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Historical Society

Historical Society Exhibit: Serbs in Arts and Entertainment

By | Fundraising, General Information/News, Historical Society, Serb Fest 2017 | No Comments

Visit the exhibit during Serb Fest 2017 to learn about the Serbian connection with this famous Hollywood classic.

“Serbs in Arts and Entertainment” is the theme of this year’s special exhibit by the St. Sava Serbian Historical Society that will be featured throughout Serb Fest 2017 (www.serbfest.org).

The exhibit features the talents and accomplishments of modern day and historic Serbs in the arts.

For centuries Serbian artists, poets, Pulitzer Prize winning authors, composers, and actors have made their contributions to society by sharing their talents.

Some of these special individuals have unique connections here with St. Sava Church that has been serving the Northwest Indiana community for more than 100 years.

Visit the exhibit located in the North Wing of the main Church building throughout the festival. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

100 years of history available in commemorative book about St. Sava Church

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Browse the recently released 347 page hard cover book that has captured the memories and accomplishments of the first 100 years at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana.

The books are available for pick-up through contact with Dorothy Paunovich and members of the Historical Society at St. Sava Church will help deliver books to the elderly.

The Commemorative Book Committee at St. Sava Church would like to extend sincere appreciation for the patience everyone has shared in anticipation of the completion of St. Sava’s 100th Anniversary Commemorative Book. A talented team of dedicated volunteer people from St. Sava Church has been working to preserve and share these precious moments with you.

Anyone who purchased a full page Ad or half page Ad will receive a free book (one book per family). Additional books are available for purchase for $40 each, plus $10 shipping per address. To order, contact Dorothy Paunovich at 510-289-9862 or send e-mail to dorothyshops@gmail.com for details.

You may also arrange to pick-up your Commemorative Book by calling the Church Office at 219-736-9191.

Historical Society at St. Sava Merrillville celebrates St. Varnava Slava – Sunday, Nov. 13

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The Historical Society at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, IN will celebrate their patron saint, St. Varnava, with a special luncheon following the Divine Liturgy Sunday, November 13.

The luncheon celebrates our Historical Society and their Patron Saint, St. Varnava, the first American Born Serbian Saint who originated from Gary, Indiana where St. Sava Church was his home parish.

The Divine Liturgy will at 10:00 a.m. with Blessing of the Slava Kolach immediately following the Liturgy. After the blessing of the Slava Kolach, a luncheon.

Information about St. Confessor Varnava

  • Saint Varnava is the first American-born Serbian to be proclaimed an Orthodox Saint.
  • Born Vojislav Nastich on Jan. 31, 1914, St. Confessor Varnava spent his early years in Gary as a student at Froebel Elementary before his father moved the family back to Yugoslavia in 1923, settling in Sarajevo.
  • After finishing high school and the Theological Faculty in Belgrade, he took his vows at Mileshevo Monastery in 1940. Shortly afterward, World War II came to Yugoslavia, and Varnava was highly critical of the Yugoslav National Liberation Army, which wanted to establish power in the country and abolish the church.
  • Once he was ordained a priest in 1944 and Bishop of Hvosno in 1947, the Communists, who’d now taken control, said Varnava could head the church, but he would have to support the party. Varnava refused and was subsequently tried as a traitor. He was imprisoned for many years and eventually died under mysterious circumstances on Nov. 12, 1964, though some sources say he was poisoned.
  • St. Confessor Varnava was the first child baptized in St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church on 13th Avenue and Connecticut Street in 1914, and served as its first altar boy.

Milana “Mim” Bizic to deliver keynote at St. Sava 102nd Anniversary Celebration – Sunday, Oct. 9

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St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church will celebrate its 102nd Anniversary taking place Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 with Milana “Mim” Bizic delivering the keynote speech during the special program taking place immediately following the Divine Liturgy at 9191 Mississippi Street in Merrillville, Indiana.

mim-bizic

Milana “Mim” Bizic

Bizic’s speech is titled, “Gary-Merrrillville, 102 Years and Counting.” In the speech Bizic will talk about those hard-working poštseni pioneers who have come before us as we look ahead to future endeavors.

