Articles Fr. Nemanja S Mrdjenovic Other Orthodox Parishes and Monasteries Serbia 2021

The Relatioship Between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia in 1950–1969

Contemprorary Serbian Chetniks in Australia

Whether the Serbian Church provided canonical refuge to Russian bishops and clergy in Yugoslavia, it was the ROCOR, which ministered to the Serbs in the years following World War Two in Australia.

This abridged version of the paper, which will be presented at the conference in November 2021 in Belgrade. It has been posted here to enable conference participants to supply their questions to the presenter beforehand. 

1. Introduction

Aafter the end of WWII and the successive triumph of the Communist Resistance against the Nationalist Resistance in Yugoslavia, [1]Simultaneously with WWII, a civil war was fought on the territory of the occupied Kingdom of Yugoslavia between the communist partisans on the one side and several nationalist factions on the other … Continue reading Serbian Orthodox people experienced a fate quite similar to that of their Russian counterparts at the end of the Russian Civil War. The Serbian diaspora population exploded after the nationalist forces and their families, including many clergymen, were exiled from Yugoslavia. This was the time when the Serbian Orthodox Church for the first time reached as far as Australia and New Zealand.

The first Serbian Orthodox parish in Australia was established in 1949 under the de facto unofficial auspices of Bishop Dionosije (Milivojevic) of America and Canada, and as early as 1952, the Serbian Orthodox churches [2] In this article the word “church” with a small “C” pertains to an individual church building or a parish, whereas “Church” with a capital “C” is used for the local Church. in Australia came under the spiritual care of His Holiness the Patriarch of Serbia, based in Belgrade. Australian Serbs were left without a resident bishop for decades until the 1960s when, due to the infamous “American Schism”, two Serbian dioceses were established there, separate from each other.

During this time, it was the ROCOR and its bishops and archbishops who were the greatest support to the Serbian Orthodox clergy and faithful in Australia. It soon became evident that it was the ROCOR that assumed the role of an established Church offering a helping hand to a “daughter”.

1.1. Timeframe

These were turbulent times for both jurisdictions when secular politics and ideologies played a major role in the development of Church life. Much greater attention was given to the issues of communism, nationalism, monarchism, etc. rather than to spirituality, ecclesiology or eschatology. This article will attempt to shed more light on the relationship between the ROCOR and the SOC in Australia in the period between 1950 and 1969 and perhaps to rectify a certain injustice.

The reason for the focus on this period is twofold. Firstly, the starting point was centered on 1950, as that is the tangible starting point of development for both jurisdictions in Australia. The Australian and New Zealand Diocese of the ROCOR was established in 1946 but its first bishop, Theodore (Rafalsky), arrived in Australia in November 1948. Less than two months earlier the first Serbian Orthodox priest, Revd. Svetozar Sekulic, also arrived in Australia. This was no coincidence as the Australian government had a specific timetable for accepting and transporting Displaced Persons (DPs) [3]Displaced Persons were not simple refugees as the majority of them did not flee from their countries but were forcibly removed (as forced laborers, conscripts, POWs) and did not want to be … Continue reading from Europe to Australia. [4] Fitzpatrick, Sheila. White Russian, Red Peril, Melbourne: La Trobe University Press (2021), 58, 59. The Russian and Serbian DPs were scheduled to depart from Europe in January and May 1948, but upon arrival, the Australian government “imposed a requirement of two years of manual work in jobs assigned by the Australian government” [5] Ibid, 59. which meant that the vast majority of the laity, as well as minor clergy, did not settle permanently until 1950.

In 1949, Serbs formed their first parish in Sydney and the Russian Diocese instituted a position of assistant bishop for the Vicariate of Melbourne. The following year the ROCOR Diocese of Australia and New Zealand was elevated to the rank of the archdiocese and the Melbourne Vicariate was transformed into a Brisbane Vicariate. [6]“Mельбурнская Eпархия”, Древо, открытая православная энциклопедия, https://drevo-info.ru/articles/17953.html (last accessed 20 September … Continue reading

Secondly, the endpoint for this research was fixed in 1969 as in this year the Holy Synod of the SOC established a diocese covering Australia and New Zealand and appointed His Grace Bishop Lavrentije (Trifunovic) as its first bishop. Additionally, socialist Yugoslavia loosened its border protection policies in the late 1960s. West Germany signed bilateral recruitment agreements with Yugoslavia on 12 October 1968, allowing the recruitment of guest workers to work in the industrial sector in jobs that required few qualifications. This was the first trickle of the second tide of emigrants from Yugoslavia that reached the Australian shores in the early 1970s. The second wave in the 1970s and the third in the 1990s changed the environment in the Serbian Australian Orthodox diaspora. The formative years were finished and the subsequent developments exhibit an established ecclesial structure, which falls far beyond the scope of this article.

  2.1 Foundation of the Serbian Australian Orthodox community

Small Serbian communities started forming on the Australian continent in the second part of the 19th century, but they did not attempt to organize any ecclesial life until after World War II. The first Serbian immigrants came from the regions of Montenegro, Dalmatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Austro-Hungary. Many of them were familiar with Orthodox ecclesial structures at home that were not united as yet into one autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church until that became a reality in 1920. [7] Slijepcevic, Djoko. Историја Српске Православне Цркве: Књига III (History of the Serbian Orthodox Church: Vol III), Keln: Iskra (1986), 13. Therefore, the need for a specifically Serbian Orthodox parish was not imperative, as long as there were other Orthodox clergy. Furthermore, Serbia came out of World War as one of the victors. After the war, the Serbian and other South Slavic lands united in one state, The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1918-1929). [8] Later “Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929-1941)”. This was the first time since the 14th century that almost all Serbs lived in the same country, which inspired many Serbian emigrants around the world to return home.

The Kingdom of Serbia had diplomatic relations with the British colonies on the Australian continent dating back to 1882. In one of the recently discovered diplomatic documents from the inter-war period (1925), the Yugoslavian consul in Australia claims that “there are up to 60,000 of our people here”. [9]“The History of Diplomatic Relations”, Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Australia, http://www.canberra.mfa.gov.rs/odrzavanje/uploads/AJ-334-213-538-1925-0002.JPG (last accessed 20 September … Continue reading It must be noted that Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic, multi-faith, and multi-confessional country; hence many, if not most of these people, would not be Orthodox Serbs. Furthermore, Spasovic and Miletic, in their seminal work, History of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, claim that during the 19th century there were not more than a thousand Orthodox Serbs in Australia, and prior to 1961 around 10,000. [10]Spasovic, Stanimir and Miletic, Srboljub. The History of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Sydney: Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand, Serbian Orthodox … Continue reading The Australian Bureau of Statistics counted less than 32,000 Orthodox Serbs as recently as 1996 [11] Hughes, J. P. Fraser, M. and Reid, S. Australia’s Religious Communities: Facts and Figures. Nunawading: Christian Research Association (2012), 46. and the total number of Eastern Orthodox in 1947 was only 17,012 souls. [12] Ibid, 46.

The true birth of the Serbian Orthodox community in Australia came after World War II. There have been three large waves of Serbian migrants that splashed the shores of Australia. The DPs constituted the first wave after World War II. The economic migrants constituted the second wave in the 1970s and the third wave came after the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, when a significant number of Serbian refugees from Croatia and Bosnia were granted humanitarian visas for Australia. As mentioned before, the capacity of this work will only cover the first wave.

