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Historical Society

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

Historical Society Celebrates Slava at St. Sava – Save-the-Date – November 15

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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.

Visit “Serbian Weddings” at St. Sava Historical Society during Serb Fest 2015

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The Historical Society at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church will showcase the exhibit “Serbian Weddings” for their museum display during the St. Sava Serb Fest 2015.

The exhibit is located in the North Wing of the Church building and will be open to the public daily throughout Serb Fest from Noon to 9:00 p.m., Friday, July 31 through August 2.

The exhibit features artifacts and images that help to tell the story of the cultural and spiritual significance of Serbian Weddings. Serving Northwest Indiana for more than 100 years, St. Sava Church is proud to be the home for so many memories and stories behind generations of people who share Serbian heritage.

Everyone is welcome to visit the Historical Society exhibit during the Serb Fest. Each year the Historical Society selects a theme to feature at the Annual Serb Fest. Members of the Historical Society work tirelessly throughout the year, adding new museum pieces and helping to share our evolving story with members, family, friends, and the greater Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland area community.

Learn more about St. Sava Serb Fest 2015 by visiting the new St. Sava website at https://www.saintsava.net/serb-fest/.

The images in the gallery below are a small sampling of the photographs and other artifacts that will be on display.

[images picture_size=”fixed” autoplay=”yes” columns=”1″ column_spacing=”13″ scroll_items=”” show_nav=”yes” mouse_scroll=”no” border=”yes” lightbox=”yes” class=”” id=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Serbian-Wedding1.png” alt=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/serbian-weddings7.png” alt=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/serbian-weddings-2.png” alt=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/serbian-weddings8.png” alt=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/serbian-weddings3.png” alt=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/serbian-weddings6.png” alt=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/serbian-weddings4.png” alt=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/serbian-weddings5.png” alt=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/serb-wedding2.jpg” alt=””] [image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/serb-wedding1.jpg” alt=””] [/images]

Historical Society Awards Church Camp “Word Search” Participants

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The first St. Sava Children’s Summer Camp took place in the new Pavilion at St. Sava Church June 15 to 19 with each church organization sponsoring a day of activities throughout the week.

The Historical Society at St. Sava Church sponsored the first day, Monday, which had almost 40 children ages 4 though 14. Children from other parishes and friends were also able to begin new relationships during this week which was a very successful event.

At the end of the activities on Monday, children who wanted to participate were given a St. Sava Word Search. They were to complete it at home and return it by U.S. Mail to Paul Jancarich of the St. Sava Historical Society.

All children who completed the task were given a 1976 Bicentennial Silver Dollar. First and second contestants also received a special collectors Presidential Coin Display.

Vaso and Milena Matic were first and Ilijah Roknich was second. Other participants were Stefan and Dane Dinic.

The Historical Society at St. Sava Church express appreciation to all who attended and participated.

Download the St. Sava Word Search

You may download a copy of the St. Sava Word Search in Adobe PDF format. Share it with your children, grandchildren, or just have some fun yourself!

100 Year Anniversary DVD now Available

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[fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” parallax_speed=”0.3″ enable_mobile=”no” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”0″ padding_right=”0″ hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][three_fifth last=”no” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_text]A DVD commemorating the 100 year anniversary of St. Sava Church is now available for $10 by contacting the Church Office at 219-736-9191.

With a run time of approximately 3 hours, this special keepsake captures events throughout the entire weekend celebration of the 100 year milestone for St. Sava.

Included are the highlights of Friday evening vespers, children’s activities, a visit to our first church on 20th and Connecticut, dedication of the Milan Opacich Memorial Cultural Center, blessing of the newly finished pavilion, and Saturday night’s program and zabava.

Many of our Sunday school children, altar boys, folklore dancers, and choir members are featured in the program portion of the video.

Please consider buying several for your own household as well as for gifts for your friends, children and grandchildren for a great remembrance of this historic occasion.

The 3 hour DVD is available for $10 by contacting the Church Office at 219-736-9191.[/fusion_text][/three_fifth][two_fifth last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][images picture_size=”fixed” autoplay=”no” columns=”5″ column_spacing=”13″ scroll_items=”” show_nav=”yes” mouse_scroll=”no” border=”yes” lightbox=”yes” class=”” id=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/anniversary-dvd-cover.jpg” alt=””][image link=”” linktarget=”_self” image=”https://www.saintsava.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/anniversary-dvd.png” alt=””][/images][/two_fifth][/fullwidth]

The Path of Orthodoxy Winter 2015 Feature: St. Sava Church in Merrillville Celebrates 100th Anniversary

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This article originally appeared in The Path of Orthodoxy – Winter 2015 Edition. The Path of Orthodoxy is a quarterly publication. Issues are available in PDF format at www.serborth.org.


