The Historical Society at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, IN will celebrate their Slava Sunday, November 15 and invites you to a dinner in the South Wing.

The Patron Saint of the Historical Society is 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.