Vidovdan, June 28, 2008

Tzar Lazar And Tzarica Milica

3 Holy Warriors Fresco

Who’s Who in…. “Niko Nema Sto Srbin Imade”
The following article appeared in our church bulletin, but with no identification as to where it came from, so my apologies.  The information is so good, I knew I had to share it with our Serbian family across the world!

Most of the persons named in this song were from old Serbian History, and more particularly, around the Battle of Kosovo Polje (Battle of the Field of Blackbirds).

This battle the Serbs lost physically, but because of the great heroism and extreme sacrifice for Serbian Heritage and Serbian Orthodox Faith, it is still one of Serbian History’s “greatest moments.”  It was when the brave Serbian Christian warriors went into battle against overwhelming odds, choosing “eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven” over life in the early kingdom.

We celebrate that day—with honor, pride and dignity-each year on June 28, Vidovdan.

Click on the label above to hear the Jorgovan Tamburitza sing “Niko Nema Sto Srbin Imade.” This priceless old record is from the collection of Steve Kozobarich of Cleveland.

Niko Nema Sto Srbin Imade

Sto Je Sveta Na Sve Cetiri Strane
As many people as there are in all four sections of the world

Niko Nema sto Srbin Imade
No one has what the Serb has

Srbin Ima Marka Kraljevica
Serbs have Marko Kraljevic

    Marko Kraljevic was one of the most popular heroes among the Serbs.  He was mighty of heart and deed, always championing the cause of the poor and weak; and he was the bravest warrior in the field of battle.  He defended the Serbian people oppressed by the Turks after the Battle of Marica and Kosovo (1`371, 1380). Marko was killed in 1394 in a battle waged against General Joval Mirche of Lashija after many successful encounters with neighboring enemies.  His father, King Vukasin, died in 1371 in the Battle against the Turks at the Marica River.

    Many entertaining tales are told of the hero Kraljevic Marko; and it is believed among the Serbs that Marko did not die, but is merely “sleeping” in a cave, to awaken some day and again take up battle for his beloved people.

Srbin Ima Milos Obilica
Serbs have Milos Obilic

Milos Obilic was a great Serbian hero, who at Kosovo Polje went into the Turk’s own camp and killed the Turkish Czar Murat.  He was an inspiration to Serbian warriors.  Some of our mot beautiful songs are written about Milos Obilic and his heroic deeds.  He is often cited as an example of fidelity and dedication based on his devotion to his ruler, the Serbian Czar Lazar.  Our greatest Serbian poet, Petar II Petrovic-Njegos, Bishop of Crna Gora, placed Milos Obilic above all Kosovo warriors because of his heroic feats.  Milos Obilic perished on the Kosovo Polje Battlefield.

Srbin Ima Toplicu Milana
Serbs have Milan Toplica

    Milan Toplica was a very close friend of Milos Obilic and chose to become a brother to him (pobratim).  He fought side-by-side with Milos Obilic in all battles.  Many of our beautiful Serbian songs tell of this close and respected relationship and the brave battles they fought together.  Milan Toplica also died in the Battle of Kosovo Polje.

Srbin Ima Kosanchich Ivana
Serbs Have Ivan Kosancic
Ivan Kosancic was another close friend of Milos Obilic and, together with Milan Toplica, became a blood brother of Obilic.  Many famous stories are written of the battles the three fought together and how they all died in battle on Kosovo Polje.
Srbin Ima Devet Jugovica
Serbs Have the Nine Jugovic Brothers
Devet Jugovica were the nine Jugovic brothers who shed their blood and gave their lives defending their faith.  Bosko Jugovic, the flag bearer and the last of the Jugovices to die, played a signficant role in this battle and is usually given special mention in the songs sung about the Jugovici at the Battle of Kosovo.
I Desetog Starog Jug Bogdana
And the Tenth Jugovic-Their Father, Jug Bogdan

Jug Bogdan was the father of the nine Jugovic brothers and of Czarina Milica, wife of the famous Czar Lazar.  Jug Bogdan died on Kosovo Polje, where he led his sons in the famous battle for the honorable Cross and Freedom (“Za Krst Casni i Slobodu Zlatnu”).

Srbin Ima Slavnog Car Lazara
Serbs Have the Famous Czar Lazar

Slavni Czar Lazar was a Serbian ruler who led the Serbian army in the Battle of Kosovo where he, too, lost his life.  The Turks captured him alive and beheaded him.  The Serbian Orthodox Church proclaimed Czar Lazar a martyred saint and Serbians commemorate him at every Vidovdan celebration, along with all the other Serbian martyrs who died defending their faith and heritage.
On the eve of the Battle of Kosovo, Czar Lazar had to decide between the Heavenly Kingdom and an earthly one.  In the true spirit of Christianity, rather than compromise principles, Czar Lazar led his people into battle at Kosovo, knowing it may end in defeat and he would thereby surrender his early kindgom for eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
His earthly remains are amazingly preserved intact and even today are kept in the Saborna Crkva (Church) in Belgrade where they gather the faithful from all areas of Serbia.
Just as they did through centuries earlier from the various monasteries in which they were kept, they gather and inspire the Serbian people in the hope and belief that better days will come.  A special service is held, dedicated to this holy Serbian rule, Czar Lazar, who was the leading character in the epoch of Kosovo Polje.  The Serbian people owe him a great debt of gratitude for a glorious history.

Srbin Ima Silnog Car Dusana
Serbs Have Mighty Czar Dushan

Czar Dushan was a Serbian ruler, son of King Stevan Decanski.  Under his reign, the Serbian nation reached the peak of its power.  In the year 1346, Dushan was proclaimed Czar in southern Serbia after the Serbian Archbishopric See was elevated to a Patriarchate.
He waged war successfully with his neighboring countries, but died suddenly in the year 1355 on his way to liberate Carigra from the Turks.  His effort brought respect even from the pope, from whom he had received the title of the “Captain of Christianity.”  Czar Dushan was buried in the Archangel Monastery at Prizren from where his remains were eventually transferred to the Patriarchate in Belgrade and later placed in the Church of St. Mark, where they are located.
Czar Dushan left an historical monument in Serbian culture from the Middle Ages.  It is known as Dushan’s Law  and regulates distinction in classes, specified punishment for violations, etc.  It is full of the spirit of tolerance and religion, greater than many other similar monuments in Europe.  It was after his death that the unfavorable days for the Serbian people began.

Srbin Ima Slavne Nemanjice
Serbs Have the Famous Nemanjiches
Nemanjic was the famous dynasty of the Middle Ages (1114-1371) headed by Stevan Nemanja (St. Simeon Mirotocivi).  From this famous Serbian dynasty came several rules and saints and the dynasty left a glorious name in the history of the Serbian people.  All members were religious, all erected memorial churches, the most beautiful memorials of Serbian culture of the middle ages.
Srbin Ima Karadjordjevice
Serbs Have the Karadjordjeviches
Karadjordjevic was another famous Serbian dynasty headed by Karadjordje.  The head of the dynasty, Djordje Petrovic (Karadjordje), was a Serbian villager from Topola near Belgrade.  He organized the first Serbian uprising against the Turks in 1804 and caused the Turks much trouble for almost ten years.  Even Napoleon was amazed at this great feats against the Turks.

The upsrising was continued under the leadership of Prince Milos Obrenovich in 1815.  Karadjordje was acclaimed in many Serbian songs as a great hero.  His grandson was King Peter I, the Great Liberator, and his great grandson was King Alexander I, the Unifier, who was assassianted in Marseilles in 1934.
King Peter I and King Alexander I erected a beautiful memorial shrine in Topola.

King Peter I

The latest ruler of this dynasty, King Peter II, passed away in 1970, leaving as heir to the throne Crown Prince Alexander.

Srbin Ima Svetitelja Savu

Serbs Have Saint Sava
St. Sava, the son of Nemanja is our most beloved Serbian descendant.  He was the founder of independence of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the first Serbian archbishop-teacher and educator, who has endeared all Orthodox people and churches everywhere.  With his father, Stevan Nemanja, he erected among other edifices, Monastery Hilandar located in Sveta Gora, Mount Athos, from where Orthodox faith and teaching emanated.  He died in Bulgaria in the year 1235 and his remains were transferred from there to Monastery Milesevo.  Because of the great respect he gained among the Serbian people and people of other faiths, the Turks burned his remains in 1594 at Vracar near Belgrade, hoping, but failing, to annihilate the faith of the people.
St. Sava did immeasurable good for the Serbian people and nation, and he won the hearts of the Serbian people in a greater degree than any of our other famous leaders.

Srbin Ima Svetitelja Savu

Serbs Have Saint Sava
St. Sava, the son of Nemanja is our most beloved Serbian descendant.  He was the founder of independence of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the first Serbian archbishop-teacher and educator, who has endeared all Orthodox people and churches everywhere.  With his father, Stevan Nemanja, he erected among other edifices, Monastery Hilandar located in Sveta Gora, Mount Athos, from where Orthodox faith and teaching emanated.  He died in Bulgaria in the year 1235 and his remains were transferred from there to Monastery Milesevo.  Because of the great respect he gained among the Serbian people and people of other faiths, the Turks burned his remains in 1594 at Vracar near Belgrade, hoping, but failing, to annihilate the faith of the people.
St. Sava did immeasurable good for the Serbian people and nation, and he won the hearts of the Serbian people in a greater degree than any of our other famous leaders.

Srbin Im Svoju Krsnu Slavu

Serbs Have their Patron Saint’s Day (Krsna Slava)
Krsna Slava is the commemoration of some saint or event chosen by a Serbian household as its patron and to whom the home and its inhabitants are dedicated.  This stems from the days when the Serbs first accepted Christianity and pledged themselves to their chosen patron in belief and dedication to Christ and His Church.
This occasion is celebrated festively in the company of kumovi, relatives, friends and travelers–with a slavski kolach (Festal bread), candle, koljivo (wheat) in the presence of the patron whose icon should be kept in every Serbian home.  The kolach should be blessed and cut in Church, if at all possible.  The Krsna Slava is unique with the Serbian people.

Srbin Ima Svoga Starog Chicha

Slavnog Drazu Mihajlovicha
Frmous Draza Mihailovich
Draza Mihajlovic (Mihailovich) was our beloved Serbian hero of World War II.  Although given the opportunity to flee the country, he stayed and fought together with his brave followers against overwhelming enemies of the Serbs in the worst days in Serbian history.  General Draza fought in the name of freedom and for a nation founded on democratic principles.  He was praised by all democratic leaders and fighters of our times until he was deserted by those he helped.  His followers, among many other brave deeds, saved the lives of almost 600 American aviators, downed over Yugoslav territory.  The communists deceitfully captured Draza in 1946 and without a proper trail, sentenced him to death.  But he lives and will live on in the hearts of the Serbian Chetniks and all freedom-loving Serbian people everywhere.

This translation is thanks to Marta Trklja, Toronto, Canada, October 27, 2008

Our Tzar Lazar sat down to his dinner.

And beside him Tzarica Milica,
She spoke to him, Tzarica Milica:
“O, Tzar Lazar, golden crown of the Serbs!

You will ride forth at dawn to Kosovo

Taking with you servants and voyvodes,
But at your court you are leaving no one.
“O, Tzar Lazar! You are leaving no man,
Who can bring you all urgent messages,
To Kosovo and bring news back to me.
You take from me all nine of my brothers,

My nine brothers, my Jugović brothers.
O, please leave me at least just one brother
For a sister must swear by a brother.”
Then to her speaks Serbia’s Tzar Lazar:
“O, my lady, Tzarica Milica!
Which one of them would you have me leave you?
Whom shall I leave in the bright court with you?”
“Leave my brother my Boško Jugović.”       
Then, again said Serbia’s Prince Lazar:
“O, my lady, Tzarica Milica!
When tomorrow the white morning arrives,
The day arrives and the white sun rises,       
On the city the door will open wide.
You will walk out in front of the town door.
There will go forth all our drawn-up army
All the horsemen under the war lances.
In front will ride our Boško Jugović.
He will carry the Crusader’s banner.
Give the blessing to Boško Jugović,             
To some other let him give the banner,
So he can stay with you at the white court.”
When the dawn came early in the morning,
And the portal of the town opened wide,

She went forth then, Tzarica Milica.             
She placed herself at the door of the town.
And here came forth all the drawn up army,
All the horsemen under their war lances.
In front of them rode Boško Jugovć,
Golden banner with crosses veils knight
O God, brother! Down to his sorrel horse.
On the banner was a golden apple.
From the apple sprang the golden crosses.
From the crosses swung the golden tassels,  
Gently touching Boško on the shoulders.
And Tzarica Milica comes closer,
And then seizes his sorrel horse’s reins;
She throws her arms around her brother’s neck.
Then she whispers softly to her brother:       
“O, my brother, my Boško Jugović!
Our Tzar Lazar has given you to me.
You must not go to Kosovo’s war-field.
Our Tzar Lazar gave to you his blessing,
To whom you choose you can give the banner,        
So you can stay with me at Kruševac,
So I can swear at least by one brother.”
And then exclaims her Boško Jugović:
“Go, my sister, to your own white tower!
For I would not return there back with you,
Nor surrender the Crusader’s banner,
Though Tzar, himself, would give me Kruševac.
For all my men my act would ridicule,
See the coward, our Boško Jugović.
He was afraid to go to Kosovo,                                
To shed his blood for honored cross and faith,
Afraid to die for his ancestral faith.”
Then he galloped on his horse through the gate.
Old Jug-Bogdan, her father, rode past her,
And behind him seven Jugovićes.                            
She stopped them all, all her seven brothers,
But none of them would even look at her.
Shortly after, but as if time stood still,
The ninth brother Vojin came riding up.
He was leading Lazar’s reserve horses,                     
Caparisoned all over with pure gold.

