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Religious Observances

A message from Father Marko: “How can we keep Great Lent?”

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Lent is a Time of Slowing Down.

It is obviously impossible for us to go to Church every day. And since we cannot keep the Lent liturgically, the question arises: what is our participation in Lent, how can we spiritually profit by it?

The Church calls us to deepen our religious conscience, to increase and strengthen the spiritual contents of our life, to follow her in her pilgrimage towards renewal and rededication to God.

And, last but not least: there must be an effort and a decision to slow down our life, to put in as much quiet, silence, contemplation, meditation. Radio, TV, newspapers, social gatherings—all these things, however excellent and profitable in themselves, must be cut down to a real minimum. Not because they are bad, but because we have something more important to do, and it is impossible to do without a change of life, without some degree of concentration and discipline.

Lent is the time when we re-evaluate our life in the light of our faith, and this requires a very real effort and discipline. Christ says that a narrow path leads to the kingdom of God and we must make our life as narrow as possible. At first the natural and selfish man in us revolts against these limitations. He wants his usual “easy life” with all its pleasures and relaxations. But once we have tasted of such spiritual effort, once we have made by it one step towards God, the reward is great!

We discover a joy that cannot be compared to any other joy. We discover the reality of the spiritual world in us. We begin to understand what St. Paul meant by “the joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.” God Himself enters our soul: and it is this wonderful coming that constitutes the ultimate end of Lent: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)

Father Marko Matic
St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church – Merrillville, Indiana

Lenten Vesper Service, dinner, and guest speaker at St. Sava in Merrillville – Saturday, Mar. 18

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V. Rev. Father Dennis Pavicevich

You are cordially invited to Saint Sava Church for Lenten Vesper Service taking place at 6:00 p.m. with Lenten dinner following on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Merrillville, Indiana.

Vesper Service and veneration of the Holy Cross with His Grace Bishop Longin and visiting clergy and guests. Responses by Karagerge Choir and Saint Sava Children’s choir. Lenten dinner to follow.

Guest Speaker during the dinner will be V. Rev. Father Dennis Pavicevich.

Father Dennis Pavichevich (Dragoljub Pavicevic) began his theological studies at Saint Sava Seminary in Belgrade, Serbia. He returned to the United States after two years and completed his undergraduate studies at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science in 1972. Graduating from Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1975 with a Master of Divinity degree. He is well versed in the Christian Orthodox faith.

Father Dennis’s first parish was at Saint George in Schererville, Indiana, where he helped build the church itself as well as a parish home. While at his second parish with Saint Steven’s Cathedral in Alhambra, California, Father Dennis led a large Eucharistic revival while establishing an adult Bible study program that took place within parishioners’ homes.

Following Saint Steven’s, Father Dennis served at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago where he helped establish a full time parochial school – Saint Sava Academy.

Father Dennis is now at Saint Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church since December of 2012, and the congregation is very blessed to have him.

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.

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.

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

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Join us for Divine Liturgy beginning Thursday, 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 www.saintsava.net/blog to learn the days where Father Marko will be in your community blessing homes.

Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great – Saturday, Jan. 14

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Join us at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church for the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great – Saturday, Jan. 14 beginning at 9:00 a.m.

The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil is used ten specific times per year and differs from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom which has become the standard liturgy used in the Orthodox Church.

One of these special times each year where the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil is used falls on the feast day of St. Basil which takes place on the first of January on the traditional Julian Calendar used by the Serbian Orthodox Church (January 1 of the Julian Calendar falls on January 14 of the Gregorian Calendar).

An icon of Saint Basil the Great (AD 330-379) can be found at St. Sava Church in Merrillville, Indiana, in the recess of the altar east wall, south side. Like Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil was an early church Father. He established Nicean Orthodoxy over Arianism in the Byzantine east. His liturgical works are celebrated in the easter and western churches.

