Prominent members of the Serbian community in America addressed an open letter to the Serbian Patriarch, Mr. Irinej. It defends the bishops and heads of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the United States of America, and regarding recent accusations made against them by some media and individuals.

The letter signed by the famous basketball player Vlade Divac, businessman Michael Djordjevic, a member of “The Serbian Apollo 7“, David Vujic, the former Federal Energy Commissioner Branko Terzic, we are publishing in full.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves,   and blown here and there by every wind of teaching   and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.    Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 

– Ephesians 4:14-15

 

Your Holiness,

Your Eminence and Your Graces:

As faithful children, communicants, and benefactors of our Holy Serbian Orthodox Church, we write to express our steadfast support for our bishops in America: Their Graces Bishop Longin, Bishop Maxim, and Bishop Irinej.  Recent slanderous articles and petitions to you by a vocal and unchurched minority oblige us before the public and before the Holy Synod to raise our voices openly in support of our archpastors— and to speak the truth in love.

We humbly submit to you that the Church of Saint Sava in America is among the most dynamic parts of our church anywhere in the world. This is evidenced by our faithful’s regular attendance of divine services, participation in the divine mysteries, and generous stewardship to support the ministries of our dioceses and parishes; by the many active programs for youth and adult education at all levels of church organization; by the frequent and impressive publishing of religious literature; by continuous humanitarian and charitable activities and active hospital ministries; and by defending our brothers and sisters in our ancestral homeland, by educating our nation’s government about their oppression.  All of these efforts have been inspired and fostered by our bishops who deserve to be commended for their work and their leadership.  Indeed, our bishops are honored and respected for their ministries even more widely in the Pan-Orthodox community which is the reality in our country.

Petitions and letters sent to the Holy Synod based on outright lies, half-truths, rumors, or presenting facts out-of-context cannot be the basis for any action which would bring any good to our Church and her faithful children here. Anyone who claims to the Holy Synod that Bishop Longin, Bishop Maxim, or Bishop Irinej seek to separate our dioceses from the Serbian Orthodox Church is either unknowing and ill-informed, or lying with malicious intent.  Indeed, it appears that this disinformation is being generated and disseminated by a small group of detractors—while the vast majority of our parishes and faithful in America remain peacefully supportive of our bishops.  We urge you not to heed the ill-informed calls to action of these few detractors at the risk of disturbing the peace and harmony of the much larger majority.

We trust and hope, dear Synodal fathers, that you will have the ability and wisdom to discern the true, ulterior motives of the few who create and raise public controversies in the life of the church in America for their own personal reasons. “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16). And we hope that you will give due consideration to our joint letter as well, given our years of filial devotion and service to Christ’s Church and Svetosavlje in America and throughout the world.

Yours faithfully,

Daniel August

Tonsured Reader – Čtec

Member, St Elijah Church, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania

 

Zoran Beric

Owner, Fiber Node Services, Inc.

University of Banja Luka, Republika Srpska (Electrical and Electronics Engineering)

Chicago, Illinois

 

Mira Bishop

Owner, Oliver Brothers Art Restoration and Conservation, Est. 1850

Parishioner, St. Sava Cathedral

Boston, Massachusetts

 

Milana-Mim Karlo Bizic

Contributor, Tesla Nation

Serbian-American Cultural Advocate and Activist

Member, St. Elijah Church

Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

 

Jasmina Theodore Boulanger

Juris Doctor and Master of Science, Economics

Order of St. Sava, 2d degree

Former President, Serbian Unity Congress

Former First Vice President of Diocesan Council, Diocese of Western America

Parishioner, St. Steven’s Cathedral

Board of Directors, International Orthodox Christian Charities

Former President, Cotton Point Advisors, LLC

Former Vice President, Conexant Systems, Inc.

Alhambra, California

 

Eli Bradaric

Assistant Vice President at Major Financial Services Corporation managing accounting for the 2nd largest public pension fund in the US

Treasurer Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

Sacramento (Fair Oaks), California

John Buffalini

Serbian American Leadership Conference

Tonsured Reader – Čtec

St. Luke Church

Washington, DC

 

Vlade Divac

Basketball player

Sacramento Kings General Manager

Elected to Hall of Fame 2019

Founder Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation

UNICEF Ambassador

Sacramento, California

 

Miroslav Michael Djordjevich

Founder, Capital Guaranty Corporation and three commercial banks

Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Southeast Europe International, Inc.