Bizic explained, “I can’t begin to tell you how honored I am to have been invited to speak on this 102nd Anniversary of St. Sava in Merrillville, from the ashes of old ‘Srbska Geri’ to this huge white gleaming Flagship that serves as a Beacon in the Midwest for all Serbian Orthodox people everywhere.”

Bizic is well known in the Serbian community for her extensive work documenting the Serbian and American-Serbian experiences at her website “American Serb History 101 with Baba Mim” that can be found online (http://www.babamim.com/).

The anniversary celebration will begin with Divine Hierarchical Liturgy Officiated by His Grace Bishop Longin and Visiting Clergy beginning at 10:00 a.m. followed by an Anniversary Banquet and Program in the St. Sava Event Center beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The program will feature posting of Colors/National Anthem, SSS. Karageorge Choir, recognition of Church Organizations, introduction of guests, and a performance by the St. Sava Folklore Group Srbadija.

More information about special guest speaker Milana “Mim” Bizic

Milana (“Mim”) Karlo Bizic earned a B.S. degree in three (3) years from the University of Pittsburgh where she had a four-year scholarship; a Master’s Degree in 1967; School Library Certification in 1970; and Gifted and Talented Certification in 1981.

Her professional experience includes teaching all Elementary grade level students K-6;  Teaching Graduate level courses for Penn State University (Beaver Campus for nine years until 1994), Carlow College and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, where she taught fellow educators how to creatively integrate computers into their curriculums across all disciplines and all grade levels, K-12; working as a Supervisor of Student Teachers for the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) after she retired from working 40+ years teaching in the public schools, most notably for Quaker Valley School District.

Honors received by Milana (“Mim”) Karlo Bizic include:

  • Serbian Unity Congress Honoree-1995- 96
  • Serb National Federation Person of the Year 2008;
  • "Kuma" for St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church, Aliquippa, Aug., 2012
  • Tesla Science Foundation Leadership Award, Philadelphia, June 28, 2014
  • Named #16 of the 100 most influential Serbs in the world (Srba u Svetu) March 1, 2016 by Blic

According to Dr. Milena Tatic-Bajich of Chicago, IL, “Mim is one of the best ambassadors of the Serbian community that we have.  Not only is she poised to let us know what it means to be Serbian, but to be proud of the fact even in an age where it may not be so popular.   She truly knows what it means to connect in a real way.  The real way is through her own heart and soul and through her living a Serbian life while in America and several generations removed.”

102nd Anniversary Schedule of Events

  • 10:00 a.m.
    • Divine Liturgy and Parastos, Laying of Memorial Wreath
  • 12:30 p.m.
    • Anniversary Banquet and Program in the St. Sava Event Center
    • Posting of Colors/National Anthem
    • S.S.S. Karageorge Choir
    • Recognition of Church Organizations
    • Introduction of Guests
    • St. Sava Folklore Group
    • Keynote Speaker – Milana “Mim” Bizic

Summer Camp 2016 at St. Sava Merrillville – Registration Deadline June 1

By | Children's Choir, Folklore Groups, General Information/News, Historical Society, Karageorge Choir, Sunday School | No Comments

The registration deadline for Summer Camp 2016 at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana will be June 1 so now is a great time to download the registration form and get it submitted before it is too late.

The summer day camp will take place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday beginning the week of June 13, 2016. Monday and Wednesday will feature fun activities at St. Sava Church in Merrillville and Friday will be a special day of activities at Lemon Lake Park  in Crown Point (6322 West 133rd Avenue, Crown Point, IN 46307).

Children may come for all three days of the camp or only for specific days as noted at time of registration.

The camp is open to ALL children throughout the greater Northwest Indiana and Chicago area communities regardless of religious background. Whether you go to church every Sunday or have never seen the inside of a church, all children are welcome at the St. Sava Summer Camp in Merrillville, Indiana.

Registration is required before June 1 and the form is be available for download from the church website along with news updates about the camp that will be available at www.saintsava.net/blog through the registration deadline.

There is no charge for this camp, but donations are greatly appreciated.

Each day of camp will be hosted by different organizations of the church with special activities planned for each day.

  • Monday, June 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – hosted by Karageorge Choir and Historical Society in the South Wing Social Center of the church.
  • Wednesday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – hosted by Sunday School and Kolo in the South Wing Social Center of the church.
  • Friday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – hosted by Srbadija Folklore Group with drop-off/pick-up taking place directly at Lemon Lake Park.

