Religious Observances

Celebrations begin Christmas Eve at St. Sava in Merrillville – Friday, January 6

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Join us for the celebration of Orthodox Christmas beginning with Divine Liturgy taking place at 9:00 a.m. and Great Vespers taking place at 6:00 p.m. Friday, January 6 at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church at 9191 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, Indiana.

The Blessing and burning of the Badnjak will take place immediately following the Great Vespers.

Divine Liturgy will take place Christmas morning beginning at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, January 7.

The complete listing of services taking place during this special time of the year is listed below.

The Spiritual Meaning of the Badnjak


Burning of the Badnjak outside the Pavilion at St. Sava Church, Merrillville, Indiana.

Have you ever brought a Badnjak into your home? Do you know that the Badnjak is the finest and foremost custom of all the many traditions by which our people enhance the Christmas celebration?

Click here to read an article explaining the Spiritual Meaning of the Badnjak.


FRIDAY, January 6th

  • CHRISTMAS EVE: Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM. Great Vespers at 6:00PM. Blessing and burning of Badnjak.
  • БАДЊИ ДАН: Света Литургија у 9:00 ујутру. Празнично вечерње у 6:00 увече. Освећење и паљење Бадњака.

SATURDAY, January 7th

  • CHRISTMAS: Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM
  • БОЖИЋ: Света Литургија у 10:00 ујутру

SUNDAY, January 8th

  • ALL HOLY MOTHER OF GOD FEAST: Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM
  • САБОР ПРЕСВЕТЕ БОГОРОДИЦЕ: Света Литургија у 10:00 ујутру

MONDAY, January 9th

  • ST. STEPHEN THE ARCHDEACON: Divine Liturgy 9:00AM
  • СВЕТИ АРХИЂАКОН СТЕФАН: Света Литургија у 9:00 ујутру
  • Cutting of Slava Kolach after Holy Liturgy

SATURDAY, January 14th

  • ST. BASIL (SERBIAN NEW YEAR’S DAY): Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • СВ. ВАСИЛИЈЕ  (СРПСКА НОВА ГОДИНА): Св. Литургија у 9:00 ујутру

SUNDAY, January 15th

  • SUNDAY 31st   AFTER PENTECOST: Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM
  • НЕДЕЉА 31. ПО ДУХОВИМА: Света Литургија у 10:00 ујутру

THURSDAY, January 19th

  • HOLY THEOPHANY: Div. Liturgy and Great Blessing of Water at 9:00AM.
  • БОГОЈАВЉЕЊЕ: Св. Литургија и Велико освећење воде у 9:00 ујутру.

FRIDAY, January 20th

  • ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST: Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • СВЕТИ ЈОВАН КРСТИТЕЉ: Света Литургија у 9:00 ујутру
  • Cutting of Slava Kolach after Holy Liturgy

SUNDAY, January 22rd

  • SUNDAY 32nd AFTER PENTECOST: Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM
  • НЕДЕЉА 32. ПО ДУХОВИМА: Света Литургија у 10:00 ујутру

FRIDAY, January 27th

  • ST. SAVA DAY: Divine Liturgy at 9:00AM
  • СВЕТИ САВА: Света Литургија у 9:00 ујутру

SUNDAY, January 29th

  • ST. SAVA DAY CELEBRATION: Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM.  Blessing and cutting of Slava Kolach; Dinner and Program.
  • CABИНДАH: Света Литургија у 10:00 ујутру. Светосавска Прослава. Сечење Славског колача, ручак и програм.

Join us for Zadusnice Memorial Service – Saturday, Feb. 26 – St. Sava, Merrillville, Indiana

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Please join us for a special Zadusnice Memorial Service taking place Saturday, February 26, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Sava Church, Merrillville, IN.

We encourage anyone to attend. There is no need to bring anything special to this service other than your memories and prayers for your loved ones. However, we do encourage you to write down a list of departed family members and friends, if you wish, to bring with you to the service so that we may read the names and remember all of them.

The purpose of the memorial service is to bring comfort to both the living and the dead. As is sung in the concluding song – Memory Eternal – it also helps us keep the memory of loved ones alive.

