Ned Payne: Big Game Hunter (Nedelou Pain) from 6214 W. 124th Place, in Palos Heights, IL 60463

Ned Payne:  Nedelou Pain

This is a first in a series of stories I hope to share with our  AMERICAN SRBOBRAN readers of our Serbian immigrants from stories my father Milan Karlo, author of EARLY DAYS: Serbian Settlers in America (@ the West) with his wife, Helen Vukovich Karlo, started to research, but were not able to finish before passing away.  During this Corona VID-19, I found so many of their stories just waiting to be told…..


Come with me on an immigrant safari, a “bear-bare” hunt to learn more about the famous Ned Payne, successful entrepreneur, big game hunter and movie producer from Chicago.  Our story must begin with finding Ned’s father, Cveto Pain, who was born in Banat in1870.  He died in 1944.  Cveto came to America with his wife, Prona Nikolin, also born in Banat, but in 1884.  Cveto worked as a laborer in Philadelphia until 1918 when he decided to move his family back to Banat, right in the middle of WWI.

Our Tarzan-like hero, Nedelou Pain-Nedeljko-NED, was born in 1912.  ALL the Pain children were born in Philadelphia:  Jelena, Vika and Ned.  After several hard years, the family came back to America in 1923, but this time to Chicago where father Cveto worked in the Molding and Building trades. Ned’s mother was an expert in sewing, particularly in pleating, and worked in a sewing factory.  The family lived on Clybourne Avenue, which Ned called “The Avenue of the Serbs.”

The family went back to Banat in 1927 after having bought farm land.  Once back for the second time in Becicheroul, Romania near Timisora, his mother and father never wanted to return to America.  Ned begged his parents to let him come back to America alone if they didn’t want to, which he did at the age of 15 in 1928. (See photo.)  It took him 7 days to travel on the SS MAJESTIC.  

Once in America, Ned stayed with his Aunt Kosa and Uncle Mladen Lazarov, (Norma Nedin’s parents). On 4/13/1932 he petitioned to become a citizen and on 3/6/1935, but because of shifting borders, he had to renounce Carol II, King of Romania in his Oath of Allegiance to the United States.  His name was changed, too, to Nedeljko (Ned) Payne.  Ned got a job in a machine shop where he soon became skilled in machinery.  How he managed to survive and thrive is quite an interesting story.

In an interview with my father, Milan Karlo, Ned said he was lucky to get a job as a janitor in a Fraternal Building for $35 a week and tips.  While working there, Ned helped the boss’s son work out in the gym that was rarely used.  With this experience, he got the idea to open his own gym–called the Mid-City Body Builders and ran it for 9 years until WWII broke out, and then, because of his expertise in machinery–he was conscripted as a shop worker, and after only 90 days, became a foreman with 200 men under his supervision. He worked there until the war ended in 1945.  

Ned’s WWII draft card shows he was born on February 2, 1912 in Temesvar, Austria Hungary, but was living in Chicago, registering on October 16, 1940. His employer was Simon H. Weiss.  He weighed 210 lbs at 5’11” and his next of kin was listed as his uncle, Michael Lazarov.
When he worked as a Hoover Vac Cleaning salesman, he met two men from a Defense plant who told him the Government was selling machines, so he and two men bought the machines, made precision parts for them, and Ned was part owner in business known as the American Machinery Company. 

They soon had a $5 million dollar corporation with 150 skilled laborers in Oak Park, Il.  During this time, Ned’s company made precision parts for rockets and missiles and outboard motors.  He said that Bob Djidich also had a precision factory, but made smaller parts.

Interestingly enough, Ned said his father knew the very famous Peter Zebich, the Serbian strong man.  Cvetko Pain was in the Army with Zebich and used to frequently repeat the story of how Peter Zebich could break a rifle in half.  When Zebich came to America’s Chicagoland, he stunned his admirers, pulling horses and a trolley car with his strength, beating them both. “Zebich toured the whole country and all the Serbs were so proud of him,” Ned said.

Ned went on to say he started his Outdoor and Hunting and Photo Tours in 1954.  He went to Africa and was there for three months when Ernest Hemingway and Bob Rourke were also there.  He took photos of primitive people as well as native animals.  In all, he made 4 trips to Africa, 14 trips to Alaska, and to Australia and India on shooting trips.  Our U.S. Government sponsored him on a trip to India where he made the film “Someone Who Cares.” 

He made many more travelogue films for TV and movie houses.  His well known film “Outdoorsman” ran for three years from 1968-1971.  He made “Trail of the Hunter” with actor Victor Jory in 1969.  At the time of this interview, he was doing a film “Fishing Around the World” in Australia, India, Alaska and Costa Rica on his own.

Ned had a huge collection of animal heads he had collected from all over the world.  He sold some and donated the rest to the then new New Gracanica Monastery in Gray’s Lake, IL.  In his travels, he covered over 100 countries.  He was also a member of Safari International and the Adventurers Club.
He finally sold out his share of the American Machinery Company’s Precision business to his partner and bought a restaurant on the Fox River in McHenry, IL, with someone named Sasha as his Chef.

His photo equipment was phenomenal-2 Ari>flex 16 mm motor driven cameras—also a Hasselbad camera (the kind the astronauts took to outer space)!  Heat was always a problem for his film so he took along a kerosene Servel refrigerator.  He had almost 10,000 feet of film and kept them in cork-lined boxes in the fridge when he was traveling.  Ned says he always loved animals and nature and he was most proud of a picture of a white tailed deer giving birth to twins.

His Alaska trips were memorable—taking photos of Eskimos and animals.  It was always very cold.  He had to wear insulated boots and underwear, but even at 25 below it was comfortable except that the cameras needed special handling.  The cameras needed to be winterized.  He could never bring the camera directly into a room as the lens would fog.  He had to wrap the cameras in a blanket and then let them thaw out slowly.  The planes would bring in food for eating, even though they ate plenty of fish, seal meat and walrus.

When they stalked animals for pictures, they had to stay downwind. Payne stated that his biggest thrill was to get close enough to an animal by stalking and then to capture that picture on film.  His best was a tiger in South Central India.  Animals are afraid of human beings, he said, the only fear they have.  But he did have a hair raising experience in Mozambique when a big hippopotamus came up to the jeep and put his head in the VW.  Ned put his big camera into the Hippo’s mouth, but then, couldn’t get it out.  So the hippo put his huge jaw on the hood of the VW and lifted it.  Scary, but they got out of it when the hippo left.

In 26 years, Ned said he traveled over 1/2 million miles. In Alaska it was by bush planes and dog sleds. In the jungles by jeeps and canoes.  He never lost any film.  He would ship the film in vacuum packed cork-lined boxes to Eastman Kodak when he got to a town with a hotel and a post office. 
Ned had been to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and shot film of black marlin and tiger sharks in 1979.  His felt his best film was on salt water fishing.  He reported that when he finished his “Fishing Around the World” film, it would be time to stop at the age of 70. 

Ned was married from 1935 until he passed to Florence Lust, a divorcee with two sons Gerald and Frederick Hauser, from Monroe, Wisconsin.  He said he never had a dull moment, filming all his life.  He did his own editing of his films and interviewing and tape recording.  A 26 minute film then cost about $18,000, not counting the travel and cost of film.
Ned shared the chairmanship of the Golf Tournament in Mundelein, IL in 1974 and felt that was the very best of all Tournaments.  He loved attending the tournaments whenever he was home.  His obituary states that he died on January 1989 in his Palos Heights, IL home, with his wife, his photographs and his animals.  Florence passed away 2 April, 1993. 

Movie poster for film THE OUTDOORSMAN.

Movie Poster for Ned’s successful movie “TRAIL OF THE HUNTER”


 Ned and his wife in their Trophy Room in Illin

Popovich Brothers

 Above photo thanks to Eli Grba of Alabama!



