Program Donators of Decani started in November 2022. Donators of Decani gives opportunity every parishioners to make monthly donation of $25, $50 or $100 to our church Saint Steven of Decani in Chicago. Also, monthly donations can be lower from $25 or higher from $100. (monthly donations can be canceled at any time)
The founder of the Monastery was St. Stefan Uroš III of Dečani (1285-1331), the son of Holy King Milutin and the father of Emperor Dušan. The Church celebrates him as a great-martyr on November 11/24 (according to the Julian and Gregorian calendars, respectively). As a ten year old boy, he was given as a hostage to the Tatar, Nogai Khan. As a youth he was falsely accused of an attempt to depose his father from the throne, and was blinded and imprisoned in the Monastery of Christ the Pantocrator in Constantinople. Pious, mild-mannered, and compassionate, he won the favor of monks and lords alike, and even of Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II himself. Seven years later, through the mediation of Serbian and Greek bishops, his father reconciled with him and gave him the region of Budimlje (in today’s Montenegro) to rule.
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Our folklore group Avala brings all children from ages 4-18 together to learn traditional Serbian dances known as “kolo”. Consider signing your children up so they can learn our traditional dances and have fun. Practices are every Friday starting at 7pm in the banquet hall of our church.
President Dalibor Stojkovic 773 851 3285
3543 W Leland AveChicago, IL 60625
His Grace Bishop Longin was born on September 29, 1955 as Momir Krco in the town of Kruscanje Olovo. His parents were Stanoje and Andja (nee Jovanovic) Krco. He attended grade school in Olovske Luke from 1962 to 1970. He entered Three Hierarchs Seminary in Monastery Krka in 1970 and graduated in 1975.
During this time he was tonsured a monk and received the small schema as a fifth year student. The tonsuring was done by Bishop Stefan of Dalmatia on the eve of the school Slava of the Holy Three Hierarchs on February 11, 1975. At the Divine Liturgy on February 12th he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Stefan. On February 13th, he was ordained a priest.
He entered the Moscow Theological Academy in 1975 where he graduated in 1979. From October 1980 to April 1981, he served in the Diocese of Zvornik-Tuzla as secretary of the Executive Board. He was also administrator of two parishes. On the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops he was appointed as lecturer of the Holy Three Hierarchs Seminary in 1983 for two years.
At the Sabor of May 1985 he was elected Vicar Bishop of Morava to the Patriarch. He was consecrated on October 20, 1985. His Holiness served the Divine Liturgy along with Metropolitan Vladimir of Rostov and Novo Cerkay (now Metropolitan of Kiev) who had been Dean of the Moscow Theological Academy while Bishop Longin was a student. Also serving were Bishop Nikolaj of Dalmatia, who had been Dean at the Seminary in Krka Monastery where the young Bishop had begun his theological education; and Bishop Vasilije of Zvornik-Tuzla.
Present at the services were the following bishops of the Serbian Church: Metropolitan Vladislav of Dabro-Bosna, Metropolitan Jovan of Zagreb and Ljubljbana, Bishop Chrysostom of Branicevo, Bishop Pavle of Ras and Prizren, Bishop Stefan of Zica and Bishop Jefrem of Banja Luka. As guests present were the Archimandrite Platon, professor of the Moscow Theological Academy, Canon Dr. Colin Hikling, professor of Holy Scriptures at the London University, where the new bishop had done post graduate studies. In May of 1986 he was elected Bishop of Australia and New Zealand, where he spent six and a half years. Besides serving the great territory of Australia he also built churches and was involved in work with the youth. Bishop Longin was known especially as a fighter for unity of the Serbian Church.
At the Sabor in 1992 at the request of His Holiness and brother hierarchs, Bishop Longin accepted the duty of being bishop of Dalmatia. He was not able to enter his residence in Sibenik, but had to reside in Monastery Krka, where he lectured at the seminary. With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, he journeyed to Canada and Australia where he collected donations for the suffering Serbian people. After the tragic occurences in August of 1995, Bishop Longin and the entire seminary from Monastery Krka stayed at Divcibare near Valjevo. At the same time he helped Bishop Lavrentije of Saba-Valjevo in diocesan matters. Along with Bishop Nikanor of Gornji Karlovac, he worked with refugees, visited the camps and delivered help which had been sent mainly by the Serbs in the Diaspora.
With the decision of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, he was appointed on July 31, 1997 as auxiliary in the administration of the Diocese of America and Canada – New Gracanica Metropolitanate. On May 23, 1998, he was appointed as Administrator of the Diocese of America and Canada -New Gracanica Metropolitanate, while on May 5, 1999, he was elected at the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Sabor, as Bishop of the Diocese of America and Canada, New Gracanica Metropolitanate. This fulfilled the request of the Diocesan Council and the Ecclesiastical Court as well as the desire of the clergy and delegates of the Seventh Church National Sabor held on April 23 – 24, 1999.