Zadusnice, also known as Saturday of Souls or All Souls’ Day, is a day commemorating the faithful departed, particularly but not exclusively one’s relatives. This special observance takes place on a Saturday, a traditional day for prayer for the dead, because Christ lay dead in the Tomb on Saturday.

For the Zadusnice observance, there is normally a Panikhida (memorial service) served on the Saturday morning for which Koliva (a dish made of boiled wheatberries and honey) is prepared and placed in front of the cross or icon with a lit candle, before which the Panikhida is served.

After the service, the priest blesses the koliva and it is then eaten as a memorial by all present.

Zadusnice Memorial Service takes place several times per year. If you are not available for the February 26 service, we encourage you to join us for the next Zadusnice Memorial Service which will appear in March 2022 on the St. Sava Church online calendar.

Paraklesis/Moleben Evening Services begin at St. Sava – Friday, Jan. 21

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Paraklesis Services, also called Moleben, begin taking place every Friday evening at 6:00 p.m., starting January 21, 2022, at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana.

This is a unique service to Most Holy Mother of God offered for all Saint Sava members and our relatives and especially those who are sick.

A paraklesis is a service of supplication specifically for the living (as opposed to a Memorial Service, which is a supplication for the departed). This service is most often addressed to the Theotokos, but may be used to seek the intercessions of any saint.

The distinguishing feature of a paraklesis is the inclusion of a supplicatory canon to the saint whose intercessions are being sought. A paraklesis can be served as a stand-alone service or, in a slightly abbreviated form, in conjunction with Vespers. It is appropriate to be served at any time of need.

In Slavic practice, there is a similar service that is called a molieben—this service is either served as a stand-alone service or in conjunction with the Divine Liturgy.

Everyone is welcome to attend these weekly services. This Friday evening service is one of many services offered on weeknights throughout the week at St. Sava that include Akathaist and Vesper Services throughout the week, in addition to the Divine Liturgy that takes place every Sunday at 10:00 a.m.

Visit our calendar at for a complete list of events taking place at St. Sava Church in Merrillville, Indiana.

Donations are greatly appreciated and you may now give securely on our website at our online donation page – click to give today.

The Deeper Meaning in the Blessing of Homes

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This little article is not about what you already know about blessing homes – get a candle, get an icon, write out a list of all the living you want the priest to pray for, and write out a list of the departed too. Turn off the television, radio, and other electronic devices… you know all that, or should. This is instead a message about the deeper meaning of this, a serious application of the blessing to our lives.

The tradition of blessing homes is of special beauty and significance. It is not simply a sentimental custom without meaning. It is attached to a special event in our Holy Church – the feast of the Lord’s Baptism – reminding us of not only our baptisms, but also of the need of baptizing the world in which we live, including what we might call “my world” – ‘my personal space.’

When an Orthodox Christian believer moves into a new home, he dedicates it not only as the abode of a follower of Christ, but also as a shining example to the community of good clean Christian life. He asks that God, the source of all goodness and the Giver of every perfect gift, bless his house and all that is within it; he recalls that Jesus Christ, His Son, came to bring Salvation to it, even as He brought Salvation to the house of Zacchaeus, the house of Mary and Martha and Lazarus; he prays that the Holy Spirit may abide in it, guiding those who dwell in it in the Paths of righteousness.

When our house is blessed, after the Feast of Theophany, we rededicate our home for its original purpose, just as we must periodically rededicate our life to Christ. An Orthodox Christian must dedicate not only himself and his house to the Lord, but his daily work and all his efforts as well. All things are to be done to the glory of God. That is why in the Christian Orthodox Church, not only religious objects, such as icons, crosses, churches and vestments, are blessed, but also homes, fields and all objects which are used in our daily lives for the good of man. In this the Church expresses its faith that the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying action extends over the whole Creation.

At the Nativity of Our Lord, we sing a carol which tells us ‘Let every heart prepare Him room.’ We know that this means not only to ‘make a space for’ but it means to clean and cleanse and purify our homes and get ready for Him to come to us, not only in our homes but also, and more especially, into our hearts.