More about St. Basil the Great

According to book, “The PROLOGUE OF OHRID” by Saint Nikolai Velimirović:

Basil was born during the reign of Emperor Constantine. While still unbaptized, he spent fifteen years in Athens, where he studied philosophy, rhetoric, astronomy and all other secular sciences of that time. His colleagues there were Gregory the Theologian and Julian, later the apostate emperor. In his mature years he was baptized in the Jordan River along with Ebulios his former teacher. He was Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia for almost ten years and completed his earthly life fifty years after his birth. He was a great defender of Orthodoxy, a great light of moral purity, a religious zealot, a great theological mind, a great builder and pillar of the Church of God.

Basil fully deserved the title “Great.” In liturgical services he is referred to as the “bee of the Church of Christ, which brings honey to the faithful and with its stinger pricks the heretics.” Numerous works of this Father of the Church are preserved; they include theological, apologetical, ascetical and canonical writings, as well as the Holy and Divine Liturgy named after him.

This Divine Liturgy is celebrated ten times during the year: on the First of January, his feast day; on the eve of the Nativity of our Lord; on the eve of the Theophany of our Lord; all Sundays of Great Lent except Palm Sunday; on Great and Holy Thursday; and on Great and Holy Saturday. St. Basil reposed peacefully on January 1, 379 A.D., and entered into the Kingdom of Christ.

The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Christmas

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Patriarchal Nativity Encyclical 2016

Download the following message in both English and Serbian Cyrillic versions:

The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Christmas, 2016


By the Grace of God Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Christmas greeting: Peace from God! Christ is Born!

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (St. Luke 2:14)

We find ourselves, once again, before the Nativity Feast Day, before the feast day of immeasurable love of God, for today in the city of David Christ the Lord is born (cf. St. Luke 2:11), Emmanuel, which is to say, “God with us”. (St. Matthew 1:23) This great Mystery of the Incarnation of God the Logos, hidden from the beginning of the ages (cf. St. John 1:2), was first announced by the angels of God with their Christmas hymn of peace and love (cf. St. Luke 2:14). Then, they were joined by the shepherds and wise men from the east, gathering, therefore, both heaven and earth, angels and people, and all earthly nations, around the God-Child Christ in the Church of the Living God. (II Cor. 6:16)

How do the evangelists, eye witnesses and servants of the Word of God (cf. St. Luke 1:2), testify to the event of Christ’s Birth which, according to the holy fathers, is a greater miracle then the creation of the world? The Holy Apostle Matthew in his Gospel writes to his Judean countrymen, desiring to witness based on the Old Testament prophecies that Jesus of Nazareth is, indeed, the Christ or Messiah, the Anointed One, the Savior of the world. (cf. Psalm 138; Isaiah 7:14) That is why he begins his Gospel with the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. St. Matthew 1:1-17), emphasizing His real human nature. The evangelist in his genealogy lists the central persons of the Old Testament, especially accentuating Abraham and David the king, because the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah were mostly connected to the two of them, which came to be fulfilled with the Birth of Christ in Bethlehem of Judea. (cf. St. Matthew 2:5-6) The first part of the Gospel according to St. Matthew tells us loudly: For us and our salvation, God becomes a true man (cf. St. Matthew 1, 2); but in the second part of his genealogy, Saint Matthew tells us that the Messiah is the God-Man, that His Birth is above nature, from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. (cf. St. Matthew 1:20) By taking on real human nature, Christ becomes one of us, (cf. St. John 1:14) remaining that which He always was from all eternity – Son of God and the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. This concisely is the good news according to the Evangelist Saint Matthew, the good news about the salvation of all people through faith in Jesus Christ. (cf. Galatians 2:16)

