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

The history of the oldest Serbian cemetery in America is related to the construction of the first Serbian Church on American soil and the important role of Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich

St. Sava Church in Jackson, California, is recognized as the first consecrated Serbian Orthodox Church and cemetery on the North American continent. Serbian miners and their families were drawn to the Mother Lode and Amador County during the California Gold Rush 1849 seeking fortune and a new life. They would later found the parish in 1894.

In the mid 1860s the number of Serbian Orthodox in the area had grown significantly. In 1886 they formed the St. Sava Benevolent Society and purchased an acre of land on North Main Street in Jackson for a cemetery. This land was used as a cemetery for the Serbian people.

Meanwhile in San Francisco, the young Sebastian Dabovich (born Jovan Dabovich), an American born of Serbian parents, was ordained to the priesthood by the local Russian Orthodox bishop. Father Sebastian often journeyed to Jackson to baptize children and perform marriages. In 1893 he urged the faithful to organize and build a Church. Within one year, the building was complete. Bishop Nikolai of Aleutians and Alaska officiated at the consecration of the temple. The Russians donated the bell for the church which was cast in Jackson. It still peals in the belfry today.

The construction of Saint Sava Church was started in 1894 and consecrated later that year on December 4. The oldest headstones are located behind the church. In 1877, two boys from the Dragomanoich family were the first burial, 17 years before construction of the church. These early graves give testimony to the first Serbian immigrants who came from Herzegovina, Boka and Montenegro. To the left of the front of the church are buried 11 miners who tragically lost their lives in the Argonaut (Gold) Mine Disaster in 1922.

According to the parish records from 2014 which came from the cemetery office, there are 417 graves. Many are family graves with more than one person buried within.

There are several graves of Orthodox Americans of recent times who were a part of the Saint Sava Liturgical community of Jackson.

With the decision of His Grace Bishop Chrisostom of Zicha and with the initiative of the Jackson clergy and parishioners along with help from Bishop Maxim, the earthly remains of Father Sebastian were transferred from Zicha Monastery into Saint Sava Church in Jackson during the summer of 2007.

Part of this text is taken from the “Annual 2013” (Sebastian Press 2013)
The History of the Western American Diocese
Serbian Orthodox Church in North America


SA

 

People Directory

Bishop Firmilijan (Ocokoljić)

(1963–1992)

Te Right Reverend Dr. Firmilian, Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Midwestern America, was born on the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, according to the Julian Calendar, on the 7th of January 1910. Born into a clerical family in Kaona, Serbia, he was the son of many generations of priests, specifically, born in the family of the protopresbyter Uros Ocokoljich and his mother, Darinka, nee Plazinic, also the daughter of a priest. To the delight of this family, the parents were blessed with the birth of twins, named at baptism, Stanko (later, Firmilian) and Ranko. Stanko was the tenth child.

Having completed his elementary (in the place of his birth) and secondary education (Gymnasium, High School, in Čačak,) young Stanko was admitted into the Orthodox Seminary in Sarajevo, Bosnia, from where he graduated in the year 1930. After having served the Armed Forces of his country, Stanko was married to Nadežda Popović. Following their marriage, Stanko was ordained to the diaconate and then to the priesthood, being assigned as assistant to his father, protopresbyter Uroš, in the Village of Kaona. He was ordained to priesthood in 1930 by Bishop Jefrem Bojović, brother of well-known Vojvoda Petar Bojović. Tragically, within the first year of his marriage, Father Stanko lost both his wife and son, during childbirth.

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Sailors of the Sky

A conversation with Fr. Stamatis Skliris and Fr. Marko Rupnik on contemporary Christian art

In these timely conversations led by Fr. Radovan Bigovic, many issues are introduced that enable the contemporary reader to deepen and expand his or her understanding of the role of art in the life of the Church. Here we find answers to questions on the crisis of contemporary ecclesiastical art in West and East; the impact of Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract painting on contemporary ecclesiastical painting; and a consideration of the main distrinction between iconography and secular painting. The dialogue, while resolving some doubts about the difference between iconography, religious painting, and painting in general, reconciles the requirement to obey inconographic canons with the freedom essential to artistic creativity, demonstrating that obedience to the canons is not a threat to the vitatlity of iconography. Both artists illumine the role of prayer and ascetisicm in the art of iconography. They also mention curcial differences between iconography in the Orthodox Church and in Roman Catholicism. How important thse distinctions are when exploring the relationship between contemporary theology and art! In a time when postmodern "metaphysics' revitalizes every concept, these masters still believe that, to some extent, Post-Modernism adds to the revitatiztion of Christian art, stimulating questions about "artistic inspiration" and the essential asethetic categories of Christian painting. Their exceptionally wide, yet nonetheless deep, expertise assists their not-so-everday connections between theology, ar, and modern issues concerning society: "society" taken in its broader meaning as "civilization." Finally, the entire artistic project of Stamatis and Rupnik has important ecumenical implications that aswer a genuine longing for unity in the Christian word.

The text of this 94-page soft-bound book has been translated from the Serbian by Ivana Jakovljevic, Fr. Gregory Edwards, and Andrijana Krstic. Published by Sebastian Press, Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Contemporary Christian Thought Series, number 7, First Edition, ISBN: 978-0-9719505-8-0