Like many large cities in the early 1900’s, Gary, Indiana, was a melting pot of ethnic groups. Serbs, Croats, Slovaks, Poles, Greeks and others flocked to the Steel City in search of work in their newly-adopted land.

Amongst the Serbs was a group of immigrants mainly from Hercegovina. They owned taverns, neighborhood grocery stores, and boarding-houses; and they worked side by side in the great steel mills of Gary to make a better life for themselves and their families. They didn’t have much, but they wanted one thing more – a Serbian Orthodox Church. Men like Dushan Chelovich, Mato Chuk, Mitchel Duchich, Luka Grkovich, Jovo Marich, Tanasije Nastich and Stevo Orlich began the long and arduous process of collecting money from their fellow Serbs in order to build St. Sava Church.

This year – 100 years later – the fruits of their labors are realized. Pastor Jerry Protho, a kind and loving man, opened the doors of our former church to our members who came to visit during the celebratory weekend. Another church was erected in 1938 at 13th and Connecticut. This is the church for which the famous Serb, Nikola Tesla was Kum. While he could not attend personally, Mitchell Duchich stood in for Tesla. Tragically this church burned to the ground in 1978. After several years of liturgies in the small hall that served as a chapel on 49th Avenue, a new and magnificent church was erected and consecrated in Merrillville in 1991. “Srpska Gera” once again was the beautiful church about which those early pioneers dreamed.

The first day of the three-day celebration was on the feast day of St. Archangel Michael and that entire first day, which began with the Divine Liturgy, was filled with warm greetings to all guests and friends. Among the highlights of the second day of festivities was the Serbian Historical Society who hosted a formal dedication and naming of their exhibit room. In honor of the late Milan Opacich, founder of the Serbian Historical Society, the room was named “The Milan Opacich Memorial Cultural Center.”

On Sunday the Holy Hierarchical Liturgy was served by His Grace Longin, Bishop of New Gracanica and Midwestern Diocese; His Grace Mitrophan, Bishop of the Eastern American Diocese; His Grace Grigorije, Bishop of Hercegovina; His Grace Sava, Retired Bishop of Slavonija; His Grace Peter, Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia; Archimandrite Tom Kazich of New Gracanica (Gary born and St. Sava raised); Very Rev. Stavrophor Dusan Bunjevic; Very Rev. Stavrophor Velimir Petakovich; Very Rev. Stavrophor Jovan Todorovich; Very Rev. Stavrophor Bogdan Zlajic; Very Rev. Stavrophor Luka Lukic; Very Rev. Stavrophor Ilija Balach; Very Rev. Alex Novakovich; Very Rev. Mijoljub Matic; Rev. Miroslav Obretkovic; and Rev. Sasa Petrovich. Deacons serving were Protodeacon Fr. Milovan Gogic; Deacon Fr. Vladimir Rumenic; and the Protodjakon Aleksandar Kichakov, as well as host priest Very Rev. Marko Matic.

The service was glorious – the magnificent voices of the clergy singing “Axios” at the elevation to Protopresbyter of Fr. Matic and Fr. Novakovich was both thrilling and spine-tingling.

One of the many highlights during the liturgy occurred when St. Sava Church was awarded “The Order of St. Sava,” an award of the Holy Synod over which His Holiness Patriarch Irinej presides. The award was presented to President Mike Ajder by His Grace Bishop Longin. The Order was accepted on behalf of the entire congregation, both living and deceased.

The anniversary banquet was hosted in the pavilion filled to capacity. Approximately 900 people joined us for the afternoon. The program included brief speeches by former presidents Svilar, Erceg and Orlich and each was awarded a commemorative plaque for their services to the church. There was also a presentation to the members of the building committee in recognition for their work under tight deadlines to get the pavilion finished on time. There were greetings and congratulations from President Obama, Congressman Peter Visclosky (who was in attendance), Serbian Consul Dejan Radulovic, and Fr. Lazar Kostur. Each of the past priests in attendance shared their many experiences and memories of St. Sava from years gone by.

Many years to all St. Sava parishioners and to all founders and benefactors, donors and deceased clergy who served this parish, may God grant memory eternal.

Serbian church to honor Gary-born St. Varnava

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Written by Chas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324, of The Times and originally published at http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/gary/serbian-church-to-honor-gary-born-st-varnava/article_59a68bb0-72af-5dc8-ba04-17adac7f2376.html


From his childhood in Gary to his death in Yugoslavia, St. Varnava always protected his faith and was dedicated to a Christian life.

St. Varnava is the first American-born Serbian to be proclaimed an Orthodox saint, said the Rev. Thomas Kazich, who also is a Gary native.

St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church will honor St. Varnava during a service at 6 p.m. Thursday at the church, 9191 Mississippi St., Merrillville. Kazich, with the Serbian Diocese of North America, and the Rev. Marko Matic, a priest at St. Sava, will be involved in the service.

