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Monthly Archives

December 2015

The Star of Bethlehem: Does it Still Shine? – Luncheon & Presentation at St. Sava – Sunday, Dec. 20

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The stars played an important role in the birth of our Savior. Those who visit Bethlehem today find a large silver star imbedded in the cave on the spot where Jesus was born.

For centuries, astrologers before Jesus’ birth predicted that Messiah would be born and would be a great ruler of the world.

The wise men were scientists, part magicians, part astronomers and part astrologers. They followed a star from Persia to Bethlehem.

Join us Sunday, December 20 at St. Sava Church in Merrillville, Indiana for a luncheon and special presentation by Father Bogdan Zjalic immediately following the Divine Liturgy to hear the rest of the story! Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 a.m. with luncheon beginning at approximately Noon.

Astronomy Today

We hear quite a bit about birth signs today. Astrological forecasts come to us on the radio, in the newspaper, through apps on our phones, and through social media.

According to a 1982 Gallup Polls survey there are as many regular church goers who believe in astrology as there are non-church goers.

Also there is a theory that many of the followers of Astrological theories experience an emptiness in their life and are searching for needed satisfaction.

God works quietly through stars that already exist. The Holy Bible through God speaks to us today: is it not a star? The Church which is Body of Christ, the Sacraments, aren’t they divine stars?

The star shines with the same unceasing lights as it did in those days; it shines to guide us to Him, Who alone can give us salvation, peace.

Life with God

Join us Sunday, December 20 at St. Sava Church in Merrillville, Indiana for a special luncheon immediately following the Divine Liturgy for the full presentation which may lead you to our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we are invited to become a true children of God and claim a personal relationship with the God the Father and the Holy Spirit. We are all stars in the presence of God Who created us in His image.

Come and participate and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask during the presentation. Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 a.m. with luncheon beginning at approximately Noon.

Akathist at St. Sava Church: St. Nicholas the Wonderworker – Thursday, Dec. 17

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saint-nichiolas-icon-fullJoin us this Thursday, Dec. 17 at 6:00 p.m. at St. Sava Church in Merrillville, Indiana for our weekly Akathist prayers (Click here to learn more about the Akathist prayer services at St. Sava Church).

This week we offer praises for St. Nicholas’ continuing wonderworking miracles for all.

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, Asia Minor

St. Nicholas devoted his life to Chirst and served as priest in Patara, Asia Minor. He was known throughout the region as wonderworker, and eventually he was elected as Archbishop of Myra.

After the death of his Parents he distributed all the properties he inherited to the poor. On several occasions he took presents to the poor children secretly and to the homeless in his diocese. He was imprisoned during prosecution of Diocletian and Maximian Roman Emperors, and became known as a great teacher and instructor of Law of God.

He was present at the First Ecumenical Council in 325. He was defender of the truth of God. People considered him a saint even during his lifetime. He would appear to them at great distance in both dreams and in reality to those who called upon him for help. He was celebrated in school, by armies, sailors, and became a patron intercessor for all of them before God Almighty.

His legend as St. Nicholas became known both in East and West. In 1838 he was known by the Scandinavian countries as Santa Claus, including in the USA. In the West especially he is considered as the great patron Saint of children and the cheerful giver of gifts under the name Santa Claus.

What is Akathist?

Join us Thursday evenings at 6:00 p.m. in the St. Sava Church for Akathist – a brief weekly celebration of the works of the Saints, Holy Days, and Holy Trinity.

The Akathist service lasts approximately 35 minutes and is an opportunity for a uniquely participatory service in which men and women may have the option to read passages from the Book of Akathists, exchanging phrasings with Clergy, and experiencing a unique mid-week spiritual connection with fellow parishioners. Click here to read more about Akathist…

Relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Indianapolis, Indiana

Interestingly, relics from the holy body of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia (Died AD 343), arrived Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at about 6:30 p.m. at the IndianapolisInternationalAirport on their way to a special prayer service at the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, 7855 Marsh Road, Indianapolis, Indiana.

