Many times, we, the immigrants, have gone to other countries and not lost our faith and our character, but have often rediscovered and lived them better.
- Anonymous

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

Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich

Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich
SERBIAN ORTHODOX APOSTLE TO AMERICA
by Hieromonk Damascene (Christensen)
St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, Platina, California

 

 

1. An Apostle of Universal Significance

Born during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich has the distinction of being the first person born in the United States of America to be ordained as an Orthodox priest,[1] and also the first native-born American to be tonsured as an Orthodox monk. His greatest distinction, however, lies in the tremendous apostolic, pastoral, and literary work that he accomplished during the forty-eight years of his priestly ministry. Known as the "Father of Serbian Orthodoxy in America,"[2] he was responsible for the founding of the first Serbian churches in the NewWorld. This, however, was only one part of his life's work, for he tirelessly and zealously sought to spread the Orthodox Faith to all peoples, wherever he was called. He was an Orthodox apostle of universal significance.

Describing the vast scope of Fr. Sebastian's missionary activity, Bishop Irinej (Dobrijevic) of Australia and New Zealand has written:

"Without any outside funding or organizational support, he carried the gospel of peace from country to country.... Concentrating much of his work in the United States, he ceaselessly traveled back and forth across the American continent, using every available mode of transportation—from stagecoach to railroad to foot. His wider ministry stretched from the Aleutian Peninsula of Alaska, to Russia and Japan, to small Balkan towns on the coasts of the Black and Adriatic Seas."[3] It is said that Fr. Sebastian baptized more people than any other Serbian priest of theWestern Hemisphere.[4] St. Nicholai (Velimirovich)[5]of Zhicha, Serbia, who buried Fr. Sebastian at the ZhichaMonastery when the latter reposed there in 1940, called him "a viceless man" and fittingly designated him "the greatest Serbian missionary of modern times."[6]

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[1] Alaskan-born priests were ordained before Fr. Sebastian, but this was when Alaska was still part of Russia.
[2] Mirko Dobrijevic (later Irinej, Bishop of Australia and New Zealand), "The First American Serbian Apostle—Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich," Again, vol. 16, no. 4 (December 1993), pp. 13–14.
[3] Ibid., p. 13.
[4] John R. Palandech, Commemorative Book of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Chicago, 1905–1955. Quoted in Mirko Dobrijevic (Bishop Irinej), p. 15.
[5] In this article we have spelled St. Nicholai's given (first) name in the way that he himself spelled it when writing in English.
[6] Bishop Nicholai (Velimirovich), "Father Sebastian Dabovich," in Serb National Federation Commemorative Book, 1951.


People Directory

Branislav Bala

Branislav Bane Bala (writer/director/producer) is a Serbian filmmaker based in New York City. He holds an MFA in film directing from Columbia University.

His short films have played worldwide. His short film Shades of Gray was distributed by Doug Liman’s Hypnotic Releasing, and his commercial spot Magic was a Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award selection. He co-produced two low-budget features: Across Dot Avenue and Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish. The latter was invited for a week-long run at New York’s famous Lincoln Center and opened to rave reviews. He has taught various film classes at the University of Hartford, The New School, Art Institute of Austin, Ramapo College and was the chair of the Film Department at Katharine Gibbs School. He often collaborates with his brother Nemanja. Their latest collaboration, a feature film “Love Hunter” premiered at the prestigious Warsaw Film Festival and was “among its highlights”, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Publishing

On Divine Philanthropy

From Plato to John Chrysostom

by Bishop Danilo Krstic

This book describes the use of the notion of divine philanthropy from its first appearance in Aeschylos and Plato to the highly polyvalent use of it by John Chrysostom. Each page is marked by meticulous scholarship and great insight, lucidity of thought and expression. Bishop Danilo’s principal methodology in examining Chrysostom is a philological analysis of his works in order to grasp all the semantic shades of the concept of philanthropia throughout his vast literary output. The author overviews the observable development of the concept of philanthropia in a research that encompasses nearly seven centuries of literary sources. Peculiar theological connotations are studied in the uses of divine philanthropia both in the classical development from Aeschylos via Plutarch down to Libanius, Themistius of Byzantium and the Emperor Julian, as well as in the biblical development, especially from Philo and the New Testament through Origen and the Cappadocians to Chrysostom.

With this book, the author invites us to re-read Chrysostom’s golden pages on the ineffable philanthropy of God. "There is a modern ring in Chrysostom’s attempt to prove that we are loved—no matter who and where we are—and even infinitely loved, since our Friend and Lover is the infinite Triune God."

The victory of Chrysostom’s use of philanthropia meant the affirmation of ecclesial culture even at the level of Graeco-Roman culture. May we witness the same reality today in the modern techno-scientific world in which we live.