In February of 1961 a special assembly was called to
decide the question of an assistant priest. Prota Radovan
Milkovich was elected and confirmed as the assistant
priest. After a short time he left the Milwaukee parish,
having been elected as pastor in Lorain, Ohio. At the
semi-annual assembly it was decided to raise a pavilion
between the church and Serb Hall and to buy a piece
of property in Franklin.
The Patriarchal delegation with Metropolitan Damaskin
at its head was cordially received in Milwaukee. On
November 18, 1961. The Metropolitan served the Divine
Liturgy and at that time ordained the graduate theological
student Dragoljub Malich to the rank of Deacon. Fr.
Malich was accepted as an assistant priest. He assumed
the duties of director of the school.
an official act of Bishop Dionisije
dated January 8th, 1963 archimandrite Firmilian, the
deputy to Bishop Dionisije was appointed the educational
head of the Diocese.
At its special meeting of July 27, 1963, the Holy Epsicopal
Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church elected V. Rev.
Archimandrite Firmilian Ocokoljich as Bishop of the
Midwest American Diocese. Preparation for his consecration
took place at vespers on July 31, 1963, in the St. Sava
Cathedral in Milwaukee. Vespers were served by Bishop
designate Firmilian with 4 priests and a deacon. The
local choir sang responses. The church was filled with
The next day, August 1, Divine Liturgy was served.
Celebrating Liturgy were their Graces Bishops of Branicevo
Chrysostom and Eastern America and Canada Stefan, with
25 priests and a deacon. During the Liturgy the consecration
of Bishop designate His Grace Rt. Rev. Firmilian took
November of 1964, because of reasons
of health, Prota Milan Brkich was relieved of duties
in this parish. A farewell banquet was held on November
29, and Rev. Sava Vujkov came as his replacement. This
was to be a temporary exchange of parishes. Fr. Vujkov
came to Milwaukee and Prota Brkich went to Arizona.
Fr. Vujkov served here for 4 years, after which he transferred
to our sister Russian Orthodox Parish of Sts. Cyril
and Methodious here in Milwaukee. Fr. Milan Markovina
was elected through a concourse, and assumed
duties on June 15, 1969.
In this same year the 750th Anniversary of the Serbian
Orthodox Church was celebrated in our parish with Dr.
Bozidar Furich and Vojvoda Momcilo Djujich as honored
In February of 1971 a contract was signed with Sirio
Tonelli Arts Studios for renovation of the Iconostas
in the Cathedral.
At the semi-annual meeting of July 10, 1971, architects
showed the plans for the new Cultural Center of St.
Sava. and the blessing of the cornerstone took place
on June 4, 1972. The main speaker at the cornerstone
blessing was Congressman Clement Zablocki.
The consecration of the Cultural Center took place
on September 1st and 2nd, 1973.
In 1975 the board at that time had its hands full.
The Serb Hall had to be renovated and the cathedral
grounds had to be landscaped. More assistance was needed
for the school. Preparations were being made for the
celebration of the American Bi-Cenntenial. A new assistant
priest was being sought. The congregation was obliged
to extend financial help to the diocese for its court
expenses. In August of this year Gary Monafo was ordained
to the rank of deacon. After his ordination he traveled
to Belgrade to continue his studies at the Theological
Faculty. At the regular meeting of September 9th, Rev.
George Kechanin was elected assistant priest.
In 1976 the American Supreme court recognized all of
the decisions of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox
Church in connection with the case involving leaders
of the schism and the defrocking of Bishop Dionisije.
It reversed all the decisions of the courts in the state
of Illinois and ordered that the decisions of the American
Supreme Court be carried out.
Because of the exceptional success of the celebration
of America's Bi-cenntenial, Bishop of the Midwest American
Diocese Dr. Firmilian was pleased to award an Episcopal
Gramata to the pastor and the president of the congregation.
In receiving the Gramata both the pastor and the president
stated that the Gramatas do not belong only to them
but also the the Stevan Sijacki Choir and the Serbian
Sisters Circle for they put forth much effort to assure
the success of this celebration as well as the success
of the Vidovdan banquet and celebration in honor of
Crown Prince Alexander.
In 1977 Fr. George Kechanin went to another parish
and Fr. Peter Jovanovich came in his place and stayed
just under a year, from March 1977 to February of 1978.
In 1980 the three new church bells in the cathedral
were blessed by His Grace Bishop Lavrentija of Western
Europe. The church congregation raised and blessed the
headstone at the grave of Proto Milan Brkich in Libertyville,
expressing its thanks for all the good that Proto Milan
had done for the parishioners in Milwaukee. The blessing
took place on November 29. This is only a token of the
love and respect Proto Brkich deserved.
Final payment was made to the bank on the Cultural
Center mortgage on October 8,1983. It was decided that
there should be a celebration with the burning of the
mortgage on November 13th and that at the same time
we should mark the 25th anniversary of the consecration
of St Sava Cathedral. It was decided that this celebration
should also mark the decoration of our deserving pastor
Prota Milan Markovina, whom the highest body of the
Serbian Orthodox Church the Holy Episcopal Synod, decorated
with the right to wear the pectoral cross. This triple
celebration was a very meaningful day in the history
of our church congregation.
At that time, the interior of our church was not yet
completely decorated. It should be mentioned that in
addition to individual donations for the interior decoration
of the church, the Circle of Serbian Sisters have paid
$209,850.00 for the installation of mosiacs, the Loyal
Order of St. Sava paid $31,888.00 and Stevan Sijacki
Choir paid $19,600.00, the local committee of Serbian
Chetniks recently paid $5,000.00 and the Serbian Benevolent
Society Jedinstvo #99, of the Serb National Federation
also gave $5,000.00.
On March 7, 1985 a committee was organized for collecting
donations for the National Cathedral of St. Sava in
Belgrade at Vracar and to date more than $300,000.00
have been sent for that cause. Our church school congregation
not only assumed first place in the entire Serbian Orthodox
Church by doing this, but it manifested its high spiritual
awareness and love for its patron teacher and enlighter
In Sept. 1987, Fr. Janko Trbovich was accepted as assistant
After paying the mortgage on the Cultural Center, preparations
were made for further expansion to Serb Hall and with
this new Serb Hall, the congregation entered into a
new phase of its growth and progress.
How our future will be, rests in the hands
of those who will lead us. It will depend on our unity,
our understanding of that which is most important, which
is best for the general interest of the St. Sava Cathedral
Congregation which has grown and became what it is only
because of the unselfish sacrifices of our old pioneers
and all of the many workers of later generations.Our
great Heirarch Bishop Nikolaj gave us a prayerful instruction
which we should always have in mind and with which we
will complete this historical resume of our congregation:
St. Sava Help Us All To Live In Unity!