Monthly Archives

January 2017

Rachel Jankovic – Memory Eternal ✝ Vjecnaja Pamjat

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Rachel (nee Blashill) Jankovic

The Clergy, Executive Board, and Members of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church express condolences to the family of Rachel Jankovic. Memory eternal.

Rachel (nee Blashill) Jankovic, age 36 (July 14, 1980 – January 26, 2017) of Hammond, IN passed away suddenly January 26, 2017.

Rachel was a member of St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, a graduate of Sturgis Sr. High School, Sturgis, Michigan, and currently a nursing student at University of Phoenix. She was the co-owner of Morava Express & RAMS truck repair, also co-owner of RAMS Ventures Corporation.

She is preceded in death by her grandparents and 2 brothers Jeremy & Nicholas. Rachel is survived by her loving husband Sasa Jankovic; cherished daughter Abigail Blashill; beloved parents: father, Roger (Cathleen) Blashill, mother, Lora (Don) Stahl; sister Amanda (Thomas) Robinson; 2 step brothers Eric (Kyana) Stahl, Christopher (Molly Fairhurst) Chavez; stepdaughter Milica (Anthony Kurek) Jankovic, sister in law Marina (Ivica) Aleksic & family; in-laws Dragan & Dusanka Jankovic, close friend Tracey (Kelly Davis) McCabe; many other kumovi, aunts, uncles, cousins, family members and close family friends both here in the US and in Serbia.

Visitation will take place Monday, January 30, 2017 directly at St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, 9191 Mississippi St. Merrillville, IN 46410, at 11:00 a.m. with funeral service beginning at 1:00 p.m., V. Rev. Marko Matic officiating.

Memorial contributions would be greatly appreciated by the family in lieu of flowers. For further information please contact Calumet Park Funeral Chapel (219) 736-5840.

Who was Saint Sava?

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The Serbian Orthodox Church venerates Saint Sava every year on January 27. This year the congregation at Saint Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana will celebrate Saint Sava Day with a special day of programming organized by the Sunday School taking place Sunday, January 29, 2017. Everyone is invited to this program that will include a blessing of the Kolac, luncheon, traditional folklore dancing by the “Srbadija” youth folklore group, poems, and singing by the children of the Sunday School.

About the life of Saint Sava

Saint Sava, Archbishop of Serbia, was born with the name Rastko in 1169, the son of Serbian National leader Stevan Nemanja. As a young man Saint Sava yearned for the spirited life, which led him to flee to the Holy Mountain where he became a monk, and with rare zeal followed the ascetic practices.

Nemanja followed his son’s example and himself went to the Holy Mountain, where he lived and ended his days as the monk Simeon. Sava obtained independence for the Serbian Church, granted by the emperor and the Patriarch of Constantinople, and became its first archbishop.

Together with his father, Sava built the monsatery of Hilandar followed by the building of many other monasteries, churches, and schools throughout the land of Serbia.

He traveled to the Holy land of Jerusalem on two occasions, on pilgrimage to the Holy sites there. He made peace among his two brothers, who were in conflict over their rights. Sava also made peace between the Serbs and their neighbors. In creating the Serbian Church, he created the Serbian state and Serbian culture along with it.

He brought peace to all the Balkan peoples, working for the good of all, for which he was venerated and loved by all on the Balkan peninsula. He gave a Christian soul to the people of Serbia, which survived the fall of the Serbian state.

He died in Trnovo during the reign of King Asen, after being taken ill following the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Theophany in 1236. King Vladislav took his body to Mileseva, where one Turkish Sinan Pasha removed it, burning it at Vrachar in Belgrade on May 10, 1595.

Saint Sava is the Patron Saint of Churches around the world, including Saint Sava Church in Merrillville, Indiana where an icon of Saint Sava can be found in the mosaic directly above the front door of the church and on an icon on the iconostasis of the Altar.

Read more detail about the life of Saint Sava online at

Karageorge Choir at St. Sava announces practices begin – Tuesday, Jan. 31

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The Karageorge Choir at St. Sava Church announces their weekly practices will resume beginning Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m. in the North Wing Conference Room at St. Sava Church, 9191 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, Indiana.

The practices will help the choir prepare for the upcoming Great Lent and Easter services, as well as preparations for the 51st Annual Serbian Orthodox Choral Association (SOCA) Festival taking place later this year as soon as the location is confirmed.

All current members of the Karageorge Choir are urged to attend practices, as well as anyone wishing to learn more about the choir and sing with group. Music will be available for anyone wishing to make their own choir liturgy book.

About the Karageorge Choir

The Karageorge Choir at St. Sava Church provides the liturgical responses for the Divine Liturgy every Sunday morning and at various events and special services throughout the year. The choir also participates regularly in the annual Serbian Orthodox Choral Association (SOCA) Festivals.

