[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, October 3, 2004


New York City - The Cathedral of St. Sava in New York held its 60th Anniversary banquet on Saturday evening, October 2, 2004, in the Downtown Marriott Financial Center Hotel in this vibrant city.  The event was spectacular on any number of levels. Joined by an array of clergy and members of the diplomatic corps, our beautiful guests, Serbian and otherwise, dressed in their finery, took center stage in a candlelight setting, savored a delicious meal while enjoying a first-rate program of fantastic entertainers. From a financial point of view the banquet, having raised over $135,000 that evening, was a rousing success.  Monies received specifically for this event by mail or other means and the proceeds from our journal have not yet been tallied.

It was a long-to-be-remembered, extraordinary celebration.  Seated at the Dais were His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher (Midwestern America), Their Graces, Bishop Dr. Mitrophan (Eastern America), Bishop Georgije of Canada, Bishop Dimitrios of  Xanthos (Greek Orthodox Diocese in NY), Rev. Prof. J. Robert Wright (Canon Theologian to the Bishop of New York),  and Rev. Fr. Djokan Majstorovic (Dean of the Cathedral of St. Sava).  Also gracing the Dais were The Honorable Ivan Vujacic (Ambassador of Serbia-Montenegro), The Honorable Igor Davidovic (Ambassador of Bosnia-Hercegovina), Ms. Dragana Ivanovic (Advisor to the Serbia-Montenegro Ambassador to the U.N.), Ms. Nicole Malliotakis (Assistant to NY Gov. George E. Pataki for Community Affairs), Ms. Mira Luna (President of the Cathedral of St. Sava), and Dr. Zorka Milich (Chairperson, Restoration & Development Committee). Participating in this auspicious event were Dr. Milos Prica, Assistant Ambassador to the United Nations from Bosnia-Hercegovina and Minister Counselor Bozin Nikolic, Head of the Consular Section of Serbia-Montenegro.

We were pleased to have a number of out-of-town guests at our celebration.  In addition to the many who joined us from New Jersey and Connecticut, we were delighted to welcome the Stevens and Chelar families from Gary, Indiana and the Savic family from Washington, DC. Also, we greatly appreciate the presence of visitors from Massachussetts: Fr. Alexandar Vlajkovic from Boston and the Milosavljevic family from Northampton.  

The program opened with the Invocation by Metropolitan Christopher, and greetings from Pres. Mira Luna, who expressed her sincere gratitude to all of our generous donors.  Furthermore, she announced that a contract has  been signed for $875,000 to complete the remaining and largest section of the Cathedral roof. Then the Cathedral Choir sang Liturgical Hymns. These formalities were followed by the superb voice of legendary singer, Predrag Gojkovic (CUNE), the spectacular folk dances performed by GRACHANITZA,  the Serbian Folk Dance Ensemble from Boston, the exhilarating Brass Band ZLATNE USTE, and the extraordinary artist, international classical musician, MARINA.

Each of our honored guests also greeted our banquet guests, praising the accomplishments of the St. Sava Church community and encouraging New York Serbs to continue to advance their parish. Guest Speaker Metropolitan Christopher provided a synopsis of the Cathedral’s early period, stressing its close relationship to the Episcopal Church and the purchase of Trinity Chapel from Trinity Church on Wall Street.  He continued by describing its transformation to a Serbian Orthodox church called St. Sava, and the work of the earlier priests and settlers. He inspired our community with stirring words of harmony and the importance of stewardship. Our own Bishop Dr. Mitrophan welcomed the audience and, as he does consistently, praised the community for what it has thus far accomplished and encouraged it to continue to support their beautiful church. He then totally surprised Fr. Djokan by presenting him with a Gramata, elevating him to Archpriest for his zeal and involvement in the spiritual and religious life of his parish, which he humbly accepted on behalf of himself and his parishioners.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of awards(Gamatas) by Fr. Djokan to the largest donors to the restoration of the Cathedral. The categories consisted of PATRON, presented to Lillian Booth Greek friend) and parishioner Dr. Radmila Milentijevic.  PARTNER recognition was granted to: United Bonevolent Society, Michael Masanovich, Boris and Miriann Stepic, Mira and Ralph Luna and Dr. Lila Kalinich. SPONSOR awards were received by: Kolo Sestara "Pokorv Presv. Bogorodice", Zoran and Annette Milkovich, Marica and Radoje Lazic, Ratko and Mirjana Picuric, Van and Tatiana Nikov, Milinkovic Family, Dr. Zorka Milich, Dusan and Beth Nesic, Zoran and Dorothy Milovic and Dragan and Slavica Milosavljev

Prefacing the granting of awards, Fr. Djokan addressed the banquet guests, sharing with them a short history of the Cathedral and the many accomplishments to date, simultaneously inviting all New York Serbs to unite as a force to work toward the further development and advancement of the New York Serbian community.

Subsequently, the exuberant crowd enjoyed kolo dancing to midnight. A Silent Auction was held throughout the evening. The Mistress of Ceremonies was Dr. Zorka Milich, who also delivered a fundraising speech. This 60th Anniversary Program was closed with a Benediction by Bishop Dr. Mitrophan.

Weary, though exhilarated from the previous night’s festivities, the visiting Hierarchs and the clergy celebrated Sunday Divine liturgy to a congregation of over three hundred (300) worshipers, followed by a rich meal of Serbian delicacies. To those of you who were unable to join us, we missed you, but do plan a trip to visit with your Serbian brethren at our landmark Cathedral, and enjoy this exciting city and our restoration “work in progress.” Serbdom is, indeed, alive and well in New York City, the Empire State. You are most welcome.