We prepare our hearts and souls and heads, cleaning them of all sinfulness so that when He comes, the place will be refreshed and ready. When someone comes to stay in your guest room (which you may not use often, or may use only to store lots of ‘stuff’), we normally air the room out, dust it and change the bed linens which may have become somewhat musty. We might even wash the windows to let the light shine in, clean the floor, and make room by shoving all the ‘stuff’ into closets (or under the bed). We know then that cleaning the house of our soul is equally hard work – we take stock of our lives and actions over the past year, come to confession so that Our Lord – who washes away our sins when we confess them – when He comes in to us, has a refreshed and clean place worthy of laying His head – He comes to abide in us as well as our homes!

Blessing the home is a spiritual ‘exercise’ led by the Lord Himself, through his priest and in the presence of the members of the assembled family, dressed in ‘good clothes,’ and maybe even invited guests and friends, who all enter into worship and thanksgiving with us. Effective family life does not just happen; it is the result of deliberate intention, determination and practice.

Blessing of Homes – Schedule 2022 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 2022 Schedule for Blessing of Homes is now available below.


    • From Monday, January 24th to Sunday, February 6th


    • From Monday, February 7th to Thursday, February 10th


    • From Friday, February 11th to Sunday, February 20th


    • From Monday, February 21st to Sunday, February 27th


    • Monday, February 28th


    • From Tuesday, March 1st to Sunday, March 6th


    • From Monday, March 7th to Sunday, March 20th


    • From Monday, March 21st to Thursday March 24th


    • From Friday, March 25th to Sunday, April 3rd


    • From Monday, April 4th to Sunday, April 10th


    • From Monday, April 11th to Wednesday April 20th



    • Од понедељка, 24. јануара до недеље, 6. фебруара


    • Од понедељка, 7. фебруара до четвртка, 10. фебруара


    • Од петка, 11. фебруара до недеље, 20. фебруара


    • Од понедељка, 21. фебруара до недеље, 27. фебруара


    • Понедељак, 28. фебруар


    • Од уторка, 1. марта до недеље, 6. марта


    • Од понедељка, 7. марта до недеље, 20. марта


    • Од понедељка, 21. марта до четвртка, 24. марта


    • Од петка, 25. марта до недеље, 3. априла


    • Од понедељка, 4. априла до недеље, 10. априла


    • Од понедељка, 11. априла до среде, 20. априла

The meaning of the Great Blessing of Water – Holy Theophany – Wednesday, Jan. 19

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Join us for Divine Liturgy beginning Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 9:00 a.m. for the Great Blessing of Water celebrating Holy Theophany at St. Sava Church, 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.

This image depicts the baptismal font used in St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Merrillville, Indiana. Etched on one side is the scene commemorating Christ’s baptism by John the Forerunner in the River Jordan, and the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry.

This image depicts the baptismal font used in St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Merrillville, Indiana. Etched on one side is the scene commemorating Christ’s baptism by John the Forerunner in the River Jordan, and the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry.

The feast is called Theophany because at the baptism of Christ the Holy Trinity appeared clearly to mankind for the first time—the Father’s voice is heard from Heaven, the Son of God is incarnate and standing physically in the Jordan, and the Holy Spirit descends on Him in the form of a dove.

The services of Theophany are arranged similarly to those of the Nativity (Historically the Christmas services were established later).

On the morning of the feast, the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is served. The Liturgy of the feast begins with psalms of glorification and praise instead of the three normal Antiphons. And the baptismal line from Galatians 3:27 replaces the Thrice-Holy.

For as many as been baptized into Christ have put on Christ: Alleluia.

The Gospel readings of the services tell of the Lord’s baptism by John in the Jordan River. The epistle reading of the Divine Liturgy tells of the consequences of the Lord’s appearing which is the divine epiphany.

Since the main feature of the feast is the blessing of water, it is prescribed to follow both the Divine Liturgy of the eve of the feast and the Divine Liturgy of the day itself. But most local parishes do it only once when most of the parishioners can be present. The blessing verifies that mankind, and all of creation, were created to be filled with the sanctifying presence of God.

In connection with the feast, it is traditional for the priest to visit all the homes of the faithful for their annual house blessing using the water that has been blessed at the Theophany services.