This very small portion of the relics of the holy body of St. Nicholas first arrived in the United States from Bari, Italy, and remained in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Now located at the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in northwest Indianapolis, this portion of the relics will remain at the church indefinitely.

Karageorge Choir at St. Sava Hosts Slava Luncheon – Sunday, Dec. 13

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The Serbian Singing Society Karageorge of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church invites you to celebrate Krsna Slava, Apostle Andrew – The First Called, taking place Sunday, Dec. 13.

Luncheon and cutting of the Slava Kolach will follow the Divine Liturgy in the South Wing of St. Sava Church at 9191 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, IN.

Please share with family and friends.

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.

St. Sava Srbadija Folklore builds relationship with San Francisco Serbian Church

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Srbadija Folklore group of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana packed up their nosnja and opanke for a trip to San Francisco, California in early October for a special performance and weekend of activities at St. John the Baptist Serbian Orthodox Church (Father Marko’s former church before coming to St. Sava).

The performance was part of the St. John the Baptist Slava Celebration and signals a collaboration between the two groups that will ultimately see the folklore group from St. John the Baptist performing at the St. Sava Serb Fest taking place in August 2016.

Upon the group’s arrival Friday evening, the San Francisco Church hosted a welcome dinner and dance, then Saturday hosted a Folklore Fest/Zabava which included the St. John the Baptist and another local group. Sunday, Srbadija attended the Divine Liturgy and the Slava Banquet.

Paul Bunjevic, Folklore Director at St. John the Baptist, welcomed the St. Sava group of 42 representatives with open arms and was extremely hospitable and accommodating. Proto Dusan Bunjevic and Protinica Ljiljana Bunjevic were equally amazing hosts and it was a wonderful opportunity to meet them and spend the weekend at their beautiful church.

The Srbadija Folklore Group from St. Sava arrived in California during the day Friday and took a drive to Twin Peaks and absorbed beautiful views of the city of San Francisco.

Throughout the weekend they also took a ride on the cable car, visited the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street (the most crooked street in the world), Muir Woods (Redwood Forest), the Russian Cathedral, and Fisherman’s Warf.

The kids of Srbadija had a wonderful time and their feet hurt from dancing so much all weekend!

Srbadija is looking forward to returning the hospitality in August 2016 when the San Francisco group comes to St. Sava to perform at the St. Sava Serb Fest.

Srbadija greatly appreciates St. Sava Church members, family, friends, and community members who have supported events throughout the year helping to make this unique experience possible for the youth of St. Sava Church.

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Celebrate First Slava of Saint Mardarije of Libertyville and Chicago – Dec. 12

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You are invited to celebrate the first Slava of Saint Mardarije of Libertyville and Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 12 with Holy Hierarchical Liturgy taking place at 10:00 a.m. at the Saint Sava Monastery in Libertyville, IL. Lunch will be served with a special program to follow beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the New Gracanica Monastery, Third Lake, IL.

Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and Littoral will serve Divine Liturgy with members of the Episcopal Council of Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.

About The life of St. Mardarije of Libertyville (1889-1935)

This text is available from the Western American Diocese – Serbian Orthodox Church of North and South America (http://westsrbdio.org/en/events/canonization/hagiography/965-the-life-of-st-mardarije-of-libertyville).

Born in village of Kornet, Ljesani County, in Montenegro, on November 2, 1889, to pious parents Petar and Jela Uskokovic, he was baptized in his village church dedicated to St. George and received his baptismal name Ivan. His mother was from the well-known Bozovic family. Both of his parents were well respected in their community holding the office of leadership and particularly his father was a captain of their clan.

Considering his parents’ status, young Ivan was sent to further his education, first in Rijeka Crnojevic, Cetinje, and then in Belgrade, Serbia. While in Belgrade, young Ivan advanced his childhood desire to serve God and the Church, and so from there he headed to monastery Studenica where after a short period of novice life he gets tonsured to monasticism having received the name Mardarije. With the decision of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, now young hierodeacon Mardarije is sent to Russia where he spent twelve years (1905-1917) furthering his theological education and growing in wisdom.

