Bishop Sava of Sumadija

His Grace Sava (Vukovic), Bishop of Sumadija, Departed This Life

June 17, 2001 — Today, after a short and serious illness, His Grace Sava Th.D., Bishop of Sumadija, (secular name Svetozar Vukovic), passed away.

He was born in Senta on April 13, 1930. He completed primary school and junior secondary school in Senta, St. Sava’s Seminary in the Monastery of Rakovica in 1950, and the Theological Faculty in Belgrade in 1954. In 1957/58 he attended postgraduate studies at the Old-Catholic Theological Faculty of the University in Bern, working at the same time on his doctoral thesis Tipikon of Archbishop Nikodim. His thesis advisor was Professor Dr Lazar Mirkovic. Having returned from Switzerland, he was appointed teacher in the St. Sava’s Seminary in Belgrade. He won doctor’s degree at the Theological Faculty in Belgrade on May 15, 1961.

Serbian Patriarch German ordained him to the monastic order in the Monastery of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple on November 3, 1959, and on December 4 he ordained him hierodeacon. Hierodeacon Sava was afterwards appointed the auxiliary bishop of Moravice on May 20, 1961. Patriarch German ordained him protosyncellos on June 3 of the same year. Metropolitan of Zagreb Damaskin ordained him archimandrite on June 24. Serbian Patriarch German, Backa Bishop Nikanor and Banat Bishop Visarion ordained him Bishop of Moravice in the Belgrade Cathedral on July 23, 1961. While he was auxiliary bishop he taught at the Faculty of Theology in Belgrade in the period 1961-1967, the subject being Liturgics with the History of Art.

He was appointed Bishop of East America and Canada on June 1, 1967 and remained in this position till September 13, 1977. On May 21, 1977 he was appointed Bishop of Sumadija and has been still performing this function.

Bishop Sava represented the Serbian Orthodox Church in the commission for the preparation of the Great and Holy Assembly of the Orthodox Church in Geneva (1979-1991) in the dialogue with the Roman-Catholic Church (1980-1991).

Based on the decisions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops or of the Holy Synod of Bishops he administered the following dioceses: of Eastern America and Canada (1977-1978), of Zica (1978), of Banat (1980-1985), of Timisoara (1980-1996), of Central and Western America (1986-1988), of Western America (1986-1988) and of Backa (1988-1990). Bishop Dr Sava started his scientific work while being the candidate for the faculty degree. The topic which interested him was the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and with the aim to conduct his research he used the files of the State Archive in Belgrade, and later on the Patriarchate documents in Sremski Karlovci and Belgrade, the files of the Serbian Orthodox Church in USA (Libertyville) and the files of the Russian Metropolitanate in New York. He published his papers in our and foreign magazines.

His book The History of the Orthodox Church in America and Canada from 1891-1941 was written on the basis of domestic and foreign archives. The other book Serbian Hierarchs from VIII to XX Centuries was written based on all available sources of information. He also published the book Patriarch Georgije Brankovic’s Letters adding his own comments.

While he performed the duty of Bishop of Moravice, he was the initiator of the publishing of a magazine (published both in Serbian and English) Serbian Orthodox Church – Its Past and Present (Srpska pravoslavna crkva – njena proslost i sadasnjost) and of the official newspaper Orthodoxy (Pravoslavlje), whose editor-in-chief and the executive editor he was from the first to the seventh issue, namely till he took his new duty in USA. From June 1966 to July 1967 Bishop Sava was also the editor-in-chief of Herald (Glasnik), the official paper of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Upon his arrival in America on January 1, 1968, he started a magazine of the Diocese of East America and Canada Path of Orthodoxy (Staza pravoslavlja) which later on became the official institution of the whole Serbian Orthodox Church in USA and Canada. It is published today as newspaper.

One the occasion of marking 750th anniversary of the independence of the Serbian Orthodox Church (1219-1969) he prepared a memorial edition Seven and a Half Centuries of the Serbian Church (Sedam i po stoleca Srpske crkve) in Serbian and English (Cleveland, Ohio). Two years later he prepared the Calendar of the Serbian Orthodox Church in America and Canada for 1971.

Upon his arrival into the Diocese of Sumadija, he started a diocese newspaper Kalenic (1978) which is published six times a year. He also established a publishing house of the diocese having the same name, which has published over 100 books for the past 19 years and among them 12 menaions, for the first time published in our region.

Being an administrator of the Dioceses of Banat and Backa, he renewed the diocese newspapers: Banatski vesnik (1981 in Vrsac, after a pause of 50 years) and Beseda (1989 in Novi Sad, after a pause of 90 years).

He was the editor-in-chief of the Calendar “Church” for years and he also prepared a memorial edition dedicated to Patriarch Arsenije III Carnojevic and to the great movement of the Serbian people in 1690. He was also appointed editor of another memorial edition published in memory of the anniversary of incineration of St. Sava’s relics. Besides, he is the president of the organisational board of the scientific meeting “Life and Deeds of Metropolitan Mihailo” organised under the auspices of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 1999 he was elected the corresponding member of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences. That same year the book Tombs of the Serbian Hierarchs was published. The Holy Synod of Bishops elected him president of the Editorial Board in charge of the Encyclopedia of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the references of which are written by the most eminent theologians, scientists etc.

The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, decided at its regular this year’s session to bestow the St. Sava’s Medal of the First Order on His Grace Sava, Bishop of Sumadija, as a token of recognition of his forty-year long self-sacrificing and successful serving as hierarch to our Orthodox Church which follows the principles of Saint Sava.

Considering the results of his work, Bishop Sava Vukovic of the blessed memory is one of the most fruitful hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the last two decades. He always underlined that he performed his tasks in Lord’s glory.

The date of the burial will be subsequently stated.

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