V. REV. STAVROPHOR BRANKO SKALJAC
V. Rev. Branko Skaljac, retired priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church, fell asleep in the Lord in the afternoon hours of Sunday, February 27, 2011.
Fr. Branko Skaljac was born in Banski Moravci, Yugoslavia and in 1929 came to Hamilton, Ontario as an infant. After graduation from Hamilton public schools in 1944, he was one of six young men from North America to be aided in their theological studies by the Serb National Federation. Their training began at an Episcopalian seminary in Wisconsin,and was completed at St. Sava Seminary and Monastery in Libertyville.
On graduation in 1949 he married Helene Tepavac of Midland, Pennsylvania and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood. His first parish was St. Basil of Ostrog Church in Chisholm, Minnesota. In the early 1950's he was asked to help the fledgling parish of St. George in Masontown, Pennsylvania organize and become established. Under his leadership and energy the community built a church, hall, parish home, picnic grounds, cemetery and athletic field.
In 1964 Fr. Branko was appointed pastor of St. Sava Cathedral in Cleveland, during a very difficult time in the life of the parish. His leadership under harsh circumstances bore fruit in a continuation of spiritual life and growth in areas such as youth work.
Fr. Branko served St. George Church in Farrell, Pennsylvania for two years before coming to Lorain where he served eleven years until his retirement. In 1989 he was awarded the right to wear the pectoral cross by the Holy Synod of Bishops, the highest honor bestowed to a married priest in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Fr. Branko's talents in music and sports naturally led him into working with the young people of the Church. In Masontown he directed the Fayette County Male Chorus and the St. George Church Choir, and helped organize the Tri-State Serbian Little League program. In Cleveland he founded the youth orchestra, dancers and singers, taught Serbian language classes for children, and also took on directorship of the Njegosh Choir. He was also active with the Kosovo Men's Choir and worked with the children's church camp program
A Pomen service will be served at the St. Sava Cathedral in Parma on Wendesday, March 2 at 7pm and the Funeral Liturgy on Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 9am. His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America will officiate.
May Prota Branko's memory be eternal.