday, September 17, 2008, the Bajich Brothers played a free noon concert presented by the American Folklife Center and the music division of the Library of Congress, and then later that same day, they gave an evening concert at the Kennedy Center.
I know many of our folks were there to cheer you on, especially our little “Amelia.”
Bozhi, Paul, Bato & Peter Bajich
From Contributor Alexis Bajich comes this updated report 9/20/08:
“Jelena Matic from the Serbian Embassy was at the the Library of Congress performance. She struck up a conversation with my mom because all of our kids (mine dressed like mini-Bajich brothers!) were running around and singing to all of the songs! She then wanted to meet the guys! So we introduced her. Jovi loved her and sat on her lap!
She invited us to the Embassy.
On Friday, the Bozhi Bajich family, and the Peter Bajich family went to visit the Serbian Embassy.
The Embassy employees loved it!
It was a true honor to have been invited there and also to visit with them and learn a little more about the Embassy here in America. We missed you Teta Mim!”
YouTube video of V. Rev. Fr. Milan Bajich singing “Kudiar”
Hee’s another version of him singing the same song in California:
Performance in Alhambra, CA at St. Stephen’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral Choir Concert, September 1989. Proto Milan Bajich, soloist/director from St. George Serbian Orthodox Church Choir, Kansas City, KS.
From the Kansas City Choir website:
“In March of 1956, the parish welcomed Father Milan Bajich and his family to Kansas City. Father Bajich was instantly well received by the parishioners.
With his renowned musical talents, one of his first duties he embraced was directing the choir.
Father Bajich used these talents and his excellent musical training he received at the Sremski Karlovci Orthodox Seminary to reorganize the choir.
Just nine months after his arrival, the choir became a member of the Serbian Singing Federation with the Holy Trinity Serbian Choir from St. Louis, Missouri serving as their kumovi in November of 1956.
Proto Bajich retired as the parish priest in Kansas City in 1995 and announced his retirement as the choir director at the 58th S.S.F. Choral Festival in Phoenix, Arizona in 1999.
Kansas City was blessed to have him as their spiritual leader of the church and director of the choir for more than 40 years.
His commitment to the choir and the federation was acknowledge at the 60th S.S.F. Choral Festival in Omaha, Nebraska in 2001, where he was presented with the +Adam N. Popovich Directors’ Award. Proto Milan Bajich continued to be an active member of the choir and church until his passing in 2004.”
Just think of what HE added to the fabric of America!
Ace Capuzzi’s kids really know how to throw great retirement parties! They made their Dad’s wishes come true with a Golf Outing/Picnic 1st class! Congratulations to Ace and his children/Junaci Orchestra!
Everybody loved singing !
Ace thanking everyone….
It was OUR pleasure, Ace! Mnogaja Ljeta, Mnogaja Ljeta, Mnogaja Ljeta!
What a great time!
Dr. Mildred Ernestine Kaholamoana Stanley wrote a book entitled: A Tapestry of Memories, 1944. As a child, she was present when the Hawaii flag was taken down in 1898, replaced by the American flag when Hawaii was annexed. (Like Kosovo from the Serbs!) She was the child of missionaries serving in Hawaii, and went back to London for her medical degree. She practiced in India, Tibet, and combated polio near the Khyber Pass. She warrants being listed here as she served during WWI with the Serbian Army! Later she worked in Palestine, Syria, Fiji, New Zealand before retiring in Hawaii, recording her observations.
Vjecnaja Pamjat to Dr. Stanley, Memory Eternal!
Holy Trinity Icon
The Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Butte, Montana, recently completed its FRESCO project that offers a beautiful explanation of all of the icons painted on the walls.
“Icons have been called ‘Windows of Heaven,‘ ‘The Scriptures in Color,’ or ‘The Bible for the Illiterate.'”
To learn much more wonderful knowledge about the icons depicted, click here.
To see the incredible frescoes in a 360 degree look, click here.
Hello to all of our friends in Butte! My son and I enjoyed being with you all for your 100th Anniversary in 2004! Only the altar was finished then. It’s absolutely breathtaking now!