2.2 The arrival of the Serbian Orthodox clergy

Bishop Dionisije of America and Canada was dedicated to his flock of refugees around the globe in the days after World War II, but the scope of his work was overwhelming. He was in contact with certain members of the Serbian community in Australia even before World War II, but was not able to send them a priest, nor were they able to organize a parish.

In April 1948, Bishop Dionisije was finally in a position to organise for a priest, Fr Zivan Gavrilovic, who was in one of the DP camps in Austria, to come to Australia and begin the organisation of ecclesial life. For reasons unknown Father Zivan never arrived in Australia, but on 6 September 1948, Father Svetozar Sekulic arrived in Sydney, as the first Serbian Orthodox priest on Australian soil. [13] Spasovic and Miletic (2019), 33.

Father Svetozar Sekulic was 37 years old when he came to Australia. He had been ordained in 1932 in Knin, the heart of the Serbian Krajina region in today’s Croatia. In 1945 he joined the Chetnik units as a chaplain and escaped with them to Italy when the communists won.

In July 1949 the second priest, Protopresbyter Ilija Bulovan, also arrived in Sydney. Father Ilija was 58 when he came, with 35 years’ experience as a priest. He was an army priest from 1922 and he was captured as a prisoner of war in 1941. At the intervention of the Italian forces that controlled Dalmatia where he lived, he was released, together with other local clergymen, and returned home where he joined the Chetniks as a chaplain. His oldest son was killed in the war as a soldier in the Chetnik army. Father Ilija, his wife Marija, son Branko and daughter Ruza, escaped to Italy with the Royalist Chetnik forces.

From 1950 other clergymen started arriving, such as Father Milenko Stefanovic who also settled in Sydney; Father Budimir Djukic who later went to Brisbane; Hieromonk Georgije (Djonlic) who went to Adelaide; and Father Theodore Damjanjuk who was of Russian background but remained in the Serbian jurisdiction and served in Melbourne.

On 26 February 1949, the founding meeting of the first Serbian Orthodox Church School Community was held in the Buffalo Hall in Sydney under the leadership of Father Svetozar Sekulic. The Church Community was dedicated to Saint Sava, the first Serbian Archbishop. A collection plate was passed and all of the 72 donors became the founding fathers of the Saint Sava Church in Warriewood. [14] Ibid, 38.

Bishop Dionisije accepted the decision of the founding meeting and sent his blessing. Another Serbian Bishop outside of Yugoslavia, Bishop Nikolai (Velimirovic), sent his regards and wrote to members of the first Serbian Church School Community in Australia. [15] Ibid, 38-39. In his letter, the most influential Serbian figure outside Yugoslavia (canonized in 2003) urged the community to stay united and concentrate on their faith: “thus will God bless us and with His mighty hand return us to our Homeland. Now it remains for us to repent and bravely bear everything until God in His mercy condescends to bring us back to the country of our forefathers.” [16] Ibid, 39.

3. The Nature of the relationship

The narrative in both Serbian and Russian communities in post-war Australia was above all anti-communist. This was the time of heightened national feelings and almost all aspects of Church life, as well as any other activities in these migrant communities, were observed through the prism of ideology and politics and of course their “near and triumphant return to the Fatherland”. [17] Spasovic and Miletic (2019), 72. The situation of a decade ago, where a priest of the Antiochian Patriarchate ministers to the parish consisting of mostly Slavs, and enjoying the support from the local Greek Hierarch, was now practically unimaginable.

The Serbian community in Australia was not the same as the pre-war community that never lived under the rule of the Serbian King and the Serbian Patriarch. Quite the opposite — the community was now dominated by the people who had fought a war under the banner “For the King and the Fatherland”, including members of the clergy. From the very beginning, they started to organize a Church life distinct from other Orthodox jurisdictions. Even when they wanted to rent the Russian or Greek Churches for their services, they were pressured to join those parishes under the said jurisdiction. Even the correspondence with the Church hierarchs points predominantly to the significance of the preservation of the ethnic and national identity.

For example, upon his arrival in Australia in December 1949, Father Svetozar Sekulic was, appointed by the government to work in a hospital in Melbourne. However, already in 1949, he moved to Sydney to help with the organisation of the first Serbian Church. Father Budimir Djukic took his place in Melbourne when he arrived in 1950 and was appointed to work at the Electricity Commission of Victoria. Archbishop Theodore gave him a blessing to serve with the Russian priest in the Russian Church in Melbourne. Bishop Dionisije agreed to this and sent his blessing with the instruction “I agree and approve that Father Budimir can perform all services in the Russian Church and with the Russians in Melbourne, until the Serbs in this place are capable of organising their own place of worship. However, I am giving an order to Father Budimir and the Serbs in Melbourne to establish a separate Serbian parish according to the Constitution of the Diocese, to gather Serbs and to spiritually care for them.” [18]Spasovic, Stanimir and Miletic, Srboljub. Историја СПЦ у Аустралији, Новом Зеланду и Јужној Африци [The History of the Serbian Orthodox Church in … Continue reading

In 1953 Father Budimir was transferred to work in Queensland and in 1954 Father Theodor Damjanjuk came in his place. Father Theodor was a Russian from Kamianets-Podilskyi, where he was born in 1889. He spent most of his early years in the Carpathians. He was ordained a priest in 1920 and appointed a missionary of the SOC in the region of Uzhorod. In 1925 he was transferred to southern Serbia (Pirot-Prokuplje region) where he served until 1952. In 1952 he came to Australia and served in regional Victoria in the SOC until 1954 when he moved to Melbourne. It was under his leadership that on 30 January 1955 the Russian Bishop of Melbourne, Sava (Rayevski), with two of his priests, came to consecrate the foundations of the first Serbian Orthodox church in Melbourne, Saint George Church in St. Albans.

With 34 years of service dedicated to the SOC in the Czech lands, Serbia and Australia, he was the only Serbian Orthodox priest not only in Melbourne but also in entire Victoria. Yet, the same Serbian community from St. Albans chose to ignore him on the basis of his ethnicity and wrote to Fr Ilija Bulovan, the Australian Dean of the SOC, to assign them a Serbian priest: “You in Sydney have four Serbian priests and we are here in Melbourne left without even one.” [19] St Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church Blacktown Archives (:BA), Box 1, 1950s. The ethnic and political identity was valued above any other, including ecclesial.

An illustrative example of the indifference of the community towards Church life is the fact that some 10,000 Serbs in Australia (as estimated in 1957) [20] Bulovan Ilija, Chronicle of the Serbian Orthodox Parish of St Lazarus (: Chronicle), Sydney, Vol 1, 2-4. managed to organise nine different political and social organizations, ten church communities and built only one church building.

The Serbian community needed more time to comprehend the fact that they were not going back to Yugoslavia any time soon. Both communities fantasised about their roles in the final liberation of their homeland, but it seems that the Russians were at least one step ahead in the acceptance of the current state for the foreseeable future. Some leaders of the Serbian community, as late as in 1960, were still not sure whether or not to take Australian citizenship or to wait for the collapse of communism and their “triumphant return”. [21] NAA: A1838, 1516/1/183, Visit of Ex-King Peter to Australia, Security conversation 17/12/1959. In such a secularist climate, where the life of the Church community was concentrated almost exclusively on political and ideological issues, the relationship between the two Churches was delegated from an institutional contact to a personal contact.