After the administrative arrondation of our Church on the North American Continent in May 2009, a better and canonically more correct organization of our faithful people was achieved. In the same year, Bishop Longin was elected Bishop of New Gracanica-Midwestern America. Since then, His Eminence has resided in Libertyville, retaining offices at Pokrov-Protection Monastery. The intention is for our oldest Monastery to be renovated in many ways, so that all monasteries and parish churches can successfully continue the mission of salvation and deliverance from all evil! For this, we pray to the Lord!
During World War II, from 1941-1945, Serbian people in then Yugoslavia, endured great suffering. An enormous number of Serbian people ended up in concentration camps, in Croatia, Germany and other countries who were under Nazi regime. Among the Serbian people in the German captivity were also the then Serbian patriarch Gavrilo Dozic and Bishop of Zica Nikolaj Velimirovic. They were in the most notorious concentration camps in Dachau.
After World War II ended, many of the Serbs who survived the concentration camp, could not go back to their home country. A large sum of Serbs immigrated to America. The then Bishop of America and Canada, Dionisije, signed about 47,000 affidavits for Serbs who were in diaspora, to enable them to come to America. Logically, most of them came to Chicago and started a new life in their new country. At that time, at the north side of Chicago, there was only one Serbian Orthodox Church, Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church, on Schiller Street. It was founded by Serbs born in America, which were called the first generation of Serbo-Americans. With new Serbian immigrants arriving and later on their families, the need for more Serbian Orthodox churches was growing.
In March 1963, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Bolan, 18 families came together and agreed that there was a need for another Serbian Orthodox Church on the north side of Chicago. Those 18 Serbian families who founded the church were: Mr. & Mrs. Peter Bolan, the man who began this blessed endeavor, Mr. & Mrs. Bata Achimovich, Mr. & Mrs. Dan Bozin, Mr. & Mrs. Jim Gossett, Mr. & Mrs. Mel Grkovich, Mrs. Dorothy Ignatich, Mr. & Mrs. Steve Ignatich, Mr. & Mrs. Steve Mitrovich, Mr. & Mrs. Walter Nogulich, Mr. & Mrs. Mike Orloff, Mr. & Mrs. Sam Paich, Mr. & Mrs. Alex Penyich, MR. & Mrs. Dan Price, Mr. & Mrs. Bill Stepan, Mr. & Mrs. Milan Tarailo, Mr. & Mrs. Richard Triptow, Mr. & Mrs. Walter Wardan, and Mr. & Mrs. Joe Woodward. These people worked without end and without complaint. The late Bishop Dionisije, blessed their petition and 35 Chartered Members began their journey toward a new church. They bought a building on Leland Ave, which is now, Saint Stefan of Decani Church. His Grace, Late Bishop Dionisije, former abbot of Decani monastery in Kosovo, dedicated this holy place to Saint Stefan of Decani, Serbian king and martyr.
The first priest/administrator was Archimandrite Petar Bankerovic, who was also the parish priest of Saint Sava Church in Gary, Indiana who later became the Bishop of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese. During that early stage, while the community was taking their first faltering steps, Reverend Father Peter was a comfort, teaching them to understand the true meaning of being an Orthodox Christian, always demonstrating love and sacrifice. Those visionary Serbian families sacrificed their time, talents and treasure. Yet the hard work and the search for funds never daunted them. In fact, they were once again blessed with the arrival of the Very Reverend, Milan Grunchich, his wife Milica and sons Boro and Bata. Since he was employed in a factory, Reverend Grunchich offered to lead this parish, and in humility, refused to accept a salary, and any other donations he received he deposited in the church treasury. Such unselfish devotion was instrumental in their ability to pay off the mortgage so quickly. Additionally, Father Milan encouraged the founders to organize a Sunday school program. The first classes enrolled about 25 children using temporary classrooms throughout the building. They worked with religious materials, supplied by the diocese. At that time, Bishop Dionisije and Father Tom Kasich were instrumental in their progress.
On October 7, 1963 at the Chicago home of Mrs. Dorothy Stepan, a group of God-fearing women formed the Circle of Serbian Sisters of Saint Stefan of Decani. His Grace Bishop Dionisije appointed their Kolo Slava to be Saint Emperor Constantine and Helen. Kolo members came from first and second generation, American born Serbians, as well as women who immigrated from the old country during World War I and World War II. The first KSS President was Mrs. +Danica Grkovich. These women gathered for the expressed purpose of forming a sisters’ organization to assist their newly-founded Church Congregation. During the 1970s the founding Kolo organized the Avala folklore group that still exists today as part of the Saint Stefan of Decani Church community.
In 1964 the Alexander Savine choir was founded. An accomplished violinist Peter Bolan, who was the first Church Board President, also became the choir director. He rehearsed continuously with the choir to achieve musical perfection. After his sad and untimely passing, his daughter Kim Bolan Simic became director, followed by Christ Nogulich, George Mitrovic, Bata Achimovich and Milan Tarailo. During the 1990’s, this choir no longer had any members. However, it was renewed in 2012 by efforts of Deacon Aleksandar Petrovic and Nena Manic-Drljaca, who became the new choir director.
According to its architectural style, it seems that the church facility originally belonged to a Western Church. Before it became a Serbian Orthodox Church, the church facility was owned by a Jewish community. Although the building faced East, which was necessary, there was much to do in order to make this God’s house. The rehab crew was composed of hardworking men from the first community. They took down the ceiling in the church, exposing the artful cathedral ceiling, built the iconostas and updated other rooms of the Church facility.
During the Church’s first decade, the altar was a simple design, with all the icons painted by artist Dobro Kovacevic, a great Serbian Byzantine oil painter. These first icons were replaced years later with the current life size icons that adorn the beautiful altar. The Serbian artist, Sava Rakocevic made new icons reflecting the love of God and all his saints. Additionally, all the Church interior was donated and paid for by the founders and subsequent members.
From 1970 to 1978, Reverend Janko Trbovic was the Saint Stefan of Decani parish priest. He was the priest at the time of inauspicious arguments and trails between two sides of the heart of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the U.S. and Canada. Although being a contemporary of many unhappy moments in the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church in America, Rev. Janko with his wife, son Dragan and many hard-working people succeeded to maintain Church growth.
After 1978, for a short time, Very Reverend Branko Kusonjic and archimandrite Nikolaj Dazgic served at Saint Stefan of Decani Church. In the 1980’s, at the time of building the New Gracanica Monastery, parish priest at Saint Stefan of Decani was Reverend Sindjel Sava Jurich, the latter Bishop of Slavonija, by his appeal retired on November 1, 2013 and now residing in the New Gracanica Monastery.
On September 4, 1984, by the blessing of latter metropolitan of New Gracanica Metropolitanate for the Diocese of America and Canada, His Grace late Bishop Irinej, very reverend Aleksandar Ivanovic was appointed as Saint Stefan of Decani parish priest, where he remained for the next 30 years, until October 1, 2014 when he retired. While being a parish priest Very Reverend Aleksandar supported many improvements inside the Church facility and succeeded to maintain peace, love and harmony in the Church community. At the same time he continued to be a Diocesan secretary. In the early 2000’s Saint Stefan of Decani Church welcomed Deacon Radovan Petrovic, who served for a few years until 2006. On January 9, 2008 Saint Stefan of Decani Church Board, conducted by President Milutin Jerinic and Very Reverend Aleksandar Ivanovic, bought a parish house.
On March 31, 2008 His Grace Bishop Longin ordained Deacon Aleksandar Petrovic and gave him his blessing to serve at Saint Stefan of Decani Church, where he served for 6 years. The Church slava, on November 27, 2011 was a very special event because that year the Saint Stefan of Decani community welcomed His Holiness, the Serbian Patriarch Irinej along with His Grace Bishop Longin and His Grace Bishop Petar of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On June 28, 2014 Deacan Aleksandar Petrovic was ordained as a priest at the New Gracanica Monastery to help protopresbyter Aleksandar Ivanovic due to his illness. The next day, June 29, His Grace Bishop Longin served Divine Liturgy at Saint Stefan of Decani Church and awarded Very Reverend Ivanovic with a pectoral cross and the title protopresbyter-stavrophore. On October 1, 2014 Reverend Petrovic was appointed as a parish priest at Saint Stefan of Decani. Not long after that, Very Reverend Aleksandar Ivanovic passed away December 19, 2014, on the feast day of Saint Nicholas, his patron saint. Rev Aleksandar Petrovic still spiritually leads the Saint Stefan of Decani Church, supported by his family, his spouse Zora and five children, as well as by The Church Board, conducted by Petar Gataric, the Church Board President, and hundreds of faithful parishioners.
For over 50 years of existing, Saint Stefan of Decani Serbian Orthodox Church grew from 18 families to over 350 families. During that period there were over 2,300 baptisms and 870 weddings. Saint Stefan of Decani Church was built on a strong basis of love of God, love of the Serbian Orthodox Church, love of family and love of fellow Serbian Orthodox people. By the prayers of the Most Holy Mother of God, Saint Stefan of Decani, Saint Nikolaj Velimirovic, Saint Mardarije of Libertyville and all the saints may God bless Saint Stefan of Decani Serbian Orthodox Church for many years.
The amount is automatically withdrawn every month