Rebuilt Razvojna Banka in Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina post war

Founder and Director Serbian Unity Congress and Studenica Foundation

Medal of Nemanja (II Degree)

Medal of Yugoslav Flag (II Degree)

Who’s Who Worldwide Lifetime Achievement Award

Recipient, Americanism Medal from National Society Daughters of the American Colonists

Served on the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Centennial Commission

Initiated and organized the Sentandrea Sabor in Hungary,

Member of the Serbian Orthodox Church St. John the Baptist (since 1956)

San Francisco, California

 

Neno Djordjevich, CIC, CRM

Business Development Director for Specialty Underwriters Company

Past President, Northshore Insurance Managers

Past President, Saint Sava Academy

Order of St. Sebastian I Degree

Patriarchal Gramata by His Holiness Patriarch Pavle

Rolling Meadows, Illinois

 

Aleksandar Djuricic

Juris Doctorate candidate, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

President, Serbian American Leadership Conference

Indianapolis, Indiana

Luka Erceg, Esq.

Attorney and Counselor-at-Law

Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Commerce

Tonsured Reader- Čtec

Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor (AIRA)

Professor, University of St. Katherine, Orthodox University in San Marcos, CA

Member, Diocesan Council, Diocese of Western America

Member, Central Church Council

Member, Legal Risk & Compliance Committee of the Central Church Council

San Diego, California

 

Anka Jaksic Erne

Philanthropist

https://www.telegraf.rs/vesti/srbija/3143561-anka-iz-amerike-dala-3-miliona-dolara-srbima-koji-tesko-zive-zbog-ovog-mosta-nisu-odseceni-od-sveta

Parishioner, St. Sava Cathedral

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

 

David Erne, Esq.

Corporate Attorney

Juris Doctor, Harvard University

Current Board Member of Five Fortune 500 corporations

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

 

Andjelka Gojkovich

Plan Review Coordinator at Engineering Firm

Board Member, Director of Sunday School, Director of Folklore, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Church

Sacramento (Fair Oaks), California

 

Radmila J. Gorup

Columbia University Senior Lecturer

Department of Slavic Languages

Parishioner, St. Sava Cathedral, New York

New York, New York

Jeffrey Gray

California Polytechnic State University, B.A. Political Science.

CEO, Growth Stage Venture Backed Software Company serving Global Fortune 500 Enterprises.

Recipient of Gartner Cool Vendor and 2019 Sacramento Region Innovation Awards.

Recipient, John F. Kennedy Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 United States Congressional Commendation, United States Congress for  business entrepreneurship with a social conscience.

Recipient United States Special Congressional Recognition, United States House of Representatives, for invaluable service to the community.

Entrepreneur mentor in AT&T Operation Hand Salute to assist and mentor service disabled veterans seeking to launch or grow IT businesses.

Former Board Member, John F. Kennedy University Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Selected as Sacramento Business Journal “40 Under 40 Winner”

Member, Diocesan Council, Diocese of Western America

Member, Central Church Council

President, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Church

Sacramento (Fair Oaks), California

 

Alexandra Brkic Griffin

Policy, Change Management and Communications Strategist

Former Congressional Aide to Hon. Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley

Alexandria, Virginia

 

Martina Hone, Esq.

Attorney, Juris Doctor, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Bachelor of Arts, University of Chicago

Former Associate Undersecretary, US Department of Commerce

Chicago, Illinois

 

Milos Jovovich

Member at Large, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

Sacramento (Fair Oaks), California

 

Lila J. Kalinic, M.D.

Doctor of Medicine

Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University.

Founding Member Advisory Board, Njegos Foundation, Columbia University

Former Board Member, International Orthodox Christian Charities

Parishoner/Steward, St. Sava Cathedral, New York

New York, New York

Michael Kosanovich

Special Agent (Retired), Federal Bureau of Investigation

Trusteeship President, St. Basil of Ostrog Church, Lake Forest, Illinois

Elmhurst, Illinois

 

Nick Kosanovich

President, Executive Board, St Elijah Church, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Recipient, Episcopal Gramata (Bishop Mitrophan 2014)

Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

 

Don Kosovac

Colonel (Retired), USAF

Past president and Board Member of St. John Cathedral,

San Francisco, California

 

Dragan Kovacevic

Owner, City Fresh Market, Chicago, Illinois

Entrepreneur/Investor

Chicago/Lake Forest, Illinois

 

Nikola Lonchar
President / Founder
Tesla Science Foundation
Narberth, Pennsylvania

 

Leon J. Lysaght, Esq.

