A great man is one who collects knowledge the way a bee collects honey and uses it to help people overcome the difficulties they endure - hunger, ignorance and disease!
- Nikola Tesla

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
- Franklin Roosevelt

While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken.
- Woodrow Wilson

Bishop Mardarije (Uskokovic)

The First Serbian Bishop of America and Canada
Bishop Mardarije was born in Podgorica on December 22, 1889, his father, Pero, being a tribal captain and mother Jela, nee Bozovic. He finished elementary school in Cetinje where he started high school, continuing in Belgrade. Leaving high school in his fifth year, he went to Studenica Monastery. In 1906, with the blessing of Bishop Sava (Barac) of Zica, he took monastic vows and was ordained a deacon. He graduated from the Seminary in Kisenjev where a collection of his sermons was published. From here he went to St. Petersburg, graduating from the Theological Academy in 1916.

As a theological student Hieromonk Mardarije, at the behest of the Holy prisoners' camps in Siberia, Turkestan and Bukhara. On this journey he delivered lectures and talked to prisoners of Slav extraction from Austro-Hungary.

In 1917 the Russian Orthodox Church sent Synkell Mardarije to America to organize the Serbian Orthodox Church. Here he served as head of the Serbian Mission, and at the Cleveland Conference of the Russian Metropolitanate he was elected the Serbian Bishop. But Archimandrite Mardarije did not wish to accept episcopal consecration without the knowledge and approval of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Homeland. Instead, he returned to his country and became head of Rakovica Monastery and Rector of its Monastic School. Here he remained until early 1923 when he returned to America as Administrator of the American-Canadian Diocese, holding this office until elected the first Serbian Bishop of America and Canada.

The election of Archimandrite Mardarije as Bishop of America and Canada occurred when he was in fairly poor health, so that he could not travel to Belgrade.

Archimandrite Mardarije was consecrated Bishop in the Orthodox Cathedral in Belgrade on April 25, 1926 by Patriarch Dimitrije and the Bishop Danilo of Dalmatia and Istria and Bishop Serafim of Zletovo and Strumica. Also present at the Consecration and Liturgy was Gordon Paddock, Charge d'Affaires at the American Embassy in Belgrade.

Bishop Mardarije arrived in his Diocese in New York on July l/14, notifying Patriarch Dimitrije of this by telegram, and sent his first Report to the patriarch in early September, 1926.

In his first hierarchic message to the clergy and people Bishop Mardarije acknowledged all, including the deceased, "who had worked for the welfare of the Serbian Church in America."

A wide range of activities awaited the first Serbian bishop in America and Canada. Bishop Mardarije did not spare himself nor did he fear work, though he knew he was gravely ill. Bishop Mardarije convened the first National Church Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox American-Canadian Diocese with his Fourth Archpastoral Message for September l, 192 7 at St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, on the basis of the Resolution adopted at the National Assembly in Chicago on May 29, 1927.

Bishop Mardarije died on December 12, 1935 and was buried on December 18, 1935 at St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, which, together with the Serbian people, he had built at great sacrifice and superhuman effort.

Source: Bishop Sava of Sumadija, History of the Serbian Orthodoc Church in America and Canada: 1891-1941, Kragujevac 1998.


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People Directory

Bishop Damaskin (Grdanički)

The vacant episcopal post of the American-Canadian Diocese was filled on June 22, 1938 at the Regular Session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Elected as its second Diocesan Hierarch was Bishop Dr. Damaskin (Grdanicki) of Mukachevo and Priashevo.

Bishop Damaskin was born in Leskovac in 1892. He graduated from the nine year St. Sava Seminary in Belgrade, while simultaneously attending the Belgrade Music School. After finishing the Seminary, he taught music at the First High School in Kragujevac. Received into the monastic order at Rakovica Monastery by Archimandrite Platon, later martyred as Bishop of Banja Luka, he studied at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy where he received a Master's Degree in Theology in 1917. He then went to Freiburg, Switzerland where he obtained a Ph.D. in Philosophy.

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Publishing

The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija

THE HISTORICAL AND SPIRITUAL HEARTLAND OF THE SERBIAN PEOPLE

Published by: Sebastian Press, Los Angeles. Co-publishers: Institute for Balkan Studies, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade • The Episcopal Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America • Faculty of Orthodox Theology, University of Belgrade • BLAGO Fund • Serbica Americana • Interklima-grafika, Vrnjci

“This book on Serbia’s Christian Heritage in Kosovo and Metohija, its heartland in medieval times and through Ottoman domination, is intended to introduce to a wide reading public the oldest and richest treasury of Serbian medieval history and culture. Its authors are leading specialists in the fields in which they write, so readers may place complete reliance on the factual accuracy of the material.”

“The editor and publisher have the fervent hope that today’s peoples in Kosovo and Metohija will be able to begin their discussions not from what divides them but from what unites them, emphasizing in positive and constructive ways the areas in which a Serbo-Albanian ethnic symbiosis has existed. This book invites all to consider their differences in the light of history and of the future.”

Authors: Gojko Subotić • Alex Dragnich • Slavko Todorovich • Thomas A. Emmert • Sima M. Ćirković • Arthur Evans • G. K. Chesterton • Boško Bojović • Atanasije Jevtić • Alexander F. Hilferding • Rebecca West • Rebecca West • Stamatis Skliris • Dušan T. Bataković • Radovan Samardžić • Dimitrije Djordjević • Dimitrije Bogdanović • Sava Janjić • Andrew Wermuth • F. W. Harvey and others

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