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 Damaskin (Grdanicki)

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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Until his election as Bishop he was Army Chaplain for our Second Volunteer Division in Russia, taught at the St. Sava Seminary in Belgrade, and during the First World War he was in England, then in Belgrade and Sremski Karlovci. From 1922 until 1923 he was First Secretary of the Serbian Patriarchate, and in 1924 became assistant professor at the Faculty of Theology in Belgrade. He occupied this position when he was elected Bishop of Mukachevo and Priashevo in 1931.

Damaskin, the new Bishop of America and Canada, left Belgrade for his new Diocese on September 25, 1938 "with fatherly love and a burning desire to serve and guide her in her spiritual and patriotic aspirations and desires." The furrow that the new Bishop plowed was very deep; new strength and inspiration were felt everywhere in the American-Canadian Diocese. While still en route to St Sava Monastery in Libertyville, before his enthronement, Bishop Damaskin wrote to Rev. Milan Brkic from New York: “Tomorrow I shall have a meeting here with our people from New York about founding a parish.” Immediately after his election Bishop Damaskin asked the Holy Synod to assign him Hieromonk Amvrosije Veselinovic, a professor at the Bitolj Seminary, for he wished "to establish monastic life and uninterrupted worship at the Monastery”. He was sent, however, Hieromonk Grigorije Udicki, also a professor at Bitolj Seminary

Awaiting the Bishop were many diocesan problems that had been piling up over the years and required solution. In particular, he had to resolve the question of religious education, find ways to finance the clergy, locate priests, train chanters for every parish church, establish monastic life at St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, thereby solving the problem of its support, and also secure the Diocese financially. Almost all these problems were in the domain of the National Church Assembly which, at Bishop Damaskin’s request, would be held that same autumn. Whatever did not depend on the Assembly, or other ecclesiastical bodies, Bishop Damaskin dealt with himself, for example, the matter of financial security for parish priests, not only their monthly salaries but also their Pension Fund.

The Depression had financially weakened our church congregations in the American-Canadian Diocese, and supporting a parish priest had become a great problem. Help was therefore needed from the old country, from both Church and State. The position of our emigrants at the time of Bishop Damaskin’s arrival in America can be seen from a Report from the Honorary Royal Consulate in Pittsburgh

The National Church Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of America and Canada was held in Chicago between November 30 and December 2, 1938. Participating in this Assembly, the third, in addition to its chaim1an Bishop Damaskin, were 27 priests (two from California Archimandrite Georgije Kodzic and Archpriest Mirko Vujisic did not attend because of the distance), 52 delegates from church-school congregations and four members of the Diocesan Council. If one bears in mind that some of the delegates also represented other congregations, there were exactly 100 votes at the Assembly.

Having opened the Assembly, 'Bishop Damaskin greeted the participants present and Dr. Petar Cabric, Consul-General of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and then explained why he had convened the Assembly.

Bishop Damaskin’s year of fruitful work was suddenly interrupted because at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Holy Assembly of Bishops on December 8, 1939 Bishop Damaskin was elected Bishop of the vacant Diocese of Banat, and Bishop Dionisije (Milivojevic) was elected his successor.


People Directory

Marko V. Jaric

Marko V. Jaric was born on March 17, 1952 in Belgrade. He completed his elementary school education in Belgrade and attended the Air Force Military High School in Mostar where he graduated in 1970 as the best student of his class. Subsequently he enrolled at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics where he received a degree in physics in 1974, graduating as the best student of his generation. He received his Ph.D. in 1978 at the City University of New York with professor Joseph Birman, one of the most prominent physicists in solid-state physics, as his thesis advisor.

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Publishing

The Church at Prayer

by Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra

Publisher’s note

Many readers of the addresses of Elder Aimilianos, which have been published in the five-volume series, rchimandrite Aimilianos, Spiritual Instructions and Discourses (Ormylia, 1998-2003), have frequently expressed the wish for an abridged and more accessible form of his teaching. In response, we are happy to inaugurate a new series of publications incorporating key texts from the above-mentioned collection. Other considerations have also contributed o this new project, such as the selection of specific texts which address important, contemporary questions; the need for a smaller, more reader-friendly publication format; and the necessity for editing certain passages in need of clarification, without however altering their basic meaning.

Above all, the works collected in this volume reflect the importance which the Elder consistently attached to prayer, spirituality, community life, worship, and liturgy. Thus the experientially based works "On Prayer", and "The Prayer of the Holy Mountain", which deal primarily with the Prayer of the Heart, appear first, followed by the summary addresses on "The Divine Liturgy", and "Our Church Attendance". These are in turn followed by the more socially oriented discourses on "Our Relations with Our Neighbor", and "Marriage: The Great Sacrament". Finally, the present volume closes with the sermons on "Spiritual Reading" and "The Spiritual Life", which in a simple and yet compelling manner set forth the conditions for "ascending to heaven on the wings of the Spirit".

It is our hope that The Church at Prayer will meet the purpose for which it is issued and will serve as a ready aid and support for those who desire God and eternal life in Him.

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