Did you know that Robert De Niro, famous movie star and film director, named his daughter “Drina,” in honor of one of his favorite novels “The Bridge on Drina River”, written by the Serbian Nobel laureate Ivo Andric?
In a recent RTS interview, De Niro reiterated he was a great fan of Serbia’s best tennis player Novak Djokovic.
“Maybe I’m part Serbian… somewhere in my history,” De Niro said, adding that “Djokovic is a great kid”.
Like George V. said, “Just another reason to like him!”
At the Grave of Bosko Jugovich
by M.M. Markovich, PRAVOSLAVLYE, No. 317, translated by Ned J. Marich, Gary, Indiana, June 5, 1983.
Legend states that after the Battle of Kosovo during which the military leaders of both sides were killed, Bosko remained alive and held his banner high at the head of the Serbian army. Later, he handed the same banner to his sister Czarica Milica. Exhausted and ailing, Bosko finally died, whereupon the grateful villgers laid him to rest and later planted nine stately oak trees symbolizing the nine Jugovich (Yugovich) brothers, Jug Bogdan and his nine sons who all died in the battle.
In front of the church of Ivanica there is an inscription which reads: “The earthly remains of the knight-valiant of Kosovo, Boshko Jugovic, rest beneath these foundations which Blagoje Lukovich, a merchant of the town raised a holy temple for the glory and honor of Bosko Jugovic.”
Palibrchko Brdo dominates the surroundings of the rolling hills and it is said that if you listen closely, on a still night, you can hear the battle of Kosovo—of David and Goliath, being fought all over again.
Anyone who studies history knows the importance of a flag to a battlefield. Bosko Jugovich saved the honor and dignity of his people by preventing the flag from falling into the hands of the enemy.
In 1989, my sister and I saw the soldiers of KNIN dressed in beautiful narodni nosinje bring this special flag to Belgrade for the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo in 1989. While speaking to several of the men, we learned that the flag is hidden and the men take an oath to rather die than tell where it is hidden.
According to the story in the SRBOBRAN on Sept. 1, 2004, the flag still stands in the monastery of Studenica, where Princess Milica, hero and wife of Prince Lazar, brought the flag personally. (The flag stand is all that is visible to visitors!)
Mr. Marich continues: “We learn from this the fact that only the battle was lost, NOT the dignity and glory of the Serbian people, whose spirit lives on with a high moral commitment to Kosovo, handed down from one generation to another against any and all enemies who dare to invade this cherished freedom.”
“Always the victims of invasion by the oppressor in past history, Serbian national poets and writers have sung praises and written about the sufferings of the Serbian people throughout the ages: ‘Nurture and raise your son, then send him off to the army, for Serbia cannot and shall not die!”
Mr. Marich also wrote about many consequent battles the Serbs fought valiantly from Kosovo to 1983, when this article first appeared. It was reprinted in 2004 because of the unfortunate series of events that befell the Serbian people. “I did this to serve as a friendly reminder to our young perople about the legacy that was handed down to them by our ancestors, Czar Lazar, Milosh Obilich, the Devet Jugovici, etc.” Thanks, Ned! Old soliders never die!
Jug Bogdan and his Nine Sons
One of the most beautiful websites I’ve ever seen is this of the Alexander Palace, home of the Holy Martyred Romanov Family of Russia. This site was recommended by the National Education Association for good reason!
When Serbian Prince Aleksandar Karadjordje was a young man, he served in the Court of Czar Nicholas of Russia. He became quite fond of Czar Nicholas’ daughters, especially Princesses Tatiana and Olga, hoping to ask one of them for their hand in marriage.
(The whole Romanov Family was killed in 1917. Serbian King Aleksander I was assassinated in Marseilles, France while on a Peace Mission October 9, 1934. It is said that his death marked the beginning of WWII.)
Jovan Jovanovich Zmaj is still considered Serbia’s best poet for children more than a hundred years later…. Here’s a writing he left for all of us:
(Click all photos to enlarge.)
