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

...I advise you then, to go to cemetery when others go. There are beautifully arranged Serbian cemeteries in America. They were arranged by the Serbian natives who considered cemeteries – as they should be considered – the holiest places after God's holy church. You should know how beautiful Serbian tombstones are at the monastery of St. Sava in Libertyville, then the two cemeteries in Pittsburg, St. Sava and St. George, then thecemetery that is the most known among Orthodox people in San Francisco (Serbian Benevolent Society), then that olden one in Jackson, in Los Angeles and other places.
Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich

This is a part of an answer written by the Holy Bishop Nikolai to a greiving mother who had lost her husband and children and does not know where they are burried. This entire answer is published in the American Srbobran. This advice of bishop Nikolai serves well as an introduction to this story about the cemetery in Jackson, California. Why? Jackson residents had a rare opportunity this summer to meet and host two religious education school teachers, from Serbia who spontaneously decided to dedicate their private visit to cousins in America, and their free time to the old cemetery in Jackson.Through the intensive and dedicated two-week work and their own action, they fullfilled and reminded all of us about these words of the Holy Bishop of blessed memory.

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.

У једном одговору у Американском Србобрану ожалошћеној мајци која се сахранила мужа и децу и не зна где су им гробови, владика Николај је написао следеће:

...Саветујем ти, дакле, иди на гробље кад и други иду. Има дивно уређених српских гробља у Америци. Уредили су их Срби староседиоци који су гробље сматрали – како и треба сматрати – најсветијим местом после храма Божјег. Да знаш како су красна српска гробља у манастиру Св. Саве, па у Питсбургу два, Св. Саве и Св. Ђорђа, па оно чувено међу свим православним народима у Сан Франциску (српског добротворног друштва) па оно прастаро у Џексону, у Лос Анђелесу, и на другим местима.

Но чуј да ти нешто испричам, што ти може послужити примером. Једних задушница ја сам ходио по огромном и величанственом гробљу београдском. Свуда око мене докле очима видиш блистале су хиљаде и хиљаде свећа као најлепше цвеће које људи могу посадити у земљу. У тим пламеновима ја сам читао радост умрлих који као тихо певаху: живи смо, живи смо! На крају гробља видех једну познату ми госпођу. Стајала је над неким занемареним гробовима са нечитким споменицима и хумкама без икаквих споменика. Над тим гробовима она беше запалила читаву руковет свећа. Она је скрушено гледала у те свеће и у њиховом треперењу читала радост оних под земљом. И плакала је. Упитах је, ко је од њених ту сахрањен? Нико, одговори она. Муж ми је, вели, скоро премештен у Београд, а сви наши покојници погребени су у месту његовог ранијег службовања. Ја, вели, не могу да одем тамо, далеко је, па сам ето дошла овде на ове непознате гробове и запуштене, да учиним другима што не могу својима. Ваљда ће Благи Бог примити ово и за моје. – Хоће, госпођо, хоће посигурно, рекох и удаљих се размишљајући: Боже, паметна народа! Шта све може човек научити од народа, наученог од Бога!...

Рајко Д. Блажић, професор за уметност и консервацију СПЦ, и др Предраг Ристић, професор на Академији СПЦ, израдили типологију надгробних крсних знамења.

У доба комунизма, разбијена је и сама помисао о васкрсењу, а народ истеран из Цркве. Али, хтели не хтели, опет су на гробљу морали да се сретну и они који верујуи они који не верују. Они који су смело веровали, знали су како се моли и шта је део њихове молитве. Неверни су, уместо цркве добили „спомен-лопату” и празне речи пропаганде у често трагикомичним посмртним говорима и раштимовану плех музику.

Ово је теза верујућих: Рајка Д. Блажића, професора за уметности и консервацију СПЦ, и др Предрага Ристића, архитекте и професора на Академији СПЦ. Професори су, после бројних истраживања, одлучили да представе десет типова надгробних споменика, ликовно решених на основу историјске традиције црквених уметника и мајстора са наших простора, кроз векове уназад, али и у нашем времену. Њихов покушај је вредан пажње: они желе да бар покушају да спрече да гробља, као вечна коначишта, често изгледају као – дивља насеља живих.

SA

 

People Directory

Vladimir Pištalo

Vladimir Pištalo (Serbian Cyrillic: Владимир Пиштало) (born 1960 in Sarajevo) is a Serbian writer, most notably winning the 2008 NIN Prize for the year's best novel - Tesla, Portrait among Masks.

Vladimir Pištalo graduated from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law and earned his doctorate at the University of New Hampshire under the theme of the identity of numerous Serbian immigrants. He now works at Becker College in Brewster, Massachusetts where he teaches World and US history.

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Publishing

My Brother's Keeper

by Fr. Radovan Bigovic

Rare are the books of Orthodox Christian authors that deal with the subject of politics in a comprehensive way. It is taken for granted that politics has to do with the secularized (legal) protection of human rights (a reproduction of the philosophy of the Enlightenment), within the political system of so-called "representative democracy", which is limited mostly to social utility or to the conventional rules of human relations. Most Christians look at politics and democracy as unrelated with their experience of the Church herself, which abides both in history and in the Kingdom, the eschaton. Today, the commercialization of politics—its submission to the laws of publicity and the brainwashing of the masses—has literally abolished the "representative" parliamentary system. So, why bother with politics when every citizen of so-called developed societies has a direct everyday experience of the rapid decline and alienation of the fundamental aspects of modernity?

In the Orthodox milieu, Christos Yannaras has highlighted the conception of the social and political event that is borne by the Orthodox ecclesiastical tradition, which entails a personalistic (assumes an infinite value of the human person as opposed to Western utilitarian individualism) and relational approach. Fr Radovan Bigovic follows this approach. In this book, the reader will find a faithful engagement with the liturgical and patristic traditions, with contemporary thinkers, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, all in conversation with political science and philosophy. As an excellent Orthodox theologian and a proponent of dialogue, rooted in the catholic (holistic) being of the Orthodox Church and of his Serbian people, Fr Radovan offers a methodology that encompasses the above-mentioned concerns and quests.