She grabbed the reins of Vojin’s dun war-horse.
She threw her arms around her brother’s neck,
And then she started speaking to Vojin:
“O, my brother, my Vojin Jugović!                           
Our Tzar Lazar has given you to me.
Our Tzar Lazar gave to you his blessing.
To give horses to whom ever you choose,
To stay with me here in Kruševac.
I should have my brother to protect me.”                 
Then Jugović Vojin tells her now:
“Go, my sister, to your own white tower!
I, a brave knight, would not return with you,
Nor surrender the Tzar’s battle horses,
Though I knew now that I would lose my life.        
I ride, sister, to Kosovo’s flat field,
To shed my blood for holy cross and faith;
And for our faith to die with my brothers.”
Then he rides off on his horse through the gate.
When she saw this, Tzarica Milica,               
She then fell down on to the stone cold ground,
As she fell she fainted so in pain.
Then Tzar Lazar, the glorious rode by.
When he saw her, his lady Milica,
Bitter teardrops ran down Tzar Lazar’s cheeks.        
He turned himself around from left to right,
And called out to his servant Goluban:
“O, Goluban! O, my faithful servant!
You dismount now from your swan-like charger.
Take my lady away in your white arms,                   
Carry her up to her slender tower.
Do as I say, our God will forgive you.
Do not go forth to fight at Kosovo.
Instead, stay here at your lady’s white court.”
When the servant Goluban heard all this,                 
He shed sad tears streaming down his white face.
He dismounted from his swan-like charger,
In his white arms he took away his Queen.
And brought her to her slender tower.
But he could not resist his heart’s desire,                  
To ride his horse toward Kosovo’s battle,
So he collected his swan-like charger,

And mounting it, galloped to Kosovo.
The next day when bright dawn had just broken,
Two black ravens emerg’d, wings flaying.                
From Kosovo that broad field of battle,
They land upon a lone white-walled tower,
The white tower of glorious Lazar.
One of them caws, the other starts to talk:
“Is this truly honored Lazar’s tower?            
Is there no one here in the tower now?”
In the tower no one overheard this,
But one who heard was Milica, the Queen.
So she walked out in front of the white tower,
She then questioned this pair of black ravens:          
“God be with you, O, you two black ravens!
Did you not come from Kosovo’s broad field?
Did you not see those two mighty armies?
Did the armies begin to fight each other?                 
Which of the two has gained the victory?”  
The two ravens now gave her their answer:
“By our God’s truth, Tzarica Milica!
We came at dawn from Kosovo’s wide broad field.
And there we saw the two mighty armies.   
Which yesterday did fiercely fight each other.        
At that wide field both the rulers have fallen.
And of the Turks a few are still living,
But of the Serbs even those who survived,
All are wounded, and all covered with blood.”
While the ravens were speaking in this way,            
Then Milutin, the servant, came to them.
And he carried his right hand in his left,
Seventeen wounds marked his valiant body.
His knightly horse all over drenched in blood.         
And then the Queen, Milica, said to him:                 
“What has happened poor servant Milutin?
Did you betray the Tzar at Kosovo?”
But Milutin, the servant, answered her:
“My Queen, help me get off my knightly horse,      
O, wash my face with the cold well water,              
And down my throat pour some of blood-red wine,
For my deep wounds are overwhelming me.”
Then Milica helped him off his brave horse,

She washed his face with the cold well-water.        
And down his throat, she poured some blood-red wine.     
When the servant came to himself a bit,
Then Milica began to speak and asked him:
“What did happen at Kosovo’s broad field?
Where did our Tzar, the glorious Lazar, fall?
And where was it that old Jug-Bogdan perished?               
Where did his sons, nine Jugovićes, fall?
Where did the brave knight, the Voivode Miloš, fall?
Where too did that knight Vuk Branković, fall?
Where did fall our Banović Strahinja?”        
“They all remained at Kosovo’s wide field.                          
There where our Tzar, the honored Lazar, fell,
Many lances were split there in battle,
Broken lances of both the Turks and Serbs, 
But more of them were Serbian then Turkish.                    
While defending, O, Queen! Our honored lord,
Lord and master, our honored Tzar Lazar.
And Jug-Bogdan, my Queen!

He perished first,
At the outset in the combat charge.             

And there fell the eight Jugovićes,                                       

For none of them would betray each other,
As long as there was even one alive.
Yet, left still alive was Boško Jugović,
Still his banner with cross flew at Kosovo.  
And he still drove before him many Turks,              
Just like a hawk when he haunts the pigeons.
There, where they all were drenched knee-deep in blood,
Strahinić Ban, the brave one, there he fell.
And also fell, our Miloš, O, my Queen!                               
By Sitnica, beside the ice-cold stream;                                 
There many Turks, they also perished there.
Our Miloš slew Murad, the Turkish Tzar,
And twelve thousand of the Turkish soldiers.
God have mercy for the one who bore him! 
He left behind his glory to the Serbs,                       
To be sung of and told us forever,
As long as men and Kosovo exist.
But must you ask about the accursed Vuk?
May she be damned, she who gave him birth!         
Damned be his tribe and his family seed,                             

For he betrayed his Tzar at Kosovo.
And he led away his twelve thousand soldiers,
All of them, O, my Queen! Heavily armed.

Translated By

Marta Pravica Trklja
 All rights reserved

Thank you, Marta!

Here’s an old, old record of

SMRT Majke Jugovica

by Jefrem Uscumlic

from the collection of Steve Kozobarich of Cleveland.

Role of the Gusle, Guslar.....Улога гусле, Гуслар

“In the house where the gusle is not heard, both the house and the people there are dead.”


“У кући где је гуслар није чуо, и кућа и људи тамо су мртви”. (Његош, Горски вијенац) 



“They have razed and destroyed our worldly goods–They have harvested our hope—-

But the gusle, the Serbian gusle, Knows not how to lie!”


“Они су уништили и сравнили наше световне робе – Они су наша жетва наду —- 

Али Гусле, српски гуслар,  не зна како да лажу! ” (Исидора Бајића, СМРТИ Гуслар) 



“Better let the village perish than its ancient customs”  Old Serbian (1800’s) Proverb

 “Боље нека села од пропасти античке обичаје” Старе српске (1800’с) пословица



S prvim drvećem koje je palo, započela je kultura. Sa zadnjim drvećem, koje će pasti, završava.

With the first tree that fell, culture began. With the last tree that will fall, it will end.

С првим дрвећем Које је Пало, започела је култура. Са задњим дрвећем, Које Ће пасти, завршава. 


“Oj Srbijo, Turskom bi se Zavala, Da Ti nebi Crkva i Gusala.”

“The Serbs are among the most history-conscious people with a Collective Memory.”

“The Death of the Guslar “is one of Serbia’s most beloved poems, written by Isidor Bajic, who lived from 1878-1915. This poem defines who the Serbs are as a people. They won’t yield to tyranny. “Better a grave than a slave.”  Bolje grob nego rob!

Смрт Гуслар “је једна од најомиљенијих песама је Србија, коју је написао Исидор Бајић, који је живео од 1878-1915. Ова поема. Дефинише ко су Срби као народ. Неће дати на тиранију. “Better a grave than a slave: “Боље Гроб него Роб.”


The Serbs, said John Wuchenich of Pittsburgh,  have always treasured guslars and their instruments, the gusle, a single-stringed carved wooden instrument that creates a series of long wailing notes when the bow is strung across it. Once the guslar (singer of history) had the attention of his audience, he would sing verse after verse of Czar Lazar and his heroic army, repeatedly recalling the desire and will to fight for freedom.

It was the blind guslars traveling from village to village who kept alive the Serbian sagas and actions of the Serbs against their oppressors.  

“The Turks blinded the early-day guslars so they could not carry information of fortifications, weapons and so forth of their mighty armies, which might prove valuable to the ever-restless Serbs. However, the guslars carried their blindness like a badge of honor, and were highly respected, because though blind, the masterful craftsmen helped Serbia once again be able to “see” Victory. 

By singing over and again the ballads of past Serbian glories would Serbs be able to bear the yolk of tyranny and eventually throw it off, be the oppressors the Turks from long ago or modern-day robbers of Serbian lands, culture and heritage.

SERB WORLD USA of March/April, 2000, p. 23, says: “The first known mention of the guslar comes from the Polish court, only 26 years after the Battle of Kosovo in 1415, where a document mentions that a Serbian guslar was living at the palace of King Vladislav Jagelovic (1350-1434), Vladislav II, and Queen Jadviga, whom he married in 1386.”

The article continues: “In 1530, the Hapsburg ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, Ferdinand I, sent a delegation to Sultan Suleiman in Constantinople.” One of the members was Slovenian Benedikt Kuripesic who wrote the first travelogue on the Balkans, called ITINERARIUM.  He described the folk singers and guslars he met on his way through Bosnia and Kosovo.

Many of us Americans of Serbian descent are familiar with the old poem by Jovan Jovanovich Zmaj called:
“Ded I Unuk.”

Uzo deda svog unuka, metn’o ga na krilo,
Pa uz gusle pevao mu, Sta je negda bilo.

Pevao mu srpsku slavu – I srpske junake –
Pevao mu ljute bitke -Muke svakojake.

Dedi oko zablistalo, Pa suzu proliva,
I unuku svome rec(h)e  Da gusle celiva.

Dete gusle celivalo; P’ onda pita zivo:
“Je li, deda, zasto sam ja Te gusle celiv’o?”

“Ti ne shvatas, Srpce malo! Mi stariji znamo!
Kad dorastes, kad razmislis, Kaz’çe ti se samo!”
__________In CYRILLIC_______
“Дед И Унук.” 

Узо деда свог унука, метн’о га на крило, 
Па уз гусле певао му, Ста је негда било. 

Певао му српску славу – И српске јунаке — 
Певао му љуте битке-Муке свакојаке. 

Деди око заблистало, Па сузу пролива, 
И унуку своме рече Да гусле целива. 

Дете гусле целивало; П ‘онда пита зиво: 
“Је ли, деда, засто сам ја Те гусле целив’о?” 

“Ти не схватас, Српци мало! Ми старији знамо! 

Кад дорастес, кад размислис, Каз’ц̧е ти се само! ” 
Most of the time I can’t read this myself without tears welling up.  It’s about a grandfather who takes his grandson on his knee, and with his gusle in hand, proceeds to tell the young lad about his Serbian heritage, Serbian Slavas, Serbian heroes, bitter wars and hardships.  As the tears fall from the older man’s eyes, the grandson lovingly looks up to him and asks, “But why grandfather, why does the gusle make you cry?”  The devoted grandfather lovingly tells his little Serbian that he doesn’t understand at his age what the older people know, but promises the youngster that as he gets older and thinks about it or reminisces, the gusle will speak to him too.

Here’s an English version of the poem:
Grandfather to Grandson
(The Passing of the Torch) 

(Translation by Christina Tepsick of Youngstown, Ohio, SRBOBRAN 21 June 2006, p. 32.)

The grandfather took his grandson, put him on his knee, and with his gusle he did sing of all that used to be.

He sang to him of Serbian glory, Serbian knights of old. He sang to him of battles fierce and suffering untold.

The grandther’s eyes glistened as the tears welled in his eyes. He asked his little grandson to kiss the gusle dear.

The child kissed the ancient gusle and then he asked in awe, “Tell me grandfather, why should I the gusle kiss?”

“You know not, my little Serb, but we your elders do.  When you grow up and think it through, it will all come to you.”  


One of the most famous Gusle players who traveled throughout America was simply known as “Perun!”

Read more about him here:  http://www.njegos.org/emigrants/perun.htm

You can even hear him sing and play his instrument!

Matija Beckovich, one of Serbia’s greatest poets, spoke about the irony of making Serbia the pariah in the world press, in a speech he made in Chicago, November, 1991:

  “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.”


Please forgive me if this is not a direct translation, but its a Google Best Guess!

“Можда никада није било време када је још био рекао о Србима, а у исто време, мање је познато о њима, никад време када је био познат још, али са више схаллоулы знања, а мање разумевања него раније, нити су били Срби Више о свесно лагао, више прејудициаллы судио и уже посматрати — све у име међународног права, него што је то данас обичај. Где је лако шири лаж, истина се пробија са потешкоћама. И који су могли да оповргне све лажи, ко може скупити све разбацане перје? Ја сам из Србија која је Деморализиран, разбијена, изолована и ошамућен-практично сваки њен дом кућа избеглица, где постоји нико ко је направио избеглица из Србија, независно од вере или националности. Поносимо у овој ствари више него што смо туговати над сопственом несреца. ” 

 And those lies continued…. but there will always be guslars to carry on the torch for the truth!

Mim holding the priceless gusle while at the old SNF headquarters at 3414 Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh’s OAKLAND section, under the painting of General “Cica” Draza Mihailovich.

Photo taken up at Holy Trinity’s St. Sava Picnic Grounds in Castle Shannon, PA.

Everyone loved the kind and loving Mr. Bratich!

Our 3 Bizic St. George Gusles

Bishop Nikolai @ the Gusle (WWI)


(At Lelic Monastery-St. Bishop Nicholas’ Tomb, Aug. 2008)

“The Serbian people sang also.  Sitting around the fire in the long winter nights, the Serbian peasants sang their glorious past, their dark present and their hopes for the future.  There is a Serbian instrument called the gusle, more interesting than the Greek lyre, because more appropriate for the epic songs.  It looks also like the Indian instrument tamboura.  Well, as the ancient Greek bards sang their Achilles using the lyre, and as the ancient Indian singers sang their Krishna with the help of the tamboura, so the Serbian epic singers accompanied the gusle with songs on their hero of old, Marko.  Marko was a historic person, a king’s son.  He was the never-weary champion of right and justice, the protector of the poor and oppressed, a believer in the victorious good, a man who left an impression on the coming generations like a lightning flash in the dark clouds.  In every village house in Serbia there is a gusle, and almost in every family a good singer with the gusle.  The blind bards sang on the occasion of the festival or a meeting.

“The great (William) Pitt, when once asked from whom he learned the English history so well, replied: ‘From Shakespeare.’  To the same question, we Serbs can reply: ‘From our national poetry.’ It is very rare for a people in the mass to know their past as well as the Serbs know their own.  The Serbs regard their history not so much as a dry science, but rather as an art, a drama, which must be told in a solemn language.  They knew their history, and therefore they sang it; they sang it, and therefore they knew it better and better.

“…… The whole village is the stage, hundreds of singers, moonlight and open starry space.  I am sure you would be much more fascinated by such a Serbian rustic opera than by many modern operas on a stage in London.”


St. Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich is the author of SERBIA IN LIGHT AND DARKNESS.  The whole book can be read by going to this website on Project Gutenberg as it was not copyrighted in the USA.

Serbia In Light and Darkness <—– click here

In a way, Stevan Mokranjac (1856-1914), one of Serbia’s greatest composers, can also be called a guslar, as he took many old folk songs and wove them together to form RUKOVETS, garlands of songs, to keep the history of the folk songs fresh.

Here are the words to Mokranjac’s 5th Rukovet, one of his most popular songs…..thanks to the posting by dundy 991 on YouTube on Oct. 4, 2008. Click below to hear.

 V Peta Rukovet-Fifth Rukovet

Šta to miče kroz šibljiče?
Stoj, doro, stoj, dobro,
stan’, stan’, stan’, devojko, dušo moja,
stoj, ne begaj!

A što si se, Jano, rosom orosila?

… Da l’ je srna ja l’ košuta?
Stoj, doro, stoj, dobro,
stan’, stan’, stan’, devojko, dušo moja,
stoj, ne begaj!

“Konja sedlaš, kud se spremaš,
ah, moj Kojo, ime moje,
ah, moj Kojo, Kokane?”
“Ja se spremam Beogradu,
moja Fato, moje zlato,
moja dilber-gospođo!”

Povela je Jela dva konja na vodu,
jedno bratovoga, drugo vojnovoga.
Bratovoga konja mutnom vodom poji,
vojnovoga konja bistrom vodom poji.

Moj se dragi na put sprema,
i peva, zlato moje, i peva –
a ja, jadna, konja sedlam,
i plačem, sunce moje, i plačem.

Lele, Stano, mori, malka Stano! Iha!
Za Stana se, mori, Budim bije,
Bile, bile, mori, tri godine
Budim grada, mori, bezistena.
Najmeli se, mori, kleti Turci,
pa razbile, mori, Budim-grada bezistena!
Zarobile, mori, malka Stana!
Lele Stano, mori, malka Stano!

Oj, za gorom, za zelenom,
nešto jasno podvriskuje,
baš ko grlo devojačko.
Ode momče da obiđe,
al’ devojče savezano
tankom žicom ibrišima,
pak se moli mladu momku:
“Odreši me, mlad junače,
ja ću tebi seja biti!”
“Imam seju i kod kuće!”
“Odreši me, mlad junače,
ja ću tebi ljuba biti!”
Odreši je mlado momče,
odvede je belu dvoru.

Oj, đevojko, dušo moja…

Višnjičica rod rodila…

… Đe ‘no sinoć s tobom stoja’,
ostade mi sablja moja!

… Nema višnju koj da bere…

Ajde, more, momičeto,
da igrame, da pevame!
“Kak’ će, ludo, mlado,
da igrame, da pevame?
Jošte nisam kokoškite
nahranila, nakrmila!”
Ajde, more momičeto,
da igrame, da pevame!
Haj, haj, ludo, mlado,
da igrame, da pevame! 

(Dećani Bell Tower in Kosovo)

Unknown Author

(Remember, this is only a translation from the original, which can never perfectly match the meaning….)

The GUSLE, a shiny temple, in which the Serbian guards His name, His Holy Testament.

Hey, you GUSLE made of maple dry; To your sound, my soul flies; Like a Blessing, as when the sky is watching.

The GUSLE is a Force, which burns my heart; with a string sound when it flies to the sky. 

I hear the exclamation of Falcons old. I hear the voices from the Kosovo cemetery.  That is the secret world of the shadows choir.  I hear the moans of downcast slaves, whose sorrows are constantly becoming worse.

The GUSLE has everything a Serbian wants, because it all started with Serbian Desire.  When Serbians are happy they laugh, and when they feel pain, then, even then, Serbians cry.

The GUSLE is a Soul, which the Serbians breathe of the centuries of Serbian generations.

The GUSLE is a Book in which are written our sorrows, our trials and plagues.

The GUSLE is a Letter, which flies through Brotherhood in which the Serbian genius awakens.

The GUSLE is the Chalice from which “the Unity” provices a Communion to Serbian existence.

And when the GUSLAR delicately fiddles, who among the Serbians doesn’t feel ferverently?  That the sound of the GUSLE remarkably recalls our ancestors: Lazar Miloš, Marko…. What follows, the Immortals say? 

The GUSLE is a Journal, which swears by faith; that almost light of the white dawn lights the alam of the Nemanjić crown.

So, let it come. Let Hell rise.  Let there be even more evil.  The Serbian will not bow down while he has his Serbian GUSLE with him!

The day will come, we can already see the Rays; the Dawn of FREEDOM, which MUST come.  And the GUSLE will celebrate it to the tune of Monastery Dećani Bells! 

The Blind Guslar, Philip Visnich (Filip Visnic) Слепа Гуслар

(Image above from Wikipedia)

Guslars are the keepers of the Serbian heritage, especially during the 500 years of struggle under the yoke of the Turk.

From generation to generation, the guslars told and retold the stories which nurtured the Serbian spirit and kept alive their history.

“The songs of the guslars encourage persistence and strength.  They inspired hope and the belief in the triumph of justice.”

Serb World, March/April, 2000, p. 23,

“Throughout the centuries of foreign domination, the guslar and his songs were a powerful influence maong the common people.  At times, guslars were persectured and performances were banned.”


Most highly prized GUSLARS by Vuk Stefanovic Karadjic:

Tesan Podrugovic

Filip Visnjic

from whom he derived many of his folk songs (Tesan) and learned the songs about Serbian revolts of the time (Visnjic -Visnich).



by the TURKS

The Serbs were kept in bondage by the Turks for 500 years. The April, 1915 issue of National Geographic states:

“Only 37 years have elapsed since Servia (note spelling) escaped the blight of Turkish rule.  When she became independent of Turkey, she had few roads, for roads might be used to march over against the Turks, and Turkey wanted to keep every community isolated.  Nor did she have many schools, for school would give the Serbians the power to read and write, and reading and writing are great aids when a people want to revolt against an oppressive rule.

“BUT, Servia kept her traditions and history alive through oral epic poems, sung by bards playing the gusle, or grandfathers and grandmothers teaching their children.” 

“Vidovdan, the day of the Battle of Kosovo, has been commemorated ever since the fateful day in 1389 as an expression of the people’s resolve that freedom never be surrended without a struggle, no matter how fierce or bloody. 

“Vidovdan is NOT commemorated as a lost battle or a defeat, but rather a challenge to persevere through suffering, and to see salvation through faith in God and in oneself.

“The Serbs lost their Empire because of an overwhelming  number of Turkish soldiers, but the Serbian people never lost their identity, or sense of purpose, even after 500 years of enslavement.  Kosovo remains a symbol for one’s own values and ideals.”

Guslars at Canadian celebration of VidovDan.

One of the world’s FINEST gusles is on display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.  It contains the ENTIRE history of the Serbian nation on the gusle itself and on the gandola bow.  Every Ruler and King from Serbia’s history is recorded herein.  It’s a priceless treasure!

The incredible gusle and gundalo (bow) was purchased for the Serb National Federation by Mr. Veljko Miljus from Marko Vukcevic of Kosovo, a shoemaker who worked on it from 1926-1934. Vukcevic wanted to present the gusle to King Alexander and his family.  Unfortunately, before it was finished, King Alexander was assassinated in Marseilles, France. A letter from Mr. Miljus to the SNF explains the whole story.

It is interesting to note that Mr. Miljus’ son, Johnny Miljus, (<—click here) was a VERY famous baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates and other teams.  His nickname was “Big Serb!”
Read more about “BIG SERB” and his role in the World Series—> in this article from SERB WORLD magazine written by Michael D. Nicklanovich, the Sept/Oct. issue from 1997.
Guslars in a different form: 
If you’d like to order SERB WORLD magazine for your home, visit this website for more information:
 Tell them “Mim” sent you!
A Modern Day Guslar,
Vasa Mihailovich
So far, Vasa has written 176 essays on American Serb Writers that have appeared in the American SRBOBRAN over the years.
Most recently, a review of his book SKITNICA I DRUGE PRICE
was written by Mira N. Mataric in the Sept. 17, 2008 issue of the SRBOBRAN.
She tells us that the book represents the author’s observation of people and life, from youth to present day, in a series of 12 stories.  “Vasa is a freedom and peace lover, and their protector-warrior, forced to become a refugee, with an inseparable shadow- awareness of imminent danger and fear for his life. This fear is a potent drive for creativity in someone who sees the danger not as a threat to his life only, but also to the world at large, the man who though losing his homeland never stopped serving it and earning another one too, building cultural bridges between people and the nations in an unending hope of better conditions for all.”
Mira describes Vasa as  a “sharp, and kind observer of life and human nature.  He responds faster with his heart than pure logic.  In this he stands out in a crowd.  That is a blessing and a curse of a true artist.”
Sasha Hadji Tanchich wrote about Vasa:  “Vasa is one of my country-men who loves the bird, but not the cage. Because of singing. And the freedom.”
Mira ends her review like this:  “Vasa Mihailovich’s life is a success story, turning the devastation of war and a life of a refugee into a rich and meaningful service to freedom and education for a happier future.  In the end, the main ingredient is love and tolerance.  That is what Mihailovich’s life and work stand for.”
Congratulations, Vasa!
Note Serbian flag along with Statue of Liberty draped with American flag!  Always one in thought and mind.  WWI and WWII loyal allies!
Stone monument reads:‘Za Krst Casni, i Slobodu Zlatnu”  or, “For the Honorable Cross and Golden Freedom.”
This beautiful print was from
L. Radovich, General Merchandise, Main Street, Jackson, CA. (EARLY DAYS: SERBIAN SETTLERS IN AMERICA.)
Mr. Radovich was a “Tradition Keeper” 1st class. Slava mu!
 1915 (Montenegro)-2000 (Chicago)
(from Serb American Writers No. 67 by Vasa D. Mihailovich, American SRBOBRAN, Dec. 3, 2003, p. 26.)
I elected to put this poem by Vuko Djurisic on the Guslars section of the website because like the guslars of old, the poem captures the characteristics of the heroic Serbian people and the ideals they always strove for.  Borivoje Karapandzich says “Through his poems Djurisic is a genuine representative of the Serbs in the free world.”
If you can help a wounded heart
Not to give up nor break down,
Or calm one’s pain severe and hard
Your wisdom and love deserve a crown.
If you can help erring minds
To find in life a better way
And never to blunder nor to sway,
But to live a happy life again
Your life will not be passing in vain.
When misfortune’s stormy power
Destroys all things man can make,
And during tragic and grim hours
If you can new hope in hearts awake
For those who are near breakdown,
And lift them up and make them strong
During disaster not to act wrong,
But calmly wait for sunrise again
Your life will not be passing in vain.
If you can help needy ones
To choose the way they wish to go,
And always the truth to those announce
To obey principles of moral law,
And help those breaking under heavy pain
Lost faith and power fully to regain
And with courage, love and restored hope
Start new and happy days again
Your life will not be passing in vain.

Legends and 7th Century Serbian Folktale - 7. век српске фолктале

If you “listen” carefully, you’ll learn what the Serbian people value dearly…..

George Long, in a 1951 issue of National Geographic wrote:  “I watched a new film “THE MAGIC SWORD” being made from a 7th Century Serbian fairy tale.  I watched enthralled while a lowly shepherd won the hand of a princess by defeating all of his rivals answering a riddle:

What is the SHARPEST thing in the world?

What is the STRONGEST?

What is the MOST BEAUTIFUL?”

Шта је најоштрија ствар на свету? 
Шта је најјачи? 

Шта је најлепша?  

Take some time and read those 3 questions again. What would you have answered? 


The young lad thought for a moment and spoken like a true Serb, he said:

The SHARPEST thing is the world is the TRUTH.

The STRONGEST thing in the world is LOVE. 

The MOST BEAUTIFUL thing in the world is LIBERTY!

Млади момак мисли за тренутак и говорио као прави Србин, он је рекао: 
Најоштрије ствар на свету је Истина. 
Најјача ствар на свету је ЉУБАВ. 

НАЈЛЕПШУ ствар на свету је СЛОБОДЕ! 


“The song has kept us alive…..”

More wisdom-loving FAIRY TALES FROM THE SERBS:

 is another Serbian fairy tale you may enjoy reading.  It came from Andrew Lang’s FAIRY BOOKS, from the oral tradition of the SERBS.  This story was written down by A.H.Wratislaw in 1890, in his book entitled: Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources.

Here’s One More: 

The Goat Ears of Emperor Trojan

and here’s another one!

The Story of the Three Beggars


How about THIS Serbian version of Cinderella?

Only she’s called Papalluga here! 

This is from the Serbian Folk-lore: Popular Tales selected and translated by Madame Csedomille Mijatovics.  London, 1874.  pp. 59-66.

Woislav Petrovitch, in his book entitled Hero Tales and Legends of the Serbians, called her Pepelyouga.

 Great stories with the themes of “Good vs. Evil”

Pushkin & the Serbs

Alexander Sergevich Pushkin

by Vasily Tropinin from Wikipedia

I always liked Alexander Sergevich Pushkin before.  Now even more so after reading this poem he wrote about the Serbs rising up against the Turks…

Voivoda Milosh 

(Translated from Russian) by  Milorad Pavich: The Western Slavs’ Songs”
Lord have mercy over Serbia!
Janissary-wolves are tearing us
slashing off our guiltless heads
violating and dishonoring our wives
snatching away our sons
making our girls sing
disgraceful songs and dance
Moslem dances.
The elders agree
They have stopped calling us
Having enough of Unfairness
And the guslar fiddlers directly scold us:
“How long will you tolerate janissaries?
Suffer their blows?
Are you not Serbs but gypsies
old women but not men? 
Leave your

Fair homes

And go to the Velisha cave,
Where a storm is collecting
Against the Turks,
That old Serb, Voivoda Milosh
is gathering a band of armed men……”

Pushin’s painting is by Vasily Tropinin and found on Wikipedia.  Pushkin was born June 6, 1799 in Moscow (Russian Empire), and died Feb. 10, 1837 at age 37 in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire.  He came from generations of Russian nobility.
Pushkin is considered the founder of modern Russian literature.  He published his first poem at age 15, widely recognized by the time of his graduation from the Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoye Selo by the Establishment.  His most famous play or drama was BORIS GODUNOV.
“Though his life was brief, he left examples of nearly every literary genre of his day: lyric poetry, narrative poetry, the novel, the short story, the drama, the critical essay, and even the personal letter.” 


Here’s a line drawing that appeared in a large London, England newspaper called PUNCH or the London Charivari on October 27, 1915.  The title of the illustration is “HEROIC SERBIA,” and was made by one of the WORLD’S most famous illustrators at that time, Bernard Partridge, Jr.  Although surrounded on all sides by enemies, the heroic, courageous Serb fights on for his ideals.

NOW, it’s time for YOU to tell the story of Kosovo!

Here are some things to help you. Remember when YOU make any kind of poster boards, take time to make them very neat.  These boards weren’t made in an hour or two.  They took days! Look at how the pictures are mounted on construction paper to make them look better.  Always allow yourselves lots of time to always do your best for ANY school projects! 

There is a round mirror by Czar Lazar.  It’s to show that Kosovo MIRRORS the spirit of the Serbian people.  But it’s also there for another reason.  When YOU look into the mirror, you don’t just see yourself.  You see all the people who came before you, and all the people (YOUR descendants—YOUR children and grandchildren!) who are coming after you. So always do your best work!

I read something about the Serbs being like tillers of the soil everywhere:  Confirmed individualists, natural born democrats, and with a fair-minded sense for individual’s rights.

Radaje Radovanovic, in a poem about the love of truth and freedom bred into every Serbian, wrote:  “We are the sons of a country where the smallest child, as soon as he learns to walk, already knows how to die.”

Радаје Радовановић, у песми о љубави истине и слободе васпитан у сваком српском, написао: “Ми смо синови земље у којој најмање дете, чим сазна да хода, већ зна како да умре.

"For the Honorable Cross and Golden Freedom....."

“За Крст Цасни и Cлободу Златну  

Even buttons can tell stories!

This one shows that every Vidovdan Anniversary is important to the Serbs.  Note the hero of the Battle of Kosovo, Milosh Obilich, painted in the middle, with the dates 1389-1937. It came from the Wilmerding parish, now Monroeville, near Pittsburgh, Pennsyvania, USA.  This button was purchased at the auction of George Musulin, famous American Serb in the OSS who led Operation HALYARD, which rescued 500 American flyers from behind German-occupied lines in Yugoslavia.

Be sure to read the new book THE FORGOTTEN 500 by Gregory Freeman that tells all about this rescue!

"Better a grave than a Slave" Bolje grob nego Rob!

Hats or caps can tell stories too.  Look at this Serbian Montenegrin’s hat. It is said that the Serb wears his Kosovo history on his head!

National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 152, No. 5, November 1977, Bryan Hodgson of the National Geographic Staff wrote on p. 673:

Wearing his Country’s History on His Head.  “The black border of his “kapa” stands for the terrible defeat of his Serbian ancestors by the Turks in 1389; the red is the Montenegrin blood spilled in combat; the gold braid on top, the number of centuries of warfare with the Turks.”

 Hodgson also tells this story right below:

“When a 19th Century Turkish commander asked how far it was to Cetinje, then the capital in the mountains, a Montenegrin replied, “It depends.  A friend can get there in six hours; a foe, maybe never!”

Cards can tell stories too!

There’s the White Angel, Vuk Karadjic, King Peter I, the 2nd Serbian Uprising and so many more!

Look at who the ACES are in this card deck!  Sveti Sava, Karadjordje, Petar Njegos, Queen Milena, Jelena and more!

The 3 of Hearts card shown here is of the 3 Holy Warriors.  Do you know where the original fresco of the Holy Warriors is? It’s absolutely breathtaking to see!.

3 Holy Warriors in Manasija Monastery, Despot Stefan Lazarevic, founder, completed from 1407-1418, near Despotovac, Serbia.

The Holy Warriors are Areta, Naser and Nikita!

See if you can find more information about who Stefan Lazarevic was, or learn more about some other frescos! If “evic or evich” or “ovic or ovich” means “son of,” perhaps you have a clue!


Here’s a MAGNIFICENT piece of folk art done by an American Serbian pioneer from the Midwest: a wooden lamp that tells WWI history.  It features Serbian soldiers (WWI Dobrovolci) all around the base.  There is a carving of King Peter on his horse near the top. The Serbian crest with the 4 C’s is at the very top of the lamp. This lamp is on display at the HEINZ History Museum in Pittsburgh, #423 in the Serbian Section of the Ethnic Room. 

Lamp that was donated to the Serb National Federation, now at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.