Juris Doctor, University of Chicago

Retired Professor, Philosophy and Law (five universities in three countries on two continents)

Recipient, Czar Dushan Award of Serbian Bar Association of America

Member, Legal Risk and Compliance Committee of the Central Church Council

Trustee Emeritus, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.

Member, St. George Church, Monroe, Michigan

Glen Arbor, Michigan

 

John G. Martich 

Immediate Past President, Serb National Federation

Member, Holy Resurrection Church, Steubenville, Ohio

Weirton, West Virginia

Branko Mikasinovic

Recipient, Order of the Holy Despot Stefan Lazarevic

Ph.D. University of Beograd, M.A. Northwestern University

Fellow, International Strategic Studies Association

Former Broadcaster, Voice of America Serbian Service

Former Professor Tulane University

Scholar and award winning anthologist of Serbian literature in English.

Editor, Fantastic Serbian Plays (co-editor Dejan Stojanovic), Serbian Satire and Aphorisms, Selected Serbian Comedies and Great Serbian Short Stories.

Parishoner/Steward Saint Luke Church, Potomac, Maryland

Washington, DC

 

Ljubiša Miličić, Esq.

Juris Doctor, Northwestern University Pritzger School of Law, Chicago, Illinois

B.A. Political Science, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

Tonsured Reader- Čtec

Member, Central Church Council

Past Member, Diocesan Council, Midwest Metropolitanate

Past Member, Diocesan Council, American-Canadian Diocese, New Gracanica Metropolitanate

Co-Chairman and Founding Member, Chicago-Belgrade Sister Cities Committee

Past Member, Diaspora Council, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Past President and all other offices, Serbian Bar Association of America

Past 1st Vice President, Serbian National Defense Council of America

Past 3rd Vice President, Serb National Federation

Chicago/Lake Forest, Illinois

 

Savka Mileusnic

Recipient, Order of St. Sebastian

Founder, First Secretary and Former Kolo Serbian Sisters President,

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

Sacramento (Fair Oaks), California

 

Larry Milosh

Parishioner, St. Elijah Church,

Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

 

Milana M. Milosh

Parishioner, St. Elijah Church,

Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Milan Mrkal

Tonsured Reader- Čtec

Vice President, Diocesan Council, Diocese of Eastern America

Member, Central Church Council

Past Member, Diocesan Council, Diocese of Eastern America

Past President and Treasurer, Executive Board, St. Elijah Church, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania Member, Executive Board, St. Elijah Church Past President, Tsar Lazar Choir

Eagle Scout and Alpha Omega Award B.S.A.

Moon Township, Pennsylvania

 

Andrew J. Muha, Esq.

Attorney, Juris Doctor, The George Washington University Law School

B.A., Economics, Allegheny College

Tonsured Reader- Čtec

Recipient, Episcopal Gramata (Bishop Mitrofan, 2014)

Past Member, Executive Board, St. Elijah Church, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Member, St. Elijah Church

Member, Legal Risk & Compliance Committee, Central Church Council

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

Desko Nikitovic

University of Belgrade, School of Law

Executive Chairman, East Point Holding

Past Consul General (Chicago), Republic of Serbia

Co-Chairman of Belgrade Committee, Chicago Sister Cities International

Chicago, Illinois

 

Marija Popovac

Financial Secretary, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

Sacramento (Fair Oaks), California

Dushica Protic, Esq.

Attorney, Juris Doctor

Former Chief Counsel Regulation, American Stock Exchange

Former, Senior Counsel, New York Stock Exchange

Member, Board of Directors, Studenica Foundation

Past Executive Board Member, Serbian Unity Congress

Founder, Serbian American Professional Networking LinkedIn (5800 members)

Parishioner/Steward, St. Sava Cathedral, New York (since 1968)

New York, New York

 

Jovan Radomir Protic, M.D.

