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

Behind God's Back

Behind God's Back is the saga of a Serbian female physician's journey through the trials and travesties of World War I, World War II and the communist era. The story fills in historic gaps of these tumultuous events from a unique Balkan point of view; it highlights how small nations struggle to survive when caught in the direct pathway of major nations' ambitions.  A powerful and poignant love story that faces many challenges intertwines throughout the saga. Desa Jovanovic witnesses and experiences such misery in World War I that she decides to become a medical doctor. After the war, she wins a scholarship from Serbia's ally, France, to study medicine in Montpellier, France. Determined to take advantage of her scholarship, Desa keeps her nose to the grindstone regardless of the convivial atmosphere of Montpellier in the aftermath of the war. Despite her determined stance, she is intrigued with a tall, handsome Serbian law student, Danilo Marić, whom she must fight to win from a beautiful French student. After many setbacks, Desa captures the heart and love of Danilo and they're married in an early morning service in Belgrade.

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Deaths and births, careers and relationships cement and sometimes rip apart the relationship. Overall, however, the period of calm in Europe between the wars is generally favorable for the young couple. Everything deteriorates when Hitler's armies goose-step across Europe. The initial bombing of Belgrade in April, l941 claims 20,000 victims and it's a downhill slide from there. Amid the bombing, shelling and rigid Nazi occupation of Belgrade and its environs, Desa tries with all means available to her to save her patients and her family. Danilo joins the resistance and is imprisoned. When the occupation of Serbia finally ends with the entry of Soviet troops routing out the Germans, citizens rejoice. The Russians lead the way for Tito's Partisans to now occupy Yugoslavia. Soon the Yugoslavs learn that the communist rule will be just as cruel as the former Nazi occupation. How Desa and Danilo, their family and friends survive, or don't, the major events of the early 20th century rips across the pages of Behind God's Back. Also, Desa's medical journey explores the difficulties and progress of medicine in the 20th century. Behind God's Back can perhaps be put in a similar category with Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese; Corelli's Mandolin and Birds Without Wings, Louis de Bernieres; and Shaghai Girls, Lisa See.

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From Behind God's Back Official Web Page


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People Directory

Ruth Stanley Farnam

Ruth Stanley Farnam (September 11, 1873 — December 7, 1956) was an American nurse, soldier and writer. She is the only American woman known to have served as a soldier in the Serbian army during World War I.

Family

Ruth Stanley Farnam was born at Patchogue, New York, the daughter of William Henry Stanley and Ida Jay Overton Stanley. She married Charles Henry Farnam and later, Baron Raymond de Loze.

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Publishing

Holy Emperor Constantine and the Edict of Milan

by Bishop Athanasius (Yevtich)

In 2013 Christian world celebrates 1700 years since the day when the Providence of God spoke through the holy Emperor Constantine and freedom was given to the Christian faith. Commemorating the 1700 years since the Edict of Milan of 313, Sebastian Press of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church published a book by Bishop Athanasius Yevtich, Holy Emperor Constantine and the Edict of Milan. The book has 72 pages and was translated by Popadija Aleksandra Petrovich. This excellent overview of the historical circumstances that lead to the conversion of the first Christian emperor and to the publication of a document that was called "Edict of Milan", was originally published in Serbian by the Brotherhood of St. Simeon the Myrrh-gusher, Vrnjci 2013. “The Edict of Milan” is calling on civil authorities everywhere to respect the right of believers to worship freely and to express their faith publicly.

The publication of this beautiful pocket-size, full-color, English-language book, has been compiled and designed by Bishop Athanasius Yevtich, a disciple of the great twentieth-century theologian Archimandrite Justin Popovich. Bishop Athanasius' thought combines adherence to the teachings of the Church Fathers with a vibrant faith, knowledge of history, and a profound experience of Christ in the Church.

In the conclusion of the book, the author states:"The era of St. Constantine and his mother St. Helena, marks the beginning of what history refers to as Roman, Christian Empire, which was named Byzantium only in recent times in the West. In fact, this was the conception of a Christian Europe. Christian Byzantine culture had a critical effect on Europe; Europe was its heir, and then consciously forgot it. Europe inherited many Byzantine treasures, but unfortunately, also robbed and plundered many others for its own treasuries and museums – not only during the Crusades, but during colonial rule in the Byzantine lands as well. We, the Orthodox Slavs, received a great heritage of the Orthodox Christian East from Byzantium. Primarily, Christ’s Gospel, His faith and His Church, and then, among other things, the Cyrillic alphabet, too."