The camp drop-off and pick-up Monday and Wednesday will take place at St. Sava Church in Merrillville, IN. Friday will be a field day with the day extended to 4 p.m. at Lemon Lake Park in Crown Point, IN (6322 West 133rd Avenue, Crown Point, IN 46307).

The camp is looking for high school and college students to work as chaperones. Please e-mail karen.knezic@saintsava.net to volunteer or request more information.

Visit the St. Sava Merrillville Summer Camp 2016 Facebook Event Page for more information.

St. Sava announces dates for Summer Camp 2016 in Merrillville

By | Children's Choir, Folklore Groups, General Information/News, Historical Society, Karageorge Choir, Kolo Sisters, Sunday School | No Comments

Summer Camp 2016 at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana will take place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday beginning the week of June 13, 2016.

Children may come for all three days of the camp or only for specific days as noted at time of registration.

The camp is open to ALL children throughout the greater Northwest Indiana and Chicago area communities regardless of religious background. Whether you go to church every Sunday or have never seen the inside of a church, all children are welcome at the St. Sava Summer Camp in Merrillville, Indiana.

Registration is required before June 1 and the form will be available for download from the church website along with news updates about the camp that will be available at www.saintsava.net/blog through the registration deadline.

There is no charge for this camp, but donations are greatly appreciated.

Each Day of camp will be hosted by different organizations of the church with special activities planned for each day.

  • Monday, June 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – hosted by Karageorge Choir and Historical Society
  • Wednesday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – hosted by Sunday School and Kolo
  • Friday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – hosted by Srbadija Folklore Group

The camp drop-off and pick-up Monday and Wednesday will take place at St. Sava Church in Merrillville, IN. Friday will be a field trip with the day extended to 4 p.m. and the location to-be-determined.

The camp is looking for high school and college students to work as chaperones. Please e-mail karen.knezic@saintsava.net to volunteer or request more information.

Visit the St. Sava Merrillville Summer Camp 2016 Facebook Event Page for more information.

Ted Erceg Shares Memories of “Aunt” Daisy Wuletich

By | General Information/News, Historical Society, Obituaries & Memorials | No Comments
Desanka "Daisy" Wuletich

Desanka “Daisy” Wuletich

The following was shared by Ted Erceg, a former 6-term Executive Board President at St. Sava Church, after the Pomen Service for Desanka “Daisy” Wuletich which took place Monday, January 4, 2016.

One of the most difficult tasks is to deliver these messages about someone you loved and knew all your life but when it’s time for them to pass, there is never enough to say what you want. That is my relationship with Daisy Wuletich.

Many years ago when her father Jefto (maybe you called him John) was President of St. Sava Church. Jefto appointed my father Mike to be a church Tutor. It was said by Daisy’s friends that she inherited many of her qualities from her parents, habits that instilled business acumen, orderliness and temperament. Daisy spent her whole life at St. Sava serving on any number of committees, but she is known to many of us as our favorite Sunday School teacher – she indeed knew her Bible studies and lived accordingly.

She was proficient enough in the Serbian language to translate for hundreds of refugees who came to us after WWII. Daisy spoke with them, and for them, and taught their children how to begin their lives in America on a solid Christian footing.

Years later Daisy kept many a church president informed on topics of church etiquette and social grace, which for many of us Serbs in Gary was difficult. Daisy also maintained a down-to-earth presence in everyday church activities. And she had a way of saying it nicely. I recall a church president who came to the office when our new church in Merrillville was under construction. He asked her to continue as Secretary because of her office skills. She hesitated at first asking how things would be different or difficult than before. She was told it would be different and difficult and she accepted the challenge immediately, known she would not do a mediocre job. She was marvelous at everything asked of her.

Daisy kept our clergy and Board apprised of our challenges, seeing us through many difficult situations, and she did it with a soft, feminine touch. For those who were fortunate enough to know Daisy, she was the very definition of a role model.

Daisy knew far more than she showed. She understood our Holy Holidays and she know how to celebrate them – Slavas, Weddings, Baptisms, the things she did she did with knowledge and with grace. That was the essence of your, and our, “Aunt” Daisy Wuletich.