3.1 First interactions

Both Serbian and Russian communities were burdened with internal strife and divisions of a political nature. Serbs were mostly divided according to their wartime affiliations to Chetniks, Serbian Volunteer Corps, Serbian State Guard, POWs, etc. The Russians were divided into White Russians and Red Russians, and, further, the White Russians had internal divisions between members of either the ‘European’ or the ‘Chinese’ contingent as the former came from the Russian refugee communities in Europe (such as Yugoslavia, France, Germany, etc.) and the latter came from the Russian refugee communities in China (such as Harbin, Shanghai, etc.).

The situation was quite confusing for the Australian authorities as well. In the Australian National Archives, there is an abundance of documents trying to work out what in fact is the Orthodox Church, who is in charge, and who can be identified as Orthodox among the “new Australians”. In the late 1940s, there was an initiative by a few Russian laymen in Brisbane to establish a separate Russian jurisdiction under the “Patriarch from Istanbul”. In a memorandum signed in November 1947 by Mr E.A. Bird, Commonwealth Migration Officer, [22] NAA: A434, 1950/3/2010, Q.I.O. 47/3089, 6 November 1947. describing the difference between the Russian Orthodox jurisdictions, it is stated:

“It appears that the Russian/Greek Church is very divided in its control and operations.

  • Russian Church (Soviet) directed from Russia (recognized only comparatively recently).
  • Russian Church abroad originally established by refugees from the Russian revolution in Belgrade, Jugoslavia, now Munich, and Berlin. (This Church is reported to be more political than religious).
  • Russian/Greek orthodox which is controlled from Istanbul (Constantinople) which also had adherents in Paris and other parts of the world, but has been reported consistently as being free from the Russian Fascist Synod now in Munich.” [23]

In only a few months this extremist label will become an advantage for the applicants to come to Australia, with the advent of the Cold War. However, this preoccupation with the “purity” of an anti-communist pedigree inside the community usually ghettoized them from the rest of society and it was up to certain individuals to establish some sort of contact with the outside world, including the close and friendly Churches and communities, such as Russian and Serbian.

After the first inter-Orthodox connection was made inside the government labour camps, there were some common liturgical celebrations in the bigger cities and capitals. For example, Serbian and Russian priests celebrated together in an Anglican Church in Sydney for (Julian calendar) Christmas (January) 1950. [24] Spasovic and Miletic (2008), 39. One can understand why they did not use the Russian Church in the nearby Centennial Park when we see that the following year Archbishop Theodore presided over Christmas Liturgy with a gathering of over 900 Serbs and Russians. [25] Protopopov, A Russian Presence, 132.

The connection was helped by the fact that many officials and members of the ROCOR were refugees in Serbia; both Churches used Church-Slavonic as the liturgical language; and both followed the Julian calendar. But more than anything else, both communities were built on a steadfast anti-communist and monarchist stance with an ideological mission in the world. In the rapidly changing world and an unknown environment, trust was the rarest of commodities, and Serbs and Russians found that they could trust each other.

4. The 1950s – The growth based on personal relations

The first Serb to be ordained a priest in Australia was Fr Petar Rados. He came to Australia as a theologian in December 1951, [26] The date of his arrival in Australia was previously recorded as April 1952 and later; however the passenger list of the SS Roma that arrived in Freemantle WA on 26 December 1951 resolves the issue. and the local Serbian community in Perth wanted him to be the priest of their newly established parish. Archbishop Theodore ordained him a priest in 1952. Father Petar Rados served as a parish priest in Perth where he became very close with the Russian rector, Fr Sergei Putilin. These personal relations and initiatives became the main driving force of the relationship between SOC and the ROCOR in Australia.

The first Russian who left his mark on the life of the SOC in Australia was Father Aleksandar Yasirski who came to Australia from Pancevo in 1949. There is no mention of a priest of this name in the ROCOR church in Pancevo. It seems that he was a graduate of the Kyiv Theological Academy and a Russian refugee in Yugoslavia but under the Serbian jurisdiction. There are indications that a certain Oleg Jasirski, born in Belgrade in 1926, was his son. Oleg passed away in Melbourne in 2012 and was buried by a Serbian priest. [27] St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church Greensborough Record of burials, year 2012, page 46 article 12. Father Aleksandar, who was cleared by the International Refugee Organization to resettle in the USA, apparently came to Adelaide in 1949 and was the most influential person in establishing the Saint Sava Church in Adelaide in 1950, the second Serbian church in Australia. He remained the rector of the parish until June 1951 when Hieromonk Georgije (Djonlic) took over. Father Aleksandar Jasirski asked for a canonical release on 4 September 1951. [28] Chronicle Vol 1, p. 6. It is not clear where he went after the release.

Father Theodor Demjanjuk, mentioned above, followed Father Aleksandar Yasirski and served the SOC in Australia for the rest of his life. He was never in any other jurisdiction but that of the SOC and for a long time he was the only Serbian priest in the entire state of Victoria. He was one of a handful of people in Melbourne left in the jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarch after the schism in the SOC in 1963 and once again the only (canonical) Serbian priest. He died in 1969 and was buried by Serbian and Russian priests together, and both strangely and fondly remembered him as “the Russian priest” as people refer to him colloquially to this day.

The third and probably central figure of the entire relationship between the ROCOR and the SOC in Australia to this day was His Eminence Archbishop Sava (Raevski) of Sydney and Australia.

Archbishop Sava was born Theodore Theodorovich Raevski on 10 February 1892 in the city of Efmenov in the Tula Province. He graduated in the Tula Theological Seminary and Warsaw Law faculty. After the revolution, he migrated to Serbia where he worked as a teacher. He married a Serbian woman, Persida Arandjelovic in 1930. Theodore graduated at the top of his class at the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the Belgrade University in 1936. He was ordained a deacon in 1941 and a priest on 25 March 1942 in the Holy Trinity Russian church in Belgrade where he served until 1944.

From 1944 until 1948 Fr Theodore served in Austria where he helped thousands of Russian and Serbian refugees in the DP camps until he and Persida migrated to America in June 1948. Persida died in 1952 of a heart attack. On 14 January 1954, Fr. Theodore was tonsured a monk. Archbishop Vitaly (Maksimenko), knowing Fr. Theodore’s love for the Serbian people, named him Sava, in honor of the Saint Sava the First Serbian Archbishop. He was ordained bishop on 24 January 1954, so that on the next day, when the Russian Church celebrates St. Sava of Serbia, newly ordained Bishop Sava would preside over his first Liturgy. Bishop Nikolai (Velimirovic) of the SOC was supposed to participate in the ordination but was unfortunately unable to come on the day.

Bishop Sava arrived in Melbourne on 18 September 1954, and among those welcoming him to Australia were members of the Serbian community. [29] Protopopov, A Russian Presence, 196. In January 1955, Bishop Sava consecrated the foundations of the first Serbian Orthodox Church in Melbourne, Saint George Church in St. Albans, together with Fr. Theodore Demjanjuk and two more Russian priests. At this occasion, the Serbian congregation collected £400 [30] Equivalent to over 14,000.00 AUD in 2021. as a donation to Bishop Sava, which he, in turn, donated to the Church in the name of his late wife, Persida. [31] Protopopov, A Russian Presence, 199.