“Not that many people know we have a saint in our neighborhood,” Matic said.

Varnava was born in Gary in 1914 and lived at a home near 12th Avenue and Madison Street, Kazich said.

Varnava, whose secular name was Vojislav Nastic, was the first person baptized at St. Sava when it was located in Gary.

“He grew up in a very spiritual family,” Matic said.

He also served as an alter boy at the church.

“He was at the services every Sunday,” Kazich said.

Varnava went to Froebel Elementary School while he and his family lived in Gary for about nine years. They moved Yugoslavia in 1923, Kazich said.

When he finished the equivalent of high school, Varnava’s father took him to see Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich to receive the bishop’s blessing to study theology.

“As (Varnava) wrote, ‘Theology is the science of sciences,’ ” Kazich said.

The bishop gave him his blessing, and he started his studies.

Kazich said Varnava’s family was influential in his upbringing in the church. He said everyone in the church has a spiritual guide, and “his spiritual father was his own father.”

Varnava was ordained a priest in the early 1940s, and the Serbian Church elected him to become a bishop in 1947, Kazich said.

Varnava began to preach against the Communist way of life after becoming a bishop, and Yugoslavia’s Communist government arrested him on treason charges.

During his trial, Varnava wasn’t allowed to deliver a final defense plea because “it was feared that he would expose and reveal the government’s criminal, terroristic and tyrannical policies,” according to a report written by Kazich.

In 1948, Varnava was sentenced to 11 years at one of the worst prisons at the time in Yugoslavia, Kazich said.

He spent about three years there, and the government intended to kill him when he was being transferred to another prison, Kazich said. He was placed on a train car with other prisoners, and the government ran another train into the car, he said.

Varnava survived the crash, but his legs were broken.

“And he suffered from that for the rest of his life,” Kazich said.

Due to health problems, Varnava was released from prison in 1951, but he always was under guard by the Communist government until he died in 1964.

Kazich said Varnava died under suspicious circumstances, and many believe he was poisoned. He said an autopsy couldn’t be conducted at the time.

Kazich said Varnava’s family knew he didn’t have a history of illness. He also wrote letters to them about his good health prior to his death.

No matter the circumstances, Varnava always remained “a follower of Christ,” Matic said.

“He became one of the strongest protectors of his faith,” he said.

Matic said Varnava remains an inspiration to many at the church.

“People still talk about him,” Matic said.

St. Varnava was canonized about five years ago.

Kazich said canonization in the Orthodox Church differs from the process used in the Catholic Church.

The process “begins locally, at the grass-roots level, perhaps where the holy person was born, lived and worked,” Kazich said.

“The love and veneration of the faithful spread to other areas,” he said. “The hierarchy of the local church then undertake to examine all records left by the person and if this proves satisfactory, then the last part of the act is performed and canonization is announced and a service of glorification takes place.”

NWI Times Interviews Milan Opacich: Museum

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The NWI Times interviewed Milan Opacich about the Serbian Cultural Mini-Museum at the upcoming St. Sava Serb Fest. From the article:

This year’s temporary museum will feature a new Wall of Fame that will illustrate the achievements of St. Sava’s most famous parishioners, including the following:

Gary-born Bishop Varnava, who was venerated to sainthood in the Eastern Orthodox church; Diana (Chirich) Henery, who became the leading soprano for the Volksopera in Vienna, Austria; Nicholas “Jumbo” Strincevich, a retired American Major League baseball player; Walter Bogdanich, who won Pulitzer Prizes for national reporting in 1998 and 2005; and Milo Komenich, a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

Probably the most famous parishioner in the Wall of Fame is Mladen George Sekulovich, better known as Karl Malden, who won the 1952 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and was nominated in 1954 for his supporting role in “On the Waterfront.”

A past president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Malden was named the 40th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment.

“Karl has never forgotten his roots,” Opacich said.

“He has made many donations to St. Sava’s.”

WANTED: Serbian Cultural Items for Museum

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WANTED:

Historic photos, publications, books, documents, costumes, music recordings, films, artifacts, and memorabilia about St. Sava, Serbs, Gary, Yugoslavia, and Serbian culture.

We would like your help in gathering historical items for this year’s mini-museum at Serb Fest and future projects such as the up-coming library and temporary museum exhibits that will be displayed there. If you wish to donate original photos or publications, it would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, please allow us to copy them and return the originals within 14 days. We would also need as much information about the event as you can provide: Date, Location, Subject, and Names if you know them. Please write your name, address, phone along with the event info on a separate piece of paper and tape it to the back of the photo so you don’t cause any damage. We will credit you for providing the items.