 Folk Streams Popovich Brothers Movie website:

“THE POPOVICH BROTHERS OF SOUTH CHICAGO is a portrait of a family of musicians in the heart of the Serbian-American community of South Chicago, and especially, the five Popovich brothers who made up the most famous and well loved tamburitza ensemble in the U.S. The film demonstrates the powerful role music plays in Serbian communities, the loving force it exerts on all members there and the tension that could unravel the cohesiveness of these communities when second and third generation, college-educated Serbians opt for professional lives in other cities. The film also chronicles some difficult developments in the life of these musicians who have been playing together since 1926, when their mother sent them off as children on a tour to play for the isolated Serbian mining and steel mill communities of the West and Midwest.”

THEY WERE PURE GOLD!+++++++++++++++

Knez Jakovac of St. Louis, Missouri, wouldn’t give me any peace until I made a special page for the Popovich Brothers of Chicago.  Believe me, he didn’t have to prod much as I’ve always been a HUGE fan of the whole family, their values and their unabashed love of their Serbian heritage ever since I can remember. 

Why, we were THRILLED here in Pittsburgh when Daniella married our “Winnie,” because we finally had Popovich genes in the East too!  Add Marco Trbovich and his Mitca and we’ve been flying ever since!  What gems they have proven to be…. 

Nikola and Ljubica Popovich 

The Popovich Family consisted of five brothers and five sisters born to Serbian immigrants in Globeville, Colorado.  Because their father Nikola (from Lika) was a roving miner and also worked on the railroads, the family naturally moved a lot, and lived in small towns throughout Colorado, Nevada and Utah.

Early Popovich Brothers photo

Early Popovich Photos above, here and below are thanks to Milos Puaca of Indiana. 
Always grateful!

While growing up, the boys learned how to play the tamburitza and even when working in the steel mills in Chicago, were able to supplement their income by playing at weddings, christenings, zabavas, etc. 

1933 Chicago World's Fair photo

1933 Chicago World’s Fair Photo

But as Knez says, having the Popovich Brothers appear guaranteed the success of any occasion.  EVERYONE loved their playing, singing and Serbian soul…. their Srpstvo.  They electrified any building or picnic grounds where they ever appeared.  Everyone was GUARANTEED a good time if they were playing.

One of their most stirring moments occured when they appeared outside of the theater that was showing “THE FIGHTING CHETNIKS,” sending chills and goosebumps up and down the arms of the people waiting in line to buy theater tickets to the movie starring Philip Dorn.

1975 Photo with Pete Mistovich
1975 Photo with “adopted brother,” Pete Mistovich

Today, only “Little Soph” (Sophie) remains of the original 10 siblings. 

Granddaughter Ljubi Hayden in Chicago area speaks:

“Deda lived with my parents and my sister and brother at ‘the house’ and our childhood was filled with so many family memories, Slava, gatherings and MUSIC. We had the best of it and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. I just love your website and have passed it on to my sons and their families to enjoy.”

The Popovich Brothers WERE Serbian music. 

And they taught Srpstvo by example!

From Von Orlich: 

+Eli, +Deda Nikola, +Baba Ljubica, Teta Cvijeta, +Teta Eva, +Cici Adam, +Cici Ted, +Cici Mikey


Nikola and Ljubica Popovich and their family.


From Von Orlich:

Sitting L-R: Ted Ostoich, Mike Stampar, Joan Lasky, +Stevan Peinovich, Diane Peinovich; 2nd row: Martha Teshich, Diane Huber, Diane Zec; 3rd row: +Dorine Popovich, +Deda Nikola Popovich, Nan Peinovich; girls standing:Melanie Evancevich, Dorothy Popovich, Ljubi Hayden, Von Orlich, Danella Winovich, Louise Romanchak.

 Artwork by Adam Popovich


 Early photo of Sloboda Choir

 10th year Anniversary Program of “Sloboda”
After “Oce Nas” by Stankovic, the choir sang “Primorski Napjevi.”  The “VII Rukovet” soon followed.  Then came “Pesme Iz Stare Srbije.”  A few more were sung before the “III Rukovet, with a soprano solo by Evica Grba and G. Todor Popovich (Teddy) with the baritone.  The program finished with “Hajduk Veljko” sung by the Sloboda Choir, under the direction (Horovodja) of Adam Popovich, and Todor Popovich doing the Baritone Solo.
 “Prati na glasoviru” was Dragutin Cucuijevic.

Click bottom right hand corner to enlarge all photos.

 Adam directing and playing at the same time!

Nobody had what the Serbs had in the Popovich Brothers!  Unique and one-of-a-kind!

 At a tribute to Adam’s 90th Birthday Celebration

Here’s what the NEA Heritage Fellows (1982) said of Adam:

“In 1976, Popovich organized a large tamburitza orchestra to accompany the Sloboda Choir for their bicentennial concert. Prominent tamburashi from all around the Chicago area came to play for him, and together they formed the Chicago Tambura Ensemble with the membership of about 25 established tamburashi. Ensembles of this kind originated in the European nationalistic movements of the late 1800s, when musicians worked to create what might be called a “national” classical music. Deriving their inspiration from these early efforts, the Ensemble built a repertoire that featured orchestral arrangements of traditional Serbian melodies and light classical music by Serbian and other composers. In addition to presenting large-scale concerts, the Ensemble offered musical instruction for young people and maintained associations with other adult groups, such as the Pittsburgh Tamburitza Philharmonic and the Detroit Tamburitza Symphony. “


Sloboda Choir.

Milan Opacich was able to invite the Popovich family for a private showing of the grand Tamburitza Extravaganza Display at St. Sava’s Merrillville Museum, August, 2011. Great!  It continues….


Old Photo of Nikola Popovich and info downloaded from Facebook page of Von Orlich and Denise.

 Von wrote that her grandfather, Nikola Popovich, arrived in the U.S. in 1902 and worked as a miner out west.  He married Ljubica, a woman ahead of her time, in 1906.  They had 18 children, but only ten survived childhood.  Nikola was born in Mutilic, Udbina, Lika, in 1882 to +Luka and Milica (Radocaj) Popovich.  Nikola arrived via a tramp steamer.  He was a much beloved man.  Although Ljubica died at the age of 58, Nikola lived to be 94.  The Popovich family was known for their strong work ethic, sacrifice, honesty, love of family and other strong values.  They upheld all of the Serbian Orthodox traditions and beliefs for themselves and their progeny who are still proudly carrying on their Serbian heritage.  At the last count, Nikola and Ljubica had 26 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren, 47 great-great grandchildren and 2 great-great-great grandchildren.  What a legacy he left!

Here’s what Knez has so say about his favorite musicians of all time, the POPOVICH BROTHERS!

With all due respect to anyone who has their own particular favorites I have always felt for their size the Popovichs pound for pound were the greatest Tamburica orchestra.

They were virtuosos, developed and perfected their own original style, and knew the language and culture forwards and backwards.

They knew practically every song you could come up with, and sang beautifully and as ONE as only brothers can.

The fact that they were in Chicago as opposed to Europe only enhances the romance and their legacy.

The Popovich Brothers were handsome like movie stars    (a superficial point but a part of the mystique and aura) and spread the culture and beauty of Tamburica across the United States with their wonderful music.

Their approach to the music was original and awe inspiring. The prima and cello continued to play even while they were singing harmonies to Teddy’s lead so that never did the bottom drop out during the vocals, not to mention that Mikey played arpeggios and obligato behind the singing, never duplicating the melody but adding a line that interwove with the cello and created drive and made it swing.

Adam defined Cello playing in this country with his innovations.  NO insult to anyone, I love so many players of yesterday and today and am in awe of them, but this is one group that will always be dear to my heart. May god bless them and keep them.

Humble and proud at the same time.  Touring the country and playing as a group for 70 years,  continuing even after Mikey’s death.  The greatest tamburica orchestra in this country, the old country or even Marlboro Country!  I will love them to the day I die and will never stop singing their praises. 

They were the PREMIER tamburica orchestra in this country for decades. They were untouchable. 

When I was growing up the Popovich Brothers were like the Beatles to me, and they defined at least three or four generations, especially mine!

This was truly given from God.

Knez Jakovac wants to know if you agree with him:

Here’s Knez’ website:

Knez’ latest CD is called SWAY.  The mandolin Knez plays is a vintage 1939 brac made by John Bencic. 


