Orthodox America


   Serbia's New Martyrs


At its meeting in May 1998, the Sobor of bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church glorified a number of new martyrs Among them were:

Hieromartyr Platon, Bishop of Banja Luka

Hieromartyr Platon was born in Belgrade in 1874. He was a third-year theology student when he became a monk. During the Balkan War (1912) and the First World War, he served as a military chaplain. Soon thereafter, he was appointed a member of the administration of the Ochrid diocese. During the occupation, he aided many widows and orphans, and others suffering misfortunes. Patriarch Barnabas placed Fr. Platon in charge of the Printing Department in Sremsk-Karlovats, where he became the publisher of the journal, "Herald of the Serbian Patriarchate." In those years, he also oversaw the monastery of Krushedol. In 1936 he was consecrated bishop of Moravia by Patriarch Barnabas, assisted by several other hierarchs including Metropolitan Anastassy and Bishop Makary of Boston from the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. In 1940 Bishop Platon was elected to the diocese of Banja Luka in Bosnia. The Second World War brought a decree expelling from Bosnia all those born in Serbia. Platon refused to leave his flock, and, between 4 and 5 May 1941, the sick bishop was arrested by the Ustashi and shot; his body was thrown into the Vrbanja River. It was recovered and he was buried in the memorial cemetery of Banja Luka. In 1973 the hieromartyr's holy remains were transferred into the new cathedral church in Banja Luka.

Hieromartyr Sava, Bishop of Gorno-Karlovats

The new Serbian Hieromartyr Sava (Trlaic) was born 19 July 1884. After graduating from the Karlovats seminary, he went on to earn a law degree in Belgrade. In 1909 he was ordained to the priesthood. After his wife died, he received the monastic tonsure and was soon elevated in the clerical ranks. In 1934 he was consecrated Bishop of Sremsk. Four years later he was elected bishop of Gorno-Karlovats. With the outbreak of the Second World War, Bishop Sava refused the offer of the occupying Axis government to move to Belgrade, choosing to remain with his flock and to share their suffering. In 1941 his earthly life ended in martyrdom. Where he was buried remains unknown.

Priest-martyr Branko (Dobrosavlevic)

He was born 4 January 1886 near Vojnica, and graduated from the Sremsk-Karlovats seminary in 1908. He served as a parish priest for over thirty years before his arrest on the feast of St George, his family Slava, 6 May 1941. On that day the Ustashi rounded up about 500 Serbs together with Fr. Branko, his son Nebojs - a medical student, and the priest Dmitri Skorupan from the nearby town of Tsvianovic. At first they were confined in the police station jail, where they suffered terrible torture, especially Nabojs. The Ustashi forced Fr. Branko to read the prayers for the departure of the soul over his still living son. The next day they were all taken to a forest in Kestenovats and executed. After the war, their remains were taken to a cemetery in Belun, where a memorial was erected to them.

Priest-martyr George (Bogic)

Fr. George Bogic was born 6 February 1911. He was ordained in 1934 and served in various parishes before his arrest on 17 June 1941. A Roman Catholic priest in the nearby town of Nisits harbored great animosity towards Fr. George and ordered that he be "brutally" killed (Victor Novak). The night of 17 June, a milkman from Nisits, accompanied by two Ustashi broke into Fr. George's home and ordered that he come with them for interrogation. Fr. George complied, but he was taken away not for interrogation but for torture. In a small yard near the Roman Catholic church of St Martin he was tied to a tree and tortured in the most unspeakable manner: his ears and nose were cut off,  his tongue and his eyes were cut out. Then his murderers proceeded to cut open his chest and abdomen, pulled out his intestines, and tied them around his neck. When the martyr began to expire, the evildoers loosed the ropes with which he was bound and shot him. His mutilated body was left there until the following day, when some gypsies, following instructions, took it to Brezik and buried it in a cemetery.

Translated and abridged from Pravoslavnaya Rus', No.7, 1999.


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