The Holy Apostle Luke in his Gospel, which he addressed to his disciple Theophilos  (cf. St. Luke 1:3) and then to every God-loving soul, gives the historical context of Christ’s Birth. With his apologetic witness he removes the doubts of all skeptics and unbelievers who have tried to claim that Christ the Lord is a legend or a person who did not exist, and he convinces them that Christ is a true and real historical Person and the Messiah. As an historian, Luke cites that Christ’s Birth happened in the time of the Roman Caesar Augustus, who reigned from the year 27 before Christ to the 14 th year after His birth, and during the first general census of the populace at this time Quirinius governed Syria (cf. St. Luke 2:2). These are historical facts not denied even by exact science. Adding to the Matthian account, the evangelist Luke writes about Christ’s Birth not only to the Judeans, but also to all nations on earth. (cf. St. Luke 2:29-32) Saint Luke in his genealogy emphasizes that Christ is the Savior, the New Adam, the Head and spiritual founder of the New Israel – the blessed Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (cf. St. Luke 3:21-23), pointing to the liturgical dimension of this Feast Day.

As a crown and a seal we add briefly the witness of the Holy Evangelist John the Theologian about the birth of Christ. This beloved disciple and apostle of Christ adds his Protoevangelion to Matthew and Luke. In it he brings the tidings that Christ is the pre-eternal Son of God, the Word of God, the Logos through Whom everything is created (cf. St. John 1, 1-3), and Who came into this world as the Light (cf. St. John 1:5), to proclaim to us a New and eternal Covenant of God and man: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (St. John 1:17; cf. Rom. 10:4)

Dear brothers and sisters, that which was witnessed by the evangelists and apostles and which the Holy Fathers confirmed, we also witness to you today, on Christmas day, for “Christ is the same today, yesterday and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) That is why we call upon you, with our pastoral care and love, to together take part in the Christmas celebration, to lay aside all earthly cares, to offer our gifts to the God-Child Christ – our spiritual gold, frankincense and myrrh; this means our faith, hope and love – to meet the Lord and our neighbors. Saint John Chrysostom has called Christmas the root of all Christian feast days, because in Christmas we are promised, and in some mystical and grace-filled way we are given before hand, the Meeting of the Lord, his Baptism, and Transfiguration, as well as the Cross and Christ’s Resurrection. That is why our people say: “Without God not even over the threshold” and “there is no greater slava (patron feast day) than Christmas”, for in Christmas our people have foretasted the Mystery of God and the salvation of all people in the Church of Christ.

The Serbian people are a people of Christmas, a part of the People of God and of all generations of Christians; the people of Saint Sava, the people of Holy Tsar Lazar of Kosovo and of all the other martyrs and new-martyrs who have suffered in evil times, as did the slain children of Bethlehem (cf. St. Luke 2:16), for the truth and justice of God. We remember their sacrifice and beseech them to remember us in their prayers in the Holy Bethlehem that we may be worthy of our holy ancestors, as His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory used to say.

Christmas reveals to us the goal and meaning of our life on earth. As expressed in the language of the holy Fathers, God becomes man so that we may become gods, so that we may become “gods by grace,” fulfilling our existence with the fullness of divine grace. This is not a Christian exaggeration nor anthropological utopia. This is a reality of life in Christ. This is a reality that is a gift of God. Let us not allow anything of this world, the world that lies in evil (cf. St. John 5:19), to separate us from the love of God revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (cf. Rom. 8:35)! The fullness of this love is seen in the Birth of Christ. That is why Christmas truly is the “day which the Lord has made to rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

Christmas also points to the holiness of human life. This Feast Day calls us to theosis, not to destruction, to the service of life, not only biological but also eternal, and not to slavery or death. Saint Silouan the Athonite Elder tried in his life not to step on a worm, an ant, a flower, nor the smallest blade of grass. Life is given to everything by God, but especially to human beings, which in Christ are the icons of the Living God. (cf. II Cor. 4:4) Christmas strengthens and returns to us the biblical blessing: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:22) May the Lord grant that this blessing becomes a rule of life for the Serbian people and for all nations on earth, for in this way the hell of murdering brothers and unborn infants would be replaced by peace from paradise and the fullness of life. With this Christmas may Serbia come to life and may our families be filled with joy and children’s play! The Holy Gospel reminds us that if we do not become innocent like children we will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. (cf. St. Matthew 18:3) That is why Christmas is a feast day of our children as well, the feast day of the youth and future eternity.