Thank you, Knez!

You’re absolutely right!


Here’s a YouTube video of the Popovich Brothers.

(You will probably be disconnected, so don’t forget to log on again, to


Folkstreams Films made a great 1 hour film about the Popovich Brothers.

You can learn more about the film and even read the entire script, by going to this website.,40


Here’s the Transcript:,79


From the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert
“THE POPOVICH BROTHERS is filled with songs and life, with the lilting, driving, and sometimes sad music of Serbia…It marvels at the fact that an ethnic musical culture can not only survive to the third and fourth generation in America, but prosper.”


From a record album I’ve had for 32 years….

What also made the album so great was Adam’s desire to leave a legacy for us ALL to learn the words to these songs way into the future.

Below here are some examples of his burning love for everything Serbian!

Here are the words to “Doline Tutne” (Ratne Pesme) and “Hej Trubaci!” in Cyrillic


Adam could have chosen to do one or the other– Latinica or Cyrillic He chose to do BOTH to remind us of how important it was to preserve the language!

Hajte, hajte, Srbi Ustajte!

 Hajte braco, hate, svoje nedajte!

in Latinica for those who can’t read Cyrillic……





“I recently discovered your website and have been poking around a bit. I especially like the Popovich Brothers section. I had the priviledge to play with them for over 20 years and couldn’t agree more with what you and Knez have written about them. On top of all the musical accolades, they were some of the finest gentlemen I have ever met in my life.” 

 Bob holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and has been employed by Hewlett Packard and Agilent Technologies.

Bob Lalich played with the Popovich Brothers for over 20+ years.  He can be seen in the movie about the Popovich Brothers of South Chicago made by  

 You may also read more about Bob’s views from the phone interview conducted by Dan Patterson, in 2008 from the Folkstreams website.

Bob was playing from the time he was 8 years old, with his So. Chicago church group-junior tamburitzans.  After Marko died, they asked Bob to join them, January, 1978.

Bob reminisced, saying that Adam was the most musically talented, but he was also always impressed with Teddy’s memory.  “Teddy would remember all the words to songs he hadn’t sung in twenty or thrity years and he never used any book or anything-just out of his head.”

 Bob was with the Popovich Brothers when they played in Washington, D.C. a few times, such as when Adam was a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts (Folk Heritage Fellowship) in 1982.  Bob enjoyed performing at the Library of Congress theater there. They also played for the Statue of Liberty Centennial in New York, in Manhattan.  They also played for President Clinton’s Inaugural ceremony, not in the White House, but there was a huge set up in the Mall and they played for that. 

Nicola Popovich (their father), Bob said, taught the brothers the nationalistic songs (historical war-narrative type songs) and they always said their mother taught them the love songs.

Eil was the oldest-bass player

Adam-palyed brac, cello, anything.

Teddy-bugarija.  Main role was as a singer.

Mikey (also called Marko) played prima.

Pete also played brac, but not very long, and died young. 


Other Musicians with the Popovich Brothers:

Pete Mistovich-Bass player. Joined when Eli joined the OSS/CIA and moved away.

Bob Lalich-c’elo & 2nd brac.

George Ivancevich:  c’elo. 

John Lazich:  c’elo.

Of course others joined when needed, as I know Milan Opacic sometimes played with them too.

Thanks to Bob Lalich for reaching out and sharing his knowledge with us. 


Thanks to rade011 bgd for posting this!

 Popovich Brothers Tamburica Orchestra – Braca Popovic –

Uzo deda svog unuka Deda i unuk – stihovi JJ Zmaj

Узо деда свог унука,
Метно га на крило,
Па уз гусле певао му
Што 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,
Онда пита живо:
” Је ли, деда, зашто сам ја
Те гусле целиво? “

” Ти не схваташ, Српче мало,
Ми старији знамо:
Кад одрастеш, кад размислиш, Казће ти се само!”



Ordination of Deacon Chris Rocknage-Steps to Christ

St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church of McKeesport and Duquesne—->  Click here


February 14, 2010 

Following in Christ’s Footsteps

by Milana K. Bizic

It was a most holy and blessed day from the beginning.  Prayers were said by faithful parishioners, friends, relatives and Kumovi of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in McKeesport, PA long before they had reached the church.  They were praying for the young American Serb, Chris Rocknage and his beloved “Djakonica” Andreja, as Chris would be ordained into the Holy Diaconate by the Grace of God, through the Laying-on-of Hands, by his Grace, Rt. Rev. Dr. Bishop Mitrophan.

There was no “grousing” when visitors found the parking lot full, or no parking along snow-covered hills around and behind the church.  No, only the joy of a joyous occasion awaiting inside the sanctuary filled the hearts of those who trekked in the snow to find the inner peace, wonder and majesty, the mystery and empowerment that awaited within. 


Fr. Deacon Christopher Rocknage was born in Steubenville, Ohio on April 26th, 1980; as a young boy of 5, he moved with his parents and sister Mileva to St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary in the Fall of 1985 so his Dad could enroll in Seminary. 

Three years later, he was able to serve at his Dad’s Ordination to the Holy Priesthood in Steubenville, Ohio on April 17th, 1988.

Fr. Stevo Rocknage recalls that from his earliest experiences, son Christopher loved to serve and sing in the Holy Altar with him, whether it was Vespers, or Matins, or special services, one would always find Christopher serving as his Dad’s ‘right hand’! 

After completing high school (where he graduated third in his class), Christopher attended Duquesne University, where he was a member of the renowned Tamburitzans. (Kudos also, to younger brother Dushan Rocknage, for being part of this elite group currently!) Christopher graduated with a BS in Psychology.

After working several years for the Marriott Hotel in Pittsburgh, Christopher received a blessing from our Bishop MITROPHAN to attend St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, where he graduated in 2007 with a Masters of Divinity. 

By God’s Grace, he moved to California, fell in love with the beautiful Andreja Balach, daughter of the Very Rev. Ilija and Carol Balach, and happily was married on June 13th, 2009 in the beautiful St. Stephen’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Alhambra, California.  Since that time, Chris has served St. Stephen’s as the Church Secretary and Choir Director. 

With his entrance into the ranks of the Clergy, Fr. Deacon Christopher awaits his ‘call’ to take on the mantle of ‘priest’ in our Holy Orthodox Faith, hoping to return to the Eastern Diocese by early summer.”   “AXIOS!”  “WORTHY”  Fr. Deacon Christopher Rocknage   “Ziveli, i na Mnogaja Ljeta!” 


Deacon Christopher’s father-in-law is another well-known priest, Prota Ilija Balach, currently serving at the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Issaquah, Washington where he has been since 2002.  He also serves as Dean of the Butte Deanery of the Western Diocese of our Church.

An architect by trade, Proto Ilija and his dear wife, Protonica Carol, have two children, Andreja and Ilija Jr.. (And there’s no denying those two siblings are related!  It’s amazing how those genes show up!) Protonica Carol works at the University of Washington, and son Ilija is at the Boeing Corporation.  Great academic genes all around!  And so willing to obey the Will of the Lord!

The people in attendance felt the warmth and love generated  on this very special occasion throughout the service.  One can only imagine the fire then felt by the two father-priests witnessing this great day!

TO ALL in the Rocknage and Balach families!  

Ziveli, Long Life!

Djakonica Andreja and Djakon Chris Rocknage!

Thank you to dear V.Rev. Fr. Stevo Rocknage for preparing a small pamphlet explaining the whole ordination to us.  Several times during the service, Fr. Rocknage was overcome with tears in his eyes for witnessing  the joy of this wonderful day!  It was an emotional day for all of us! 

HOPE.  That’s what Fr. Serge Veselinovich called it from Galveston, Texas.  “It’s the greatest gift you could have given me today, learning of this ordination.  It’s HOPE for our Future, the future of the Serbian Orthodox Church!”