In May 1955, Archbishop Theodore passed away and Bishop Sava was elected to be the second Russian Archbishop of Australia and New Zealand. As the Archbishop he inherited a group of parishes with deep internal divisions, scandals and court cases, full of discords and insubordination. His rich legal background was of great value for the settling of affairs. His move to Sydney was not only beneficial for the Russian Church but also for the local Serbian community that also warmly welcomed him into its center of operations.

Archbishop Sava was regularly ordaining priests and consecrating churches for Serbian parishes all over Australia. In the (much wider) Serbian edition of the book History of the SOC in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, [32] This edition is considerably larger and more detailed from the English translation published eleven years later; to the extent that we can take it as two different volumes. one can rarely find a Serbian Church in Australia not described as “consecrated by a Russian bishop”; and a Russian hierarch ordained virtually every Serbian priest in Australia until 1963.

As Archbishop Sava moved to Sydney in 1955, in 1956 a new Bishop was elected for the Melbourne vicariate, Archimandrite Anthony (Medvedev). Bishop Anthony was a great-schema monk who started his monastic life in the Miljkovo monastery in Serbia, under Archimandrite Ambrosy (Kurganov). Miljkovo was known as the place where refugees from Valaam continued their spiritual journey. The first Russian tonsured in this monastery was John (Maximovich), [33] ROCOR Archbishop of Shanghai and later San Francisco, canonized in 1994. followed by many others including Archbishops Anthony (Medvedev), Anthony (Sinkevich) [34] ROCOR Archbishop of Los Angeles and South California. and also Tadei (Strbulovic). [35] Elder Tadei of Vitovnica, considered a saint by many, albeit not yet canonized.

Coincidently, the first major Serbian ecclesial event in Sydney, and largest to date in Australia, was the Vidovdan [36]Vidovdan is a Serbian Orthodox feast day and a national holiday celebrated on 28 June (15 June according to the Julian calendar) as the Memorial Day to Saint Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic and the day of … Continue reading celebration in 1957. The Serbian Sydney community managed to get a long-term lease from an Anglican church, Saint Mark, in Alexandria and to restore the interior. The Serbs dedicated the new church to Saint Lazarus of Kosovo. On Vidovdan, 28 June 1957, Archbishop Sava came to celebrate Liturgy and to consecrate the first Serbian memorial to the victims of “ustashi and communist genocides”. [37] Chronicle Vol. 1, p. 21.

The “symbolic memorial” was in fact a large crucifix with a marble cenotaph at the base. Some of the icons for the new church iconostasis and the cenotaph crucifixion were commissioned from a famous Russian costume and set designer, sculptor, and iconographer, Vladimir Pavlovich Zagorodnjuk. [38]Vladimir Pavlovich was born on 31 May 1889 in Odessa where he graduated from Art School, moving to the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. When WWI started, he went back to Russia and after the … Continue reading

On 28 June 1957, Archbishop Sava celebrated Liturgy at the St. Lazarus Serbian Church in Alexandria, together with his protodeacon, a Russian choir and two local Serbian priests (Bulovan and Sekulic) with more than 300 people in attendance. After the Liturgy, Zagorodnjuk and the Church Board made a plan for the renovation of the iconostasis that was soon acted upon. [39] Ibid, 21. One after another, Serbian churches started commissioning more and more icons from Zagorodnjuk who soon left his mark on practically all Serbian churches in NSW, if not the entire Australia.

The following Vidovdan celebration, in 1958, was very similar. Again, it was Archbishop Sava with his protodeacon and the Russian choir that officiated, and after the Liturgy, they consecrated the new icons. There were expressions of love and brotherhood in faith and blood at the formal recital that followed. When everything was finished in the afternoon, the Archbishop and his entourage drove 34 kilometers to the newly established Serbian Community in Cabramatta, to serve a Vidovdan memorial service there as well. Such was the sacrifice of Archbishop Sava and the mutual love and adoration between the two communities.

Even the Serbian social and political organizations were relying on the Russian infrastructure. Before there were any Serbian centres in Australia, there was the famous Russian House founded in 1924. [40] Fitzpatrick, 186. The Serbian Social Club Milan Nedic sent a letter to all Serbian Churches and organizations in Australia in August 1958, explaining that “finally the Board of the SSC Milan Nedic managed to find a permanent site for a Serbian organization, as we were received by the Russian National Club, located in the center of Sydney at 800 George Street, as now the only permanent Serbian base, envisioned as a place of hospitality for all Serbian nationalists and their organisations”. [41] BA: Box 1, the 1950s, Letter from the Serbian Social Club Milan Nedic, 17.8.1958.

The Russian and Serbian churches celebrated Saint Sava’s feast day twice in 1959. Given that in the Russian Church calendar Saint Sava is celebrated on 25 January, Archbishop Sava celebrated Liturgy in the Russian Church in Canberra with “Serbs and Russians from Canberra, Cooma and Queanbeyan and a large number of delegates to the annual Immigration Conference.” [42] Protopopov, A Russian Presence, 240. Two days later was the ten-year anniversary of the establishment of the first Serbian Church in Australia. On 27 January 1959, Archbishop Sava presided at Hierarchal Liturgy at the Mona Vale church hall, as the Serbian church was not yet built. For the occasion, Zagorodnjuk made a temporary iconostasis that was placed in the hall and the Russian choir sang. At the Liturgy Archbishop Sava gave a long sermon on the significance of Saint Sava and the unity of the Serbian people. At the end of the day His Eminence expressed his joy at being there and promised to come for every Church patronal feast day.

The Serbian Churches in NSW established the “Serbian Orthodox Church Council of NSW” in December 1957, which only became operational in 1959. The first significant action of this Council was the commemoration in October 1959, of the 25th Anniversary of the Assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia. The Council decided to commission large icons for the occasion to be presented to each member Parish. Also, they commissioned an icon and a large kandila for the Russian Cathedral in Strathfield. All churches were supposed to receive icons of their patron saints except Saint Lazarus Church that would receive the icon of Saint Alexander Nevski, and the Russian Cathedral would get the icon of Saint Sava. [43] BA: Box 1, 1950s, “Raspis Crkvenog Saveta” (Circular letter of the Church Council), February 1959.

In March 1959 the Council published a four-page document entitled Guidelines for the work of the Council that was distributed to all Serbian Churches and organizations. The document outlines a long-term master plan for the development of the Serbian community in nine articles. Article number four describes how all significant dates of the Orthodox calendar and Serbian history should be commemorated together, always at a different Parish, in order to develop the spirit of unity and cooperation. Article 4.3 states: “For this purpose, the Council will appeal to His Eminence the Russian Archbishop Sava to come to these events to exalt these occasions with His Hierarchal Services and his Church choir, to make the celebrations more dignified and appealing, pleasanter and magnificent. And He will come to us, because they love us, and He is our great friend.”

In 1959 Archbishop Sava was not able to come for Vidovdan at the St Lazarus Serbian Church as he was serving the Pentecost Liturgy at the Russian Church of the Holy Trinity. However, Bishop Anthony (Medvedev) of Melbourne came with the choir to serve in Alexandria and to make sure that the Serbian Church was not without a hierarchal Liturgy. If one takes into account that Sydney and Melbourne are 1,000 kilometers apart and that traveling in the 1950s was not as easy as it is today, it becomes obvious how committed they were to the Serbian Church. Both Archbishop Sava and Bishop Anthony had been part of the Russian community in Yugoslavia as were hundreds of other Russian families and they were happy to return the favor now when the Serbs needed support.

