22 August 2016
Apostle Matthias, Afterfeast of the Transfiguration
On Monday evening 8 August 2016, I received at the Diocesan See, Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God Monastery “New Gracanica,” a group of present and former members from the organization now known as the Serbian American Museum “St. Sava,” which for most of its history was known as the Serbian Cultural Club “St. Sava,” founded by the well-known Serbian intellectual +Dr. Slobodan Draskovic, whose movement had as its foundation the teachings of the Father of our Serbian Church and Nation, St. Sava. This group of present and former members presented an eloquent letter/appeal requesting that our Serbian Orthodox Diocese become involved in the situation which is presently unfolding in the organization, regarding the potential sale of the building located at 448 W. Barry in Chicago and the future of the organization.
Being moved by the letter/appeal and by the heartfelt words of the group, I proceeded to meet on Wednesday 10 August with the President of the organization, Dr. Zivojin Pavlovic, at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago, in the presence of V. Rev. Darko Spasojevic (Cathedral Dean), Desko Nikitovic (the former Consul General of the Republic of Serbia, Chicago-Belgrade Sister Cities Committee Co- Chair and organization member) and Ljubisa Milicic (Chicago-Belgrade Sister Cities Committee Co- Chair). At this meeting, a path forward was agreed to by Dr. Pavlovic, whereby many of the concerns presented to me by the group would be overcome, namely that the sale of the property would be placed with a highly-regarded commercial real estate brokerage which has no pre-existing fiduciary relationship to the organization and that our Serbian Orthodox Diocese, along with prominent leaders of the Serbian American community, would become direct legal decision-makers in how best to use the proceeds of the sale, since the Barry building is a historic legacy of the entire Serbian Orthodox community, not just the present localized membership of this once-prominent, world-wide Serb diaspora organization.
Unfortunately, I have learned from the group that Dr. Pavlovic thus far has not honored the 10 August agreement and that, therefore, the group has been left with no choice but to retain a lawyer. Today, I received a copy of the letter from their lawyer to Dr. Pavlovic and the present board of the organization. I am truly saddened by the fact that our Serbian Orthodox community, once again, is on the brink of a legal dispute. I call upon all involved to avoid litigation and specifically call upon Dr. Pavlovic to honor the agreement that was reached on 10 August.
Your intercessor before our Transfigured Lord,
Bishop of New Gracanica and Midwestern America Diocese