The Holy Mystery of Ordination—An Apostolic Truth of our Church

I.  Introduction

From the origin of the Church, at the Feast of the Pentecost in 33 AD, when the Hoy Apostles of our Lord received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire, the Mystery of Hold Orders has continued through the practice of the laying-on of hands of the Diocesan Bishop (also a Disciple of Christ) to our present day, upon those candidates found worthy to answer the call of the Lord. 

St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Church of McKeesport and Duquesne was deeply humbled and moved with profound joy to experience this continued perpetuation of our Faith with the celebration of the Ordination of one of their own ‘sons’, CHRISTOPHER STEPHEN ROCKNAGE, to the rank of Deacon.

II.  Ordination to the Rank of Sub-Deacon nothing ordinary!

After the Bishop had been fully vested, Christopher was brought to him; and after making three prostration in front of the Bishop, Chris bowed his head as the Bishop said prayers over him.  Then the Bishop washed his hands, and the new Sub-Deacon gave him the water and the towel.  Christopher then went to stand in front of the icon of Jesus Christ.

III. Ordination to the Rank of Deacon

After the Consecration of the Holy Gifts, and just before the Lord’s Prayer, Christopher was brought by the attendants to the middle of the CHurch, where he made three prostrations facing the Holy Altar, the last one in front of the Royal Doors, facing the Bishop. 

Christopher was then led around the Holy Altar 3x with the Clergy and the Choir alternately singing, “O Holy Martyrs….”; “Glory to Thee O Chirst God”, the second time, and “Rejoice, O Isaiah…” the third time. 

When completed, Christopher knelt in front of the Holy Altar, with the Bishop standing over him and the Bishop Mitrophan said:  “The Grace Divine, which always heals that which is infirm, and completes that which is found lacking, elevates, through the laying-on of hands, Christopher, the most devout sub-Deacon, to be a Deacon; wherefore, Let us pray for him, that the grace of the all-holy Spirit may come upon him.”

The Clergy, along with the Choir chanted, “Lord have mercy (3x) very softly and slowly, as the Bishop continued to pray over the candidate.

When the prayers were finished, the Bishop stood Christopher up, and taking the Orarion, placed it on his left shoulder and then said in a loud voice, “AXIOS”!’ (Worthy!)  The Clergy said and chanted, “AXIOS!”  Then all the people and the choir said and chanted, “AXIOS!”

Then the Bishop gave the new Deacon his cuffs, saying “AXIOS!”  The Clergy said and chanted “AXIOS!”; and all the people and choir said and chanted, “AXIOS!”

Finally, the Sacramental Fan (Shield) was given to the new Deacon by Bishop Mitrophan, saying “AXIOS”, with the CLergy, Choir and the people responded as before with “AXIOS!”

Newly ordained Deacon Christopher was then led to the Holy Altar where he stood fanning the Holy Gifts, in preparation of receiving the Holy Eucharist.

And it was at this point, where visible tears of joy as both a parent and parish priest overwhelmed Proto Stevan Rocknage, who reached for a box of Kleenex several times before kissing his son, and welcoming him into the ranks of Servers of Christ.


Imagine the Joy!  Feel the Warmth!  Axios!

 Proto Stevo Rocknage, Deacon Chris Rocknage, Proto Ilija Balach 


 All of us felt so lucky to have witnessed this event!


 The Family Celebration just begins!

Are you interested in learning more about the Diaconate program?  Check out the Serbian Eastern Orthodox website here for contacts: 


St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Church of McKeesport and Duquesne (the oldest Serbian Orthodox Church in Eastern America) was the scene of one of the most ancient of rites as Bishop Mitrofan invoked the Power of the Holy Spirit upon Christopher Rocknage during the Holy Divine Liturgy on February 14, 2010. 

His Grace Dr. Bishop Mitrophan gave a sermon about Christopher’s choice to become a deacon in this world full of evil distractions, and the pride his parents and parish must feel because of Chris’ willingness to make many sacrifices that he will certainly be called to do while serving God.  Being a “PK,” Chris and his beautiful architect Djakonica Andreja (also a PK-Priest’s kid), have some idea.


Fr. Deacon Christopher prostrates himself before the icon of the Mother of God. 


His Grace Bishop Mitrophan is invoking the Holy Spirit to send down his blessings on Deacon Christopher.


Fr. Rocknage receives Holy Communion from Bishop Mitrophan, followed by his son, Deacon Christopher.



Click all of the above and below images on the lower right-hand corner to enlarge photos. 


 Very attentive altar boys helped serve their church on a very important occasion!


Young boy lights a candle in St. Sava’s McKeesport/Duq. Church.  Note large painting on far right hand side of St. Sava with his Serbian children.

Read more about the famous St. Sava icons by Aleksander Dzigurski here: 

Burning of St. Sava’s body on Vracar Hill in Belgrade, 1564.


Fr. Stevo Rocknage greets long-time friend and Deacon Christopher’s Kum, Dr. Rick Zivic from Cleveland.

Protonica Joanne Rocknage with dear, long-time friend of the family, the retired priest, V. Rev Joseph Servo of Canton, Ohio, who grew up in the St. Nicholas Church of Monroeville, PA.

 The Medich family was happy to be there!  Jonathan, Nick, Dr. Dave, Victoria & Annie. Mom Dr. Gretchen was sorry she missed it, but she was attending a medical Conference in California and was in a plane coming home when this photo was taken.


Serving this Holy Day in the Altar of St. Sava McKeesport were:

His Grace, Dr. Bishop Mitrophan;

V. Rev. Fr. Stevo Rocknage, Chris’s father

V. Rev. Ilija Balach, Chris’ father-in-law

V. Rev. Joseph Servo, long-time family friend

Deacon Dragoslav Kosic, Deacon to the Bishop

Deacon Nathan Preston, friend of Chris’ from St. Vladimir’s

Deacon Christopher Rocknage

Subdeacon Michael Galloway, cousin to Deacon Chris

Reader Joe Lia, faithful friend

St. Sava Altar Boys

Click bottom right hand corner to enlarge all photos.  An historic Day!


 Commemoration Pamphlet

In Service to Christ and the Orthodox Faith from a very Young Age. 

Bill Salatich-Gillette

How proud we all were of William (Bill) Salatich, who was always so proud of his American-Serb heritage!

His passing is a loss to all of us…..

I thank Martha Zatezalo for sharing this info with me, who received it from George Sladoje, Chairman and CEO of North American Energy Credit and Clearing Corporation located in Chicago, Il.

William G. Salatich (1922-2009)

An American Story

William George Salatich age 87 died today (October 25, 2009) at his home in Northfield, Illinois after a long struggle with congestive heart failure.

Bill, born to Serbian immigrants in Chicago, rose from poverty to become The President of Gillette North America. He was a remarkable man who received many commendations and awards, including A Citation for Merit from the National Conference of Christians and Jews and The Horatio Alger Award from the American Schools and Colleges Associations.

The one he was proudest of was The Citation of Merit for instituting job opportunity and job training programs for African Americans and women at Gillette in the 1970’s. Ahead of his time in many ways, Bill always stood up for the fair treatment of others.

When he was five his father died from silicosis, a respiratory disease as a result of working in The Anaconda Copper mines in Butte Montana.

Although Bill was president of a huge corporation he never lost his respect for working men and women. He believed in hard work and self-improvement, and he always advised others to find work that they enjoyed.

As a young boy whose father had died, Bill began working early delivering papers to help the family. Bill grew up on the North Side of Chicago in a Serbian neighborhood. He always was proud of his Serbian heritage and supported Serbian Americans in numerous ways all his life.

As easily as singing Serbian songs with his friends, Bill could speak with The President of the United States on the golf course about the Serbian cause.

Bill was an excellent athlete in high school, an ace bowler, and a varsity baseball player. Growing up during the Depression, Bill appreciated the importance of having a job. When he received the Horatio Alger Award, after all the Ph.D.’s and others were introduced, he said, “I am honored to be introduced with all these people who have higher education. I don’t have any letters after my name but I have had something for the past 40 years and that is a J-O-B.”