Already in July and August 1959 there was another opportunity for a joint celebration. With a blessing from His Holiness Patriarch German of Serbia, Archbishop Sava ordained Zivko Popovic on 28 July 1959 to the rank of deacon at the St Vladimir Church in Centennial Park, and then on the patronal feast day at the St Panteleimon Russian Church in Cabramatta to priesthood. Father Zivko was appointed to St. Nahum Church in Newcastle.

The Commemoration for King Alexander started in St. Lazarus Serbian Church on 11 October 1959 with a memorial service in the church, followed by a blessing of the icons mentioned earlier for the Serbian churches. All Serbian churches and organizations were represented, and the Russian Choir came to sing. The culmination was on 25 October in the Russian Cathedral in Strathfield where Archbishop Sava presided over the Liturgy and served the memorial service for His Majesty, concluding with the presentation of the icon of Saint Sava from the Serbian Church. But the icon was not of Saint Sava as originally planned. They had produced a triptych instead; on this triptych are the icons of the Holy brothers, Cyril and Methodius; in the middle, Serbian saints Sava and Lazarus on the right panel; and Russian saints Vladimir the Great and Alexander Nevski on the left panel.

Zagorodnjuk produced all these icons and most of them are preserved to this day. The triptych given to the Russian Church was placed by Archbishop Sava in the All Saints of Russia Chapel at the new Diocesan Administration Centre in Croydon (NSW), opened in 1960, where it stands to this day. It should be noted that Zagorodnjuk also painted the whole iconostasis in this chapel as well as in many other Russian churches throughout Australia.

On the day of the consecration of the chapel, when the icon was placed in it, Archbishop Sava, again with the blessing of the Serbian Patriarch, ordained deacon, Milan Radojevic, to the priesthood. In fact, on 8 May 1960 Archbishop Sava ordained him a deacon in the Russian Cathedral, and on 6 June 1960, ordained Father Milan to the priesthood at the patronal feast day of the Croydon chapel. Father Milan was appointed to the Serbian Church in Adelaide, but already in 1961, he had moved to Canberra.

5. The 1960’s – Towards the point of divergence

After the initial settlement in the new country and the establishment of the closest possible relationship between the Russian and Serbian Church in Australia, from the beginning of the 1960s, we can observe a more serious relationship. At this point, the relationship was not exclusively based on the personal relations between a handful of individuals but a more functioning structure started emerging.

Archbishop Sava officiated at the Vidovdan celebration in the St. Lazarus church of course, with the Russian choir singing and three Serbian priests serving with him. Out of those three, he had ordained two. But the event of the year for both communities came a couple of months later, when, on 31 August 1960, His Majesty King Petar II of Yugoslavia visited Australia.

King Petar stayed in Perth (WA) from 31 August until 9 September 1960. [44] Chronicle Vol. 2, p 2. After visiting the Serbian church and community, on 3 September His Majesty visited the Ss. Peter and Paul Russian church where Fr Sergei Putilin warmly greeted him. [45] Protopopov, Michael. Архиепископ Савва Раевский 1892-1976 [Arcbishop Sava Raevsky 1892-1976], Melbourne: The University of Melbourne (1999), 223. When on 9 September 1960 King Petar landed in Adelaide (SA), he was welcomed by His Grace Bishop Anthony (Medvedev) who came from Melbourne especially for the occasion. From the airport, they left straight for the Anglican Cathedral in Adelaide where His Grace, together with the Russian priests and deacons served a Doxology for the King. The visit continued in Melbourne on 15 September, where two days later King Petar was standing in front of the Russian cathedral for the parade in his honor by the veterans of Russian Imperial Army, Cossacks, Russian Corps of Yugoslavia, and the Russian Liberation Army. [46] Protopopov, A Russian Presence, 246.

Bishop Anthony welcomed the King into the Cathedral according to the official service of welcome for the Russian Tsar in pre-Revolutionary Russia. [47] Protopopov, Archbishop Sava, 224. Both Serbian and Russian clergy served together and after the Bishop spoke with tears about eternal gratitude to King Alexander I, and the Serbian people for their welcome and acceptance of the Russian refugees. He reminisced of the joyous occasion when the news of the birth of Petar II was published in Yugoslavia, and so on. Before his departure from Melbourne, King Petar II was the guest of honor at the ball prepared together by the Russian and Serbian communities in Melbourne with more than 400 people in attendance. [48] Ibid, 225.

The central event was of course in Sydney where His Majesty arrived on Friday 23 September 1960. More than two thousand Serbs and Russians welcomed him at the airport. On Sunday, 25 September 1960, he came to the Russian Cathedral in Strathfield, where Archbishop Sava welcomed him with a sermon in the Serbian language.

For this occasion, the triptych given to the Russian Church a year earlier was brought to the Cathedral and His Eminence spoke of the deep spiritual symbolism of the triptych. He explained that when the side panels are closed, it represents,

the tomb of the Martyr-King where Orthodox Serbs in a foreign land can light a candle for their King on the anniversary of the suffering they endured. At the same time, when it is open it represents the spiritual brotherhood of the Russian and Serbian peoples and transports their thoughts to the glorious age of mission of the first apostles to the Slavs Cyril and Methodius. [49] Ibid, 689.

The Archbishop went on to speak about glorious days of the Russian and Serbian people, the similar fates of Tsar Nikolai II and King Aleksandar I, quoting Petar Petrovic Njegosh, and others. From Sydney, King Petar went to Brisbane where again he divided his time between the Serbian and Russian churches and organizations.

On the following Vidovdan, 28 June 1961, Archbishop Sava decided not to break the tradition of serving in the Serbian Church in spite of his declining health. The President of the Serbian church community, Mr Nikola Grubjesic, welcomed him with the following words:

…Allow me first of all in this moment of general blissfulness to express our sincere gratitude to the Lord who in his mercy enabled you to come to us today, in spite of your illness… Oh, how great is our joy; this is truly a blessed hour in which the most eminent Prince of free Orthodoxy, the highest carrier and preacher of Christian love and Russian-Serbian brotherhood – and our beloved Bishop Sava is visiting us.  Our Serbian hearts are singing at this moment “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord” … [50] Chronicle Vol. 2, p. 19.

It seemed that the bond between the two communities was stronger than ever.

In 1961 the long-serving Chancellor, [51]Effectively an administrative “acting ruler in the diocese”, sometimes also referred to as “episcopal vicar”. However, in order not to confuse this administrative office with that of a … Continue reading the Very Revd. Fr. Ilija Bulovan resigned and Patriarch German appointed the Revd. Fr Petar Rados as his new “overseer” in Australia and New Zealand. Fr Petar was the first Serb ordained a priest in Australia, a dedicated parish priest in Perth where he was especially close with the local Russian parish priest, Fr Sergei Putilin. Father Petar Rados was also very well known for his stubbornness and inflexibility. Within a few years, this appointment would have far-reaching consequences for both Churches.