On this blessed Christmas day we pray to the Lord, the King of peace, (cf. Hebrew 7:2) to extinguish enmity among the nations, to save His people throughout the world, and to be merciful to us. May this Christmas call into communion all those who in any way have estranged themselves from the Church of the Living God! May heresies and schisms disappear, that all people, with fear of God, with faith and love, may approach the unity and life of the One, Holy, Catholic (Saborna) and Apostolic Church! For this unity the Lord Himself prayed in his archpriestly prayer: “That all may be one”. (St. John 17:21)

We greet all our spiritual children in our Fatherland and those abroad with the Christmas salutation, calling them to live in mutual brotherly love – Christmas love. We especially pray for the crucified Kosovo and Metohija, our spiritual and national cradle, which the great Njegos has called a “great tribunal”. As long as there are Serbs, there will be Kosovo! Kosovo is the Serb’s soul! That is why Kosovo and Metohija will remain our country, for there is present both our Golgotha and our Jerusalem. May our God, the Only Lover of mankind, grant peace and blessing to all of His people, and according to the words of Holy Silouan the Athonite, grant that all people on earth may recognize Him by the Holy Spirit in the miraculous light of Christmas!


Given at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade at Christmas, 2016.

Your intercessors before the cradle of the divine Christ-Child:

Archbishop of Pec,
Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and
Serbian Patriarch IRINEJ

  • Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Coastlands AMPHILOHIJE
  • Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana PORFIRIJE
  • Bishop of Sabac LAVRENTIJE
  • Bishop of Srem VASILIJE
  • Bishop of Banja Luka JEFREM
  • Bishop of Budim LUKIJAN
  • Bishop of Banat NIKANOR
  • Bishop of New Gracanica-Midwestern America LONGIN
  • Bishop of Canada MITROPHAN
  • Bishop of Backa IRINEJ
  • Bishop of Great Britain and Scandinavia DOSITEJ
  • Bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla CHRYSOSTOM
  • Bishop of Osijek and Baranja LUKIJAN
  • Bishop of Western Europe LUKA
  • Bishop of Zicha JUSTIN
  • Bishop of Vranje PAHOMIJE
  • Bishop of Sumadija JOVAN
  • Bishop of Branicevo IGNATIJE
  • Bishop of Dalmatia FOTIJE
  • Bishop of Bihac and Petrovac ATANASIJE
  • Bishop of Budimlje and Niksic JOANIKIJE
  • Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina GRIGORIJE
  • Bishop of Valjevo MILUTIN
  • Bishop of Ras and Prizren TEODOSIJE
  • Bishop of Nis JOVAN
  • Bishop of Western America MAXIM
  • Bishop of Gornji Karlovac GERASIM
  • Bishop of Eastern America IRINEJ
  • Bishop of Krusevac DAVID
  • Bishop of Slavonia JOVAN
  • Bishop of Austria and Switzerland ANDREJ
  • Bishop of Frankfurt and all Germany SERGIJE
  • Bishop of Timok ILARION
  • Bishop of Australia and New Zealand SILOAN
  • Retired Bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla VASILIJE
  • Retired Bishop of Canada GEORGIJE
  • Retired Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina ATANASIJE
  • Retired Bishop of Central Europe CONSTANTINE
  • Retired Bishop of Slavonia SAVA
  • Retired Bishop of Mileseva FILARET
  • Former Bishop of Nis JOVAN
  • Vicar Bishop of Moravica ANTONIJE
  • Vicar Bishop of Toplica ARSENIJE
  • Vicar Bishop of Dioclia KIRILO


  • Archbishop of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skoplje JOVAN
  • Patriarchal Nativity Encyclical 2016 p. 5
  • Bishop of Polos and Kumanovo JOAKIM
  • Bishop of Bregal MARKO
  • Vicar Bishop of Stobija DAVID
[Path of Orthodoxy translation]

The Spiritual Meaning of the Badnjak

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Join us Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 beginning at 6:00 p.m. for Great Vespers and blessing of the Badnjak at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church located at 9191 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, Indiana.