After graduating from Lane Technical High School at 16, Bill went to work in a factory and later managed a bowling alley and drove cab before enlisting in the Army. After being discharged from the Army in 1945 and looking for work, his wife Dawn suggested he take an aptitude test that was being given at the Veteran’s Administration. Not thinking it was worth his while to take it he told her they were no longer giving those tests. She said, “that’s funny because I scheduled one for you tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.” The rest is history. Bill took the test and was referred by the young psychologist to her father, a field manager for Gillette.

Bill started out with a territory on the South Side of Chicago. At first he felt discouraged being only a high school graduate. However, his young wife Dawn encouraged him, and he worked hard at the job and rose through the ranks. He was an innovator who devised new sales techniques and put together the first national sales training program at Gillette. Over the course of thirty-two years at Gillette he had eleven different positions culminating in his Presidency and Vice-Chairmanship of the Board.

His leadership was marked by his compassion and a keen business sense. Gillette diversified into several areas during his tenure from beauty products to small appliances, which made Gillette one of the most successful companies. Although Bill worked hard he never forgot to note that luck always plays a part in success.

Bill retired from Gillette in 1979 shortly before his beloved wife Dawn died from breast cancer. During the ensuing thirty years he was involved in many ventures and served on a number of Boards including the Motorola Corporation, Eastern Gas and Fuel Company, New England Merchant’s Bank, and Advance Corporation of Cable & Broadcast Television. Bill was a trustee of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital and the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs; and a long time director of the Bob Hope Desert Classic, a charity golf tournament.

In 1973 he received an honorary doctorate in business administration from Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. He gave much time and energy to charities, his church, and his family.

Bill was devoted to his second wife of twenty-five years, Phyllis, his four children (Natalie, Jean, William and Sandra), his nine grandchildren (Nicole, Rick, Michelle, William, Robert, Amy, Lindsay, Lily and Eleanor), his three great-grandchildren (Austin, Chase and Emily), his brother Robert, his deceased brother Sam, and his two stepsons Bruce and Douglas Wilmot.

Serbian Americans all know of Bill Salatich. He has been an inspiration to them and their children. He is much beloved by his community and will be missed by many. Bill always felt he was privileged to have such an interesting and full life. He met and knew politicians, movie stars, and sports heroes, but never lost his respect and admiration for the common man.

Pomen Religious Service, November 1, 2009, Sunday 1:30 p.m. (all are welcome) followed by a visitation from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Donnellan Family Funeral Home 10045 Skokie Blvd. at Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60077. Funeral Services, November 2, 2009, Monday 10:00 a.m. at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 5701 North Redwood Drive, Chicago, IL 60631. Interment Montrose Cemetery, Chicago. In lieu of flowers, memorials to American Heart Association, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago, IL 60674 ( would be appreciated. Info: or 847-675-1990

Death Notice

William G. Salatich, Sr. age 87 of Northfield, Illinois. Beloved husband of Phyllis; loving father of Natalie Salatich Jacobson, Jean Salatich, William George (Joy) Salatich, Jr. and Sandra Dawn (Michael) Windholz; stepfather of Bruce E. (Debbie) and Douglas H. (Hilde) Wilmot; dear grandfather of William George Salatich, III, Michelle Salatich (Matthew) Petersen, Amy Joy Salatich, Robert John Salatich, Lindsay Dawn Curtis, Nicole Leigh (William) Tsafos, Richard William Kehrer, Eleanor Eve Windholz and Lily Dawn Windholz; great grandfather of Austin William Kehrer, Chase William Petersen and Emily Dea Petersen; fond brother of Bob (Doris) Susich and the late Sam (the late Millie) Salatich. Pomen Religious Service, November 1st, Sunday 1:30 p.m. (all are welcome) followed by a visitation from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Donnellan Family Funeral Home 10045 Skokie Blvd. at Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Illinois 60077. Funeral Services, November 2nd, Monday 10:00 a.m. at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 5701 North Redwood Drive, Chicago, IL 60631. Interment Montrose Cemetery, 5400 North Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60630. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the American Heart Association would be appreciated, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago, IL 60674 or on line at Info: or 847-675-1990

William G. Salatich          1922-2009 

 In a note to Bill’s family, I wrote how much of an impact Bill had on our family.

Bill would send some sort of Christmas package to my father, Milan Karlo, all the time.  Most of the time it was a new razor or the latest new blades the company made.  But it wasn’t the razor, it was the idea that the gift came from Bill Salatich, from GILLETTE!

To us, Gillette was Bill Salatich.  As kids, we felt “rich” in just knowing that Bill Salatich was Serbian.  

If he could do it,

we ALL could do it!

 He never forgot his roots although he played golf with some of the richest and well-known people in the USA, including our Presidents.

Vjecnaja Pamjat to a True Blue American Serb!

Slava mu! 

Momchilo Savatic, Survivor

Momchilo Savatich

• Born in Belotic, Srbia on November l, 1924 to the parents of Leposava and Milinko. Momo was baptized in the Bela Crkva near Valjevo.

• In 1948, Momo received the first of two Gramata’s for his service to the Serbian Orthodox church. Bishop Sava of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in Germany and Austria presented him the first of his Gramata’s in the camp in Lingen.

• Although he never drove in the US, he never missed a Church service, even during extreme Chicago blizzards.


Read on to learn more about this wonderful man!

+++ Memory Eternal!  Vjecnaja Pamjat! +++

This information is from his son, Mike “Crown” Savatic, who placed this on Facebook on April 5, 2020, in memory of the date his father, Momchilo Savatic passed away, April 5, 2003.

“I post the following details for my children, so they can hopefully put life suffering into perspective:

(And I, Mim Bizic, post this so ALL children can learn of his Bravery, Fortitude, and Loyalty!)

“On this date 17 years ago, my father passed away. His memory remains eternal but more importantly his memory serves as a reminder of what a tough life actually is, especially during this CV-19 situation where we think, we have it bad.

“Imagine losing your mother as a toddler, joining the army at 16, losing your arm at the age of 17, enduring WWII where 85 million people perished, enduring another 6 years in a displaced person camps, not being able to see your homeland or family for 50 years, and then spending the last 6 years of your life unable to walk and use either of your arms?

“How many of us could endure those challenges yet still have a career working third shift for 43 years without a sick day? How about earning two Hierarchical Gramata’s from the Serbian Orthodox Church on two different continents? How about never missing a church service in 50 years? ….it sure gives you a different perspective on the level of suffering during our current pandemic.


Momchilo Savatic

• He was the youngest of four children, his brothers Voja and Pera and his sister Zivka.

• After the loss of his mother during early childhood, his sister Zivka served as his surrogate mother.

• He grew up in a small house in the hills of Belotic until the invasion of his homeland where he joined the local Dobrovoljci forces under the leadership Dmitrije Ljotic.

• In October of 1941 at the age of 17 while defending his homeland, he was shot in the wrist requiring field amputation.

• His injury required five additional amputations due to infection and the poor medical conditions in the field and in a Jewish Synagogue that served as a field hospital.• His near-death experience lasted nearly six months surviving only through his strong believe in the Orthodox faith.

• The next nine years he spent moving from hospital to hospital and from Displacement Camp to Displacement Camp.

• The first of the Displacement Camps was in Eboli, Italy with daily church services that Momo served as Pojac.

• In the displacement camps, he met many of his long time friends and continued his service to both his faith and his Church.

• In 1947, Momo along with many of his Serbian friends was transferred to the Displaced Person Camp in Lingen Germany.

• In 1948, Momo received the first of two Gramata’s for his service to the Serbian Orthodox church. Bishop Sava of the SOC in Germany and Austria presented him the first of his Gramata’s in the camp in Lingen.

(Continued above)


Everyone, EVERYONE should read this story! I now remember meeting him when I spoke in Chicago! Joey (Jovo) Puhar introduced him to me.  I just LOVE his story!


Momchilo, Continued: 

• On October 13, 1951, Momo landed on Ellis Island on the USNS General J.H. MC RAE ship that departed from Bremerhaven on October 3rd of 1951. He was sponsored by the Stokovic family of Libertyville, Illinois.

• Momo found his way to Chicago leading him to the Serbian Community and Church on Schiller Street where he began his devoted service as Church Cantor (Pojac).

