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.