The Spiritual Meaning of the Badnjak

The following writing titled “The Spiritual Meaning of the Badnjak” (Yule Log) was originally written by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic and reprinted in the Tuesday, Jan. 7, 1992 issue of the American SRBOBRAN, p. 5.

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?

The Serbs begin the celebration of Christmas with the solemn ceremony of bringing in a young OAK tree to the house.

An OAK is usually the most solid tree and produces the most heat.

Have you ever anointed the Badnjak with honey?

Have you rejoiced with your children watching its light emitted in a swarm of sparks?

Have you enjoyed its heat?

The Badnjak is the tree of happiness and sweetness, the tree of health, strength and youth, the tree of life and love.

Is there a tree of happiness in this world?  Is the Badnjak that tree or is it a semblance and symbol of that tree?  Yes, it is only the symbol and semblance.  The real tree of Happiness is HE Who was born on that radiant day.

The bringing of the Badnjak into the house represents Christ’s coming into the world and His coming into our homes and our souls!

What a glorious custom and marvelous scene!

The Badnjak represents Christ.  As a young and powerful tree the King of Love gave Himself to be slain in order to rejuvenate the world by the fragrance of eteral youth; to thaw a frozen mankind by the fire of His love; to enlighten and bring joy to all men by the flame of His Divine Revelation; to annihilate the false Gods on earth by the sparks of His words; to sweeten the bitter waters by the sweet juice of His blood.

Having brought the Badnjaks into your homes, have you brought Christ into your homes and your souls?

A picture is only a picture, but Christ is the reality.  The Badnjak is a picture of the tree of happiness and as a picture is a warning and reminder that you should bring into your homes and your souls the real tree of Happiness, the Son of God, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

His teaching, His sermon on the Mount was the sermon of Happiness and contains the only charter human happiness.  He Himself represents the true and eternal Tree of Happiness.

Connect with your local Orthodox community

This is a special time of the year and a great opportunity to connect with your local Orthodox church community. Whether you are well established within your own Orthodox community or new and seeking to learn more, the holidays are great time to find fellowship and warmth with many great people and churches.

If you are in Northwest Indiana or the Chicagoland area, we welcome you to visit us at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church at 9191 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, Indiana. There are special services taking place frequently during January, please click the following link and visit us to find your spiritual connections – Schedule of Services – https://www.saintsava.net/celebrations-begin-christmas-eve-at-st-sava-in-merrillville-friday-jan-6/

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

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Father Marko Matic blessing the Badnjak inside the Pavilion at St. Sava Church, Merrillville, Indiana.

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

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 30th   AFTER PENTECOST: Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM
  • НЕДЕЉА 30. 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 22nd

  • SUNDAY 31th   AFTER PENTECOST: Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM
  • НЕДЕЉА 31. 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

  • SUNDAY 32nd  AFTER PENTECOST: Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM. Saint Sava Celebration. Blessing and cutting of Slava Kolach; Dinner and Program.
  • НЕДЕЉА 32. ПО ДУХОВИМА: Света Литургија у 10:00 ујутру. Светосавска Прослава. Сечење Славског колача, ручак и програм.

Resurrection Matins at St. Sava begin at 11:30 p.m. in Merrillville – Saturday, Apr. 30

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The remaining schedule of Holy Week and Easter Services taking place at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana is now available online and for download.

Holy Week and Easter Service Schedule

Holy Saturday – April 30, 2016

  • Resurrection Matins at 11:30 p.m.

Pascha – May 1, 2016

  • Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.

Easter Monday – May 2, 2016

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00 a.m.

Easter Tuesday – May 3, 2016

  • Divine Liturgy at 9:00 a.m.