Former Chairman of Pathology, Trinitas Hospital

Former Director of Residency Program at Beth Israel, St Luke’s, Roosevelt Hospital

Parishioner/Steward, St. Sava Cathedral, New York

New York, New York

 

Nikola J. Protic

University of Chicago, Ph.D. candidate in Molecular Engineering/Physics

Bachelor of Science, Cornell University, College of Engineering, Applied Engineering Physics

Member, St. Sava Cathedral, New York (since birth)

New York, New York

 

Pero Prpa

Former Vice President, St. George Church Board, Schererville, Indiana

Former President, SSS Bishop Stevan Lastavica, Schererville, Indiana

Former President, St. Nicholas Church Choir, Monroeville, Pennsylvania Founder “Tsar Lazar” Male Chorus, Tri-State Area (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia)

Former Vice President, St. Nicholas Church Board, Monroeville, Pennsylvania

Past President, Serbian Singing Federation of America

Member, St. Nicholas Church

Monroeville, Pennsylvania

 

Mike Radakovich

President KBI Benefits

Member, Holy Trinity Church, Moraga, California

Cupertino, California

 

Steve Radakovich

Member, Board of Directors, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)

Member, Holy Trinity Church, Moraga, California

San Francisco, California

Ron Radakovich

Corporate Vice President (Emeritus), Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp.

Order of St. Sava – 1st Degree

Nemanja Medal – 2nd Degree, State Union of Serbia and Montenegro

Member, Central Church Council (25 years)

Vice President, Diocesan Council, Diocese of Western American (12 years)

President, Parish Council, Holy Trinity Church, Moraga, California (5 years)

Executive Vice President, Serbian Unity Congress (10 years)

San Francisco, California

 

Milos Radmanovich

Retired Engineering Manager of major US Flag Carrier Airline

Former President, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Serbian Orthodox Church,

Sacramento (Fair Oaks), California

 

Lazar Supic

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

 

Michael T. Rice

Deputy Sheriff Sergeant

Member, Central Church Council

Member, St. Sava Church

Jackson, California

 

Debra Tasic, Ph.D

Vice President, Diocesan Council, Diocese of Western America

Member, Board of Trustees, St. Steven’s Cathedral

Alhambra, California

 

The Honorable Branko Terzic

Doctor of Sciences h.c. In Engineering

Former Commissioner, US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Former Commissioner, State of Wisconsin Public Service Commission

Parishioner and Former Board Member, Saint Luke Church, Potomac Maryland

Former Board Member Saint Sava Cathedral, Milwaukee WI

Potomac, Maryland

Marko Tesla

Manager, Serbian American Professional Networking

Eaton Town, New Jersey

 

George Topich

Former Secretary and Treasurer, Serb National Federation

Recipient of HRH Princess Katherine Award from the Karadjordjevic Royal Philanthropic Organization “Lifeline” (2017)

Past President, Holy Trinity Cathedral

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

 

Branko Tupanjac

Order of Saint Sava, 1st Degree

Senator, Republika Srpska

Real Estate Investor and Construction Entrepreneur

Chicago/Lake Forest, Illinois

 

Milan Visnick

Trusteeship President, St. Luke Church, Potomac, Maryland

Former 1st Vice President, Treasurer & Member, Diocesan Council, Diocese of Eastern America

Former Member, Central Church Council

Washington, DC

 

David Vuich

Retired Aviation-Aerospace Executive

Member, “Serbian Apollo 7”

Recipient Medal of “Karadjordje Star” in the first degree

Parishioner and Former Board Member, Saint Luke Church, Potomac MD

Washington, D.C.

 

Jasmina Vujic, Ph,D

Professor, Nuclear Engineering at University of California, Berkeley

First woman to serve as chair of a US university nuclear engineering department

Researcher with over 240 published papers

Program director of a coalition of eight universities headed by Berkeley

Recipient of numerous awards, including Berkeley‘s 1996 Prytanean Faculty Award and the 1991 American Nuclear Society best paper award.

Berkeley, California

 

Nenad Vukicevic

Vice President, Intrepid Technology, Inc.

Founder, Blago Fund, a US nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of Serbian treasures, including monasteries and frescos

Past President, St. Archangel Michael Church, Saratoga, California

Half Moon Bay, California

 

Mark P. Zatezalo

Former Member, West Virginia House of Delegates

Member, Holy Resurrection Church, Steubenville, Ohio

Weirton, West Virginia

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