 In 1951, Momo went to work for the Barr Company, where he worked the third shift. This arrangement allowed him the opportunity to attend, assist and sing responses to all church services, both during the week and on weekends.

• Although he never drove in the US, he never missed a Church service, even during extreme Chicago blizzards.

• Through the Serbian community he met and married his wife Ruzica in 1960.

• In 1961 his son Mihailo was born.

• In 1968 his daughter Jelena was born.

• In 1968 Momo and Ruzica sponsored the immigration of Ruzica’s sister Jelka. In the US. Jelka married and eventually gave birth two daughters Nada and Tanja.

• In 1985 his son Mike married Nada Dragin.

• Mica and Nada have six children Marko, Mimi, Tali, Kaca, Kiki and Stevo

• In 1993 his daughter Jelena married Brent Logerquist * Jelena and Brent have two children: Jason and Luke

• In 1994 Momo retired from Barr Company, after 43 years of service and never missing a day of work.

• In 1996 Momo was awarded his second Gramata by Metropolitan Christopher for his devoted service to the Serbian Orthodox Church in America. Momo served as a Pojac for over 50 years and was recognized as a benefactor to the building of the HRC church and hall on Redwood Drive.

• In April of 1998 Momo was striken by the first of many debilitating strokes but still attended church regularly. Having lost his right arm during the second world war and having his left side debilitated by the numerous strokes, left Momo in a condition of needing help to perform even the basic human functions for six years.

• On April 4th of 2003, Momo passed away in Libertyville, Illinois.

• On April 7th of 2003, Momo was laid to rest at St Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois.

• On September 21, 2003, Momo was recognized for contributions by the Circle of Serbian Sisters of Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois.

• In 2004, the Serbian Singing Federation recognized Momo for his sacrificed time and effort to preserve the strength of the Serbian Singing Federation.



Granddaughter Kristina!

…The world just became a little brighter with the news that Katarina (Kaca) Savatic was recently accepted into the PhD program at Northwestern University. She will begin her highest level of academic studies and continue her success with the study of her master’s degree focus on geology. Katarina is no lightweight in this category of expertise. She has just completed her master’s area of concentration with her graduate project of looking at Permian-Triassic boundary in a continental setting in Queensland Australia. She hopes to understand the factors causing the onset of this mass extinction event through analysis of subsurface data and comparing her findings to current work being done on similar basin in New South Wales.

“Katarina has also worked as a teaching and research assistant. She has completed work for a master’s degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where her studies focused on looking to understand the paleoclimatic and sedimentological changes that occurred roughly 252 million years ago, where 95% of all taxa went extinct at the end-Permian mass extinction.

Sargentich Smithsonian Watch

I first learned of the great deeds of the Sargentich family from an article in the SERB WORLD magazine. More iwll follow here!



August 11, 1933




February 13, 1908


Serbian Embassy In Budapest, Hungary 2018

Note the location of Heroes Square to the Serbian Embassy in Budapest, Hungary.  Mim and Žikica, the Ambassador’s chauffeur. He was delightful!


The Serbian Embassy in Budapest, Hungary, where His Excellency, Ambassador Rade Drobac serves. Ambassador Drobac was busy, but Minister Counselor, Jelena Cvijanovic gave us a lovely tour.

The Legend of the Budapest Goose:

Finding the Embassy by Serendipity!

On day 9 of our 11 day CROWNS OF CENTRAL EUROPE tour with Gate 1 Travel, my sisters Rose Gantner and Alexandra Nolan, along with cousin Cheri Bobik and Kuma Natalie Wuchenich and Dejan Maksimovich were in Budapest.  We had traveled from Prague, the Czech Republic, to the UNESCO town of Regensburg and Munich in Germany, to “Sound of Music” Saltzburg and beautiful St. Wolfgang Lake in Austria, back to Germany to see the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s notorious Bavarian hideout, supposedly built for his 50th birthday as a surprise.  Then it was on to Vienna, Austria where we enjoyed a buggy carriage ride in the afternoon and heard a wonderful concert dedicated to Mozart and Straus in the evening.  Now we were in Budapest, Hungary, definitely long on my Bucket List.

We had traveled all morning from Vienna, and arrived in time for an afternoon tour.  We ate lunch downtown and later visited the Fisherman’s Bastion and toured the St. Matthias Church, seeing breathtaking panoramic views of the city in 90 degree plus weather, highly unusual for this time of year. By the time we got to the incredible HEROES Square after going through the adjoining Varosliget city park, I was finished. There was no way I could hop on and off the bus again.  I was content to view it from the bus, as I was still able to hear our guide speak of its many wonders.

I watched our tour group following our city guide, and all of a sudden, what I thought was a Canada Goose flew close to the bus.

Hmm.  My family and I have some “spiritual connection” to Canada geese and doves.  “Did I just see one?” I questioned myself. “I didn’t realize they’re here in Hungary too, this far away from North America,” I thought to myself.

Just then two smaller birds flew by.  “Oh, it was just a big bird,” I tried to convince myself, when unexpectedly, for sure, the Canada Goose flew VERY close to the bus.  “Mum? Gus?  Is that you?” I know it sounds weird, but its the truth. I stared at the Goose and watched as it did a few loops in the sky and then suddenly turned left, my eyes never losing sight of my “Messenger.”  From my peripheral vision I saw the crowd taking photos at the monumental Heroes Square, created to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest of Hungary.

Over the heads of my companions it flew, and then suddenly disappeared! Gone! Only a second of time, when I blinked, hoping to see what had happened to it.  Instead of the Canada Goose, I saw the Serbian flag!  It was the Serbian Embassy, about a long block away, so close, right across the street! None of the others had seen it!  How I pounded on the window, trying to get my traveling buddies’ attention to no avail. But soon Natalie boarded the bus, and I breathlessly told her to look out the window!  “Look!  That’s the Serbian Embassy!” I told her.

“Where is the American SRBOBRAN when you need it?” she asked, thinking we had left it behind. “Right here!” I reached into my bag, and off we were, ready to spread the word to the others.  Once tired Milana (Mim) sprang off the bus!

Natalie took a selfie photo of the two of us holding our SRBOBRAN with lots of pride. Later, I bounced onto the bus with so much energy, proclaiming, “Look what Emotional Intelligence” can do to the body!”  I certainly was rejuvenated!  I asked our guide if she could arrange a visit for us the next day.  She did!  We were to be at the Embassy by 10:00 AM!

While Alex and Dan went on an optional tour of the Parliament Building, Natalie, Rose, Cheri and I took a cab to the Embassy, just a straight shot from our hotel, but too far to walk.  There we met with our guide, Jelena Cvijanovich, Councellor of Consular Affairs in the Consulate building. Jelena knew His Excellency, Ambassador Djerdj Matkovich, the present head of the Serbian Embassy in Washington, DC, as he was her former boss.  We showed Jelena the copy of the American SRBOBRAN and said how Ambassador Matkovic was featured on the cover of the SRBOBRAN only an issue or two before when he toured the Serb National Federation headquarters in Pittsburgh.  Thank you, Jelena and Zikica, for a fine time with you all! xoxoxo

 Rose, Mim, Cheri and Natalie with the Serbian Crest and SRBOBRAN at the Budapest Embassy.


 Lovely room, lovely ceiling!


 Mim and Jelena with the Hungarian and Serbian flags in the background.  Look at the beautiful walls, and extra woodwork, grillwork and drapes!


Mim and Jelena at the monument, across sthe street from beautiful HEROES Square!


Farewell to our Serbian Embassy in Budapest!  What a visit we had.  Thank you all!  On the steps, Mim Bizic, Rose Gantner with SRBOBRAN, Cheri Bobik and Natalie Wuchenich. 

Top of Monument at Heroes Square, built to commemorate the 1000th Anniversary of the Magyar conquest of Hungary.

Alex at the Monument at Heroes Square, across the street from the Serbian Embassy in Budapest!

Magnificent sculptures at Heroes Square.



At the Counsalate in Budapest:

Natalie Wuchenich, Mim Bizic, Jelena Cvijanovic who would be leaving the Budapest Embassy for a post in Belgrade soon after our visit, Cheri Bobik and Rose Gantner.


