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NEWS AND EVENTS - Thursday, July 30, 2009


Libertyville, IL - The newly departed servant of God the Very Reverend Stavrophor Dr. +Nedeljko Grgurevich who reposed in the Lord on Thursday, July 23, 2009 was buried on Tuesday, July 28 at the cemetery at St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville.

Viewing and a Pomen was served at St. Mark's Orthodox Church in Bethesda, Maryland on Sunday, July 26. On Monday His Grace Bishop Mitrophan officiated at the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, assisted by a number of diocesan clergy. On Tuesday Bishop Mitrophan officiated at the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois. The liturgy at the monastery was followed by the funeral service which was served by His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher, Bishop Longin, Bishop Mitrophan and Bishop Maxim together with twenty four priests and three deacons from both the Eastern American Diocese, Chicago-Libertyville Metropolitanate and the New Gracanica and Midwest Diocese.

His Grace Bishop Mitrophan delivered the following eulogy:

"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain"
(Philipians 1:21).

Your Eminence,

Your Graces,

Bereaved Family,

Dear brothers and sisters,

In one hymn at the Ascension, the Holy Apostles beseech Christ: "Do not leave us heartbroken, O Lord!" We can direct these words to every loved and dear person who leaves us at the hour of death. For we are truly heartbroken at that moment, because the one whom we loved, and who loved us, leaves us. We are aware, just as the reposed one is, what we mean to one another, and that we are invaluable, irreplaceable and unique persons in this world. On the other hand, all that connects us to the person reposed in the Lord, whether memories or objects, leaves in us an indelible vestige (trace). But words and deeds make the strongest impression in our entire being, for by them he continues to abide in us. As our great poet Njegos said: Blessed is he who lives forever, for he had a reason to be born.

But our faith goes farther and deeper. We have this beloved person in our daily prayers, filled with love and fortified with the hope that we will meet with him one day in eternity. Or, how the Holy Apostle Paul would say: "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thes 4:17). And those who are reposed in the Lord desire to be with us who are still here on earth and to be in constant contact with us, according to the words of the great Chief of the Apostles: "Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things (the Gospel of Christ) after my decease (2 Pet 1:15).

Dear brothers and sisters,

Our faith is the faith in the Resurrection. Our faith is the faith in eternal life. Our faith is founded on the God-man who lived just like us, suffered and tasted death for our sake, resurrected and ascended to heaven in glorified human nature. Our faith is the faith in God who is stronger than death, who is stronger than decay, who is stronger than all natural laws, who is stronger than evil, who is stronger than the devil. This Resurrected God-man is the guarantor of our eternal life. He has traveled the journey with us. He has given reason to our life, according to the words of the thirteenth Apostle: "Through one Man's righteous act (sacrifice) the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life" (Rom 5:). Without Christ life has no reason. Without the resurrection and eternal life we can say along with the nonbelievers that today we eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die (1 Cor. 15:32).The soul and mind of man can only accept a God who can grant eternal life.

Our dear departed [brother] knew this, first teaching his own domestic church (family), and then many generations of students in the seminary, in Prizren, Belgrade and Johnstown, as well as generations of students at our School of St. Sava in Libertyville, as well as the flock entrusted to him in Steubenville, Elizabeth and Johnstown.

Having all this in view, dear and bereaved family, friends and acquaintances of our beloved Prota, let us not mourn as those who have no hope (1 Thes 4:12), rather let us mourn and sorrow according to God, not according to man. "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death" (2 Cor 7:10). For the Lord Christ is He who shall wipe away the tear from our eyes, changing it into joy, for death shall be no more (Rev. 21:4, Is 25:8).

Dear Dubravka,

Dear Svetozar and Stefan,

Dear family,

Be honored that you had him. We are honored to have had him. May he continually be in our prayerful thoughts.

My dear Nedeljko,

We have known each other for several decades. By God's providence we came to this far away land, you much earlier, and I later. We worked together almost 22 years here at our school, and of these we spent 18 years hand in hand in the Diocese of Eastern America. As Episcopal Deputy you were a great help to me in every way. With your wise council you helped me to avoid acting rashly or to waver in my decisions. Whenever there were problems in the parishes or in the diocese, you said: Your Grace, let's wait! The morning is wiser than the evening! I had a great stalwart in you. I never doubted your sincerity nor faithfulness. And I believe that you never doubted mine.

You loved your Serbian Church with all your heart and all your soul. You did not do what was best for yourself. You went where ever the Church sent you, and not where it was more comfortable or advantageous. In each church assignment and position you were exceptionally diligent. This is why everyone loved and esteemed you in the seminaries, colleges and parishes. And I confirmed just how much they loved you innumerable times traveling about the Diocese. I know that you also loved them and that you held close relationships with them.

You also loved his tormented Serbian people of St. Sava. You suffered along with them. We spent innumerable hours on the telephone considering how we can help our suffering brothers and sisters. And as a sign of just how great your tireless love, strength and sacrifice was, it is enough to look at the reports of the Committee for aid to see that your former parish in Johnstown, even though not large by number of parishioners, was second on the list. Serbian Kosovo remained in your heart. You never forgot your Republic of Srpska nor your Foca. You took them with you to that world. But, your faith rose above your national identity.

You loved your school of St. Sava. You were it's first dean. And when the school was in dire straits, you did not lose hope. Along with your parish and personal obligations, your traveled from Johnstown and later, from Washington, to teach, in good weather and bad. You collected donations for its material support. You loved your students. This is seen in your last letter to the dean's office, for your wrote: Our people are poor and cannot give so much. Another way must be found to support our school.

Your bishop, your brother priests, your students and your parishioners were proud of your academic accomplishments, for you exceeded the bounds of our local Church.

Your departure from us will leave a large chasm in our DIocese, our School, and ecclesiastical bodies.

You had many tribulations in life, but you bore them courageously, not becoming discouraged in spirit. Even in the event of the departure of those most dear to that other world, you said: We are all in His hands. Let God's will be done. The last time we spoke, asking how you were, you said: Worse than yesterday, but we will fight and pray! God knows how much you suffered. I believe, that with the blessed Job you can say: For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another (Job 19:25-27).

Forgive us for all that we have sinned against you, as we forgive you with all our heart.

May the Lord Christ grant you an eternal abode in the courts of His heavenly Father, in the Church of the first-born (Heb 12:23), together with your uncle, the Holy Hieromartyr Momcilo, your wonderful parents Bosko and Jovanka, and the rest of your numerous family.

May the dark earth be light upon you! May your memory be eternal and may God forgive your soul!


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