The Karageorge Choir at St. Sava Church is a unique organization within the church. It is one of the few organizations where every member of a family can participate together at the exact same time – moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, kumovi, young people are all able to share their love of singing and their faith together through the gifts of their voices.

Anyone is welcome to join the Karageorge Choir for the weekly open practices taking place at St. Sava Church.

51st Anniversary of the SOCA Festival 2017

The Karageorge Choir is looking forward to participating in the 51st anniversary of the Serbian Orthodox Choral Association (SOCA) Festival as soon as a location and date is confirmed. The Karageorge Choir at St. Sava traveled together last year to the historic 50th Anniversary celebration that took place during a weekend in mid June at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in St. Louis, Missouri – the location where the first ever SOCA Festival took place.

More details about the SOCA Festival will be available in the coming weeks when the date and the location of the festival is announced. Check back to the St. Sava website at and the St. Sava Facebook Page for more information to learn more about Karageorge Choir at St. Sava Church and how you can participate with them throughout the year and at the festival.

Learn more about SOCA and follow their Facebook Page at:

Sandra Furto – Memory Eternal ✝ Vjecnaja Pamjat

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The Clergy, Executive Board, and Members of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church express condolences to the family of Sandra Furto. Memory eternal.

Sandra Jean Furto, age 71 (July 8, 1945 – January 23, 2017), passed away on Monday, January 23, 2017. She is survived by her loving husband, John J. Furto; son, John J. Furto, Jr.; step children: Diane Furto and Christine Andrews; sister, Martha R. Lash; nephews: Mark (Janie) Lash and Jamie (Jaclyn) Lash; niece, Dr. Darcy Lash. Also survived by many great nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Preceded in death by her parents: Matija and Mildred Roknich and brother, Robert Milich.

Sandra was a lifelong member of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church and owner of the Old Mill Pizzeria of Merrillville in its heyday. She was also a beautician and dispatched for the Lake County Sherriff’s Department. Sandra will be truly missed by all who knew and loved her.

Funeral Services will take place Saturday, January 28, 2017, 11:00 a.m. at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church (9191 Mississippi St., Merrillville, IN) V. Rev Marko Matic officiating. Interment Calumet Park Cemetery.

Visitation will take place Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. until the time of service at 11:00 a.m. at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church. For info please call 219-736-5840.

Turn your recyclable plastic caps into a park bench at St. Sava Church

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The Karageorge Choir at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church is halfway to their goal and continues to need your hard plastic caps from various containers. Those caps will be converted into a bench for the children’s playground located adjacent to the church building at 9191 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, IN.

Hard plastic caps from many types of containers including water bottles, soda bottles, laundry soaps, juice boxes, or milk jugs are all suitable. A total of 400 pounds of these types of lids are required to purchase a bench that will be placed at the site of the playground.

Please save your lids and help Karageorge Choir collect enough so a bench can be in place by spring time. You can collect your lids and give them to any choir member at the church.

Basic serbian language classes continue at St. Sava in Merrillville – Thursday, Jan. 26

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Basic Serbian language class continues at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the Conference Room located in the North Wing of the Church building complex, 9191 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, Indiana. Classes will last for approximately 1 hour and take place every week on Thursday nights.

The class will focus on conversational language basics that can be used in a variety of everyday situations. Basic phrases and grammatical rules will be taught. No previous experience with Serbian language is necessary. Knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet is not necessary for this basic introductory course either. However, people with some Serbian language or experience with the Cyrillic alphabet wishing to refine their skills are welcome to attend the class as well.

The class is being offered free of charge and everyone in the greater Northwest Indiana community seeking to learn the Serbian language is welcome to attend.

The instructor for the class will be Ivana Stankovich. Ivana is a Voice, Speech, and Language Pathologist and also a member at St. Sava Church who leads the Children’s Choir.

This “Serbian language” class is being offered as a result of the recent “Serbian Cyrillic” class that was offered in late 2016 where Ivana taught students ranging in age from 10 years old to 60 years old to learn the basics sounds and shapes of the letters that compose the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet.

For more information about this class send e-mail to

Blessing of Homes – Schedule 2017 now available

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It is the time of the year where members of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana may have homes blessed by Father Marko. The 2017 Schedule for Blessing of Homes is now available for download in both Serbian and English languages.