In 1963, the SOC suffered a schism that started in America and was thus commonly known as the “American Schism”. [52]The American Schism ended in 1991 when the head of the SOC, Patriarch Pavle (Stojcevic) and the head of the Free SOC, Metropolitan Irinej (Kovacevic), celebrated the Liturgy together. The Free SOC … Continue reading In reality, it affected all parts of the SOC outside of Yugoslavia, including Australia. The schism was of a political nature where Bishop Dionisije of America and Canada did not accept the restructuring of the Church in North America, declared the Synod in Yugoslavia to be under the influence of the communists, and started his own Free Serbian Orthodox Church. The majority of the people, following their anti-communist instinct, followed him into the schism. On the other hand, most of the clergy recognized that the issue was not as simple as presented and stayed loyal to the SOC.

The blow in Australia was so severe that Fr Petar Rados, the Chancellor at the time, remembered in November 1982, in his private letter to Bishop Vasilije (Vadic) how he was traveling from one city to another to encourage the people to stay loyal to the Church. In Melbourne, Father Petar says, “the situation was so bad that I have managed to gather only six Serbs willing to stay in the SOC. No other Church would let us serve but Police and Community Youth Club.” [53] Private Archive, Very Revd. Fr Petar Rados, 24 November 1982 a reply to Bishop Vasilije’s letter “E No. 287” of 17 November 1982, p. 4. This sounds like a significant exaggeration, in both numbers of people [54] Since by the end of the year the new SOC parish of the Holy Trinity was established. and the locking out from churches, [55] As there is evidence of Bishop Sava offering Russian churches to Serbs loyal to the Patriarch and Bishop Antony consecrating Serbian churches and presenting them with gifts a year before. but we cannot deny the gravity of the situation.

Father Petar quotes a private (written) message sent to him from His Holiness Patriarch German through a reliable friend in which he said: “For the Church in Australia the most suitable Bishop would be Sava (Saracevic).” [56] Rados, Letter to the Bishop, p. 4. Bishop Sava was a Serb who knew Patriarch German from their time in the Serbian town of Cacak where Bishop Sava had been a judge before WWII and the Patriarch had worked in the Ecclesiastical Court. (Bishop) Sava Saracevic escaped Yugoslavia with the Serbian Volunteer Corps and joined the ROCOR as a monk. He had served as a Bishop in the ROCOR in Canada since 1958. This strange episode of Father Petar Rados is only the first sign of the change in the relationship between SOC and the ROCOR in the mid-sixties.

Archbishop Sava managed to consecrate the Saint Lazarus church in Sydney in February, 1964, just before the ties between him and the Serbian churches would be cut in three steps. The predicament in which he found himself in at the end of 1960s was not cleared to this day, quite unjustly, as it seems.

Namely, Archbishop Sava’s health was deteriorating and in 1965 he was not in significant contact with the SOC. On the other hand, the SOC was deeply divided in a political schism. In 1964, the Free SOC established a Diocese for Australia and New Zealand and appointed Dimitrije (Balac) as its First Hierarch. Until 1965 the situation stabilized in numbers so that there was a roughly equal distribution of people and the schismatic side ordained a few priests so that the clergy numbers were also roughly equal. In this situation an interview of Archbishop Sava was published in the popular Serbian newspapers Sloga [57] Ironically the newspapers with the name Sloga (Unity) were backing a schism. entitled “Four hours with Archbishop Sava.” [58] Bralovic, Gvozden. U POSETI: Cetiri sata sa Vladikom Savom (VISIT: Four Hours with Bishop Sava). Sloga 775, 20 Aug 1965, p. 3 and 7.

The author presented the interview as a clear statement of Archbishop Sava in favor of the schismatic Free SOC. This caused an uproar on the part of the Serbian community that was loyal to the Patriarchate. At a meeting held in Sydney on 31 August, 1965, a decision was made to lodge an official protest with the Archbishop and to ask for clarification as to whether the article was true or not. In response, Archbishop Sava wrote a paper titled Мој став према Србима у Аустралији (My position towards the Serbs in Australia) which unfortunately is not preserved. However, Father Ilija Bulovan recorded some notes from this paper in the annals of the Saint Lazarus Church. [59] Chronicle Vol. 2, pp. 120-121.

First of all, the interview was not as significant as the author might have presented it. Even though the title implies they spoke for hours, the whole interview is on one page. Half of that page is the biography of Archbishop Sava and in the other half, only three questions are concerned with the issue of schism in the SOC.

His answers in Sloga do appear to be problematic as he is quoted, saying,

It was hard for me to mention the name of Patriarch German when I served in the Serbian Churches… The time is right to establish a Free Autonomous Serbian Orthodox Church in the Free world… I will meet with Bishop Dionisije when he arrives here. Send him my regards… I am sorry that Father Sekulic is not where he belongs. [60] Sloga, p. 7.

An attentive reader might have noticed a couple of theologically questionable statements such as: “Globally renowned theologians to this day did not resolve a conundrum: Can a bishop be defrocked?” which in the Serbian Orthodox tradition strongly echoes a Latin teaching of character indellibilis. A few lines below he allegedly said, “To me and to any true Serb, Saint Sava is the Alfa and the Omega”. [61] Ibid. 7. Perhaps it was these details that inspired the SOC officials to ask Archbishop Sava to confirm if these were indeed his words.

As Father Bulovan describes in his notes, the Archbishop cleared his statements in the paper he gave them, adding “This is what I said to Bralovic”. [62] Chronicle Vol. 2, 121. Bulovan wrote: “This manuscript is very different from the mentioned article and here he describes the issue of establishing independent Churches in accordance with the canons. But our schismatics are not adhering to the canons and yet he sends them priests for their spiritual needs. In doing so he practically vindicates their position… this is why all Serbs who are for the unity of the Church have turned away from him and do not consider him a friend any more.” [63] Ibid, 121.

The first step, hence, was the scandal with the interview in Sloga. The second step was taken in 1968 when the SOC Chancellor in Australia, Fr Petar Rados, reported to the Patriarch that Archbishop Sava and another ROCOR bishop, Bishop Konstantin (Yessenski) of Brisbane, organised several meetings with him where they were pressuring him, first in 1968 to “separate from the Church in the Homeland and that the Patriarch and with all the other bishops grant total autonomy to the SOC in Australia and New Zealand”, [64] Spasovic and Miletic, 2019, p. 161. and in 1969 that “…the unification of the Serbian Church Abroad is only possible under the protective wing of the Russian Church Abroad. To denounce the Serbian Patriarch and discontinue every connection with the Serbian Church in the Homeland, placing it under the jurisdiction of His Grace Bishop Sava…” [65] Ibid, 162.

The third and final step was the publishing of the official History of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in Serbian (2008) and English (2019) in which Archbishop Sava was presented as an unsuccessful usurper of the SOC in Australia. The authors seem to be unaware of the content not only of the Archbishop’s paper on Serbs in Australia but also the interview in Sloga. Most likely they have used the Chronicle of Father Ilija Bulovan, without any follow-up research. Given that the focus of their work, which is truly remarkable in other aspects, was entirely on the SOC, they had missed the bigger picture.