Prayers for You... Молитве за вас/Candles

All these famous Serbs knew “Oce Nas” (The Lord’s Prayer: OUR FATHER, and about the Battle of Kosovo.

Click the lower right hand corner to expand photo

How many can you name?


The Lord’s Prayer- 

“Оче наш”

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil.  Amen.

Otce nas, ize jesi na nebesjeh.  Da svjatitsja imja Tvoje, da pridet carstvije Tvoje, da budet volja Tvoja, jako na nebesi i na zemlji.  Hljeb nas nasushnij, dazd nam dnes i ostavi nam dolgi nasja, jakoze i mi ostavljajem dolznikom nasim. I ne vovedi nas vo iskushenije, no izbavi nas ot lukavago.

Отце нас, изе јеси на небесјех. Да свјатитсја имја Твоје, да придет царствије Твоје, да будет воља Твоја, јако на небеси и на земљи. Хљеб нас насусхниј, дазд нам днес и остави нам долги насја, јакозе и ми остављај долзником насим. И не воведе нас во искусхеније, но избави нас от лукаваго.



  Prayer to the Most-Holy Mother of God

Rejoice o Mother of God and Virgin Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls.

Bogorodice Djevo, radujsja blagodatnaja Marije, Gospod s toboju! Blagoslovena ti v zenah i blagosloven plod chreva tvojego, jako Spasa rodila jesi dusam nashim.

Богородице Дјево, радујсја благодатнаја Марије, Господ с тобој! Благословена ти в зенах и благословен плод цхрева твојега, јако Спаса родила јеси дусама насхим. 


Each time the Nicene Creed is recited, Orthodox Christians proclaim their belief that the Risen Lord has returned to His heavenly kingdom, reunited with the Father. The writers of the Holy Gospels tell us that this blessed event took place 40 days after our Lord’s Resurrection.  In the presence of His faithful followers, Christ ascended from the Mount of Olives, disapperaring from their sight as He rose into the clouds above them.  (St. Elijah S.O. Church Bulletin, June 1, 2008, Aliquippa, PA) 

The Creed

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth, and all things visible and invisble.  AND in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages.  Light of light, true God of true God, begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made.  Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.  And, He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate and suffered and was buried.  And the third day, He rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father;  And he shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.  AND in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and gloried.  who spoke by the prophets.  And in ONE Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.  I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.  Amen. 


“For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.”
Habukkah 2:3 
Icon of Habukkuk painted by Steve Kozobarich of Cleveland, Ohio

Here is the Creed in Serbian, thanks to the folks at St. George’s Serbian Orthodox Church in Lenaxa, Kansas:

Simbol Vere

Verujem u jednoga Boga, Oca, Svedrzitelja, Tvorca neba i zemlje i svega vidljivog i nevidljivog.

I u jednoga Gospoda Isusa Hrista, Sina Bozijeg, Jedinorodnog, rodjenog od Oca pre svih vekova, Svetlost od Svetlosti, Boga istinitog od Boga istinitog, rodjenog ne stvorenog, jednosusnog Ocu, kroz koga je sve postalo;

Koji je radi  nas  ljudi i radi nasega spasenja sisao s nebesa, i ovaplotio se od Duha Svetoga i Marije Djeve i postao covek;

I Koji je raspet za nas u vreme Pontija Pilata i stradao i pogreben;

I Koji je vaskrsao u treci dan kao sto je pisano;

I Koji se uzneo na nebesa i sedi s desne strane Oca;

I Koji ce opet doci sa slavom da sudi zivima i mrtvima, i Njegovom Carstvu nece biti kraja.

I u Duha SVetoga, Gospoda, Zivotvornoga, Koji od Oca ishodi, Koji se zajedno sa Ocem i Sinom  obozava i slavi, Koji je govorio kroz propoke.

U jednu, svetu, sabornu i apostolsku Crkvu, Ispovedam jedno krstenje za otpustenje grehova.

Cekam vaskrsenje mrtvih, I zivot buducega veka.   Amin.

In Cyrillic:  

Верујем у једнога Бога, Оца, Сведржитељ, Творца неба и земље и свега видљивог и невидљивог. 

И у једнога Господа Исуса Христа, Сина Бозијег, јединородног, родјеног од Оца пре свих векова, Светлост од Светлости, Бога истинитог од Бога истинитог, родјеног не створеног, једносусног Оцу, кроз кога је све постало; 

Који је ради нас људи и ради насега спасења сисао с небеса, и оваплотио се од Духа Светога и Марије Дјеве и постао цовек; 

И Који је распет за нас у време Понтија Пилата и страдао и погребен; 

И Који је васкрсао у треци дан као сто је писано; 

И Који се узне на небеса и седи са десне стране Оца; 

И Који це опет доци са славом да суди зивима и мртвима, и Његовом Царству неце бити краја. 

И у Духа Светога, Господа, животворног, Који од Оца исходи, Који се заједно са Оцем и Сином обозава и слави, Који је говорио кроз пропоке. 

У једну, свету, саборну и апостолску Цркву, исповеда једно крстење за отпуштење грехова. 

Цекам васкрсење мртвих, И зивот будуцег века. Амин.



Prayer to the Guardian Angel:

O angel of God, my holy guardian, given to me from heaven, safeguard my life in the fear of Christ God, set my mind on the right path, and strengthen my soul in the love of God; so that guided by You, I may receive a great mercy from Christ the God.  Amen.

Andjele Bozji, Cuvaru moj sveti, sacuvay moj zivot u shtrahu prema Hristu Bogu; utvrdi moj um na pravome putu i ucvrsti moju dusu u Bozjoj ljubavi; da tobom vodjen dobijem od Hrista Boga veliku milost.  Amen. 

Андјеле Бозји, Цуварy мој свети, сацуваы мој зивот у схтраху према Христу Богу; утврди мој ум на правоме путу и уцврсти моју дусу у Бозјој љубави; да тобом вођен добијем од Христа Бога велику милост. Амин. 

Some people say this another way in song:

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here.  Ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide.  Amen. 

Andja & Nikola Mamula were always reading religious material, and led by example.  Photo by Milan Karlo. 

Prayer before lessons:  

O Most merciful Lord, send us the grace of your Holy Spirit, who enlightens and strengthens our spiritual powers.  Help us be attentive to the teachings presented, so that we may grwo up for the glory of Thee, our Creator, for the joy of our parents, and for the benefit of our Church and our Country.  Amen.

Molitva pre ucenja:

Premilostivi Gospode, posalji nam blagodat tvoga Svetog Duha, koja nas prosvecuje i ojacava nase duhovne snage.  Pomozi nam da pazimo na ucenje koje nam se predaje kako bi porasli tebi, nasem Tvorcu, na slavu, roditeljima nasim na radost, a Crkvi i otadzbini nasoj na korist.  Amin

Молитва пре уцења: 

Премилостиви Господе, посаљи нам благодат Твог Светог Духа, која нас просвећује и ојачава насе духовне снаге. Помози нам да пазимо на уцење које нам се предаје како би порасли теби, насем Творцу, на славу, родитељима насим на радост, а цркви и отадзбини насој на корист. Амин.

Remember to pray to your favorite saints too!

Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost 2008

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, and sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Then His disciples asked Him, saying “What does this parable mean?” And He said, “To you it is has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for awhile and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasure of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”

           Individuals going to church on a regular basis hear the word of God. The word of God takes root in the hearts and minds of individuals interested in God. The word of God takes root in the hearts and minds open to God. 

Fr. Rodney Torbic,

St.George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost. St.Nestor, Martyr. 11/9/08

You can hear the St.George radio broadcast at www.stgeorgeserbian.us


Orthodox Chants and Liturgical Services

Click above for a fantastic listening experience! 


When a radio interviewer asked Nikola Manojlovich about the experience of singing with the 56 voice St. Sava Choir choir they have in Missasauga, Ontario (near Toronto) at the Serbian All Saints Church on Dixie Road north of the QEW, he answered thusly:

“It’s so rewarding because you’re at once transported, you are facilitating a conversation with God. The priest begins the Liturgy: ‘Blessed is the Kingdom of the Lord,” and the choir will answer with ‘Amen,’ and then starts this dialogue, where the choir facilitates the responses of the people. So the priests and the community follow through a Divine Liturgy that will run two hours. Which is souly an offering of praise to God . At the end of it you’ve sung this together, you’ve prayed together , you’ve struggled through difficult musical pieces, you walk out of church and you just feel like a million bucks. That’s what the reward is I think. “ 

Click here to see more:


At the end of each service, our priests say this beautiful prayer:

“O Lord, who blesses those who bless You and sanctifies those who put their trust in you, save Your people and bless Your inheritance.

“Preserve the fullness of Your Church.  Sanctify those who love the beauty of Your house; glorify them in return by Your divine power, and forsake us not who put our hope in you.  Grant peace to Your world, to Your churches, to the priests, to our civil authorities, to the armed forces, and to all Your people.

“For every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from You, the Father of Lights, and to You we exalt glory, thanksgiving, and worship to You, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto Ages of Ages, Amen.”


Lighting Candles in Sts. Constantine & Helen Serbian Orthodox Church in Galveston, Texas 9/27/10

Only a week ago I was in Houston, Texas, visiting with my family.  I was anxious to attend the Galveston Sts. Constantine and Helen Serbian Orthodox Church because I truly wanted to teach young Jocelyn about the joys of lighting candles before church, where we silently pray for all the members of our family living and dead, near or far, and also members of our extended family, never failing to mention our beleaguered Serbian Orthodox people living in Kosovo and elsewhere where life is so difficult for them.  At this time, we also pray for the wise guidance of the President of America, the welfare of our Armed Forces, and also the wisdom and well-being of other leaders around the world. 

Jocelyn was delighted to light the candles, although I’m sure at her young age, she was just happy with her new-found power to light the flames, and have the candles sink deep into the sand base placed at her level of reach.  But she did repeat after me, invoking prayers for the health and wellbeing of our relatives, especially Teti Donna, Uncle Pete, Cousin Jules, and Aunt Mimi, and a safe journey home for her Mom attending a wedding in Cleveland. 

Kids’ eyes, minds and hearts light up, as they learn well by example.  Concurrently, parents or grandparents standing close by see the sparks in their children’s/ grandchildren’s eyes and feel the heat from God’s flame igniting their hearts in thankfulness to Him for giving them such precious progeny to teach, to stand next to in worship to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

The fire couldn’t have burned brighter than when in the middle of the service so ably conducted by Fr. Serge Veselinovich,  little Jocelyn reached out her left hand to me, and simultaneously, her right hand to her father, my son. 

May the precious memory of that special “Holy Trinity” forever be embedded in my shifting dendrite strands/sands.


Lighting Candles

“Words of a Shepherd: The Life and Writings of the +Very Reverend Protostavrophor Vojislav Dosenovich,” Compiled and Edited by Nicolae Roddy

(I purchased this book on the way out of the Galveston Church ($20 and well worth the donation!) and was thrilled to find this story on lighting candles as we drove home.   Surely it was just meant to be!)


Why do we light candles and votive lights in our church and in our homes?  Many people ask this question, continuing the practice without ever really knowing why.  Bishop Nikolai, one of the most renowned authorities in our Church, explains this practice on the basis of the word of God revealed in Scripture, as well as through the Fathers in the Tradition of the Church.

            First, Bishop Nikolai states that we light the candles as symbols of the light of our faith, for Christ is the Light to the World.

            Second, we are reminded of the character of the Saints, especially the Saints before whose icons our votive candles burn.

            Third, the light of our candles serve to symbolize the dispelling of our dark deeds and mean thoughts.  It is also our invitation to walk the road of the Gospel’s light, thus bringing out the Savior’s commandment to let our light shine before people, allowing them to see our good deeds.

            Fourth, the candle is a small token of our sacrifice to God, Who sacrificed Himself for us.  It is an expression of our gratitude and love for the one we petition in prayer for life, health salvation, and the rest of the limitless bounty His heavenly love provides.

             Fifth, the candle drives away the apparitions and dark powers that sometimes interfere with our prayers and draw our thoughts away from our Maker.  These dark powers like the darkness and cringe whenever light assails them, especially when it is the light emanating from God through His Saints.

            Sixth, candles remind us of courage and self-sacrifice.  As the oil and wick burn inside the votive light, so to do our souls burn with the flame of love in all sufferings, ever obedient to the word of God.

            Finally, seventh, the lighting of the candle instructs us that, just as it cannot be lighted without fire, so too, must the holy fire of God ignite our hearts.  The virtues are our fuel, but it is the fire of God that lights them.  Our life is a candle light at our birth, which is called upon to give off virtue until the end of its earthly life.  So let us continue this beautiful practice, ever mindful of its rich meaning.

                                                                                       February, 1979  (From Fr. Dosenovich)

Morning Prayers:

O heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, present in all places and filling all things, the treasury of blessings and the Giver of life: Come and abide in us and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One!

You have raised me from bed and sleep, oh Lord; enlighten my mind and heart, and open my lips that I may praise You, O Holy Trinity:  Holy, Holy, Holy are You, O God.  for the sake of the Mother of God, have mercy on me.

Grant unto me, my Lord, that with peace in mind I may face all that this new day is to bring.  Grant unto me grace to surrender myself completely toYour holy will.  Instruct and prepare me in all things for every hour of this day.  Gobern my thoughts and feelings in all that I do and say.  Teach me to behave sincerely and reasonably toward every member of my family and all other human beings, that I may not cause confusion and sorrow to anyone.  Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day and to bear my share in all its passing events.  Guide my life, O Lord, and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to forgibe, and to love.  Through the prayers of the holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.


Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.


It is truly meet to bless you, O Birth-giver of God, ever-blessed and most pure and the Mother of God.  More honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim: without defilement you gave birth to God the World: true Birth-giver of God, we magnify you. 

Dostojno jest, jako voistinu blaziti tja, Bogorodicu, prsnoblazenuju i preneporocnuju i Mater Boga nasego.  Cesnjejsuju heruvin i slavnjejsuju bezsravjenija seafin, bez istljenia, Boga Slova rozdsuju, suscuju Bogorodicu, tra velicajem. 

Достојно јест, јако воистину блазити тја, Богородицу, прсноблазенују и пренепороцнују и Матер Бога нашега. Цесњејсују херувин и славњејсују безсравјенија сеафин, без истљениа, Бога Слова роздсују, сусцују Богородицу, тра велицај. 


Do you want to learn more about the TEN COMMANDMENTS and other  wonderful things about Orthodoxy?  Then be sure to click here on the Serbian Eastern Diocese’s website!



The Sunday church bulletin of July 7, 2008 says we are lucky as we have 3 invaluable tools to help us enhance our worship experience every time we come to church and learn more about our faith.

Holy Trinity Icon

Icons– and sometimes called “The Windows of Heaven,” “The Scripture in Colors” or “Bible for the Illiterate.”

Icons reveal the presence of God, made man thought art and color.

We are surrounded in church by a “cloud of witnesses” that have already achieved salvation and lead the way. (Apostle Paul wrote about this in his Letter to the Hebrews.)

Living Icons:  Sunday Bulletin, First Sunday of the Great Lent:  “We too, are called to be “Living Icons”-for we have been created in the likeness of God.  As “living icons,” each of us is called upon to be a reflection of Christ, the “Perfect Icon.”  Just as we gaze upon an icon of a saint and see solemnity, others should be able to look at us and see the Lord brought to life in our actions, a challenging task.”

Viewers are welcomed to partake in “a mystical journey.” Click below to see a fantastic display of icons/frescos at 360 degrees!

Butte, MO Icons<—click here

Hymns-The Orthodox Church as a rich reposistory of hymns that offer a great contribution to the worship experience. The melodies inspire us, but the words serve to explaine some of the most complex doctrines of our Theology.  Our hymns have been handed down for centuries, composed and written by saintly monks and Holy Fathers of the Church.

