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

James Scully

James Scully is the author of 10 books of poetry, including Donatello’s Version (Curbstone Press/Northwestern University Press, 2007), four book-length translations, the seminal essay collection Line Break: Poetry as Social Practice (Curbstone Press/ Northwestern University Press, 1988/2005), and Vagabond Flags: Serbia & Kosovo: Journal, Scrapbook & Notes (Azul Editions, 2009). The founding editor of Art on the Line series (Curbstone Press, 1981-1986), he has been a key figure in the movement to radicalize the theory and practice of American poetry—in how it is lived as well as in how it is written.

Born in 1937 in New Haven, CT, Scully lives in Vermont with his wife, Arlene. They’ve been married since 1960 and have a son, John, and a daughter, Deirdre. His awards include a National Defense Fellowship 1959-1962; an Ingram Merrill Foundation Fellowship (Rome, Italy 1962-63); the Lamont Poetry Award 1967 for The Marches; the Jenny Taine Memorial Award 1971 for translation; a Guggenheim Fellowship (Santiago, Chile 1973-74); National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships 1976-77 and 1990; the Islands & Continents Translation Award 1980; and the Bookbuilders of Boston Award 1983 for book cover design.

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Publishing

Serbian Americans: History—Culture—Press

by Krinka Vidaković-Petrov, translated from Serbian by Milina Jovanović

Learned, lucid, and deeply perceptive, SERBIAN AMERICANS is an immensely rewarding and readable book, which will give historians invaluable new insights, and general readers exciting new ways to approach the history​ of Serbian printed media. Serbian immigration to the U.S. started dates from the first few decades of 19th c. The first papers were published in San Francisco starting in 1893. During the years of the most intense politicization of the Serbian American community, the Serbian printed media developed quickly with a growing number of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications. Newspapers were published in Serbian print shops, while the development of printing presses was a precondition for the growth of publishing in general. Among them were various kinds of books: classical Serbian literature, folksong collections, political pamphlets, works of the earliest Serbian American writers in America (poetry, prose and plays), first translations from English to Serbian, books about Serb immigrants, dictionaries, textbooks, primers, etc.

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