Mim with American SRBOBRAN by beautiful doorway at Counsalate.


Beautiful stained glass doorway at Counsalate.


 In front of the piece found from the Roman times when excavating the building!


Beautiful ceiling.


Chandelier in hallway


 Embassy building in Hungary


The beautiful windows are important as there are photos at the Embassy of Jovan Duchich working there…


I was so impressed with the marble and brass grillwork!



Impressive meeting room.


Beautiful ceiling and chandelier in the Embassy.


Although the curio cabinets were filled with beautiful china, there was also this display case filled with Serbian handiwork.

In front of the monument.


Serbian handicrafts-"Rucni Rad"-made from hand

Judy Klaich Zetz Peters, my distant relative and traveling companion on our Kosovo Men’s Choir trip (August, 2008), purchased many of these unique patterns of crocheted pieces for her Mom and Aunts to see, as they, too, do unique crochet work.  Judy said the woman selling the pieces in Belgrade almost kissed her from happiness as she purchased so many different pieces.  “I think I paid her rent for the next two months,” Judy quipped.  The workmanship is fantastic.  Either side could be used as the you can’t see any seams or end pieces.

First Judy bought these books so she could know more about her own Austro-Hungarian Empire -Krajina-Serbian roots.  Several pairs of gloves were purchased too, each one unique unto itself.

There are other handicrafts made by the Serbs.  Here are a few examples of some huge (about 24″ tall) handmade Serbian dolls. And how about that pillow in front made around 1934?

The label says the dolls were originals made by the Serbian Artists Studio.  Even the cloth skirts were like the original “narodna nosinje” costumes!  These dolls were a gift to me from my neighbor, Avery Kaminsky.  Great find, Avery!

Grand-niece Amelia and her American (Serbian) doll, she has named “Olivia.”


This “St. George” peskira (long towel decorated on each end with embrodiery and crochet at the bottom), was a gift to Mim from her husband’s relative, “Dragica,” in Virgin Most during a 1988 visit to the Krajina area of Kordun.  It has been used to carry the “kolach” (sweet bread) to church on St. George’s Day, May 6th, each year ever since.

The Serbs from the Krajina (now Croatia!) are known for their magnificent needle skills.  Several decorated tablecloths of Saints have been purchased from several of the more than 250,000 poor Serbian refugees from the Krajina, now living in or near Belgrade, many in the most humble of shelters.

Dragica died during the conflict in the Krajina. Vjecnaja pamjat.  She was so full of life when she presented this to us in 1988.

Their Embroidery AND Crochet work was so Creative!

I wrote a story for SERB WORLD when returning from our trip in 1988, before the tragedy in the Krajina- Operation STORM, “OLUJA,” saying how I saw hundreds of these in ONE house, each one different, as part of a wedding dowry the “Zadruga” ladies in this particular Virgin Most household were preparing for a bright future. Some featured deer, bunny rabbits, birds, any kind of floral imaginable.  Each peskira was so unique. How the ladies loved holding them up for me to see, and I “ohhed” and “ahhed” over each new “surprise.”  Each future wedding guest was to receive one as a wedding “favor,” to wear around their necks, tied at the side.  I remember kidding them that I would come back for that wedding, just to get my “favor.”  Of course, none of those peskiras made the trip as the Serbs fled for their lives on carts and tractors to Knin, then Bosnia.  We’re lucky to have these few examples of their divine handiwork.  Memory Eternal!

Did you know that Patriarch Pavle was from the Krajina
area like so many of us in the U.S.A?

Our Patriarch Paul was born Gojko Stojcevic on Sept. 11, 1914,  in the village of Kucanci, near Donji Miholjac  (then in Austria-Hungary, now in Croatia!)

Because of his personal humility and lifestyle, he has been called “the saint that walks.”  You can read about how as Bishop of Kosovo, he was severely beaten by several youths, requiring nearly three months of hospitalization, but in the spirit of Christian forgiveness, he refused to press charges.

To visit a wonderful church site that will teach you so much more about our church and its leaders, go to this websiste:  SPCPORTAL.ORG.

 You will find photo galleries of our monasteries, costumes, icons, Serbian rulers, recipes for fasting, etc.  Don’t forget to come back!


From my Baba Andja Mamula via my mother, Laura (Latinka) Mamula Karlo, these beautiful pieces of Serbian crocheted handiwork above.


Serbs in the Krajina  (Military Kordun)

 from Global Oneness Encyclopedia…...

The first records of Serbs in Knin and Lika are from 1242.  There are three major Serbian Orthodox monasteries found there:

Krupa (1317) started by King Stephen Uros II Milutin, finished by Emperor Stephen Uros IV Dusan in 1346, both being from the House of Nemanja. 

Krka, where our bishop studied, from built in 1346 by Jelena, sister of Stephen Dusan.

Dragovic was built in the 14th Century, but was later moved stone by stone during the construction of the artificial Peruca Lake.

There are several other Serbian Orthodox monasteries, including Gormije, where many of the Serbs from Pittsburgh, PA. settled.

The Austrians allowed the Serbs the opportunity to live in what is now present day Croatia in exchange for guarding the “Military Frontier.”  After a certain number of years in serving in the Austrian army, the Serbs were able to be free and granted land. The Charter for this hangs in the Museum of the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade.


 Saints Peter and Paul with their church…..

Through all their trials and tribulations, the Krajina Serbs kept their religion and deep Orthodox faith! They’re EXPERT needleworkers to be able to “paint” with threads like this example of St. John the Forerunner (Sveti Jovan), shows!

One of TWO blouses Dorothy Bizic brought with her from Virgin Most, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes when she came to America in 1930.  Click image above to enlarge to focus on beautiful embroidery handwork.

Here’s +Dorothy Kl(j)aich Bizic in her later years, feeding her beloved geese on Valley Road in Ambridge, PA.  Photo by Milan M. Karlo.


Here’s something even much earlier!

Karamarkovich Family Rug

The Karamarkovich Family in 1918
Back row:  Sons Dan and Nick, with their Father, Elia.  Front row:  Daughter Louise, Mother Milka, Son George.  Louise is the mother of George Vurgich, Ralph Vurgich and Dolores Vignovich.  Dolores (retired school teacher) is the carekeeper of the precious blanket made by Milka in 1895. Dolores’ brother George Vurgich is a retired High School Principal and Supervisor of Student Teachers from the University of Pittsburgh. Their brother Ralph Vurgich held a very responsible job with the NSA, the National Security Administration, before retiring.  The blanket represents much more than a woven blanket.  It endures as Milka’s gifts to America….. her blanket, her children, and grandchildren who contributed so much to the warp and weft, the fabric of America!
The baby on this photo, also named George, was the father of our famous general, General George Karamarkovich!
There was one more son Milka had, born in 1918, Eli.  But sadly, Eli died only 30 years later from TB.
George (the Principal) says his mother Louise was a good mother and very hard worker.  She died at age 56 in 1967 when George was 27, Dolores 22, and Ralph 20.  “She never wanted anything for herself and got little recognition for her hard work.  How proud she would be to know she made the www.babamim website page that goes all over the world!”
George is proud of the fact that he still has the afghan she made for him and his wife Lee in 1962.



Beautiful crochet work…..

The Serbian needlework represented here is just magnificent! 


Judy received this one as a gift from the overjoyed woman.

This lady was one of several selling her wares along busy Knez Mihailo Boulevard, August, 2008. There are also many vendors/sellers in Kalamegdan Park, which makes strolling such a delightful pastime in Belgrade!

An umbrella is a popular way to show off a beautiful round table cover.

She also embroidered this delightful shawl I purchased for my sister.

This HUGE wall-sized Serbian crest was made all by hand using little flower-ettes, a stroke of creative genius! It was brought from the Krajina area to Pittsburgh, PA USA, by “Teta” Mayme and Pero Kovachevich in 1939.  Click the image to enlarge. 


Click photo above to enlarge.