Here’s another Zmaj poem that’s a great one on Kosovo!
Od Kosova do Kosova
Pet stotina leta;
Svrsuje ce ona borba,
Here’s one on Baba Domisljanka—Baba Ana!
One of Zmaj’s most famous poems is on Luka Filipov, which he wrote in 1875.
Battle of Vucji-Do
Statue of Jovan Jovanovich Zmaj in town square.
Zmaj was born in Novi Sad, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on Nov. 24, 1833.
Read more about him at this Wikipedia site:
Jovan Jovanovich Zmaj <—-
(Click link above)
Here’s what the publisher had to say about Jovan Jovanovich Zmaj!
Don’t forget to click all photos to enlarge them for you!
Another website for you to see many more of Zmaj’s poems created by Nebojsha & Mila Radovanovich:
Poems about Zmaj <—-
(Click on the above link!)
I moj drug.
These links and the ones on the previous pages are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the webmaster of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. The owner bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links.
Stella Jatras: Sept.18, 1931-June 15, 2013
1389 Blog: June 19, 2013
From Dignity Memorial:
Stella Louis Jatras (nee Katsetos) of Camp Hill passed away on 15 June 2013 at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill. She was 81.
Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, she was the fourth and youngest daughter of Louis (Leonidas) and Marina Katsetos, originally of Sparta, Greece, and later of Harrisburg and Carlisle. She is survived by her husband of sixty years, Colonel George Jatras, USAF (Ret) of Camp Hill.
As a career military officer’s wife, Stella traveled widely and lived in several foreign countries where she not only learned about other cultures but became very knowledgeable regarding world affairs and world politics. She lived in Moscow for two years, where she worked in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy. She also lived in Germany, Greece, and Saudi Arabia. Her travels took her to over twenty countries. In addition to the U.S. Department of State, her professional work included service with the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and the Veterans Administration.
Prior to the civil war in Bosnia (1992-95), Stella’s primary interest in foreign affairs centered on the Soviet Union and the issues of the Cold War. She and her husband lectured on their experiences in the Soviet Union at the Naval War College, the Air Force Command and Staff College, and to many military and civic groups.
With the breakout of the war in Bosnia, Stella was appalled by the bias of the Western media, especially in the United States, and began her efforts to present to the American people a more accurate view of that tragic situation. She later expanded her commentaries to numerous foreign and domestic issues, with her letters and articles published in the Patriot-News, the Washington Times, the Washington Post, the Arizona Republic, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as a number of magazines and periodicals. In addition, her writings have had worldwide distribution via the Internet.
Stella’s efforts to set out the real story of the Balkans wars (Bosnia and Kosovo) were warmly appreciated by the Serbian community, where she is particularly well known.
In September 1998, a luncheon was given in her honor in Washington, D.C., by the Serbian community of the National Capital Area.
In June 1999, Mrs. Jatras was the main speaker at the 54th Annual Serbian Day Celebration of Canadian Serbs in Niagara Falls, Canada.
In February 2004 she was presented with a “Gramota” (formal certificate) by Bishop Artemije of the province of Kosovo and Metohija for her efforts on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox people of his diocese.
Another award from the Serbian National Defense Council of America, 2009
Predeceased by her younger son Jeffrey and sisters Besse and Helen, Stella is survived, in addition to her husband George, by her sister Florence Katsetos of Harrisburg; by her son and daughter- in- law James and Kathy Jatras of Falls Church, Virginia; her daughter-in-law Laurie Jatras and her daughter Michelle Johnson of Larchmont, N.Y.; her three granddaughters Christina Jatras of Arlington, Virginia, Jillian Shupert (nee Jatras) and her husband Shawn of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Alexandra Schmalzbach (nee Jatras) and her husband Brian of Falls Church, Virginia; great grandchildren Aiden and Jack Shupert and Stella, Peter, and Josiah Schmalzbach; and nieces Jo Ellen Hoffman of Harrisburg, Maria Van der Meij and her son Ruben of Lancaster, Victoria Wood (nee Jatras) and her husband Steven Nadell of Takoma Park, Maryland, Christina Oliver of Cartersville, Georgia and nephew Dino Bekas and his wife Cindy, also of Cartersville.