His Eminence was presented as a bitter loser in an attempt of a hostile take-over who later refused to ordain Serbian candidates for the priesthood. His role in the establishing of the Serbian churches, ordination of priests, and genuine love for the Serbian people is heavily downplayed. There is no mention of the fact that he had been married to a Serbian woman, lived and was ordained in Serbia, nor that the SOC in Australia lived under his wing for almost a decade. Furthermore, it is said that Archbishop Anthony (Medvedev) of San Francisco [66]was Incorrectly described as “once the administrator in Australia before Bishop Sava” even though Bishop Antony was mentioned several times in the same book as “a Russian Bishop in … Continue reading “dissociated himself from the views of Bishop Sava from the start”. [67] Ibid, 163. In fact, Bishop Anthony was still a Vicar in Melbourne in 1968, and was as close to the Serbian Church as Archbishop Sava.

Furthermore, Spasovic and Miletic imply that the Synod of the ROCOR issued its statement of 30 July 1965 in support of the unity of SOC directly in response to the actions of Archbishop Sava. From their perspective on the case, one would conclude that Archbishop Sava was a renegade in the ROCOR without much support. [68] Ibid, 164. In reality, His Eminence Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), the Primate of the ROCOR, was the Bishop of Brisbane in 1963, consecrated with the blessing of Archbishop Sava. In 1964 Archbishop Sava sent Bishop Philaret to represent him at the Synod of Bishops in the USA and gave him a sealed letter to take with him, to be opened at the time of electing the new Primate. When the Synod was at a stalemate, Bishop Philaret opened the letter and in it, Archbishop Sava nominated Bishop Philaret, as the youngest of all the ROCOR Hierarchs to be the Primate. He was elected unanimously. [69] Protopopov, Archbishop Sava, 279-280. Such was Archbishop Sava’s standing in the ROCOR.

It might also be worth pointing out that Fr Petar Rados, who accused Archbishop Sava as the organizer of the unsuccessful coup in the SOC in Australia and entire diaspora, was in very close relations with the Russian priest in Perth, Father Sergei Putilin. As this was the time of bitter judicial struggle between Archbishop Sava and a renegade Church Board in the Sydney Cathedral, his weakening body was not able to continue. Archbishop Sava retired from an active leadership role and was appointed an honorary permanent member of the Synod of ROCOR, while the recently widowed Father Sergei was tonsured a monk under the name Theodosy and in 1969 elected as the new Archbishop in Australia. From 1969 until 1990 the rector of his former Perth parish was Father Petar Rados, who remained at the same time the rector of the Serbian parish and the Chancellor of the Serbian diocese, albeit almost always in tension with his local bishops.

Father Rados apparently boldly defended the SOC from Archbishop Sava and is quoted, saying directly to the Archbishop’s face: “The faithful children of the Serbian Orthodox Church, with their clergy, will never abandon its suffering mother Church. Because, turning one’s back on her, would mean betrayal of that which is most holy to the Serbs, what makes us who we are. We reject with disgust the idea to leave our Church, to leave our Patriarch, our Bishops in our Homeland and to fall under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Sava under the wing of the … Russian Church Abroad.” [70] Spasovic and Miletic, 2019, p. 162.

It seems very strange that the same person left the Serbian Orthodox Church once the Bishop decided to place him in retirement in 2008 when he was 86 years old and after 52 years of active service. He was so angry with the SOC that after his retirement he never came back to the SOC. As much as his health allowed him, in the ninth decade of life he served in the ROCOR and was buried in the Greek Orthodox Church.

6. Conclusion

Indeed, Archbishop Sava retired in 1968 and was never again a guest in the SOC. Bishop Anthony was appointed Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, consequently leaving Australia. Father Ilija Bulovan retired in 1969 and in the same year the Serbian Patriarchate established a Diocese of Western Europe and Australia, sending His Grace Bishop Lavrentije (Trifunovic) as the first Bishop. Soon the Australian Diocese was separated from Western Europe and received its first permanent resident, Bishop Nikolaj (Mrdja). With the loosening of the border policies in Yugoslavia, the second wave of Serbian immigrants came to Australia.

From 1968 the Serbian Church chronicles are for the first time mentioning the Greek Archbishop of Australia and the exchange of visits. A Greek assistant Bishop, Dionysios (Psiahas), [71] Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of New Zealand 1970-2003. with the blessing of Patriarch German, in June 1969, ordained in Sydney Father Dusan Kuridza, appointed to be the parish priest in Wellington, NZ. At the funeral of Father Theodore Demjanjuk in Melbourne, a couple of months earlier, there were two Russian priests but no hierarchs. [72] Chronicle Vol. 3, 46. The ROCOR did not establish a canonical relationship with the schismatic Free SOC, and the relationship with the SOC was evidently in crisis. Time did heal some of the old wounds, but certain injustices, such as the unfair portrayal of Archbishop Sava, lingered on.

In the end, it is evident that the foundations of the SOC in Australia are as much Russian as they are Serbian. Without Archbishop Sava, Bishop Anthony, Vladimir Zagorodnjuk, and numerous Russian clergy and laity, the SOC would not be ready for the future challenges that were rapidly approaching. The ROCOR had returned the favor to the SOC — Australia for Sremski Karlovci.

The SOC graciously accepted the Russian refugees in the early 1920s and provided them with both spiritual and physical shelter in Sremski Karlovci, enabling the formation of the ROCOR. Without that initial helping hand, it is highly debateable whether the dispersed Russian clergy in the early 1920s would have been able to establish a permanent structure and survive challenges such as WWII, internal schisms, resettlements, assimilation, etc. In the same manner, if it was not for the ROCOR in Australia aiding the scattered Serbian settlers and their first parishes, it is highly uncertain whether they would have been able to survive for two decades without a Diocese or a Bishop; how the schism would have affected such an unstable community, or how the Serbian parishes would have accommodated the second wave of immigrants from Yugoslavia in the early 1970s.

For the first two decades of organised ecclesial life in Australia, the SOC looked to the local Russian Archbishop as de facto its own ruling Hierarch. By extension the ROCOR assumed the role of the Older Sister. In the situation where the Mother Church was incapacitated, due to the oppression of the new communist regime, the significance of the Older Sister at one’s side, literally at the end of the world, cannot be stressed enough.

Archbishop Sava passed away in 1976, leaving his favourite pateritza (staff) to the bishops of SOC in Australia. The staff was restored in 2011 and is to this day used by the Serbian Orthodox Bishops of Australia and New Zealand, largely unrecognisable to both contemporary Serbs and Russians. Furthermore, the Archbishop is buried at the Russian section of the Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney, less than 20 meters from the oldest adjoining Serbian section. Thousands of present-day Orthodox Serbs regularly walk past his grave, not knowing his story.

Unfortunately, the initial nature of the relationship between the two Churches in Australia is forgotten, and the image of Archbishop Sava is somewhat stained. Since the two Churches are still very close, and the mutual bond is arguably stronger than ever, it seems appropriate to recover the genuine memory of the shared beginnings “Down Under”.