Click here to hear the Kosovo Men’s Choir from Eastern Ohio sing “Oce Nas” at the Mala Gracanica Church in Trebinje.

Scriptures-The prophets wrote the Old Testament while Christ’s disciples wrote the New Testament.  We hear two readings at every Divine Liturgy, and the service iteself is filled with scriptural references in its various prayers.

 These 3 elements, writes the Orthodox Weekly Bulletin from Vestal, New Jersey, combine in perfect harmony, for us to experience the richness of our service.


 One of the greatest old hymns is Kol Slaven or “How Great Is Our God.  Click the link below to not only have the music and words, but also click to HEAR the song from centuries ago.  it’s one of my all-time favorites!

How Great is Our God 

Hear it here! Click below.

Kol Slaven 

Words in English:

The glory of our Lord in Zion    

No mortal language can declare; His Throne in Heav’n on earth each blossom,

Reveals Him great beyond compare.  In all is God to glory unwaning, By night, by day, in splendor reigning.

John Buffalini singing<—-

In Heav’n, O God, Thy Habitation

Unto our voice of prayer attend

And let our humble adoration

Like morning dew to Thee ascend.

Our hearts we raise as Altars before Thee o Lord

And offer praise and glory.


More prayers from the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Butte, Montana, and another section which also explains the meaning of the Creed’s “one Holy, CATHOLIC, and Apostolic church.”










Mim’s best translation 

You have to know who watches over you

Who staunchly guards you and me

That is God from up on Heaven high 

That is Christ our Savior, He. 


Archpriest Victor Potapov wrote:

“True repentance is when, standing before the face of God, Who, as the Apostle Peter says “hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,” (I Peter 2: 9), we understand that life was given to us so that we might become children of God, so that we might commune of the Divine Light.  True repentance is reflected not so much in words as in deeds: in readiness to come to one the aid of others, to be open with our neighbors, and not become involuted onto oneself.  True repentance is understanding that, while we do not possess the power to become true Christians, God is capable of making us so.  As it says in the Great Canon “wheresoever God wishes, the order of nature is overcome.”  That is to say, where God so wishes, supernatural events occur: Saul becomes Paul, Jonah is brought out of the belly of the whale, Moses crosses the sea on dry land, the dead Lazarus is resurrected, Mary of Egypt is turned from a harlot into a great righteous one.  For, according to the Savior “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Мatt. 19:  26).


St.Ephraim of Syria Prayer

O Lord and Master of my life, cast from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk.

But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters. For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

O God, cleanse Thou me a sinner


Thanks to Lana Balach for the above two links and this link to The Great Compline.

Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

Blessed Great Lent.


Here’s a delightful poem called “Stvorio je Bog” or “God Created”  –Створио је Бог

Here it is in Cyrillic first:

Створио је Bog

Слона великог,

Миша маленог,

Створио је Бог!


Створио је Бог

Небо Високо

Море дубоко

Створио је Бог!

Створио је Бог

Маму и Тату

Мене и брату

Створио је Бог

Створио је Бог

Сунашце да сја

Све што волим ја

Створио је Бог!

Створио је Бог

И душу малу

Да пјева хвалу

Створио је Бог!


In English:

 God created

The great elephant,

The tiny mouse,

God created!


God created

The sky so high

The sea so deep

God created!


God created

Mom and Dad

Me and my brother

God created


God created

Sunshine to shine

Everything I love

God has created!


God created

A small soul

To sing His praises

It was God who created!


Here it is in Latinica:

Stvorio je Bog!

Stvorio je Bog
Slona velikog,
Miša malenog,
Stvorio je Bog!

Stvorio je Bog
nebo visoko
more duboko
Stvorio je Bog!

Stvorio je Bog
Mamu i Tatu
Mene i bratu
Stvorio je Bog

Stvorio je Bog
Sunašce da sja
Sve što volim ja
Stvorio je Bog!

Stvorio je Bog

I dušu malu

Da pjeva hvalu

Stvorio je Bog

From a book called HVALA BOZE, Pesmice za decu by M. Atanacija at Rukumija Monastery, 2002.



Ja sam Srpsko dete

Od glave do pete

Srpsku slavu volim

I Bogu se molim!


I’m a Serbian child

From my head to my toes

I love my Serbian Slava

And I pray to God!


6/30/12: from the Internet and Facebook:  “Запамти-Бог ти никада неће одузети нешто, а да га не замени”  нечим бољим.”  which means, “God will never take something away without substituting it for something better.”

Slava (Niko Nema Sto Srbin Imade) SLAVA-Celebration (No One Has What the Serb

“Where there is a Slava, there is a Serb!” 

“Gde je Slava, tu je Srbin!”

“Где је Слава, ту је Србин!” 


If you click on the bottom right corner, you will be able to view this article about SLAVA much better.

Sts. Cyril and Methodius are the two saints credited with converting the Slavs from paganism to Christianity in the late 9th century.  The saintly apostles traveled from village to village, baptizing the inhabitants in Christ’s name.

Tradition holds that the Slava date chosen was closest to the time of a saint’s birth when the people of the village were baptized en masse by the two apostles of Christ.  That’s why you will find that many Serbian families whose ancestors came from the same area, celebrate the same “Slava.” 

Serbians remember the day their early ancestors converted to Christianity by keeping their family’s “Slava” or Celebration Day holy and very special. 

The Slava date is passed down from generation to generation through the head of the household.  Therefore, you know that when you celebrate your Slava, you’re reaching back into history through the centuries, secure in the knowledge that one of your family’s DIRECT ancestors celebrated that day also.  It’s a “ties that bind” trait that Serbians value dearly.  It’s the “birthday” of their family’s faith in Christ, the “Christening” of their first baptized ancestor.  It’s one of the most valuable of all treasures or gifts a family can pass on to their progeny.

St. Paul said every Christian home is like a little church.  Serbs pray to God every day for the health and well-being of their family members. On the Slava Day, it’s a chance for the family to pause and thank God and the Patron Saint for the family’s many blessings.  Most families begin their day in church.

Nicky and Nick Jovanovich & Proto Stevan!  Look how young they are here from the time I started the website in 2008!

St. George celebrants in St. Elijah’s Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, PA, May 6, 2013, with Pastor, V.Rev. Father Stevan Stepanov.

Since the above people celebrate St.George as their Krsna Slava, isn’t it wonderful to be able to hear this old record called “Oj Djurdjev Danak” – St. George’s Day by the Jorgovan Tamburitzans!

(From the collection of Steve Kozobarich of Cleveland.)

+Kum Rudy Ignatovic was so devout  in his love of his St. Archangel Michael Slava!  Slava mu!

Popular Slava dates include St. Nicholas (Dec. 19), St. George (May6), St. John the Baptist (Jan.20), St. Stephen (Jan.9), St. Archangel Michael (Nov. 21) and St. Demetrius (Nov.18), St. Trifun (Feb.14),  and there are many more. 

St. Sava’s Day (January 27) is the Slava of ALL Serbs, especially the Serbian children, and to him children recite poems (“declamaticas”) to honor the Archbishops’ teachings.  It was St. Sava who first introduced the Slava canonically to the Serbs. “St. Sava” is the most popular church name.

Children’s cookie gifts in honor of St. Sava Slava


Here is a very fancy kolach from out west that was made for St. Nicholas’ Day, 2010 by Protonica.

Each Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates a “Slava” in honor of the saint to whom the church was dedicated.

This special embroidered cloth of St. Elijah was made by one of the MANY thousands of Serbian refugees forced from their homes in the Srpska Krajina (Military Frontier/Croatia) in 1995, now living in refugee camps in Belgrade, Serbia that would break anyone’s  heart.  Thank God for people like the “4 Kolos” in Illinois and Indiana, where four Serbian area churches all work together to sponsor a dinner to send whatever aid they can.  But the needs are so great! However, the “Mothers Against Hunger” need to be congratulated for making a difference however they can!

The Krsna Slava gives us Confidence, Strength, Freshness, Stability, Spiritual and Physical Peace, the Ability and Incentive to do good and to lend a hand to others.

Ko Slavu Slavi, Njemu i Bog Pomaze!

“Whoever celebrates his/her Slava, God Watches & Helps”


How to make a Slavski Kolach

(Serbian Bread for Slava)

(This recipe can be found on the Annotated Bibliography page for recipe.) 

Kolach and Žito made by Georgette Brnjilovich Osman

“There are 4 basic elements that have to be present on Slava table: candle, slava bread cake called Kolach, red wine and cooked wheat or Zhito.

Slava cake iKolach) is ritually cut either by a priest in the church on the morning service or by the man of the house and first guest that comes.

The Slava cake (Kolach) represents Christ’s body, wine is his blood, cooked wheat is a symbol of resurrection while a candle proclaims Christ as the light of the world.

Usually families prepare large feasts for their guests and entire roasted pigs and lambs can be found onthe table followed with many side dishes, salads and desserts.

However, if a slava falls during one  of 4 big fasts (before Christmas, Easter, day of St. Peter and Paul and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary) then the food should be prepared by the rules of  the fast which means without meat, eggs and dairy products, but fish is allowed.


Although most Slavas are celebrated with traditionally rich foods, some Slavas are celebrated as strict Fast days, such as St. Nicholas (Dec. 19).  No meat, no dairy products are allowed that day, but that doesn’t stop families from celebrating bountifully (see photo below).

St. Nicholas’ Day is very special, because on Dec. 19, Serbians “plant” their wheat in order to have a beautiful “psenica” for Serbian Christmas (January 7), which, according to custom, promises good fortune for the coming year!

Some people plant the wheat in dirt.  Others just use water.

“Где је Слава, ту је Србин!” 

“Gde je Slava, tu je Srbin!”

“Где је Слава, ту је Србин!” 

A host’s Greeting thanking God first,
and then welcoming his Slava guests,
from an old proverbs book:


“Pomozi Boze i Sveta Krsna Slava nasa! 

“Da se slavimo i Tobom se hvalimo!

“Srecna Slava, srecni gosti, ko dosaso, dobro nam dosao, jos bolje nas nasao.

“Neka Bog sacuva dusmanske ruke i svakojake muke!

“Sto nam Bog da, nek nam i sacuva;

“Spasi Bog!” 

Don’t forget to plant your wheat (Zito) on Sveti Nikola Day (Dec. 19th) for your psenica for Christmas.

This is what it will look like after only 3 or 4 days!


St. Nicholas and the Darr Mining Disaster,

December 19, 1907


On Dec. 20, 1907, it made the front page of the New York Times, and the headlines of the Pittsburgh Press (St. Nicholas Feast Saves the Russians) the Pittsburgh Gazette Times (Majority of Victims Americans-Foreign Workers Lay Off to Go to Church and Escape Death) and the Pittsburgh Dispatch.  A mining disaster at the Darr Mine in Van Meter, in the south-western corner of Pennsylvania occurred, killing at least 239 English speaking miners, but the toll could have been much higher, closer to 500!  Still, it remains the fourth worst coal mining diaster in U.S. history as everyone inside the mine was killed.

Some 250 faithful Carpatho-Russian immigrant coal miners (we’re sure there were Serbs & other Orthodox Slavs) had taken an unpaid day off work to celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day on December 19.  He has been the Patron Saint for Slavs for centuries, and thanks to his intercession, men and boys (some only as old as 10 years old!) had survived to become parents and grandparents.  If it weren’t for this miracle, more than a thousand would have been widowed and orphaned.  And no assistance would have been given from the company in those days!

“Even the greedy coal mine owners, who otherwise had virtually complete control of their miners with threats of dismissal, knew that they could not force Carpatho-Russians to work on 19th December, St. Nicholas Day.” 

The above paragraph is from the account of the Centenary of the Miracle of St. Nicholas in Pennsylvania.  Newspaper reports of the 11:30 AM explosion took place in the middle of the church service record there was a terrible noise and the ground shook, as if there were an earthquake.  Immediately everyone realized that there had been an explosion in the mine and they rushed to help find survivors. Although it had been illegal and against the few regulations that did exist at the time, the mining company had allegedly interconnected more than one mine, which devastated a large area of the mine on both sides of the river. Many bodies could not be identified and were placed in a mass grave.

The Centenary Account says that life was very hard for the Carpatho-Russian miners, who had to work like animals in the bowels of the earth, exploited by the anglo-American businessmen and coal barons, having to work seven days a week.  At the time, the report goes on, Fr. (now St.) Alexis Toth (1854-1909) supported every labor struggle and won the respect of the people and helped them struggle to retain their ORTHODOX identity and traditions (having been forced into Uniatism in their homeland by the threat of starvation in the 17th and 18th centuries).  Since 1892, the report says, the people had been returning to Orthodoxy to the the united Orthodox Church in North America.  “The Roman Catholic Uniates were as a rule anti-labor and supported their Irish masters.  The Carpatho-Russian miners remained close to the Church and many later revered the memory of the Russian Tsar-Martyr, Nicholas II, under whom all Orthodox in North America had been united.”

“The 1907 miracle in Pennsylvania, which took place according to the Orthodox calendar date of St. Nicholas Day, only served to hearten the exploited Carpatho-Russian immigrants who had returned to Orthdoxy, comfirming them in their choice of Faith and encouraging others to do likewise in later years.”

On Dec. 19, 2007, an Akatist was celebrated at the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church at Jacobs Creek, close by where “the Miracle of St. Nicholas the the Darr Mine” occurred.  A new troparion and kontakion had been composed for the occasion and the new content, describing the miracle of the saving of the coal miners, was added to the service.


The Serbian Orthodox Church Net website offers an incredible booklet prepared by V.Rev. Fr. John Todorovich of Merrillville, Indiana.  It tells the History of the Slava, how to prepare, what the hosts does on his Patron Saints Day, the cutting of the Slava Bread, the meaning of certain rituals, the Hymn “O Holy Martyrs,” the augmented Litany, social aspects of the Slava Celebration, a recipe for the Slava Kolach and the Wheat, and a beautiful biography of the Late Ralph Papich in whose memory this book was made by his devoted wife.

Slava by Serbian Orthodox Church Net



St. George’s Day:  May 6.

George, a Captain in the Roman Army, tore up an edict of Emperor Diocletian in defiance, which had ordered the persecution of the Christians.  George battled the devil, symbolized by the dragon, and saved the Holy Church, symbolized by the king’s daughter shown in a number of icons.  St. George rides a white horse that indicates God’s grace carrying him to the heroism of martyrdom.

Constantine the Great built a great church over his tomb in Lyda of Palestine.  The name George means “Tiller of the Earth.” 

O Great among the Saints and Glorious George, since you are a deliverer of captives and a defender of the poor, a physician for the sick and a noble attendant to kings, intercede with Christ God that HE may save our souls! 


SVETI NIKOLA SLAVA in Gracanica, Kosovo 12/19/09

People who celebrate Sveti Nikola as their Slava bring their Kolachs to church (the Monastery here) to be blessed.)

Bishop Artemije in the Gracanica altar…..

 Bishop Artemije’s Slava of Sveti Nikola celebrated.

Many guests, including those Peacekeepers who guard Gracanica Monastery.

The Sister Nuns added so much to the happy occasion by singing beautiful hymns and chants.

Bishop Artemije’s Slava is Sveti Nikola too! 


You’re never too young to start your own psenicas!


Houston and Pittsburgh 

Psenica started 12/19/09.

Notice little round box with trobonica.  

It holds dirt from Kosovo from 1989,

600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. 


 Wonderful YouTube video of St. George posted by Stefan Jajcic.


 Песма Светом Великомученику Георгију Победоносцу

Георгије мучениче, Георгије победниче,
кроз муке си победио и на небу прославио.
Све си сматр’о јефтиније од Истине, Георгије!
За Хришћанство све си дао, уз живога Христа стао!!!

Георгије мучениче, Георгије победниче,
трвен, ломљен страшном муком, беше држан Божијом руком…
Твоје муке беху лаке због Божије руке јаке.
Све се теби поклањамо, твоје име прослављамо!

Георгије мучениче, Георгије победниче,
о, смилуј се данас нама заштити нас молитвама.
Пред престолом Христа Бога, нашег спаса свемоћнога,
да се муке не страшимо – да трпљењем победимо!!!


 Stefan Rajcic is also responsible for this YouTube video on St. John the Baptist (Sveti Jovan-Jan.20)

Psenica started 12/19/09.

Notice little round box with trobonica.  

It holds dirt from Kosovo from 1989,

600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. 


 Wonderful YouTube video of St. George posted by Stefan Jajcic.


 Песма Светом Великомученику Георгију Победоносцу

Георгије мучениче, Георгије победниче,
кроз муке си победио и на небу прославио.
Све си сматр’о јефтиније од Истине, Георгије!
За Хришћанство све си дао, уз живога Христа стао!!!

Георгије мучениче, Георгије победниче,
трвен, ломљен страшном муком, беше држан Божијом руком…
Твоје муке беху лаке због Божије руке јаке.
Све се теби поклањамо, твоје име прослављамо!

Георгије мучениче, Георгије победниче,
о, смилуј се данас нама заштити нас молитвама.
Пред престолом Христа Бога, нашег спаса свемоћнога,
да се муке не страшимо – да трпљењем победимо!!!


 Stefan Rajcic is also responsible for this YouTube video on St. John the Baptist (Sveti Jovan-Jan.20)

Ој, Свети Јоване, дивни Kрститељу,
ти претеча беше славном Спаситељу…
Ја се теби клањам, ја се теби молим
помози да свакој напасти одолим…

Ја се теби клањам пророку најачем
и пред тобом клечим и пред тобом плачем…
Доведи и мене до Христових ногу
помози да стигнем где ја сам не могу…

Ти укрепи мене молитвама твојим
да чист и праведан пред Господом стојим…
Нек се ја смањујем мој ће Христос расти,
док је Христос велики ја нећу пропасти!!!


The Janicijevich Family Slava is Sveti Petka, Oct. 27 of each year.  It is always a time of great fellowship, respect for traditions, and fine food. Guests come from many miles away to help celebrate, and are always filled with savory food, sincere love, and excellent musical entertainment.

Here, October 27, 2011, Dr. Nenad Janicijevic welcomes guests and announces a NEW member, Dr. Kam, will be joining the family shortly with his wedding to Nada.  Ziveli, Mladenci!

Notice the beautiful kolach (symbolic Slava bread) above made by Dr. Milena janicijevic. 

Dr. Milena Janicijevic in front of the Zhito (wheat) she made for the Slava and served to guests as they arrived.  Slavsko zhito (wheat) represents the death and resurrection of Christ. Christ reminded us that except a grain of wheat die it cannot rise again, even as it was necessary that He die, be buried, and on the third day rise again so that we all can triumph over death. The Slavsko zhito is prepared as an offering to God for all of the blessings we have received from Him; it also is to honor the Patron Saint and to commemorate our ancestors who lived and died in the Orthodox faith.

Behind Dr. Milena is an icon of The White Angel, purchased by Dr. Nenad Janicijevic in Studenica Monastery while on a Pilgrimage to Gazi Mestan for the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo in 1989.

All of the Janicijevics, including Dr. Nenad’s brother, Predrag, helped with the relief efforts for Serbia during the war.  Dr. Nenad personally escorted medicines and donated medical equipment from the Tri-State Pittsburgh area to the war-torn country many times and has been recognized with a medal of St. Sava for his great humanitarian work.  Ziveli, Janicijevics, all!  Thank you from all of us!


“Ne damo Kosovo!”

We’re not giving Kosovo away.


 Vidovdan, the day of the Battle of Kosovo in 1389,  is another Slava all Serbs celebrate on June 15 or June 28, according to the church calendars.

Сачувај Кристијан Косова 

March, 2008 in Wash. DC
 The following information is from SERBIAN TRADITIONS:
Volitich Family Slava
of St. Basil, in January—
Krsna Slava-the celebration of the home Patron Saint-is the greatest characteristic of the national and religious life of the Serbian people. It is a beautiful and unique expression of the Orthodox faith that is deeply implanted in the Serbian Christian soul.
“Krsna Slava is an exclusively Serbian custom. It is the most solemn day of the year for all Serbs of the Orthodox faith and has played a role of vital importance in the history of the Serbian people.
Krsna Slava is actually the celebration of the spiritual birthday of the Serbian people. Our forefathers accepted Christianity collectively by families and by tribes. In commemoration of their baptisms, each family or tribe began to celebrate in a special way to honor the saint on whose day they received the sacrament of Holy Baptism.
“The Mother church blessed this practice and proclaimed Krsna Slava a Christian institution. According to the words of St. Paul (Phil. 1:2), every Christian family is a small church, and, just as churches are dedicated to one saint, who is celebrated as the protector of the church, so Serbian families place themselves under the protection of the saint on whose holiday they became Christians and to whom they refer to as their intercessor to God Almighty. To that protector of their homes, they pay special homage from generation to generation, from father to son, each and every year.
“Slava is a day not only of feasting, but also a day of spiritual revival through which the Serbian national soul is formed and crystallized.
To these celebrations, customs, and traditions, the Serbian nation owes its existence, and, therefore, deserves to be appreciated and perpetuated by all grateful Serbian sons and daughters all over the world.
“The living example of the Patron Saint gives to the celebrant assurance, persistence, and the feeling of protection, support, and the encouragement to do good. For that reason, we hear among our people the ancient saying: “Ko Slavu slavi, tome i pomaze”.
“Because Krsna Slava is regarded as the anniversary of the baptism of the family into Christianity, it is an annual reaffirmation of the family to its baptismal vows and the renewal of its ties to the Orthodox faith and church.

“The commemoration of Krsna Slava was to our ancestors one of the most important expressions of their Orthodox faith. So they always celebrated their Krsna Slava, regardless of how dangerous the situation.
“In our long suffering history, the state and freedom ceased to exist, but in our homes, the candle of our Patron Saint never was extinguished.
The Serbian Krsna Slava links, as a golden string, our past and our present, our ancestors and their descendants. Serbian people should never ignore their Krsna Slava because through it the Orthodox faith was preserved and they were held together through the centuries.
“Krsna Slava should be kept not only as a sacred custom, but also to attest to the sacred truth that “Where the Serb is, Slava is also.”
“The celebration of Krsna Slava requires the Icon of the family Patron Saint and several items that symbolize Christ and the believer’s faith in his death and resurrection: a lighted candle, Slavsko zhito, Slava’s bread (Slavski kolach), and red wine.
The lighted candle reminds us that Christ is the Light of world. Without Him we would live in darkness. Christ’s light should fill our hearts and minds always, and we should not hide the Light of Christ in our lives.

“Slavsko zhito (wheat) represents the death and resurrection of Christ. Christ reminded us that except a grain of wheat die it cannot rise again, even as it was necessary that He die, be buried, and on the third day rise again so that we all can triumph over death. The Slavsko zhito is prepared as an offering to God for all of the blessings we have received from Him; it also is to honor the Patron Saint and to commemorate our ancestors who lived and died in the Orthodox faith.

Slava’s bread represents Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life. It is also symbolic of our thanks to God for being saved through Its Son. During Slava, the priest cuts a cross in the bread, which reminds us of Christ’ S death on the cross for the remission of our sins.

“The red wine, of course, represents Christ’s precious blood, which was required to wash our sins away.
Note that understanding the symbols of Slava helps us understand the meaning of the celebration. There is one symbol, the Slavsko zhito, that needs some special explanation. Some of the faithful have the misunderstanding that the Slavsko zhito is parastos for the Patron Saint of the Slava. The wheat for Slava and the wheat for parastos (Koljivo) are two different things. In both cases, the wheat symbolizes resurrection and eternal life (St. John 12:24); however, Slavsko zhito is prepared for the glory and honor of the Saint and for the repose of the souls of those departed members of the family who commemorated that Saint. We do not pray for the soul of the Patron Saint, but we pray that he or she intercede to the Lord our God for the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore, you should never place a candle in the Slavsko zhito.
“There is no reason to refrain from celebrating Slava during a mourning period in the family because at Krsna Slava we experience the unity with our departed ones. The gaiety should be omitted, but the zhito, bread, and candle never. On that day they are signs of living union between the living and the deceased of the family.

“For the faithful, Krsna Slava creates confidence, strength, freshness, stability, spiritual and physical peace, and the ability and incentive to do good and to lend help to others. If we want to be the meritorious heirs of our ancestors, keeping our origin, history, and symbols of Krsna Slava, we can’t permit the flame of our Krsna Slava candle ever to be extinguished.

“The importance of Krsna Slava is not to have a huge, elaborate, and expensive party. All you need is the Icon of your saint, a candle, wheat, bread (kolach), and wine, the service of the priest, and an awareness that Krsna Slava is a great treasure passed on to you by your ancestors.

Do not fail to keep this ancient and honorable Serbian Orthodox tradition and to pass it on to your children. As St. Paul says in his epistle to the Thessalonians (2:15), ‘Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught.” 

Bishop Artemije


Sveti Nikola’s Slava

 After completion of the Liturgy Bishop Artemije addressed the many believers, praising the worthy servant of God holy Nicholas of Myra, the Miracle Worker, who in his life fulfilled all the command-ments of God, and particularly emphasized the works of charity and zeal for the purity of the Orthodox faith.
Bishop Artemije recalled the slap, which at the First Ecumenical Council St. Nicholas gave to the heretic Arius, finding it impossible to reason with him, and how the Lord confirmed that the zeal of St. Nicholas was correct.
“All his life St. Nicholas for gave all of himself,” said Bishop Artemije, “to the faith of God, for love of the Lord Christ and the purity of Orthodox faith. Thus he became myhrrflowing and a miracle worker. And after he passed who can count all the miracles that St. Nicholas did in the church of God. For many and many that were addressed to him for help were heard, were assisted. Especially those who have sailed the seas and waters, in trouble, they turned to the St. Nicholas and he heard and helped and rescued them from the turmoil of the sea and from spiritual turmoil.”   
   Then Bishop Artemije urged us all to strive to emulate the life of St. Nicholas. 
    Many Guests arrived for lunch at the monatery.
Among them were the president of the humanitarian organization, “Solidarity” from Greece Kostis Dimtsas, the head of the Russian office in Pristina Andrej Šugurov, dean of Pristina, Faculty of Medicine professor. Dr. Nebojsa Mitic, and the command personnel of KFOR responsible for central Kosovo as well as other invitees. The act blessing of the slava bread was done by Bishop Teodosije and he congratulated Bishop Artemije. 
    The whole event was covered by the largest private Greek television station, Mega. 
    Bishop Artemije during the slava luncheon told his guests of the great joy he felt on his slava to see the table filled with love. 
    “St. Nicholas gathered us here from all over the world, but in the true meaning of the slava Saint Nicholas brings together not only we contemporaries, who are living, but he gathers and unites all of our ancestors who through the centuries welcomed and praised his day, his feast.
“Today, they all gathered here around this table, spiritual understanding, in a thought, in a desire to be and remain faithful to that faith which St Nicholas preached , to emulate his deeds which he did in his life, because it is the one guarantee that when we go away from here we will be where they are today – where the Lord has prepared a place for those who love him, as he says in the Holy Scriptures, what the eye does not see and the ear does not hear nor to the heart of man does not come, that’s what God prepares for those who love him. We are trying to follow the path of our ancestors and to emulate the example of St. Nicholas with the same faith and hope with which he served in his time, his flock, and today we strive towards our powers to serve our people. 
    “My flock, which was in Kosovo and Metohija until ten years ago today Scattered throughout the state of Serbia and much wider. My flock is expelled from the region where our Holy relics remain by themselves and so they too suffer. But my flock, for sure wherever they are today, celebrate St. Nicholas, and they are with us today, united in one mind, one wish, that before long they will return to their homes, to their properties, surrounding their holy shrines and cemeteries of their ancestors. We pray to God and believe that God will do that as soon as possible. Again all be gathered here, united in faith, hope and mutual love, to all communities celebrate the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever. Amen.”
    May you all live on for many years. 
    Bishop visited and toasted with each one of his guests.
    The nuns from Gracanica beautified the atmosphere by singing four songs dedicated to Kosovo.     

Come celebrate the VOLITICH Slava of St. Basil the Great with us!

St. Basil is recognized for his Divine Liturgy that is celebrated three times a year, but also for caring for the material needs of the faithful as well.  It was Basil the Great who established the first hospitals, first orphanages and first homes for the elderly. He was a strong defender of the Faith-standing up for the true teachings of the Church throughout the lengthy Arian heresy that caused division among believers in the 4th Century.  St. Basil is referred to as “a bee of the Church of Christ, bringing honey to the faithful, but stinging those in heresy.”  

The Volitichs are indeed considered bees in the Church of Christ, working tirelessly in all areas!  

Happy Slava! 

George & Marlene Volitich and children, grandchildren, and Great-grandchildren! 

Kolach & Koljivo, psenica and candle.

The Priest says the names of all the members of the Volitich clan for their Slava as he blesses the family and cuts the Kolach

St. Elijah Choir guests singing at Slava 
                  Congratulations to Kuma Seya Mabee, Kuma 2011 at St. Elijah, Aliquippa:
Seya Mabee: July 31, 2011. She truly deserved the Honor.   
Happy Slava
to the Shorak Family!
Eli Shorak with the crosses of nickel metal his father made for the Slava candleabra, on St. Stephen’s Day, Jan. 9, 2014

General Draza Mihailovich’s “THANKSGIVING” Slava prepared for Americans Lt. Col. Albert Seitz and OSS Major, George Musulin,

Nov. 25-26, 1943

Orthodoxy... Православље

“As they explain what it is to be a Serb, the church came up. ‘For Serbs,’ Wuchenich explains, ‘the church and church activities are the binding factor.’  The Serbian Orthodox Church is intertwined with the long history of the Serbs and their culture.”

Clarke Thomas, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Jan.4, 1973, p.21.

(The White Angel icon of Mileseva)

From V. Rev. Fr. Rodney Torbic:  “There is a  sermon St. Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich did about a conversation with one of his Nazi captors in Dachau. Bishop Nikolai said he (the bishop) didn’t believe in God. The captor seemed very pleased to hear that.

The saint then said: “When I was a boy I believed, but now I do not believe any more because I KNOW there is a God. My belief has become my knowledge through experience. Now I KNOW there is a God.”
Lighting our candles on Christmas at St. Elijah’s 

A Timeline of Church History

A  Word About  Church  History 

Scholars estimate there are over 2,600 groups today who lay claims to being the Church, or at least the direct descendants of the Church described in the New Testament Repeat: 2,600 

But for the first thousand years of her history, the Church was essentially ONE!Five historic Patriarchal centers: Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandria  and Constantinople, formed a cohesive whole and were in full communion with one another.
There were occasional heretical or schismatic groups going their own way, to be sure, but the Church was unifed until the 11th century.Then, in events culminating in A.D. 1054, the Roman Patriarch pulled away from the other four, pursuing his long-developing claim of universal headship of the Christian Church.

Today, nearly a thousand years later, the other four Patriarchates remain intact, in full communion, maintain that Orthodox Apostolic Faith of the inspired New Testament record.
The history of the Orthodox Church is described herein, from Pentecost to present day.