Viewing will be held at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Camp Hill, [Pennsylvania] from 10:00 AM on Thursday, 20 June with the funeral service at 11:00 AM followed by interment at the East Harrisburg Cemetery.
Stella was buried from her Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 1000 Yverdon Drive, Camp Hill, PA 17011
A complete set of photos of our dear +Stella Jatras’ funeral can be found at this Facebook site:
Later on, at the hall, besides all the other loving tributes given to Stella by her son Jim, husband George, granddaughter and friends, I also spoke and said how she was like our “Wonder Woman.”
Wonder Woman’s tiara had a star in the middle of it, and Stella was our star in many ways. Like WW’s golden lariot (lasso), Stella was able to corral all those media lies. Then, remembering the beautiful boots Wonder Woman wore, I couldn’t help but remember how Stella gave those LIES the boot, sending them flying high in the sky, over the newswires, appearing in the newspapers as editorials, on TV, at rallies, etc.
She was indeed a special woman. Like her son, Jim, said: “She did it ALL!” Loving wife, mother, grandmother, faithful church-goer, and fighter for justice all over the world! (By Mim Bizic)
Martha Zatezalo spoke, saying how Stella and George invited them to their house to stay over, when they all attended a party in Washington, DC together. Until then, Martha and Stella had never met in person, only through emails! “Imagine her hospitality to strangers!’
Milan Varadinovic, Head Counselor of the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia also spoke, saying how much the Serbian people everywhere, but especially those in Serbia, appreciated having a friend speak up for them during the most trying times.
Zvezdana Scott and her husband were also at the funeral to show their utmost respect, but couldn’t stay for the mercy dinner afterwards.
Some of the Serbian contigent at Stella’s funeral
We all were so grateful we had an opportunity to bid her one last farewell.
As they took her coffin out of the church, Fr. Srboljub Jockovich and I sang “Vjecnaja Pamjat.” While the mourners at the cemetery placed their flowers atop her coffin, I sang “Memory Eternal” alternating with “Vjecnaja Pamjat” until the last mourner passed. I then kissed her coffin from all of us! Goodbye, dear Stella, American- Greek by heritage, but a true AMERICAN-SERBIAN hero too. A fighter for truth and justice for all causes she believed in.
Here is the beautiful Eulogy given by
of the St. Nicholas Church in Oberlin (near Harrisburg), gave for +Stella Jatras’ funeral in Camp Hill, PA, 6/20/13
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
To the family and friends of Stella Jatras, I bring you the loving condolences of the stewards of St. Nicholas Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church. We were praying for Stella when we learned about her heart attack and the planned surgery. Now we have been praying for her eternal memory.
I am deeply grateful to Fr. Kosta for inviting me to speak briefly about our friend and champion, Stella.
Stella Jatras was the Real Deal. She told us what she thought, what she felt, what she dreamed. She was fearless. She was passionate. She stood up for what she believed and she called all of us to stand with her.
I stand up for Stella today on behalf of the Serbian people she loved and defended. I stand up for Stella today on behalf of all oppressed people whose cause she championed when they could not.
I stand up for Stella today to honor this woman whose love for family and friends was unbounded, whose pride in the country of her birth and in the country of her cultural heritage was contagious, and whose faith in God was unconditional.
Stella Jatras was a First Responder. She didn’t put on a fireman’s hat and boots or drive an emergency van. She picked up her pen or turned on her computer and she responded to false and outrageous attacks against Serbs and other suffering and oppressed people.
She didn’t wait to see who else might have an opinion. She had hers. She didn’t wait for others to write a letter to the editor. She wrote hers.
Who will speak out now?
Who will write letters now?
We must ALL take up Stella’s pen and speak truth to power just as she did. We must honor Stella’s memory by accepting the challenge she so often gave us. She did not call us to be silent witnesses to injustice and oppression. She called us to take action — to write letters, to call on Congress, to do whatever needs to be done.
