The municipality and the parish church “Saint Sava” Woodville Park

Храм Светог Саве у Вудвил Парку

Храм Светог Саве Српског у Вудвил Парку, Аделаид, Јужна Аустралија

Those who survived the Second World War, and not wanting to out of slavery (many were in Germany, Austria or Italy) go back in worse communist slavery in their homeland, many Serbs continued living and searching for a new home, settling in Australia. The great migratory wave swept over the coast of Australia in late forties and early fifties of the twentieth century.

The settlers were people from different social classes, originated from different parts of the Serbian lands, and had frequently different political views and beliefs. Nevertheless, gathered around what was everybody’s shared commitment, and no one has been put into question, and that is the holy Orthodox faith, handed over to them, and to us today by our fathers and forefathers.

Upon arrival and creation of the first settlement in Adelaide, Serbs were forced as a solution to the worship and assembly to use the hospitality of other well-meaning Christians, and use these temples to serve food for the Divine Liturgy and other religious services needed, whever they could. However, St. Sava Serbian spirit that every Serbian is living and breathing, was accustomed to what centuries of Serbian Orthodox Church formed as Svetosavlje, ie. Serbian Orthodox style and experience. Wherefore, a desire matured quickly to start building a place of worship, which will have the svetosavski character in architecture, art and other things. In those days, such a task was not easy, as it is not now, but it should be remembered that at that time it was much harder, because our people were newly arrived, still practically homeless and with basic existence. However, Svetosimeonovska, Svetosavska and Svetolazar faith gave them the strength and dedication, which are over and above all the troubles and difficulties in coping the new start in the foreign world. And even when they did not have a penny to buy their child some candy or leisure, they found themselves in favor and help of building shrines.

One of these shrines, of a beautiful look and design is the Temple of Saint Sava of the first Serbian archbishop in Woodville Park.

However, things did not go right away so easily and simply. The first temple was purchased on Hindmarsh, but the joy did not last long. As it has, unfortunately, often happened before, because of differing opinions and various disagreements, as well as heavy and painful fluctuations within the Serbian National Corps-related issues and the Serbian Orthodox Church, there was a division into two groups. These events, which did not spare the rest of the Serbian community has already been written a lot about, and no place is perfect, nor space permits us to deal with it in these pages.

Group of believers, who was loyal to Mother Church, ie. Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade, 1961. has bought land in Woodville Park  and immediately started the construction of the chapel. Soon, the parish was served by the experienced and hardworking priest Fr. Slavko Subic. From his arrival in 1961, until his old age he was diligently doing his pastoral duty. Through this cooperation with teachers Rako Stojanovic and his wife Desanka in 1963 was founded the Serbian Ethnic Sunday school. Although it was very difficult to create and sustain a work of educational institutions without the necessary books and other supplies, they were aware of the need to preserve national identity and through self-sacrificing work have achieved significant results, and the life of the parish began to flourish.

As the spiritual life was more advanced, financial situation of Serbian families  was improving slowly, many have begun to bring their relatives from their homeland and to provide assistance and a chance to settle in Australia. This, as it turned out, was of great importance to the development and progress of the parish, because the newcomer Serbs improved unity in this community, making it the more numerous and stronger.

Since the existing chapel became too small and did not provide the conditions for the worship, as the congregation with all thir heart wanted, in 1970 a decision was taken to begin building a new, much larger temple, which will be inspired by the architecture of the church looks at Oplenac – Endowment of King Petar I Karadjordjevic, and to build a temple and dedicate to the glory of the Holy Basin – the first Serbian archbishop.

In the meantime, we purchased some more land and houses which bordered the estate, which largely proved to be important for the further progress of the Church school community to this day.

With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Stephen in 1973, the foundations were laid, according to many, the most beautiful Serbian church in the southern hemisphere.

Many Serbs, sparing no time or effort or money, participated in the construction of the temple. It would be impossible to mention by name each of them, and that someone is not left out, so it is better to refrain from listing the individuals and their merits, because our Lord Jesus Christ knows everyone’s hard work and effort, and therefore no one’s efforts will never be wasted or forgotten. With such hard and dedicated work in 1976 we began to perform sacred worship in the new temple, although still incomplete.

As soon as the temple was partially put into operation, started the construction of another very important building – the Serbian Club. Less than a year after the laying of the foundation, the building was handed over to the 1979th year on the feast of Saint Sava, and whose name carries. Today, as in the time when it was made, in the club are: Office of the local parish priest, the parish of the archive, the Serbian Ethnic School, social center for senior citizens of the parish seat and space for folkloric dance group “Oplenac” and other significant facilities of this parish, as well as for all Serbs in Adelaide.

Upon completion of the club, we continued with the completion of the work on the temple, as well as the organization and its embellishment. At the same time efforts were made to improve the environment, and the Serbian Ethnic School.

Preparations for full completion and consecration of the temple started coming on with Fr. Chedo Videkanić in 1978, with a final blessing in 1983 year. The consecration was performed by His Grace Bishop Basil, concelebrated by Bishop: Stevan, Lorentije, Nicholaj (and a Greek bishop, whose name unfortunately I don’t know). With the Synod of bishops concelebrated the deputy Protopresbyter on. Miloje Nikolic and a large number of the clergy of the diocese and many sister churches on this continent.

Godfathers of the temple were Ljubo and Echo Bešir. As the godfather of the bells and the tower, which was built later, was elected Rade Vasiljevic.

It is noteworthy to mention that the Municipality of the Church is supported by the Circle of Serbian Sisters, who are selflessly trying on various endeavors to promote and support the Serbian community, both here and everywhere where Serbs need.

After these large investments, next step was to raise a monument to the great Serbian patriot, a fighter for the embodiment of the Honorable Cross and Golden Freedom, General Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic. The monument was unveiled and consecrated on the 15th July 1984th year. Thus the Serbs Adelajda, especially members of the church-Woodville Park Municipal, praised the greatest fighter against fascism in Nazi-occupied Europe and the innocent victim of the Broz Bolshevik criminals.

– To be continued –

This post is also available in: Serbian