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

Djordje Nesic

Djordje Stevan Nesic’s pianism has been described as ‘artful‘, ‘assertive‘, ‘sensitive‘ and ‘quietly virtuosic‘, and his career has been highlighted by recital, concerto, chamber, and collaborative performances. During the current season, Mr. Nesic performed live on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, recorded seven newly commissioned American art songs for the Opera America Songbook project, performed in both concert and recital at Greenwich Music Festival’s All Things Stravinsky season; Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Ohana Arts Festival in Honolulu, Cincinnati’s Taft Museum and the Underground Railroad Museum Freedom Center, as well as at the University of Wisconsin and the Next Act Theater in Milwaukee. He was also featured in the PBS broadcast of “This Little Light of Mine” with soprano Adrienne Danrich, which was awarded a midwest Emmy Award in 2011. Among the pianist’s recent Manhattan performances are those at Lincoln Center in its “Meet the Artist” series; Carnegie’s Weill and Zankel halls; the United Nations General Assembly Hall; the River to River Festival; Tribeca’s Ico Gallery; the Trinity Church Wall Street.

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Publishing

Western American Diocese - Annual 2013

2013 marked several momentous occasions: 50 years of the founding of the Western American Diocese, 150 years of the birth of Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich, Holy Apostle to the Americas, 1700 years of the Edict of Milan, and a special tribute to Nikola Tesla! Our main focus during this three-day Jubilee Celebration was on the freedom to pursue our faith since the time of Constantine 1700 years ago and how to better live a spiritual life.

As a special tribute, a beautiful commemorative edition of the Annual was prepared, which reflects the History of the Western American Diocese! It is adorned with beautiful photographs and historical articles from our parishes and monateries! It also showcases the wonderful work that has been done over the past year throughout our Diocese and information about our many ongoing ministries. This publicaton also includes a Directory of Parishes.

There are two version of this publication available. Our Hardcover version sells for $15. Our Softcover version sells for $10 and includes Ads & Greetings from families and businesses throughout our Diocese.