So now we of us each must look for our own way to honor Stella’s memory. We only need to listen to our hearts for she is surely speaking to us.
Read the newspapers and listen to the news. Stay informed about what is going on in our world.
Pick a neglected cause and fight for it to be known and changed.
Look for even the smallest injustice and find a way to overturn it even if it is for the benefit of only one person or one family.
When you leave Divine Liturgy on Sunday mornings, carry the Liturgy with you all week and celebrate it with everyone you meet. Practice the liturgy after the Liturgy. Take the Eucharistic gifts you have received and use them to nourish others who struggle every day in our own communities. St. John Chrysostom will be cheering you on.
So will Stella because Stella was the Real Deal.
May George and Jim and all the family and all of us find consolation in Christ’s love which never dies and His Being which is always among us.
May our sister Stella Stavroula now rest in peace and rise in glory with our Ascended Lord and may He make her memory to be eternal.
Господин Томислав Николић
Председник Републике Србије
Београд, Србија 23. август, 2013
Поштовани Господине Председниче,
На дан 15. Јун 2013 године, умрла је у Америци Госпођа Стела Џатрас у 81. години живота. Више од две задње деценије свог живота, она је самоиницијативно постала и била један од највећих бораца и неуморних бранилаца српског имена и части, историје и имиџа. Госпођа Џатрас је била Американка грчког порекла, која је постигла завидну каријеру као дипломата, писац, аналитичар и изузетни познавалац историје. Детаљнија информација о њој је приложена уз ово писмо.
Њу, њеног мужа Ђорђа, бившег ваздухопловног пуковника и војног аташеа у Москви и сина Џима, познатог политичког аналитичара и стручњака за политичке науке је дубоко и перманентно потресла трагедија српског народа и многе неистине, предрасуде и општа демонизација Србије и Срба, њихове прошлости и савремене борбе за легитиман опстанак и аутентичну афирмацију по паду Југославије. Упркос свим предрасудама, званичне политике Америке и напада јако организованих лобија српских непријатеља, њено непрестано залагање за истину о Србији није могло да се превиди и одбаци. Године неравне борбе су биле препознате у најпознатијим писаним медијима као Вашингтон Пост и Њујорк Тајмс. Била је неуморан аутор небројних порука и објашњења утицајним политичарима, академским елитним личностима и Извршним Одборима разних медија.
Дубоко и заувек захвални за труд и жртве Стеле Џатрас за Србију, Старатељи Задужбине Студенице и ја лично, као њен Председник, молимо Вас да размотрите и доделите њој највише српско одликовање које постоји за овакву ситуацију — ”за несебичну одбрану истине о српском народу и исказану преданост принципима правде , интегритета и части.”
Српска дијаспора је одала највећа признања и почасти Стели Џатрас. Као што је један познати српски родољуб из дијаспоре написао о њој: ”Била је светла звезда истине док су нас други завијали у мрак.”
Уважени Господине Председниче, примите наше уважавање са молбом да без одлагања препознамо правилно и уважимо искрено велико дело и пример тако јасно оличени у Стели Џатрас. То дело и тај пример нису само значајни за нас Србе, већ за људе свуда који подржавају универзалне вредности правде, истине, морала и човекољубља.
Мирослав Мајкл Ђорђевић, Председник
Gospodin Tomislav Nikolic,
President of the Republic of Serbia
December 10, 2013
Honorable President Nikolic,
I’m writing this letter in support of honoring the memory of one of Serbia’s finest supporters during the past war, Mrs. Stella Jatras. She was unflinching in her desire to make the truth about the Serbs better known in any way she could, most often via her many emails and letters to the editor in newspapers across the world.
I understand that Mr. Miroslav Djodjevic, of the Studenica Foundation, has already discussed this matter with you and your office about finding a way to honor Stella Jatras’ memory via a high degree medal from Serbia. I wish to concur with his appeal to you, as she certainly deserved it.
Many of us worked tirelessly, in our efforts to fight the terrible negative publicity given to the Serbian people for over 20 years, including Mr. Djordjevich, himself, leading the Serbian Unity Congress during these most trying times in which Matija Beckovic said at a S.U.C. meeting in Chicago: “Perhaps there was never a time when more was being said about Serbs, and at the same time less was known about them; never a time when more was known, yet with a more shallowly knowledge and less understanding than before; nor were the Serbs more consciously lied about, more prejudicially judged and more narrowly viewed—all in the name of international law—than is the custom today. Where a lie spreads easily, the truth penetrates with difficulty. And who could refute all the lies, who could gather all the scattered feathers? I come from Serbia that is disheartened, shattered, dazed and isolated—practically her every home houses a refugee, where there is no one who has been made a refugee from Serbia, regardless of faith or nationality. We take pride in this fact more than we grieve over our own misfortune.” Who COULD fight all?
Stella was one of those who refused to give up. She put on her armor of phone, pen and computer and constantly challenged the newspapers, radio and TV media constantly, hounding them to take action.
On my website I made to help Serbian children everywhere better understand their beautiful Serbian heritage, I also dedicated a page to Stella Jatras’ memory where you can read more tributes about her here: (babamim website here)
Thank you for any help you can give me in this manner.
Milana K. Bizic, Webmaster and Chief Learning Officer, Bizic Education LLC
+Stella and her husband, Colonel George Jatras, USAF (retired) of Camp Hill, PA
June 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm
“Stella was a close friend and collaborator. We kept in touch almost daily by e-mail. Canadian Serbs looked upon her as a true champion of the truth about the break-up of Yugoslavia and the hypocrisy and betrayal of Serbia and the Serbs in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.”
“She dedicated the last years of her life to the Serbian cause. We must continue her work and strive as hard as she did to ensure that people everywhere finally know the cowardly manner by which the Western democracies were prepared to sacrifice their staunch ally in two world wars for the sake of their own short term political ends.”
Serbian Embassy in Washington,
Mr. Milan Varadinovic, Head Consular at the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Washington, DC at the funeral of Stella Jatras. Photo by Mim Bizic June 20, 2013.
“It was honor to all of us being there with George, Jim, family and other friends of such a glorious and beloved lady. Stella should remain with us to shine as a Star of Honesty and Pride, a Monument to the Shame of all those who traded the truth for their own comfort.
The best way for the Serbian people to pay back to Jatras family and all our Greek brothers for what they did for justice and truth is to keep our memories alive, our hearts open and continue to teach the best values of honesty and bravery to our kids…
Author, Publisher, Real Estate Agent, Holder of St. Sava’s Award for his ceaseless defense of the Serbian People:
June 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm
The loss of my friend Stella Jatras leaves a giant hole in my life and it will have a lasting impact on the defense of the Serbian people. In 1992 when the Bosnian Civil War began, our late mutual friend Nina Meyer, a Russian born in Belgrade, called to tell me that she recommended that Stella read my articles in the American Srbobran knowing that Stella was supportive of the Bosnian Muslims. She asked if she could give Stella my telephone number and would I speak with her?… the rest is now history.
Since 1992, Stella and I had daily telephone contact and constant emails to each other. We depended and supported each other and she became my ‘go to’ resource as she had one of the best archives in the country regarding the Balkans. At times when I could not locate my own articles, sure enough, Stella had a copy on her computer. And when her computer went down we both anguished the loss until she could get back up and running.
Over the years I have been critical of the Serbs for their lack of involvement in the dismemberment wars of former Yugoslavia, and the Serbs’ unwillingness to defend their own people, or their fear of picking up the telephone to call their elected representatives. My special criticism was for recent refugees who turned their backs on their own now that they have achieved personal freedom from the madness. Worse yet, was how Serbs remained silent as over 600 of our ancient Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries were blown up and destroyed in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. No one seemed willing to fight against this ugly collective guilt and the media demonization. Stella refused to give the media an inch.
