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Indiana-born man canonized by Orthodox Church
Posted By Eric Sammons On November 11, 2010 @ 8:03 am In Eastern Christianity,Saints | Comments Disabled
A man born in Gary, Indiana has been raised to the altars of the Serbian Orthodox Church :
From his childhood in Gary to his death in Yugoslavia, St. Varnava always protected his faith and was dedicated to a Christian life.
St. Varnava is the first American-born Serbian to be proclaimed an Orthodox saint, said the Rev. Thomas Kazich, who also is a Gary native…
Varnava went to Froebel Elementary School while he and his family lived in Gary for about nine years. They moved Yugoslavia in 1923, Kazich said.
When he finished the equivalent of high school, Varnava’s father took him to see Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich to receive the bishop’s blessing to study theology.
“As (Varnava) wrote, ‘Theology is the science of sciences,’ ” Kazich said.
The bishop gave him his blessing, and he started his studies.
Kazich said Varnava’s family was influential in his upbringing in the church. He said everyone in the church has a spiritual guide, and “his spiritual father was his own father.”
Varnava was ordained a priest in the early 1940s, and the Serbian Church elected him to become a bishop in 1947, Kazich said.
Varnava began to preach against the Communist way of life after becoming a bishop, and Yugoslavia’s Communist government arrested him on treason charges.
During his trial, Varnava wasn’t allowed to deliver a final defense plea because “it was feared that he would expose and reveal the government’s criminal, terroristic and tyrannical policies,” according to a report written by Kazich.
In 1948, Varnava was sentenced to 11 years at one of the worst prisons at the time in Yugoslavia, Kazich said.
He spent about three years there, and the government intended to kill him when he was being transferred to another prison, Kazich said. He was placed on a train car with other prisoners, and the government ran another train into the car, he said.
Varnava survived the crash, but his legs were broken.
“And he suffered from that for the rest of his life,” Kazich said.
Due to health problems, Varnava was released from prison in 1951, but he always was under guard by the Communist government until he died in 1964.
Kazich said Varnava died under suspicious circumstances, and many believe he was poisoned. He said an autopsy couldn’t be conducted at the time.
Kazich said Varnava’s family knew he didn’t have a history of illness. He also wrote letters to them about his good health prior to his death.
No matter the circumstances, Varnava always remained “a follower of Christ,” Matic said.
“He became one of the strongest protectors of his faith,” he said.
Continue reading …
We should never forget that saints can come from anywhere – even your own neighborhood, even your own house!
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 raised to the altars of the Serbian Orthodox Church: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/gary/article_59a68bb0-72af-5dc8-ba04-17adac7f2376.html
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