Vjecnaja Pamjat, Desanka.

Ted Erceg 1/4/16

Funeral services will take place at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, 9191 Mississippi St, Merrillville, IN 46410; interment will follow at the Calumet Park Cemetery, Merrillville.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to St. Sava Church.

More information about Daisy Wuletich is available at – http://www.saintsava.net/desanka-daisy-wuletich-memory-eternal-%E2%9C%9D-vjecnaja-pamjat/

St. Sava Historical Society “Serbian Weddings” Exhibit Feature Continues

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The Historical Society at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church is featuring a “Serbian Weddings” exhibit in the North Wing of the Church complex in Merrillville, Indiana.

The exhibit features many artifacts and images from Serbian Weddings throughout the years along with crowns and other items used during Serbian Wedding ceremonies.

The exhibit has been on display since the Serb Fest in August 2015. The exhibit is one of several rotating exhibits setup by the Historical Society at St. Sava.

Arrangements can be made to see the exhibit after Sunday Church services or other days of the week depending on group sizes. The Historical Society has even hosted bus loads of people for special exhibit showings.

To see the exhibit or to bring invited guests, please make arrangements for a tour by contacting Paul or Xenia Jancarich at 219-465-1795.

Membership Meeting at St. Sava following Historical Society Slava Luncheon – Sunday, Nov. 15

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The monthly membership meeting of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, IN will take place following the Historical Society’s Slava celebration Sunday, November 15. Both the luncheon and membership meeting will take place in the South Wing.

The luncheon celebrates our Historical Society and their Patron Saint, St. Varnava, the first American Born Serbian Saint who originated from Gary, Indiana.

The Divine Liturgy will begin Sunday, November 15 at 10:00 a.m. with Blessing of the Slava Kolach immediately following the Liturgy. After the blessing of the Slava Kolach, a dinner will be served in the South Wing.

Information about St. Confessor Varnava

  • Born Vojislav Nastich on Jan. 31, 1914, St. Confessor Varnava spent his early years in Gary as a student at Froebel Elementary before his father moved the family back to Yugoslavia in 1923, settling in Sarajevo.
  • After finishing high school and the Theological Faculty in Belgrade, he took his vows at Mileshevo Monastery in 1940. Shortly afterward, World War II came to Yugoslavia, and Varnava was highly critical of the Yugoslav National Liberation Army, which wanted to establish power in the country and abolish the church.
  • Once he was ordained a priest in 1944 and Bishop of Hvosno in 1947, the Communists, who’d now taken control, said Varnava could head the church, but he would have to support the party. Varnava refused and was subsequently tried as a traitor. He was imprisoned for many years and eventually died under mysterious circumstances on Nov. 12, 1964, though some sources say he was poisoned.
  • St. Confessor Varnava was the first child baptized in St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church on 13th Avenue and Connecticut Street in 1914, and served as its first altar boy.

Former College Coach, St. Sava’s Uzelac Leads High School Team to 1st Playoff Appearance

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Elliot Uzelac is a member of St. Sava Church and a former College Football Coach currently residing in St. Joseph, MI and is now the Head Coach leading the Benton Harbor High School Tigers in Benton Harbor, MI to their first playoff appearance in the school’s history.

The team will play their next playoff game in Zeeland, MI, Friday, November 6, 2015 and the story of Uzelac’s team is gaining national media attention in media outlets that include ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

This playoff appearance is significant for a number of reasons including the fact the Benton Harbor Tigers football team had not won a game since 2012 and had a record of 4-68 in the previous eight years. In Uzelac’s first season, he led the Tigers to their first winning record since 1989 and their first ever playoff appearance.

Uzelac is the cousin of St. Sava’s Paul Jancarich. Both Uzelac and Jancarich grew up together in Gary, IN in the 1950s. Uzelac served as an altar boy during the service of Very Reverend Svetozar Radovanovich when St. Sava was located in Gary. Also during this time Uzelac attended Sunday School and one of his former teachers Daisy Wuletich, who currently resides in Valaparaiso, IN, remembers him fondly.

Here are some links to read more about Uzelac and the Benton Harbor High School story as they make history with the team’s first playoff appearance:

The featured photo in this article at the top of the page is by Greg Swiercz / South Bend Tribune