+  33 A.D. Pentecost  –  The Birthday of the Christian Church.
+  49          Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15) establishes precedent for addressing Church disputes in Council. James presides as Bishop
+  69          Bishop Ignatius consecrated in Antioch in heart of New Testament era – St. Peter had been the first Bishop there. Other early Bishops include James, Polycarp and Clement.
+  95          Book of Revelation written, probably the last of the New Testament books.
+ 150         St. Justin Martyr describes the liturgical worship of the Church, centered in the Eucharist.
Liturgical worship is Rooted in both, the Old and New Testaments
+ 313         The Edict of Milan marks an end to the period of Roman persecution of Christianity, by Emperor Constantine the Great.

+ 325       The Council of Nicea settles the  major heretical challenge to the Christian Faith posed when the heretic Arius asserts Christ was created by the Father. Nicea is the first of Seven Ecumenical (Church-wide) Councils.  
+ 451        Council of Chalcedon affirms apostolic doctrine of two natures in Jesus Christ.
+ 589        A Synod in Toledo, Spain, adds the filiouque to the Nicene Creed (asserting that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son). This error is later adopted by Rome.
+ 787       The era of Ecumenical Councils ends at Nicea; the Seventh Council restores the centuries-old use of icons to the Church.
+ 988       Conversion of Russia begins.
+ 1054     The Great Schism occurs. Two major issues include Rome’s claim to a universal papal supremacy and her addition of the filiouque clause                 to the Nicene Creed.

+ 1066    Norman conquest of Britain. Orthodox hierarchs are replaced with those loyal to Rome.

C R U S A D E  S   (1095  –  1291)
+  1095   The Crusades begun by the Roman Church. The Sack of Constantinople  (1204) adds to the estrangement between East and West.
+  1333   St. Gregory Palamas defends the Orthodox practice of hesychast                spirituality and the use of the Jesus prayer.
+  1453   Turks overrun Constantinople – Byzantine Empire ends.
+  1517   Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the Roman Church in Wittenberg, starting the Protestant Reformation.
+  1529   Church of England begins pulling away from Rome.
+  1794   Missionaries arrive on Kodiak Island in Alaska – Orthodoxy introduced to North America.
+  1870   Papal Infallibility becomes Roman dogma.
+  1988   One thousand years of Orthodoxy in Russia, as Orthodox Church world-wide maintains fullness of the Apostolic Faith.
+  2013   17th  Centennial Anniversary of the Edict of Milan (313 – 2013) in the Serbian City of Niš.

The First Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great, was born in Naissus, the Serbian City of Niš today. Emperor Constantine the Great, ruled the Western part of the Roman Empire from the 306 to 337 A.D.
With the beginning of the Christianization of the Roman Empire and the establishment of Constantinople, Constantine laid the foundation of the future empire which would last for 1,000 yaers.
As the first Christian emperor and founder of the Christian Church, after his death he was canonized (337) while in Eastern Orthodox churches, including our Serbian Orthodox Church, he is regarded as the saint and the Emperor equal to Christ’s Disciple.

The Edict of Milan brought an end to the three centuries long persecution of Christians, return of their seized property and allowed them to profees their religion in public without suffering any consequences for it.

Through the Edict of Milan, which enabled “each one to have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases”, Christianity got a solid  foundation and point from which it could further grow, and thus only several decadeslater (380 A.D.) under Emperor Theodosius the Great, it had become a religion of the state.
In our Serbian Orthodox Church we celebrate: “Holy Equal-to the- Apostles Emperor Constantine and (his mother) Helen”, on 3rd  of june !
Visit THE PATH OF ORTHODOXY newspaper site for the latest information concerning Serbian Orthodox Religious life in America.

Srpska Vera

Vera nasa
Vera stara
To je Vera
Our Christ-Centered Church
We’re not Jewish, but we are Orthodox
We’re not Roman, but we are Catholic
We’re not Protestant, but the Bible came from us
We’re not Denominational, we’re Pre-denominational
Come join us and get to know the Original. 


St. Elijah S.E.O. Church in Aliquippa, PA middle of Easter Lent, 2009.  A full church, 14-15 altar boys, a beautiful choir all led by      V. Rev. Stevan Stepanov bring a beautiful feeling of peace and heavenly serenity.  You’re welcomed to come see what we mean!
As V.Rev.Fr. Dr. Rodney Torbic says:
The Divine Liturgy unites believers of every century. The Divine Liturgy unites the living and the departed, believers living near and far…. 
The Divine Liturgy expands the life of the believer and affects the depths of the soul.”

Listen to the podcast of Cissy Rebich as she discusses what it’s like to hear Serbian Orthodox Church Music.  Click on the blue link above and once opened to the Columbia University site, scroll to the bottom of the list.  Select Cissy Rebich and Serbian Orthodox Church Music.  You will be richly reward for your efforts!



V. Rev. Fr. Rodney Torbic is a wonderful long-time friend and true Orthodox Christian in every sense of the word.  Here’s what he says about choosing Orthodoxy:

Becoming Orthodox is a matter of individual choice.

No one is coerced to become an Orthodox Christian. Each person embraces the Lord Jesus Christ freely and voluntarily.

Remaining Orthodox is a voluntary decision. Each day the believer decides whether to remain Orthodox or to depart from this identification and unity with Christ.

Babies are commonly baptized as Orthodox Christians.  The identity must be reaffirmed and fully embraced during the ensuing days of life when
the mind is fully conscious of the meaning of Orthodox Christianity.

Becoming Orthodox is expected to be a joyful and knowledgeable decision. Parents bringing the child for baptism are expected to be knowledgeable about Orthodoxy and making an informed decision.

“Putting on Christ” at Holy Baptism brings a whole new identity. The identity links the person with the Lord Jesus Christ. The identity links the person with Orthodox Christians past and present.

Becoming Orthodox involves embracing a set of beliefs summarized in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. Becoming Orthodox involves accepting
a way of life in Christ.

Orthodox believers are expected to fast and pray in a certain way and throughout their lives. Orthodox believers are expected to attend the Divine services of the Church.

Orthodox believers are expected to repent and confess sins. Orthodox believers are expected to partake of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ.

If choosing to marry, believers are expected to marry in the Church.

Married couples are expected to be faithful to each other. They are expected to love each other and be forgiving of each other. They are expected to raise their children in the Church.

Becoming Orthodox carries with it the expectation of seeking the salvation of the soul. Becoming Orthodox carries with it the expectation of “seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”(Mt.6:33)

Becoming Orthodox includes the dominant expectations of seeking continuous unity with Christ, joy in Christ and peace in Christ. Becoming
Orthodox includes the expectation of enjoying  the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit includes: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;”(Gal.5:22-23) Becoming Orthodox involves looking to the Triune God completely.

Orthodoxy involves living in a way pleasing to God out of a desire to love and please God. Some are faithful Orthodox Christians from infancy. Others come to Orthodoxy later in life. People become serious believers at different ages.

Being a serious Orthodox Christian means being continuously sensitive to the Cross of Christ. Being a serious Orthodox Christian means embracing the Virgin Birth, Death and Resurrection of Christ.

Being a serious Orthodox Christian involves seeking to pray continuously and seeking to refrain from sin completely.

Thankfulness to God is a considered part of being an Orthodox Christian. Being aware of the all- encompassing presence of God and manifestation of God in daily life is part of being an Orthodox Christian.

Orthodox believers are expected to be familiar with the Holy Scriptures. Orthodox believers are expected to honor and know the meaning of holy icons in Orthodox life.

Orthodox believers are expected to seek growth in Christ throughout life. Orthodox believers are expected to respond to crises and suffering in ways manifesting Christ in their lives.

Each moment of the Orthodox life is to be a decision- time for Christ. Each moment of Orthodox life is expected to be appreciated as a gift from God. Each talent and gift from God is best used to the glory of God.

Becoming Orthodox is a conscious choice directed toward the Kingdom of God. Life-long learning in Christ is an expectation. Growth in Christ is an expectation. Faithfulness to Christ is an expectation.

The joy of Christ is paramount in the life of believers. The love of Christ is paramount in the life of believers. The Cross of Christ is central to the faith of believers.

The journey to the Kingdom of God may be or long or short. Individuals choosing to be Orthodox should be prepared for the long journey but also for the shortness of life.

No one knows when Christ will return. No one knows when he or she will take his or her last breath. The Psalmist said: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”(Ps.89/90:10).

During Holy Week believers are reminded of the account of the ten virgins, five wise and five foolish. The five wise virgins were prepared for the Bridegroom.

The Lord Jesus Christ said: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”(Mt.25:13)

Individuals make choices on what to do with the remaining time of their lives. A certain amount of individuals choose to be Orthodox Christians. When they make the choice they are set apart. How they live determines their faithfulness to the choice made. How they live determines their faithfulness to Jesus Christ.

Becoming Orthodox is about loving Jesus Christ and living for and with Jesus Christ. Becoming Orthodox is about having the Name of Jesus on the mind, in the heart and on the lips.

Becoming Orthodox is about seeking to be with Christ throughout every moment of every day. Becoming Orthodox is to say with the Holy Apostle
Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave
himself for me.”(Gal.2:20)

Love for Christ is a consuming love. Love for Christ is a burning love. Love for Christ summons the heart, mind and soul of a person. Love for Christ brings joy to the total being.

Love for Christ brings change to a person. Values are different. Actions are different. Thoughts are different. The Holy Apostle Paul said: “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”(Phil.3:8)

To live in Christ is to look to Christ for self-worth.  To live in Christ is to look to Christ for the lasting values in life. To live in Christ is to seek guidance from Christ in use of talents and resources.

Christ provides strength in times of adversity. Christ provides power in times of weakness. Christ provides eloquence in times of need. When a person has no place to turn and desperation sets in, Christ provides refuge.

A person will never exhaust Christ when turning to Christ in prayer. A person will never exhaust or weaken Christ when turning to Christ in hope and joyful anticipation.

Christ understands individuals of all ages and all ethnic and national backgrounds. Christ understands all languages. Becoming Orthodox may link a person with a certain ethnic identification.

A certain ethnicity is not required to become Orthodox. Individuals of all races and ethnic backgrounds enjoy the Orthodox life.

The mind is a gift from God. Speech and decision- making powers are gifts from God. Health is a gift from God. Life is a gift from God. What a
person does with life can be a person’s gift and expression of appreciation to God.

Fullness of life is best experienced with God. Fullness of life comes through frequently partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ. Fullness of life comes through living in peace with God, with family, neighbors and friends

A Christian may experience enemies. The wise believer will think carefully about the words in Proverbs. Proverbs states: “When a man’s ways
please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”(Pr.16:7)  Orthodoxy is a way to achieve that peace.

St.George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.

Outdoor Religious Program.

May 19/June 1, 2008. Priestmarytr Patricius.
Father Rodney Torbic

Bishop Nikolai on Serbian Nationality


Thank you dear Lord, for our many blessings!
Want even more info about Orthodoxy? This list of Serbian Orthodox websites is incredible!
Here’s a site about Orthodox OUTREACH you might find exciting to read about. 
Is Orthodoxy Different from other faiths?  Yes & No.
I’m so glad that more people are learning about our religion of which we are so proud to share…..
We’re “inclusionists” and want people to know about the faith that goes back more than 2,000 years.

A great source of information on the Orthodox comes from Fr. Mateja Matejic, Ph.D. and his book ORTHODOXY: Courage to be Different; Strength to Remain the Same.

Some believers wish to change things to be more similar to other religions.  Fr. Matejic points out the fact that Orthodoxy means, among other things, the COURAGE TO BE DIFFERENT, THE STRENGTH TO REMAIN THE SAME.  True Christians have always been a minority in societies in which they found themselves.  Being different does not mean being wrong or inferior.  Christians were a minority in the Roman Empire.  Apostles were different from their compatriots; the early Christian Martyrs and the Holy Fathers were different from their social environment. 
V.Rev.Fr. Dr. Rodney Torbic quoted V. Rev. Stavrofor Dr. Mateja Matejic in his Oct 12/25 2009 Pravoslavna Vera (Orthodox Belief) outreach newsletter:
“All church services in the Orthodox Church include in their structure hymns and prayers containing theological messages and instructions.  By attending church services, the Orthodox faithful are exposed not only to the beauty of the worship, but also to the truths of their faith.”  (Orthodoxy: Courage to be Different-Strength to Remain the Same.  Columbus, OH, 1994, p. 90.) 
Fr. Rodney: 
“Believers consciously choose whether to be vigilant in Christ and remain firm in faith.” 
“Christians are to be as Christ would have them  to be.  Christians are expected to honor and live up to their Christian identity.  The choice to become a Christian carries with it the responsibility to live as a Christian in the fullest sense, offering the greatest possible fulfillment of life as God intended.  Each believe is hindered in Christian growth only by the personal limits established by the believer.  Wise believers heed the way of Christ and make every effort to follow Him.”
The late Fr. Alexander Schmemann observed:    “….. the ultimate meaning of our present crisis is that the world in which the Orthodox Church must live today, be it in the East or in the West, is not her world, not even a ‘neutral’ one, but a world challenging her in her very essence and being, a world trying consciously or unconsciously to reduce her to values, philosophies of life and world views profoundly different from, if not totally opposed to, her vision and experience of God, man and life.”

Fr. Matejic goes on to say:  “in order to remain true to herself, true to her essence and her mission, the Orthodox Church must not change herself, but instead, strive to change the world.  She has to resist the pressure which comes from inside and outside, suggesting and often demanding her change—in fact, demanding her secularization and Protestantization.  She must not change because as long as she adheres to her principles she remains and will remain what she has always been:  the Church of total sanctification, the Church in which man finds his true self and the true way to God; the Church in which Christ-likeness rather than comfort is the most important concern and meaning of existence.  The strength, depth and beauty of Orthodoxy consists exactly in its preservation of authentic Christianity.  Orthodoxy cannot, does not desire and must never modify Christ but Christians instead, because for the Orthodox faithful and the Orthodox Church CHRIST IS ONE, the SAME, and UNALTERABLE—- and so is the Orthodox faith.”

Fr. Michael Sanbourn, from Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Spokane, WA, USA talked about the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox faith.

“It is easy to lose perspective as to what the priority of the Christian life is and the power of Orthodox worship. Although we do all kinds of “activities” through the church, all kinds of programs, philanthropic work, ministries of various kinds and good works, our MAIN task is the Liturgy.
“There is no greater Christian work than the Divine Liturgy!  The word “Liturgy” actually means WORK. The work of a Christian is first and foremost the Divine Liturgy in which we offer the whole creation back to God in gratitude for the life of the world. 
“The Liturgy gives meaning and power to everything else we do.  It is what makes us holy, what sanctifies us, what gives us the grace of God.  It is what get us to Heaven….because it IS Heaven!  At every Litrugy we stand in the heavenly places with Christ, we participate in the Kingdom of God.
“And while we are there we eat the Heavenly Bread, Jesus Christ, in Holy Communion.  Jesus said, “If you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man or drink His Blood, you have no life in you.”
He goes on to say:
“Do we really understand what the Liturgy is?  Don’t believe what you see with your earthly eyes!!!  
“You see a man at the earthly altar dressed in bright robes, but in reality it is the Man, Jesus Christ, in uncreated light standing at the heavenly Altar.  He is the celebrant of every Liturgy. 
“You see altar boys, but the altar area is filled with angelic hosts.
“You see candles, but the spiritual reality is the prayer of the Church going up to Heaven as divine fire.
“You see icons surrounding the congregation, but in the Liturgy is present living Saints worshipping with us.
“You see an elaborate ritual, but those with spiritual eyes see the heavenly Liturgy which is served eternally in the Kingdom of GOd.
“In the Divine Liturgy we are in Heaven, before the throne of Christ, crucified and risen.  We stand at the Last Judgment, and even stand at the Second Coming.  All thing,s, past, present and future, are present with us in the Divine Liturgy. 
“We do the Divine Liturgy.  And through this divine worship paradise is filled up and hell is emptied.
“Because we DO the Liturgy, we learn to love God.  Because we DO the Liturgy, we are able to love one another.  Because do Do the Liturgy we visit the sick.  Because we DO the Liturgy we help those in need.  Because we DO the Liturgy we even do outreach and fundraising for the Church.
“If we really understand the Liturgy and experience it as it really is, would we ever miss it? And would we ever come to Liturgy unprepared to receive Holy Communion?
 I read this in the St. Nicholas Monroeville Parish Newsletter, but it was reprinted there from THE VOICE OF SAINT STEPHAN (Lackawanna?). Wherever it came from,  I loved it and wanted to pass it on for more to see.  It’s so beautiful and true!
This Serbian Orthodox Website offers the complete early history of the Serbian Orthodox Church of which we are so grateful to learn!
How OLD is the Orthodox Faith?
by Rev. Dr. Miltiades Efthimious




How old is the Orthodox faith?