From there, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church sent him to the United States of America to organize the Serbian Orthodox Church. On December 1, 1923, now archimandrite Mardarije is appointed as administrator of the Serbian American-Canadian diocese with the see in Chicago and that same year he purchased around ten acres of land in Libertyville, Illinois, where later St. Sava monastery was built. He was elected by the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church as the first bishop for the newly established diocese in America on December 7, 1925, and his consecration took place on Palm Sunday, the Feast of the Entrance of Our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, on April 25, 1926.

From then on His Grace Bishop Mardarije, the first bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, labored tirelessly in building churches, St. Sava monastery in Libertyville, sowing Christian love, spread peace, preached and witnessed the Gospel of Christ throughout his diocese. In spite of inescapable wordly trends, he lived spontaneity of truth and a provision of grace, just because Life has dawned from the Tomb, and is dawning still. Having labored as bishop for a little over nine years he died peacefully on December 12, 1935, hospitalized in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while writing his last Nativity Encyclical to his beloved flock. His earthly remains were laid to rest at St. Sava monastery in Libertyville.

The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church during its regular session held from May 14-29, 2015 brought forth a decision that his name be added to the Diptych of saints of the Holy Orthodox Church.

From the Holy Hierarch Mardarije, we see how the grace of God reaches the heart of our cities, bringing to the confusion of the world the breeze of the Spirit and the serenity of the Age to come.

Serbian Children’s Choirs pledge mutual cooperation

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Cedomir Kabic, president of the St. Sava School in Milwaukee, WI and Ivana Stankovic, Children’s Choir director of St. Sava Church in Merrillville, IN expressed confidence in establishing future mutual cooperation between the school choir from Milwaukee and the Children’s Choir in Merrillville during a special performance which took place Sunday, November 15 in Milwaukee.

The Children’s Choir of St. Sava Church in Merrillville performed at a special concert at a fundraising event in the hall of the cultural center at St. Sava in Milwaukee. The choir performed eight songs in two sets under the direction of choir conductor Ivana Stankovic, with musical accompaniment from Vasilije Stankovic and Bane Djordjevic.

The children’s choir performed Serbian spiritual and patriotic songs, along with the song “Moon River.”

Solo vocal performance with a musical accompaniment was performed by Melania Adamovic, a member of the choir.

The president of the St. Sava School in Milwaukee expressed his deep gratitude to those present for the visit of the Merrillville choir who helped the St. Sava Serbian School of Milwaukee with this charitable performance.

The audience showed their enthusiasm for the children’s choir with their applause and standing ovations for the showmanship, singing, and special selection of songs in the repertoire.

The concert included performances by the school choir of St. Sava in Milwaukee, vocal and instrumental soloists Mirjana Ubiparovic-Brankov (concert organizer), Ivana Stankovic, solo guitarist Vasilije Stankovic, and pianist Bane Djordjevic.

There was also an exhibition of paintings and icons by academic painter Jasmina Jovanovic from Rockford, IL.

The Children’s Choir of St. Sava in Merrillville is planning to take the role of host for a Children’s Choir Festival in the spring of 2016 with more information to be announced as details are confirmed.

Father Marko Matic, parish priest at St. Sava in Merrillville, arranged transportation from Merrillville for the children and their parents to the special performance in Milwaukee.

There is an open invitation for children to join the St. Sava Children’s Choir in Merrillville. More information about the choir is available at the St. Sava website https://www.saintsava.net/childrenschoir/, including contact information and registration form.

Pre-order lamb and pig by the pound at St. Sava for Orthodox Christmas

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You can pre-order lamb and pig cooked on the spit, by the pound, for Orthodox Christmas prepared by St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana now through January 3, 2016.

Lamb will be $14 per pound and Pig will be $12 per pound. Orders may be picked up Thursday, January 7, 2016 between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at St. Sava Church at the outdoor kitchen area at 9191 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, IN.

There is a 2 pound minimum for all orders and prices are subject to change based upon market pricing.

Download the order form and and send it by fax to 219-736-7836 or call 219-406-7910. You may also e-mail the order form to karknezic@yahoo.com.