References

References
1 Simultaneously with WWII, a civil war was fought on the territory of the occupied Kingdom of Yugoslavia between the communist partisans on the one side and several nationalist factions on the other side. The nationalists, loyal to the exiled King Peter II, united in October 1944 under the command of General Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic. They were known as the Yugoslav Royal Army in the Fatherland, a.k.a. the Chetniks. With the advance of the Red Army from the east, they retreated to Slovenia in the far west of Yugoslavia. Some of them crossed the border into Austria where they surrendered to the Allies. Most of them were sent back to Yugoslavia where the communists executed them. The majority of those that surrendered in Italy survived and eventually resettled as Displaced Persons.
2 In this article the word “church” with a small “C” pertains to an individual church building or a parish, whereas “Church” with a capital “C” is used for the local Church.
3 Displaced Persons were not simple refugees as the majority of them did not flee from their countries but were forcibly removed (as forced laborers, conscripts, POWs) and did not want to be repatriated to their countries which were under communist rule after WWII. Once the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) gave its authority to the International Refugee Organization (IRO) in 1947, a firmer anti-communist position was taken and DPs were resettled in Western countries as an early part of the Cold War.
4 Fitzpatrick, Sheila. White Russian, Red Peril, Melbourne: La Trobe University Press (2021), 58, 59.
5 Ibid, 59.
6 “Mельбурнская Eпархия”, Древо, открытая православная энциклопедия, https://drevo-info.ru/articles/17953.html (last accessed 20 September 2021).
7 Slijepcevic, Djoko. Историја Српске Православне Цркве: Књига III (History of the Serbian Orthodox Church: Vol III), Keln: Iskra (1986), 13.
8 Later “Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929-1941)”.
9 “The History of Diplomatic Relations”, Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Australia, http://www.canberra.mfa.gov.rs/odrzavanje/uploads/AJ-334-213-538-1925-0002.JPG (last accessed 20 September 2021).
10 Spasovic, Stanimir and Miletic, Srboljub. The History of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Sydney: Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand, Serbian Orthodox Church (2019), 42.
11 Hughes, J. P. Fraser, M. and Reid, S. Australia’s Religious Communities: Facts and Figures. Nunawading: Christian Research Association (2012), 46.
12 Ibid, 46.
13 Spasovic and Miletic (2019), 33.
14 Ibid, 38.
15 Ibid, 38-39.
16 Ibid, 39.
17 Spasovic and Miletic (2019), 72.
18 Spasovic, Stanimir and Miletic, Srboljub. Историја СПЦ у Аустралији, Новом Зеланду и Јужној Африци [The History of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa], Sydney: Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand (2008), 253.
19 St Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church Blacktown Archives (:BA), Box 1, 1950s.
20 Bulovan Ilija, Chronicle of the Serbian Orthodox Parish of St Lazarus (: Chronicle), Sydney, Vol 1, 2-4.
21 NAA: A1838, 1516/1/183, Visit of Ex-King Peter to Australia, Security conversation 17/12/1959.
22 NAA: A434, 1950/3/2010, Q.I.O. 47/3089, 6 November 1947.
23
24 Spasovic and Miletic (2008), 39.
25 Protopopov, A Russian Presence, 132.
26 The date of his arrival in Australia was previously recorded as April 1952 and later; however the passenger list of the SS Roma that arrived in Freemantle WA on 26 December 1951 resolves the issue.
27 St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church Greensborough Record of burials, year 2012, page 46 article 12.
28 Chronicle Vol 1, p. 6.
29 Protopopov, A Russian Presence, 196.
30 Equivalent to over 14,000.00 AUD in 2021.
31 Protopopov, A Russian Presence, 199.
32 This edition is considerably larger and more detailed from the English translation published eleven years later; to the extent that we can take it as two different volumes.
33 ROCOR Archbishop of Shanghai and later San Francisco, canonized in 1994.
34 ROCOR Archbishop of Los Angeles and South California.
35 Elder Tadei of Vitovnica, considered a saint by many, albeit not yet canonized.
36 Vidovdan is a Serbian Orthodox feast day and a national holiday celebrated on 28 June (15 June according to the Julian calendar) as the Memorial Day to Saint Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic and the day of the Battle of Kosovo in which the Serbs fought against the Ottoman Empire in 1389. Vidovdan remains the watershed moment for the Serbian national and religious identity.
37 Chronicle Vol. 1, p. 21.
38 Vladimir Pavlovich was born on 31 May 1889 in Odessa where he graduated from Art School, moving to the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. When WWI started, he went back to Russia and after the Revolution ended up in Yugoslavia. Briefly in 1921, he worked in the Russian school in Pancevo and from there he moved to the prestigious National Theatre in Belgrade. For his work in the theatre, he was awarded the St Sava Medal of the SOC, and his sculptures are to this day iconic pieces in Belgrade, Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Valjevo, etc. including the coat of arms of the SOC at the main entrance in the building of the Serbian Patriarchate. He was one of the most prominent Russian artists outside of Russia in the 20th century.
39 Ibid, 21.
40 Fitzpatrick, 186.
41 BA: Box 1, the 1950s, Letter from the Serbian Social Club Milan Nedic, 17.8.1958.
42 Protopopov, A Russian Presence, 240.
43 BA: Box 1, 1950s, “Raspis Crkvenog Saveta” (Circular letter of the Church Council), February 1959.
44 Chronicle Vol. 2, p 2.
45 Protopopov, Michael. Архиепископ Савва Раевский 1892-1976 [Arcbishop Sava Raevsky 1892-1976], Melbourne: The University of Melbourne (1999), 223.
46 Protopopov, A Russian Presence, 246.
47 Protopopov, Archbishop Sava, 224.
48 Ibid, 225.
49 Ibid, 689.
50 Chronicle Vol. 2, p. 19.
51 Effectively an administrative “acting ruler in the diocese”, sometimes also referred to as “episcopal vicar”. However, in order not to confuse this administrative office with that of a bishop, we will stick to the term Chancellor.
52 The American Schism ended in 1991 when the head of the SOC, Patriarch Pavle (Stojcevic) and the head of the Free SOC, Metropolitan Irinej (Kovacevic), celebrated the Liturgy together. The Free SOC reconciled with the SOC under the name New Gracanica Metropolitanate. The last administrative remnants of the schism were resolved in Australia in 2010.
53 Private Archive, Very Revd. Fr Petar Rados, 24 November 1982 a reply to Bishop Vasilije’s letter “E No. 287” of 17 November 1982, p. 4.
54 Since by the end of the year the new SOC parish of the Holy Trinity was established.
55 As there is evidence of Bishop Sava offering Russian churches to Serbs loyal to the Patriarch and Bishop Antony consecrating Serbian churches and presenting them with gifts a year before.
56 Rados, Letter to the Bishop, p. 4.
57 Ironically the newspapers with the name Sloga (Unity) were backing a schism.
58 Bralovic, Gvozden. U POSETI: Cetiri sata sa Vladikom Savom (VISIT: Four Hours with Bishop Sava). Sloga 775, 20 Aug 1965, p. 3 and 7.
59 Chronicle Vol. 2, pp. 120-121.
60 Sloga, p. 7.
61 Ibid. 7.
62 Chronicle Vol. 2, 121.
63 Ibid, 121.
64 Spasovic and Miletic, 2019, p. 161.
65 Ibid, 162.
66 was Incorrectly described as “once the administrator in Australia before Bishop Sava” even though Bishop Antony was mentioned several times in the same book as “a Russian Bishop in Melbourne”, the authors did not realise it was the same person.
67 Ibid, 163.
68 Ibid, 164.
69 Protopopov, Archbishop Sava, 279-280.
70 Spasovic and Miletic, 2019, p. 162.
71 Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of New Zealand 1970-2003.
72 Chronicle Vol. 3, 46.

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