Blessing of Homes – Schedule 2017


  • From Thursday, January 21st to Thursday, January 28th


  • From Friday, January 29th to Tuesday, February 2nd


  • From Wednesday, February 3rd to Sunday, February 7th


  • From Monday, February 8th to Wednesday, February 10th


  • From Thursday, February 11th to Thursday, February 18th


  • From Friday, February 19th to Sunday, February 21st


  • From Monday, February 22nd to Friday, February 26th


  • From Saturday, February 27th to Wednesday, March 2nd


  • From Thursday, March 3rd to Sunday, March 13th



  • Од четвртка, 21. јануара до четвртка, 28. јануара


  • Од петка, 29. јануара до уторка, 2. фебруара


  • Од среде, 3. фебруара до недеље, 7. фебруара


  • Од понедељка, 8.фебруара до среде, 10. фебруара


  • Од четвртка, 11. фебруара до четвртка, 18. фебруара


  • Од петка, 19. фебруара до недеље, 21. фебруара


  • Од понедељка, 22. фебруара до петка, 26. фебруара


  • Од суботе, 27. фебруара до среде, 2. марта


  • Од четвртка, 3. марта до недеље, 13. марта

Blessing of homes

Blessing homes of Orthodox Christians is done each year after the feast of Theophany. This act is the central sign of God’s sanctification of all things through Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan and his epiphany to the world.

The family is considered, by the Orthodox faith, to be a small church. The family table is the home altar where the members gather each day to receive their daily bread from God with thanksgiving in the name of Christ.

The sanctification of the home takes place with prayer and the sprinkling of holy water. The priest, at this annual visit, asks God to have mercy on the house, to rid it of every evil and to fill it with every blessing.

Everyone of the house prays together for the living and the dead of the family, and all who live and have lived in the house. They all sing the hymn of salvation and process from room to room while the priest blesses the house.

When the priest comes, all who are present in the house should gather around the icon with the candle. They should, if they are able to join in, say the Trisagion Prayers and sing of the Troparion of the Feast of Epiphany. Then a family member leads the priest through the house with the candle. As he goes, he sprinkles holy water, and prays for a blessing upon each room and the activity that goes on there. When they have gone through the entire house, the family gathers again around the table and the priest blesses each person present.

Освећење воде

Kада прославимо Божић, на почетку године следи још један догађај везан за живот наших парохија, а то је благослов кућа и освећење водице па тако по нашем православном реду очекујемо свештеника да свакој породици освети водицу како је пракса код српског народа.

Примање или не примање свештеника за водицу, постало је, на жалост, у српском народу “знак распознавања” оних који су остали верни традицији и своме српском имену и оних који су са овим “раскрстили”.

Долазак свештеника у дом треба да причињава велико задовољство јер имамо прилику да присуствујемо породичној молитви у оквиру које се свети водица. Пожељно је, по могућности, да сви чланови присуствују молитви, да буде прислужено кандило (ако га има) да кућа или стан има икону пред којом се на столу свети водица.

Пожељно је (ако је у могућности) да све просторије буду поспремљене како би свештеник сва одељења окадио и покропио освећеном водицом. Свештеник на томе неће инсистирати али ће приликом кађења и кропљења ући у собе на којима су врата отворена.

Освећење водице по домовима није само "пуки" обичај, него насушна потреба самих верника, који осећају потребу да повремено буду освећени и очишћени кропљењем светом водицом. Код православних Грка има доста породица које захтевају од својих свештеника, да неизоставно сваког месеца долазе и врше освећење воде по домовима и у бизнис просторијама.

И долазак свештеника има за циљ да се негује наша духовност, православље и светосавље, да будно чувамо своју веру и своју лепу српску традицију.

Искористимо долазак свештеника да се по потреби учини молитва за здравље, за породични мир и сл. Доживимо ову годишњу посету свештеника као празник јер су плодови ове посете корисни у оној мери колико придајемо значаја овом догађају.

Blessing of Homes and Preparation Summary

It is an Orthodox Tradition for the priest to visit his parishioners at their homes and performs the lesser blessing of water.

The purposes of this Holy Tradition are:

  • That God will mercifully hear the prayers which are offered by the family.
  • That the Almighty and Eternal Lord will send His holy angels to protect, save, watch, visit and safeguard the family members from evil powers.
  • That the faithful who are sprinkled with Holy Water may be free from every unclean and satanic action.
  • That the air in the home may be clean and healthy.
  • That all strange powers which may create insecurity to the family will be removed by the grace of God.

When the priest comes to a home to perform such a service, it is appropriate for the host family to be prepared in the following manner:

  • The house should be clean and in order.
  • The vigil, if there is one, before the icon should be lit.
  • There should be a candle with matches beside it.
  • A plate or bowl with a little water should be placed on the table, turn toward the east and the icon.
  • A list of names of the living members.
  • Doors of the rooms where you wish the priest to enter and sprinkle the Holy Water should be kept open.
  • After the blessing, if the family does not wish to keep the holy water, it is appropriate to pour it over a plant, flower, under a tree, or any place where it will not be stepped on.

Byzantine style icon exhibition by Chicago area artist Gordana Nenadovic – Sunday, Jan. 29

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Gordana Nenadovic will be a special guest at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana for an exhibition to share her works of art and icons taking place Sunday, January 29, 2017. The works of art will be on display during the annual “St. Sava Day Celebration” luncheon and program where the youth of St. Sava Church will sing songs, recite poems, and showcase traditional folklore dancing.