Karageorge Choir Celebrates Slava at St. Sava – Save-the-Date – December 13

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The Serbian Singing Society Karageorge of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church invites you to celebrate Krsna Slava, Apostle Andrew – The First Called, taking place Sunday, Dec. 13.

Luncheon and cutting of the Slava Kolach will follow the Divine Liturgy in the South Wing of St. Sava Church at 9191 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, IN.

Please save-the-date, share with family and friends.

Who uses the St. Sava Website?

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Background Information

In early 2015 a proposal was made to the Executive Board to begin building a new website for St. Sava Church in Merrillville, Indiana. For several years St. Sava had maintained a blog-style website, but when the system that hosted the old website was no longer available in 2014, a new website and way of communicating became necessary.

The new website went online in late May 2015 and while this new St. Sava website is still going though some development with content, one of the early primary goals of the new website was to continue in the spirit of the old website, sharing stories about the activities and events that take place involving St. Sava and it’s parishioners.

For the last six months, approximately 180 days, there have been about 100 articles of news and information posted in the Blog section of the new St. Sava website (www.saintsava.net/blog) in a style that is similar to the previous blog-style website that existed before.

Since the launch of the website over the last six month period (June 1 through November 30, 2015), a first glimpse into some of the usage numbers behind the website helps to explain how the website is working so far and offers some insights that could be helpful for how the website will continue to evolve in the future. Such analytics help us to understand various aspects of the website, including the most popular pages of the website, the numbers of people who visit the website, and some general demographics of the people who are using it.

Initial Website Statistical Data

General statistics

Over the last six months:

  • 8,562 people visited the new St. Sava website.
  • 26,332 pages on the new St. Sava website have been viewed.
  • On average, people click and visit at least 2 webpages of the new St. Sava website each time they visit.
  • 33% of all people visiting the new St. Sava website arrive to the website from a link they clicked within Facebook.

User age groups from largest to smallest

In the last six months:

  • Ages 55-64 compose 24.68% of visitors
  • Ages 45-54 compose 23.22% of visitors
  • Ages 35-44 compose 20.84% of visitors
  • Ages 25-34 compose 13.54% of visitors
  • Ages 65+ compose 10.72% of visitors
  • Ages 18-24 compose 7.00% of visitors

One of the interesting pieces of demographic information discovered in the website analytics involves the age ranges of the people who are currently using the new St. Sava website. Frequently it seems people tend to imagine that only “young” people are engaged with technology or at the very least, people in the youngest age groups tend to use technology the most.

Interestingly though over the last six months, data shows that people age 55-65+ compose more than 35% of the people who use the new St. Sava website. People in the age range of 18-34 compose barely more than 20% of all the people who use the new St. Sava website.

Among people who have used the St. Sava website over the last six months, it is clear at this time people in the youngest age range of 18-24 tend to use the new St. Sava website the least.

What Does This All Mean?

Understanding the trends in website usage over time provides insights into how the St. Sava website and contents may be refined in the future to better meet the needs of the parishioners and people who use the website.

For example, the data indicates that people in the 55-64 age range use the website the most. Considering people in this age range are among those who use the website the most, it could be valuable to survey people in this population to develop a better understanding of why the are visiting the website. It is important to find out the kinds of information people in this age range value so that such information may continue to be produced and placed on the website in the future.

Data also suggests that people in the age range 18-24 use the website the least. Knowing this helps illustrate that it will be important to engage young people in the 18-24 age range to get a better understanding of the kinds of information they find valuable so that content can be developed to increase their interaction with the information on the website, thus increasing their engagement with St. Sava Church.

There are many ways to interpret the analytic data over the last six months of the new website usage. It is important to note though, analytic data is sometimes based upon estimations which means none of the numbers generated though analytics are absolute. However the trends over time, such as those over the last six months, do help to tell a bit of an initial story. It will be important to continue examining these trends over long periods of time to gain insights about how people are using the website to help St. Sava Church identify ways to refine communication with the diverse populations of parishioners and other constituents to improve connections among people and the church.

St. Sava Church uses Google Analytics to learn about how users interact with the website. No personally identifiable information is ever collected. Learn more information about Google Analytics Data Privacy and Security.