This is a “peskira” or towel used for special celebrations like Slavas or Weddings.  This particular one was signed:  M.B. III.  Unbelievably, it was found at a Flea Market in Beaver, PA, the cost only $5.00!

The peskira was folded over and all that was showing was the one line of writing on the bottom.  It probably didn’t make any sense to any other passersby, but as soon as I saw the Cyrillic letters, I knew, and without even opening the rest of the LONG, folded 10 Ft. linen that revealed the beautiful eagle and crest, I purchased it, “Even if it is full of holes!” I remember thinking! Imagine my surprise and delight, to find the beautiful crest design (no holes!), complete with my initials!  And like all peskiras, it had not one end design, but TWO of them!

The writing on the bottom says:  GRB:SHS or, Shield/Flag of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.  This was probably made before 1929. 


Be sure to check out the “St. George” peskira on the SLAVA page of this website too!

Close up of St. George


All different floral designs!



Art from the Krajina

Magnificent embroidery skills

Peskiras worn for wedding


The middle of this flag was also made by the same women from Virgin Most.  It featured crossed American and Serbian flags, in front of a double-headed eagle with a crown that said “Bog Cuva Srbiju.”  This homemade flag was displayed in the annual Nationality Days in Ambridge in the 1970’s, taken to Detroit Kosovo in 1989, and to NYC, Washington, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, to help demonstrate against the unfair treatment of the Serbian people during the last almost 20 years.  It is shown here above, Flag Day, June 14, 2008, on Toledo’s Metcalf Airfield, for the fly-by honoring Arthur Jibilian (center), WWII radioman, and one of the OSS heroes, who together with the Serbs, helped rescue 512 U.S. Airmen from behind German Lines in Yugoslavia when they bailed out after bombing the Ploesti Oil Fields in Roumania.  “Jibby” is prominently featured in the hardback book called THE FORGOTTEN 500 by author Gregory Freeman.


More beautiful handicrafts from the Krajina Serb refugees in Belgrade. Above is of St. Elijah going up to heaven in his fiery chariot!

Recognize the “SUMADIJO” embroidery in Cyrillic?

All from Krajina refugees.

God bless them all!


The blouse Dorothy Bizic probably wore when she came to America in 1930.

 Close-up of the detailed embroidery on the neckline.

Detail of the embroidery work on the sleeve of this beautiful and dainty “see through” blouse!

Click on ALL of the above photos to enlarge and study the handiwork closer.  The needlework practiced by these rural women was truly amazing!

Mim Bizic wears her Mother-in-law’s blouse in 2001, 71 years after it was brought to America! It was worn for the special event commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Serb National Federation (SNF) at the William Westin Penn in Pittsburgh, PA.  Mim was in charge of the Centennial Photo Exhibit that documented 100 years of SNF history.  The event was captured in all of the local newspapers.  The newspaper clipping above shows this one went nationwide as an AP photo!


Karamarkovich Family Rug

At the 100th Anniversary of (PA) Monroeville’s St. Nicholas Church, I was able to photograph this rug and photo on display, made by Mildred Karamarkovich in 1895 for her baby.  Mildred (Milka) was 18 years old at the time.

Granddaughter Dolores says the baby blanket was made from lamb’s wool and was home spun and hand loomed.  It was also Milka’s original design and the vivid colors are from original (natural) , organic materials.  The explanation slip says Milka’s dipping the yarns in the boy’s urine helped preserve the yarn colors.

She used the blanket with her two oldest sons Dan and Nick.  She came to the U.S. when she was 32 years old in 1909 and made sure the blanket came with her.

The famous Germantown Eye Dazzler Indian Rugs have nothing on Milka!


A lovely Birthday gift from my dear friend,

Vangie Prisuta Montag

to grace this page and pass onto a certain granddaughter!

This cloth was also made by the Serbian Krajina refugees from Croatia now living in Belgrade.

Srce moje i srce tvoje u lubavi stoje.”

It’s a large size, 20″ x 28″ 

 Thank you, Vang!


It’s not embroidery or crochet, but Alex Starcevich’s creations deserve to be here too!  Love that pumpkin! Halloween, 2011.


Milica Loncar Kl(j)aich, seen here with husband, Joe Klaich on their 50th  anniversary,

crocheted large tablecloths of patterns like this one for each of her grandchildren early on in their marriages.  The one of the pattern shown here belongs to Mim Bizic, wife of +Gus Bizic, Milica’s grandson, who has had it for over 40 years.

All receivers of Milica’s artistry have greatly appreciated her great handiwork (“rucni rad”) all the years they have graced our dining room tables.

When other Serbian artisans see this pattern on my table, they say,  “You can quickly idenitfy the area from which it came.  Serbian Orthodox Baba Milica Klaich was from Gornji Sjenicak region of Kordun, then in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, then afterwards known as Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Yugoslavia.


Thanks to Obrad Kesic for photographing this beautiful display of ethnographic treasures for us in August, 2014.

Just click on the photo to enlarge it!

Thanks, Obrad! 🙂



Monasteries you should know

While searching for information on Zica Monastery which recently celebrated the end of its 800th Anniversary with a concert given by the Kosovo Serbian Men’s Choir of Eastern Ohio, I found this website with beautiful photos of the outside of our most important Serbian monasteries:

Photos of important Serbian Monasteries 

 The site starts with the Patriarchate in Belgrade, then moves back to Pec (1345), then lists St. Sava as the Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and all names of the Patriarchs of Serbia that followed, along with the dates they served.  Afterwards, photos of these monasteries followed:

Zica, Studenica, Gracanica, Visoki Decani, Manasija, Sopocani, Mileseva, Ravanica, Ljubostinja and finally, with the most Holy of all Serbian monasteries, Hilandar.  The piece ends with the importance of celebrating our Slava, and a great kolach!  Good job!


    However, no one can surpass the Serbian Unity Congress BLAGO Treasures documentation of all of our Serbian Monasteries because so much time was spent on EACH monastery, documenting each fresco and the importance of each to Christianity.  The Serbian Unity Congress does so many things well, but the BLAGO FUND Archive has always been one of my favorites.  To see more, click on the website below here:

The monasteries detailed here are:  Decani, Pillars of St. George, St. Peter’s Church, Sopacani, Gracanica, Ravanica, Mileseva, Manasija, and Studenica.

Blago Fund Archives of the Monasteries 

 Be sure to check out the Blago Crew At Work section.  Also, Serbs throughout the world should know that the Serbian Unity Congress recently donated slides and DVDs on Serbia’s monasteries to Princeton and Harvard Universities.  This is the 10th year of their lasting labor of love.  Congratulations to Nenad Vukicevic and his talented, dedicated team! To give you an example, there are 3 churches that make up the Patriarchate of Pec.  The small Church of St. Nicholas ALONE has 253 detailed fresco photographs, as well as two virtual reality movies. 


Our Kosovo Monasteries have to be guarded….

Monastery at PEC.  Patriarchate, 2006

God bless our Nuns who guard our Monasteries.

Inside courtyard at the Monastery at Pec.

Troops who guard the Pec Monastery.


 Monk calling all to Vespers at Decani Monastery

Decani Monastery Complex

Troops guarding Decani Monastery



New friends we met nearby!

“Djudjevi Stupovi” above Novi Pazar.  They’re trying to raise funds to REBUILD the two  twin towers.  Perhaps you’ve seen some of the YouTUBE videos to raise money for the Towers.

Shown here is the model of the church the way it USED to be with the TOWERS, and daj Boze, will be once again. Click photo to enlarge.


Going into Manasija Monastery. 
Three Holy Warriors fresco in the Manasija Monastery-13th Century!
Happy 800th Anniversary to  Monastery ZICA! 1208-2008
2007 Gamzigrad-Romuliana, Pace of Galerius
2007 Mehmed Pasa Sokolovic Bridge in Visegrad
In America we also have beautiful churches and monasteries.
Most beloved are the churches at Mother of God Monastery at Shadeland, PA,
Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Libertyville, IL
New Gracanica Monastery in Gray’s Lake, IL
and Jackson Camp
in Jackson, CA.
To read more, visit this website of the Monasteries of North and South America: