Mission Statement: Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral is a dynamic church community committed to comprehensive ministry goals encompassing all facets of Orthodox ecclesial life. Our mission is to:
In pursuit of these objectives, we aim to cultivate an energetic intellectual community. Our constituents are envisioned to become the driving force behind the Christian Orthodox presence on this continent.
The Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral adheres to the regular schedule of services prescribed by the Julian calendar and the rubrics of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church. As a bilingual community, our Cathedral conducts two Divine Liturgies (Eucharistic services) on Sundays – one in English at 8:30 AM and another in Serbian at 10:30 AM. On significant Feast days, a single Divine Liturgy is observed, incorporating both languages. Vespers (evening) services take place on Saturdays and on the eve of major Church feasts at 5:00 PM. For detailed information on Church services, kindly reach out to our Church office or contact a priest using the provided contact details
1st V – President
2nd V – President
Discover the rich heritage and vibrant community at The Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago. Established in 1892 by Serbian immigrants, our cathedral stands as a testament to faith, tradition, and unity.
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A (Very) Brief History of Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral
The first known Serbian immigrants came to Chicago in the middle of the 19th century, for the most part having come from Boka Koturska, Hercegovina and Montenegro. For fraternal and nationalistic purposes, they organized several organizations, which laid the foundation for the establishment of a Serbian church in Chicago.
In April of 1892, Archimandrite Firmilijan, later Metropolitan of Skoplje, traveled from Belgrade to Chicago with the intention to organize church life among the settlers. He remained in Chicago for approximately six months, and while here, served liturgies in a private home with a room converted to a chapel. Archimandrite Firmilijan was the first Serbian priest to serve in the Chicago parish.
Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich visited Chicago three times between 1893 and 1905. In June 1905 he was appointed head of the Serbian Church Mission in America and also parish priest in Chicago. A private residence was purchased in Chicago on 8 Fowler Street (later renamed Schiller Street), where he improvised a chapel from the reception room of the house. The first liturgy was served on July 4, 1905, at which time Archimandrite Dabovich named the newly-consecrated church as Holy Resurrection. On November 14 of the following year, 1906, the first and oldest singing society, named Branko Radichevich, was established, and is in existence and active in parish life to this day.
Upon the departure of Archmandrite Sebastian to Serbia, Archimandrite Nikifor Simonovich became parish priest in 1908 for a very brief time; in the same year, the Very Reverend Sava Vojvodich assumed the clerical duties of the church and remained in Chicago until 1918. During this period, Holy Resurrection Church was the center of nationalistic and church life of the Serbs in America. The Circle of Serbian Sisters of Holy Resurrection Church, the second kolo in America to be organized, was chartered in 1915 to aid our Serbian and American soldiers during World War I
In 1917, Reverend Mardarije Uskokovich sailed from Serbia to America, and in 1918 became parish priest of Holy Resurrection after the departure of Fr. Sava. In addition to his parish duties, he was tasked with organizing a unified diocese of all Serbian churches in America, under the jurisdiction of the Mother Church. This was accomplished in 1923, with the headquarters located in Chicago. In 1926, Reverend Mardarije left Chicago and was elevated to the rank of Bishop, and returned to America as the first Serbian bishop of the Serbian American-Canadian diocese.
With Fr. Mardarije’s departure as parish priest, Rev. Joakanije Kukuljevich assumed his duties, followed by the Rev. David Popovich and Very Rev. Zivojin Ristanovich. In 1927, Father Ristanovich reorganized the Circle of Serbian Sisters, disbanded after the first World War, which continues to actively serve the church. Reverend Andrej Popovich succeeded Fr. Zivojin and remained as parish priest in Chicago until 1931.
The building that housed the church was becoming old and deteriorating, and it was decided to close down the old church with the intention of building a new edifice on the same property. Bishop Mardarije served the last liturgy in that church on Christmas Day, January 7, 1932.
At the annual parish assembly in 1932, Protojerej Petar O. Stijacich is elected by the membership to serve as permanent parish priest. The blessing of the foundation of the new church took place on September 5, 1932, and the completed new home of worship for Chicago’s Serbs was consecrated in June of 1933. It must be mentioned that the new Holy Resurrection Church and the United States Postal Service were the only two buildings that were erected in Chicago during the Great Depression, such was the determination of the Chicago Serbian community. The first hierarchical liturgy was served by Bishop Mardarije on Easter, and in the same year Serbian school was instituted. Religious education for children (Sunday School) was organized in 1934.
On December 12, 1935, Bishop Mardarije passed away, with former parish priest Very Rev. Zivojin Ristanovich at his side. His earthy remains were laid in our church for three days and three nights prior to his funeral and burial at his beloved St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois.
The outbreak of World War II had a profound effect on Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church. Over 265 parishioners left to join the Armed Forces, both for America and for Serbia.
The renowned diplomat and poet Jovan Duchich came to live in Chicago and, together with the Serb National Federation, revived the Serbian National Defense at the church hall. With Proto Stijacich’s urging, almost every parishioner of Holy Resurrection Church joined. The Circle of Serbian Sisters collected funds and distributed over 300,000 parcels to Serbian soldiers in German captivity. Kolo sisters also sold over $1,750,000 in US Treasury War Bonds through the Serbian Committee.
On December 24, 1945, Fr. Stijacich died. Archimandrite Firmilian Ocokoljich was appointed as parish priest and remained until his transfer to Pittsburgh in 1948.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, and the assumption of Josip Broz Tito into power in Yugoslavia, huge numbers of displaced Serbs immigrated to Chicago, beginning as early as 1947. A building adjacent to the church was purchased in 1948, expanding the hall and installing a kitchen and bar, and to accommodate the new arrivals of the refugees. Kolo sisters together with the Displaced Persons Board prepared meals and generally made them welcome until the Serbian National Defense was able to help in their placement to permanent lodgings.
In 1949 Fr. Milan Gruncich arrived from London to become parish priest, who served for approximately one year, to be replaced by Rev. Nikola Stojsavljevich, and then Rev. Zivan Gavrilovich (temporary priest), in 1951. In April of 1951, Fr. Dusan M. Popovich arrived in America and was unanimously elected as permanent parish priest. Remembered by older parishioners of his father’s visit to America in the early 1900s, the church executive board felt that Fr. Popovich, staunch Chetnik freedom fighter, would be a perfect fit for the parish. Fr. Dusan established rapport with the older generation (starosedeoci) and the emigres. He was active in the Serbian National Defense. He and his Protinica, Rada, hosted numerous prominent Serbs, including Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich, who would often stay with them for a month or more. Fr. Dusan remained as parish priest until his untimely death in 1972.
In 1955, with the continuing expansion of the parish, 6.5 acres of property were purchased on Redwood Drive, adjacent to the Kennedy Expressway. In 1962, the church folklore group “SOKO” is organized. On February 9, 1964, the church was elevated to the title of Cathedral. Construction of the present church hall began in October 1967 and was consecrated in October 1968. Fundraising immediately began for the construction of the new Cathedral.
In 1969 Fr. Uros Ocokoljich was elected as assistant pastor. At the annual meeting in 1972, with much debate, the church-school congregation elected to sell the property on Schiller Street. Fr. Uros served the last liturgy on May 28, 1972, with Fr. Dusan in attendance. Fr. Dusan passed away three weeks later on June 20. Liturgical services were then held in the church hall in an improvised chapel. Construction of the new Cathedral commenced in the spring of 1973, and in the same year, Fr. Uros was elected as permanent priest, and remained as pastor until his resignation in 1992. The newly-built Cathedral was consecrated on June 14, 1975.
A parish home was constructed on the property in 1981. In 1987, seminary graduate Mirko Dobrijevich (now Bishop Irinej of the Eastern American Diocese), came to Holy Resurrection Cathedral as Director of Christian Education, working under the guidance of Fr. Uros. In 1988, a marble tomb for the shroud of Christ was purchased, and a piece of rock, cleft from the grotto of the Resurrection in Jerusalem, was placed in its reliquary. In the same year, the installation of altar frescoes within the church were begun.