When some crisis happened in Serbia or when someone in the media treated the Serbs badly I would receive dozens of calls from Serbs telling me “You have to write something in response.” I stopped counting the death threats. Many times when I was out of the office my wife would receive calls from Serbs demanding that I response. She always asked why they were not willing to respond? Stella and I would laugh at who got the most calls and who would write something. Based on the bigotry or hypocrisy we would decide that both of us would respond to see whose letter would get published first. Hundreds of times we were both disappointed that neither response would get published. But we kept encouraging each other not to give up the fight.
Choosing the name “Sparta” and the history of Greek fighters was more than appropriate for Stella’s penname. That spirit and her commitment was in the marrow of her bones and fighting against dishonesty, hypocrisy, lies and fabrications gave her strength to continue the battle and the rape of the truth—the first victim of these Balkan wars. With George’s military career and their involvement in foreign countries they felt betrayed by their own country and could not believe the lost of ethics and morality by our own State Department. She was outraged at the events that took place in Benghazi and the lost of 4 American lives and rightfully so. It revealed the depth to which our politicians can stoop.
In recent months as I have been putting the finishing touches on my new book, Memoirs of a Serbian-American Dissident. Stella would remind me of certain letters and articles that I had to include in the book or pictures that should be a part of my memoir. How grateful I am that I included her recent letter to the Patriot News regarding organ harvesting of Serbian victims. I pulled back the book this week from Bookbaby, my distributor, so that I could dedicate the book to Stella. I am pushing to get the book published on June 28th, Vidovdan. For me, Stella has a special place of honor at this religious commemoration.
Prince Lazar teaches us that “One of the main characteristics of Kosovo is the idea of a conscious, a willing sacrifice for noble ideals, a sacrifice of one individual for the benefit of the rest, a sacrifice now for the sake of a better future…. the Kosovo spirit is the revolutionary spirit of justice, humanity, equity, equality of rights, with a noticeably democratic and progressive quality of respect for the rights of all other people.”
Stella made Serbians proud that a Greek woman cared so much about dignity, honor, integrity and truth that she put her life on hold to defend us. “Memory Eternal” does not seem adequate to celebrate her life and the important work that she accomplished. I believe that in the future Serbs will sing her praises. I will truly miss our special friendship.
June 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm
I can accept that Our Lord has decided that it was time for Stella Jatras to go to her eternal reward; yet the loss is ours. I am having a very difficult time dealing with this. I am tremendously grateful to you for all of the work that you have done. All I can say is that we will keep her legacy alive in our works.
Read more on the 1389 Blog
George Jatras wrote on Thursday, September 19, 2013 4:28 PM in an email:
WHAT A DIFFERENCE ONE WORD MAKES
On Wednesday, Sep 18, which would have been her eighty-second birthday, I went to the cemetery to lay a bouquet of roses on the grave of my beloved Stella. As I approached the gravesite I saw a beautiful wreath of laurel and rosemary, which I understand to be a traditional symbol of eternal memory and glory. On the wreath was a note which read:
To our Stella
Embassy of the
Republic of Serbia
If the note had read “To Stella with gratitude” it would have been a much appreciated tribute to a valiant lady. But, “To our Stella” conveys a more powerful and personal meaning. That one added word expressed the bond between Stella and the Serbian people; it showed an understanding of the passion and determination with which she fought for justice for her Serbian Orthodox brothers and sisters. Sparta13 was truly a Spartan warrior. Just as she tried to make a difference, that one added word made a difference which will be cherished by her family.
There is no way I can adequately express my deep appreciation to H.E. Ambassador Vladimir Petrovic for this act of kindness in recognition of Stella’s efforts on behalf of the Serbian people. Speaking for the entire Jatras family, I also thank Milan Varadinovic, who represented the Republic of Serbia at Stella’s funeral, for personally coming from Washington to lay the wreath. In a message to our son Jim, Milan stated that he brought his family with him because “It is very important to teach new generations honor in order to preserve hope for the better future.”