If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.
If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to re-marry.
If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560.
If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.
If you are Protestant Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England, founded by Samuel Senbury in the American colonies in the 17th century.
If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1606.
If you are of the Dutch Reformed Church, you recognize Michelis Jones as founder because he originated your religion in New York in 1628.
If you are a Methodist, your religion was founded by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1774. If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, New York, in 1829.
If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.
If you are Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.

If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as “Church of the Nazarene, Pentecostal Gospel,” “Holiness Church,” or “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” your religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past hundred years.

If you are Roman Catholic, your church shared the same rich apostolic and doctrinal heritage as the Orthodox Church for the first thousand years of its history, since during the first millennium they were one and the same Church. Lamentably, in 1054, the Pope of Rome broke away from the other four Apostolic Patriarchates (which include Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem), by tampering with the Original Creed of the Church, and considering himself to be infallible. Thus your church is 1,000 years old.

If you are Orthodox Christian, your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It has not changed since that time. Our church is now almost 2,000 years old. And it is for this reason, that Orthodoxy, the Church of the Apostles and the Fathers is considered the true “one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.” This is the greatest legacy that we can pass on to the young people of the new millennium.

by Rev. Dr. Miltiades Efthimiou
Welcome to the Orthodox Church: Continued from St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Ambridge, PA,
An explanation:
The Church is ONE, because it is one body with one head, Jesus Christ.  The Church cannot be divided or separated because Christ cannot be divided or separated.
The Church is Holy because the Holy Spirit dwells in God’s People inasmuch as they respond to His call to salvation and the gift of eternal life.
The Church is Catholic, because it is whole, complete, lacking in nothing, and universal; and
The Church is Apostolic because it continues in the apostles’ teaching and experience.  The Church carries ont he same mission and ministry as Christ and the apostles, manely to bring the Good News of Salvation in Jesus Christ to all.
Salvation is the process by which we enter eternal life with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  
*ends our separation from God, enabling us to begin a new life according to His will;
* is utlimately attained through faith and living a lifestyle based on Christ’s; and
*is to be proclaimed to all by God’s People through evangelization, mission and witness.
Private Prayer is essentail for spiritual growth.  It is inseparably linked to the Church’s
Liturgical Workship, the public proclamation of God as Lord is the common action, or liturgy, of God’s people.
The Divine Liturgy is the most important worship experience.  During the Divine Liturgy, we proclaim God’s Word as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and we respond in thansgiving through the reception of Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Christ.
The Sacraments
enable Christ God to enter into our personal lives as we 
*become members of His Church through Baptism and Chrismation;
*Proclaim, through Holy Communion, His death and resurrection while awaing His Second Coming at the end of time;
*Are forgiven by and reconciled with Him and those around us through Penance;
*Share His love through Marriage;
*Dedicate our lives and our work to Him through Ordination; and
*Receive His healing grace through Holy Unction.
The Liturgical Year
includes the annual cycle of feasts and fasts, as well as various others rites and services for specific occasions and needs.

V. Rev. Fr. Dr. Rodney Torbic

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels, PA 

You can read more of Fr. Rodney’s wonderful writings by going to this website:



Our Forefathers embraced and appreciated the Brilliance of Orthodoxy

To read more about the History of the Serbian Orthodox Church by V. Rev. Dr. Radomire Popovic,

-click on the Astratec link above.

To Pentecost:

The spread of Christianity begins.


Every Orthodox Bishop can trace his lineage back to one of Jesus’ original apostles.


Eastern Orthodox Christians believe the Orthodox Church is the authentic and original Christian Church established by Jesus Christ and his apostles.


Eastern Orthodox Christians believe they are the preservers of the teachings and traditions given to the early Christians by the Apostles 2,000 years ago.


The word “Orthodox” means “right belief”

coming from the Greek “orthos”  (right, true, straight)

and “doxa” (belief, thinking)

The Nicene Creed 

Orthodox Christians use the original form of the Nicene Creed created at the First and Second Councils of Constantinople in 325, 381

(From www.OrthodoxChristian.info, we find that the Nicene Creed is comprised of 12 articles of Faith that summarize the essentials of the Christian Faith :

I believe in one God, Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages,
Light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one essence with the Father, through him all things were made.
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man,
And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried,
And rose on the third day according to the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father,
And He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father,
Who together with the Father and the Son, is worshipped and glorified, and Who spoke through the Prophets.
In one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I expect (Look for) the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come. Amen.

Recited every Divine Liturgy, every Baptism.  Most Orthodox Christians know this by heart.

Hear George Milosh recite the Nicene Creed with the St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church Choir in the background, directed by George Milosh on Sunday, Nov.1, 2015



Patriach Pavle reminds us to heed the words of Jesus Christ if we’re to be good Orthodox Christians:

‘Hereby I send you like sheep among the wolves. Be wise like snakes and gentle like doves.’ And this means that wisdom will preserve us from wolves tearing us apart, and kindness will prevent us from turning into wolves.

In other words, we should develop our intellectual abilities without limit, but under the condition of developing our goodness and kindness at the same time, since our mind is like an internal eye helping us perceive what other living beings cannot possibly see. A mind is cold and sometimes it cuts through the heart. Goodness is warm, but blind. When you unite and develop simultaneously both our mind and our goodness, then you become a true human. Children, this is what it is all about. You can see for yourselves where materialistic one-sidedness leads, this present-day pursuit of pleasure. You can judge by your friends and relatives – how many children in elementary schools take drugs? You must have a mind and logic and develop them like a snake. The snake knows that if you cut off its tail it will grow again, so the snake protects its head – the head is what matters. While other creatures fight against each other for food, doves never fight among themselves for food.” 

St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in  Aliquippa

Welcome to the St. Elijah’s Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church at 2200 Main Street in Aliquippa, PA.

Services start promptly at 10:00 each Sunday morning, with the V. Rev. Fr. Milan Krstic officiating, since V. Rev. Stevan Stepanov retired. 

Please feel free to join us!  We’re so very proud of our beautiful church services, a continuous 2,000 year old Orthodox Christian heritage.

If you would like to find other Serbian Orthodox churches in the area, or even “travel” all the way down to Brazil in South America, be sure to check out the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America website for more information, under the directorship of His Grace Bishop, Dr. Mitrofan Kodic.

To learn more about Orthodoxy’s Church History, the Feasts of the Church, Orthodox Dogma and Doctrine, the role of Orthodox Icons, Orthodox Monasticism, Orthodox Prayers, Orthodox Scripture, Orthodox Symbolism, Orthodox Worship, the Sacraments of the Church, the Church Building and Bells, visit this site at the Diocese website:



Another good source to learn more about our beautiful faith is Ancient Faith Radio

Poem by Dr. Rodney Torbic on Kosovo, Vidovdan, 2006

The Witness of the Martyrs of Kosovo Endures.

The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
Centuries pass and the martyrs still teach.
Centuries pass and the Christ is the same.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
Serbian Orthodox Christians remember always.
Serbian Orthodox Christians honor Vidovdan.
The witness of the martrys of Kosovo endures.
Memories of Kosovo martyrs will not fade.
Memories of Kosovo martyrs are fully shared.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
Efforts to crush the Faith of Serbs will fail.
Efforts to crush the Kosovo legacy is futile.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
Orthodox Serbs confess Christ Crucified.
Orthodox Serbs confess Christ Resurrected.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
Vidovdan is marked in every Serbian parish.
Vidovdan is marked in every Serbian heart.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
Confessors of Christ partaking of His Body.
Confessors of Christ partaking of His Blood.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
Each generation learns the lessons of Kosovo.
Each generation learns of Holy St. Lazarus.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
Vigilance continues until justice triumphs.
Vigilance continues until the Second Coming.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
Kosovo is truly Serbian in Faith and Spirit.
Kosovo is truly Serbian in history’s annals.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
Serbian Blood etches the Holy Kosovo ground.
Serbian Blood etches the Holy Kosovo history.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.
A new day will come for the Serbian Kosovo.
A new day will come for the Serbian People.
The witness of the martyrs of Kosovo endures.

    Father Rodney Torbic


The Cross:  Instrument of Our Salvation,  the Precious and Life-giving Cross of Christ.

Once a feared symbol of suffering and death, the Cross has become our source of hope.  The SHAPE of the Cross and the bars carry with it a profound meaning.  The TOP bar bears the inscription placed there in Greek, Hebrew and Latin letters by Pontius Pilate.  

“This is Jesus, King of the Jews.”  The slanted BOTTOM bar-found in the Slavic tradition of the Triple Bar Cross-symbolically reminds us that the thief crucified to the right of Christ repented and was assured by our Lord that he would be with HIM in Paradise-hence that side of the bottom bar points upward. 

The thief on Christ’s left, however, showed no remorse for his deeds.  That side of the bottom bar points downward-the direction which symbolizes eternal damnation.

The tall VERTICAL bar is like an arrow, pointing up and down.  As St. Paul says, the Cross can be a stumbling block to some, and the “power and wisdom of God” to others.  It will either save us or cause our condemnation.

The HORIZONTAL bar gives us the most comforting message.  Although some would say that our Lord’s arms are outstretched upon it in a most agonizing manner, we are reminded that it is really “a loving embrace” that we should see.

Through HIS death on the Cross and HIS ultimate Resurrection, Christ calls all of us to join HIM in the glorious Kingdom of Heaven.  This was HIS reason for giving up HIS Life on the Cross: so that we may all find eternal life through HIM.

The Orthodox Weekly Bulletin, Vestal Cliffwood, NJ



The entirety of the cross symbolizes Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

The four corners of the cross represent the TRINITY (The Father, Son and Holy Spirit). The fourth corner (bottom of the cross) depicts “One God” (Or the inseparable unity of the Trinity.  (Ethiopian website)

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Appeared on 60 Minutes Segment on Orthodox Christianity


NEW YORK – His All Holiness Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians who constitute the second largest Christian denomination in the world, was featured on the CBS News program 60 Minutes reported by Bob Simon, on Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 7 p.m. EST. The segment focused on the Orthodox Church, the most ancient Christian church, and its development from its earliest years to modern times in what is now the Republic of Turkey.


His All Holiness was named 11th among the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine and was awarded the US Congressional Gold Medal for his efforts to promote human rights and religious tolerance. He has also been recognized by the United Nations as a Laureate Champion of the Earth for his pioneering work to protect the environment. Affectionately known as “the Green Patriarch,” Patriarch Bartholomew has called upon leaders of all denominations to join him in this effort, noting simply that “If life is sacred, so is the entire web that sustains it.”


His All Holiness recently concluded an extended visit to the U.S., where he participated in an environmental symposium in Mississippi, ministered to the five million Orthodox faithful in America, and met with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama, among many others. He is the author of Encountering the Mystery (Doubleday) and In the World, Yet Not of the World (Fordham).

  Archbishop Demetrios of America said:

 “The appearance of the Ecumenical Patriarch on a program such as 60 Minutes is an extraordinary opportunity for the American public to become aware of our Orthodox Christian Faith. Millions of people who would otherwise have limited knowledge of the Orthodox Church will have the chance to see and hear the highest ecclesiastical personage of our Church in their living rooms. It is also a tremendous opportunity for our own Orthodox Faithful in the United States to see His All Holiness in a way that will surely touch their hearts and minds with love and deep respect.”


Be sure to visit ANCIENT FAITH RADIO, “Bringing the Ancient Faith to the Modern World” in your own search to learn more about ORTHODOXY.

Welcome to the Orthodox Church…..

St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Ambridge offers these thoughts on Orthodoxy:

The Orthodox Church is

*People –God’s people…. who

*Gather together in His name.

*Share a common faith and hope based on the love of God.

*Affirm the truth, or orthodoxy of their faith, belief and experience, and

*Proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to all.

The Orthodox Church 

*Began on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles;

*Subsequently spread to every corner of the world; and

*Was Planted in North America in the late eighteenth century.

Today there are some three million Orthodox Christians in over two thousand parishes and missions throughout the United States and Canada.

The Foundations of Faith

*The HOLY SCRIPTURE, the INSPIRED WORD OF GOD and the written record of his revelation.

Old Testament relates the manner in which God prepared the world for the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ.

The New Testament completes God’s revelation by proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord, God and Savior.

*Holy Tradition

That which is passed on or given over within the Church, from the time of Jesus Christ to the present is known as Holy Tradition.

Holy Tradition

*is the ongoing life of God’s People;

*consists of that which is ESSENTIAL to God’s revelation and NECESSARY for our salvation; and

*is the living link by which Orthodox Christians of all ages are untied together in a common faith, life and experience.  The other elements of Holy Tradition include prayer and liturgical workship, the accepted creeds and acts of the early Church’s Councils, the writings of the Holy Fathers, the lives of the saints, and the Church’s artistic and musical expressions.

The Creed

*is a summary of the Church’s faith in the Holy Trinity.  Orthodox Christians have used this creeed to profess the Faith since it was originally written in the fourth century.

The Holy Trinity

Thre are three persons—The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spiriti–in one God.  Wile separate and distinct, each 

*shares fully in the divine nature and will;

*is equally infinite, perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-existing, and eternally the same; and

*is united together in Perfect Love.

GOD THE FATHER is the Source of all things.  Because of His great love for humanity, the Father sent

God the Son, Jesus Christ into the world.  Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God and the fullest revelation of the Father.  He became man–while remaining God–in order to redeem us and to unite us to God.  Jesus Christ is our Savior who leads all humanity into God’s eternal Kingdom.

God, the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier, the Inspirer, and the Comforter.  He proceeds from the Father and was sent into the world to dwell within us and to sustain us.


Thoughts on 

Serbian Orthodoxy 

from Elaine Mitrovich, of Galveston, Texas:

“When reciting the Creed it is at once a very personal statement and a connecting statement-linking us with all the living Orthodox Christians reciting it-and linking us with all Orthodox Christians who have recited it down through the ages.  It’s our personal statement of our shared belief-our shared religion from which we derive purpose in life-and strength – and love – all these things.

“It’s very hard to put these deep feelings into the right words.

“There is a collection of Russian Icons in our local Rosenberg Library (Galveston, TX) and every time I have ever stood in front of those icons-some of them hundreds of years old-I get very emotional.  I think about all of the faithful who have stood before the icons in their lifetime and prayed and this connects me with all of them…just like I am connected through my personal religion with all of my brothers and sisters who are Orthodox Christians.  

“We  Serbs are very clannish people and we always want to welcome and get to know other Serbs.  Being Serbian and Serbian Orthodox is just one more way of feeling connected.

“I think about that wonderful day 2 years ago when Mimo and I finally got to meet you and we all felt the love for each other from that moment.  

“And it doesn’t go away.”