Nenadovic is an artist, professor, and noted icon painter living and working in Chicago. Her work has been exhibited in the US, Canada, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and throughout many cities in Serbia.

She utilizes all painting techniques in her work, but her most unique and original gift is primarily icon painting. She specializes in Byzantine style icons.

Her paintings radiate eternal light, express deep feelings and the affinity for unusual expression. In all of her art pieces it is immediately visible that her sensitivity reveals a hidden deeper layer of the image in which there is true spirit. Nenadovic’s artistic skills also include wall mural decorative artistic painting.

Everyone invited and welcome to attend the luncheon, watch the special St. Sava Day Celebration programming, and view Nenadovic’s iconography. More information about Nenadovic’s work is available by sending e-mail to


Watch: Video of the Great Blessing of the Water at St. Sava – Thursday, Jan. 19

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Watch video of the Great Blessing of the Water at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana. This observance commemorates Christ’s baptism by John the Forerunner in the River Jordan, and the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry

The Feast of Theophany is the culmination of the Christmas Season. In mystic commemoration of this event, the Great Blessing of Water is performed on this day, and the holy water so blessed is used by the local priest to bless the homes of the faithful.

Q&A with Adam Tatalovich: Recalling his Serbian roots

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(Photo caption: Hobart native Adam Tatalovich, a pro personnel scout for the Sacramento Kings, stands with Cavaliers star LeBron James.)

Adam Tatalovich, a 1996 Hobart High School grad with deep family roots in the Serbian community in Northwest Indiana, was recently featured in a Times newspaper article discussing his career path as he navigates life in the NBA working as a pro personnel scout for the Sacramento Kings.

While the news article focused on Tatalovich’s professional development, he is still managing to maintain connections with his faith and Serbian culture that grew from his earliest experiences with Serbian churches in Northwest Indiana. He continues in his faith and is building new connections in the Serbian community during his travels crisscrossing the country as he scouts NBA talent covering up to 20 professional basketball games per month.

Read the entire most recent article about Adam Tatalovich and his work currently with the Sacramento Kings by clicking the link below:

Q&A with Adam Tatalovich: Recalling his Serbian roots

Q: What are some of your connections with Serbian culture and Churches growing up in Northwest Indiana?
A: I was baptized at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in East Chicago, Indiana and went frequently there with my Baba during my toddler days because my entire family was from “the Harbor” area. After I started grade school, my family moved to Hobart where we were members and attended St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church for the duration of my childhood growing up until college. We actually lived a half mile from the old church and hall when it was on 49th Avenue in Hobart.

Q: Describe some of your connection with St. Sava Church in Merrillville.
A: I had a great connection with St. Sava growing up, attending Sunday School every Sunday with Divine Liturgy. I was very passionate being an altar boy…I probably preferred serving in the altar over being in Sunday School…it was fun assisting Father John…I could cut a mean loaf of bread…and as all altar boys do…sneaking some handfuls of bread now and then. I was also a member of the Kolo dancing Folklore group for a large duration of my youth until my middle school years.

Q: What are some of the other church connections and memories you had growing up?
A: I remember wanting to be a priest when I was around 5-6 years old. I would be at my Baba’s house in East Chicago and would use her living room as the church and the closet as the altar…I had the double doors, robe, candles (no flames of course), cross, and something resembling a censor. The priest at East Chicago at the time would give me tiny pierces of incense that I treasured.

Q: What are your connections with the church today?
A: With my career I have been moving around a lot, but when I am in the Northwest Indiana area I find myself returning to my earliest roots visiting St. George in East Chicago most often where I have found connection with Father Alex. I still try to get to St. Sava in Merrillville when I can and believe it’s the most beautiful church in North America. I definitely try to get back for a Serb Fest ( when I can each year in the summer.

Q: With your travels taking you around the country and around the world in your professional basketball career, do you find time with such a busy schedule to find connection in the Serbian communities and churches you visit?
A: On a recent work trip in early Jan. 2017 while I was scouting in New York I had the opportunity to connect with Bishop Irinej who I met while I was working with a professional basketball team in Australia a few years back. He invited me to a dinner with Princess Elizabeth and Prince Dimitri which was an absolute honor.

The prior week I was traveling in Boston and went to the Christmas service at the St. Sava Boston/Cambridge Parish, where Father Aleksandar invited me over to his family’s home for Christmas lunch.

I also attend the Serbian Church of the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary in Fair Oaks when I am home in Sacramento, California. I have also visited the St. Sava Parish in Jackson, CA which is 45 minutes outside of Sacramento and it is the oldest Serbian Church in North America.

When I was living and working in Australia I also attended both Serbian Churches while I was based in Perth, Australia for 3 years.

More about Tatalovich’s career development in professional basketball