My thanks, too, to those whom I have yet to formally thank for the cards, e-mails, flowers and donations to Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Wounded Warrior Project in memory of Stella. The outpouring of love and friendship has been overwhelming.
+ May her memory be eternal
Voice of Canadian Serbs, July 25, 2013, p.13.
STELLA STAVROULA JATRAS –
As we approach the centennial of World War I and recall the immense human and national tragedy which our Serbian forefathers endured and also remember their further suffering during World War II, our people must have often felt abandoned and forgotten. But we weren’t alone. In the darkness, there was a ray of hope. Among the women who supported, helped and defended us in World War I, we can count artist Malvina Hoffman and medical personnel Major St. Clair Stobart and Lady Leila Paget. In World War II we can name journalists Rebecca West and Ruth Mitchell. In the 1990s and beyond one name stands out prominently – Stella Stavroula Jatras. Sadly, Stella breathed her last breath on June 15, 2013. Her life among us is over, but her spirit lives on.
Stella was born in New York to Greek immigrant parents from Sparta. Sixty years ago she married George Jatras, also a son of Greek immigrant parents and a career U.S. Air Force Officer. As a career military officer’s wife, Stella lived in many countries and worked for the US government and NASA.
When the war broke out in Bosnia, Stella Jatras challenged western media bias against the Serbs and presented a more accurate view of that tragic situation. She succeeded in having her powerful, poignant letters and articles published in countless publications and the internet. Her prolific pen was a mighty sword for the truth.
Fearless in her defense of her Serbian Orthodox brethren, Stella and her family took a courageous stand while most Serbs remained silent. Stella was a fighter who made us cheer when we were being pulled down. She encouraged us not to falter, not to lose faith, that the truth would be told. For her tireless efforts, Stella was honoured by Washington DC Serbs and by the Serbian Unity Congress. In 1994 she was the honoured guest speaker at the 49th Serbian Day in Niagara Falls. She continued to speak out and set the record straight for two decades.
Stella was a devoted Orthodox and proud Greek American. As journalist Julia Gorin aptly described her: Stella was Sparta, truly worthy of her heritage.
To the large Jatras family – husband George, son Jim, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren – we extend our sincere condolences and light a candle of remembrance for our beloved Stella. Serbs and Greeks have lost a grand lady and a powerful advocate and friend. Serbs owe her eternal thanks and a place of honour in our history.
Dearest Stella, we thank you, we thank you. May your memory be eternal.
Stella’s award from the Serbian Embassy was bestowed posthumously. Many people from far and near were in attendance as they knew Stella truly earned this recognition.
Stella’s husband, George, said he was so proud of his son, Jim, as he talked about his mother and how pleased she would be for this honor, although she would never have asked for any special recognition.
From the Embassy:
Washington DC, 11.October 2014 – President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Tomisalv Nikolić awarded posthumously a Gold Medal Of Merit to Stella Jatras, US diplomat, analyst and writer for outstanding achievements in public and cultural activities and presentation of Serbia in the U.S.
The medal was handed over to the Jatras family by Adviser to the President of Serbia, Mr. Oliver Antic, during the ceremony at the Embassy of Serbia.
“Daughter of Greek immigrants and diplomats, Stella Jatras fought for truth about the Serbian people. Her op-eds and letters were published in the most prominent newspapers, including New York Times and Washington Post, which, on the occasion of the death, published a special article about her life and work”.
Stella Jatras was born 1932 in Pughkeepsie, NY as the fourth child of Greek immigrants. During the fifties she married Colonel George Jatras, USAF of Camp Hill.
With the breakout of the war in Bosnia, Stella was appalled by the bias of the Western media, especially in the United States, and began her efforts to present to the American people a more accurate view of that tragic situation. She later expanded her commentaries to numerous foreign and domestic issues, with her letters and articles published in the Patriot-News, the Washington Times, the Washington Post, the Arizona Republic, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as a number of magazines and periodicals. In addition, her writings have had worldwide distribution via the Internet.
Stella Louis Jatras passed away on 15 June 2013 at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill. She was 81.