In 1990, the Cathedral hosted its first SerbFest fundraiser. In 1991, a Bishop’s throne was installed in the Cathedral church. With the breakup of Yugoslavia and the ensuing conflict, our parishioners raised over $1,000,000 in humanitarian aid through relief drives and fundraisers for our brothers and sisters in our ancestral homeland. Very Rev. Dragoljub Dennis Pavichevich served his first liturgy at our Cathedral in December, 1992, and was elected permanent parish priest the following year. Fr. Dennis served the parish until his retirement in 2007. In 1995, at the celebration of the Cathedral’s 90th anniversary, Fr. Dennis blessed the new bell tower; the bell was cast in 1908 and served the original church on Fowler Street.
In 2001, to cater to the needs of the ever-growing Serbian community in Chicago, Fr. Djuro Krosnjar was appointed as second priest. Fr. Dennis and Fr. Djuro envisioned a need for a parochial school and together with Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church formed the Socrates-St. Sava Academy. In 2006, the St. Sava Academy opened as an independent parochial school. In 2004, the Cathedral welcomed Fr. Darko Spasojevic, ordained at our church in 2003, and Deacon Damjan Bozic to Holy Resurrection. Fr. Djuro Krosnjar left Holy Resurrection in 2009 to administer the St. Basil Serbian Orthodox Church in Lake Forest. Deacon Damjan served at our parish until 2012, where he took a position as Deacon at Saborna Crkva in Belgrade. Fr. Radovan Jakovljevic, a graduate of St. Sava Seminary, was appointed to serve the Southern parish of our Cathedral in 2008. He remained at the Cathedral until he was appointed parish priest at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Schererville, Indiana in 2017. Among his many accomplishments, Fr. Radovan instituted an annual winter retreat for the parish children and instituted the ever-popular Cathedral bookstore.
In 2007, Holy Resurrection entered the digital age with the activation of its first website. Fr. Darko, endlessly fundraising, in 2009 spearheaded the fresco project that now adorns the walls and ceilings of our Cathedral. Fr. Vasilije Vranic was appointed priest of the Northern parish upon the departure of Fr. Djuro Krosnjar in 2009. He faithfully served the parishioners at Holy Resurrection until 2017, upon his transfer to St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church in Washington, DC.
2017 saw the appointment of two new priests to Holy Resurrection Cathedral. Fr. Dobrivoje Milunovic came to us from St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Schererville, Indiana to serve the Western parish, and Fr. Nikolaj Kostur from St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Joliet, Illinois.
Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois, has truly been blessed. Two parish priests (Sebastian Dabovich and Mardarije Uskokovich) have been canonized as saints. A frequent liturgical celebrant/visitor to our parish, Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich, has also been canonized as a saint. Fr. Mardarije Uskokovich and Fr. Firmilian Ocokoljich were elevated to the Bishop’s throne. The Cathedral was graced with the presence of every Serbian Orthodox Patriarch (minimally, for the last 70 years) to serve in its altar. King Peter II, other members of the Royal Family, numerous Orthodox clergy, statesmen and dignitaries have visited our beautiful Cathedral in its 113 years of existence. From its humble beginnings as the first established Serbian Orthodox Church in Midwestern America, to the beautiful edifice that now graces Chicago, the crossroads of America, we can only hope and pray that the next hundred years continues in its mission to fulfill the spiritual needs of its current and future parishioners.
As St. Nicholai (Velimirovich) of Zica wrote, “I love the Holy Resurrection because I feel that it has God’s great blessing, which the new church inherited from the old, small chapel—the one that was consecrated by a saintly and martyred American Arch-pastor who later became Patriarch Tikhon of all Russia, and by a saintly Serbian Archimandrite, Sebastian Dabovich, who initiated its birth and toiled a great deal to get it going. Also celebrating the Divine Liturgy in that small chapel was Bishop Mardarije (Uskokovich), the first regular Arch-pastor of the American-Canadian diocese. His effort of the building of the new, larger church was also great, and his blessing also rests upon it.”