Look for a schedule of home blessings to be posted here soon at to learn the days where Father Marko will be in your community blessing homes.

Save-the-date St. Sava Day Celebration – Sunday, Jan. 30

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Save-the-date Sunday, January 30, 2022 at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church – Merrillville, Indiana. Show your support for our Sunday School and make a donation today ( on our secure online donation form.
Join us as we celebrate St. Sava Day with the St. Sava Sunday School Children, Teachers, and Board featuring a special program and luncheon immediately after Divine Liturgy and cutting of the Kolach. Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 a.m.

A message from His Grace Bishop Longin

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Peace of God! Christ is Born!

Truly He is Born!

“Our Savior, the dayspring from the East, has visited us from on high, and we, who were in darkness and shadow, have found the Truth, for the Lord is born from the Virgin”.
(Exapostellarion of the Nativity of Christ)

The Lord has once again visited us this year, dear brothers and sisters, bringing to us His peace and fulfilling His promise of returning us from death to life. In the economy of our salvation, the Lord planned to come to this world out of love for His creation—mankind—to save us from the world; to save us from eternal death and suffering. He comes to us in order to grant us life in abundance.

The life that comes from Life Himself is what lifts us up to the heavens, making our connection with God direct and strong, with no place for a weak bond. With His coming, the only place for disturbance in that connection is when our weaknesses and sinfulness are what divide us from Him. He has poured out all of His mercy on to us, and is only asking that we receive Him, give Him a place, and give Him a roof to be under, as the place He received through the manger. If we are willing, then our hearts become a temple with the entrance of His Divine Body and Blood at the Holy Mystery of Communion.

Let us take the opportunity of this season to prepare ourselves for the coming of the God-Child. Let us cleanse our hearts and souls of evil! Let us sweep away the sins and passions staining the floor of our hearts! Let us prepare a cradle out of good deeds so that He may have place to lay His head! This is the purpose of this time of year, which is God-inspired, preserved by our holy customs throughout the centuries and past down to us from our forefathers.

I greet all of you, my spiritual children in Christ, asking God to bless your families, homes, work and efforts for our Holy Church and your salvation. May the God-Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, protect us from all evil, sickness and distress, both now as we approach the Nativity, in the New Year and always.

Christ is Born!

Happy and Blessed New Year 2022!

His Grace Bishop



Мир Божији, Христос се роди!

Ваистину се роди!

“Спаситељ наш, извор са истока, нас је посетио с висине, а ми који седисмо у тами и

сенци смрти нађосмо Истину, јер се Господ оваплоти од Дјеве”.
(Свјетилен Рождества Христовог)

Господ нас опет и ове године посећује, драга браћо и сестре, доносећи нам Његов мир и испуњавајући Његово обећање о нашем повратку из смрти у живот. Господ долази у овај свет из љубави према Својој творевини – људском роду – да нас спасе од света, од вечне смрти и страдања, испуњавајући домострој спасења и дарујући нам живот у изобиљу. Живот који долази од Самог Живота ја оно што нас уздиже на небо, успоставњајући и учвршћујући нашу везу с Богом.

Након Христовог доласка, једино што може ослабити или пореметити ту везу је наша слабост и грешност. Он је Своју милост излио на нас а од нас очекује да је примимо, да му припремимо место и примимо под свој кров као што га ономад витлејемска пећина примила. Само ако желимо, наше срце може постати храм уласком Његовог Светог Тела и Крви кроз Свету Тајну Причешћа. Искористимо прилику овог предпразничног периода да се припремимо за долазак Богомладенца. Очистимо срца и душе од зла, страсти и греха који га прљају.

Припремимо те јаслице добрим делима да би Господ имао где да се у нама настани! Ово је сврха овог Богомданог поста који су и вековима држали наши преци и до данас очували.

Поздрављам вас све, драга духовна децо у Христу, молећи Господа да благослови ваше породице, домове, рад и труд у Светој Цркви и на вашем спасењу. Нека нас Богочовек, Господ наш Исус Христос заштити од сваког зла, болести и муке док прилазимо Рождеству Његовом, у новој години и у векове векова.

Христос се роди!

Срећна и благословена нова 2022 година!

Његово Преосвештенство Епископ