Some of the topics we will be covering include:

Photos of events from our first church built in 1914, from 1300 Connecticut, old plays, programs, zabavas, concerts, style shows, Sunday School, St. Sava Day, banquets, Easter egg hunts, Serbian School, church office, holidays in Libertyville, picnics on 49th, (candy store, dances in the pavillion, kitchen), Serbian Day, Vidovdan in Chicago, individual photos of historical members (Sava Vrtikapa, Glisho), community events in which our church participated, construction of our facilities, political protests, and other topics of interest. The photos can be of groups or individuals.

Other topics of interest include: KOLO SESTARA and KARAGEORGE, formal events, kitchen scenes, bake sales, bus trips, charitable deeds, fundraisers, pioneers, ad books, programs, etc. FOLKLORE GROUP (especially early days-60’s, 70’s) Performances, groups, trips, books, programs, costumes, all or part, VIDEO, etc. BASKETBALL TOURNAMENTS both SNF and Diocesan, teams or indiv., uniforms, trophies, photos, ad books, souvenirs, articles, etc. ATHLETES past to present, success in schools, college, professional, career. Any publications or memorabilia, honors, uniforms. CAMP-Libertyville or Gracanica, indiv. or group, talent shows, outings, priests, camp publications, etc. SERBS IN THE STEEL MILLS, and BUDD PLANT, photos, uniforms, equipment, badges, tools, documents, books, honors, publications. SERBS IN BUSINESS, small and large businesses, photos, documents, their success stories, articles, honors, accomplishments, etc. KING PETER, photos, articles, books, collectible memorabilia, etc. FATHER PETER, and all priests before him, photos, letters, articles, etc. SERBS IN THE MILITARY, both the U.S. ARMED FORCES and the YUGOSLAV ARMY and CHETNIKS, Prisoners of War, individual or group photos, documents, full or part uniforms, medals, honors, accessories, weapons, correspondence, books, flags, etc. DRAZA MIHAILOVICH, Art, photos, books, articles, records, documents, anything of historical interest. SERBIAN CELEBRITIES, Karl Malden, Danica Chirich, Nikola Tesla, any famous Serb. ST. SAVA TAMBURITZA ORCHESTRA, photos or memorabilia.

Contact the church office at (219) 736-9191 and ask for the museum committee members’ contact information.

Blessings conferred on saint from Gary

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Written by Michelle L. Quinn of the Post-Tribune and originally published November 20, 2006 at http://www.post-trib.com/news/142627,mvicon.article


When Ann Pamachena and Vojislav Nastich were growing up in Gary, she suspected he was something special because, even though the boy was impossibly smart, all the children loved him anyway.

Pamachena’s suspicions were confirmed Sunday morning when His Grace Bishop Longin blessed the icon of Nastich, now known as St. Confessor Varnava, during morning service at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church.

Varnava, canonized in October 2005, is the first American-born Serbian to achieve sainthood as well as the first Orthodox saint born in Indiana.

The Very Rev. Thomas Kazich, director of religious education for New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate, Diocese of America and Canada out of Grayslake, Ill., grew up in Gary. By communicating with Varnava’s relatives still in the area over several years, he became Varnava’s biographer. He shared some of that history with the congregation Sunday during a banquet held at St. Sava’s Hobart after the service.

Varnava’s sainthood, he said, could be broken down into four components:

  • His childhood on 12th Avenue and Madison Street in Gary;
  • His early days as a priest, when he spoke out against the government’s planned destruction of the Orthodox church in what was becoming Communist Yugoslavia;
  • His imprisonment for treason when he refused to stop spreading the orthodoxy and speaking out against communism;
  • His love affair with a little French car that helped him continue to spread his faith after he was released from prison.

“A train accident crushed Varnava’s legs, and they never healed correctly, so he decided he wanted a car,” Kazich said.

“He wrote letters to relatives in Gary, and those relatives helped him get that car so he could move about without constantly being under the watchful eye of police, who monitored his every move. Since it wouldn’t be cost-effective to send a car from America, his brother drove the Peugeot from Paris.

“He wrote in his letters, ‘Long live the Peugeot!’ ”

Varnava’s canonization and consecration at the church means so much to Pamachena, a Hobart resident and St. Sava’s oldest member at 96. “Even as a child, he had it in him to follow our faith and become a man of the cloth,” she said. “(The communists) couldn’t break him, and in the end, he was the winner. He’s someone we can look up to not only as Serbians, but as Americans, too.”

A second saint’s icon, His Grace Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovich of Zica, has also been given a place in the church. Xenia Jancarich of Valparaiso remembers her family giving the bishop a ride to Gary from Detroit when she was a young girl.

“He had such a good rapport with children,” Jancarich said. “He showed me attention, and I remember being so impressed by that. It meant a lot to me.”

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.