St. Sava Church in Jackson, California, was consecrated on the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple on December 4, 1894. In recent years, the parish has designated the first Sunday of December as “Founders Day” in order to celebrate the consecration of the church and to offer a parastos for Fr. Sebastian Dabovich and all the founding members. Additionally, the late Cedo Saraba would sponsor a Bakalar Luncheon on this date to help raise funds for the parish. After Cedo’s untimely passing, the Saraba family has continued to sponsor this meal and to ask for memorial prayers for all their departed family members.
This year we were blessed to have Bishop Maxim join us and to officiate at the Divine Liturgy on “Founders Day.” His Grace was assisted by our parish priest, Fr. Steve Tumbas, Protodeacon Triva Pavlov and Reader Dragan Stojanovich. Popadija Betsy Tumbas ably led the parish choir in prayerful responses. The small church was filled to capacity with about sixty faithful, including most of our regulars and visitors who came to witness the hierarchical service. His Grace also brought two guests with him to join in our celebration—Monk Savvas from monastery Simonopetra on the Holy Mountain and Vladan Radovanovic, a student of theology from Serbia.
His Grace delivered an effective homily based on St. Luke’s gospel story of the rich man who chose to build bigger barns to store his abundant harvests so he could “eat, drink and be merry” for years to come. His Grace reminded all present to increase their treasure as regards God, rather than pursuing insatiable earthly appetites.
At the close of the Divine Liturgy, His Grace led the parastos for Father Sebastian, the Founders and all the departed members of the Saraba family. Everyone then proceeded to the Saraba family grave for the Trisagion prayers.
Unique to this year’s celebration, were two more events: the dedication of the Milo Radulovich Memorial Library and a presentation of All Roads Lead to Jackson, by author Milina Jovanovich. Before going to the bakalar luncheon, His Grace took the time to bless our new library. Protodeacon Triva has spent the better part of the last two years designing and constructing this memorial library which contains nearly 400 volumes, mostly on the subject of Orthodox theology and Serbian history, culture and language. The walls of the library are adorned with processional banners from the church, the original Russian “plastanica” and a case filled with old liturgical vessels.
Two of Milo Radulovich’s daughters were honored guests at the dedication. They gifted the library a copy of the book, To Strike at a King—the documentary of Milo’s courageous defense of his family’s honor in the face of defamation during the anti-communist McCarthy era in the early 1950’s.
Following the dedication of the library, His Grace and all the guests were treated to an excellent luncheon prepared under the direction of Dorothy Milosovich with the help of Brian and Maria Popovac, Lana Vukovich and Mary Zellum. Members of the Kolo Sestara, headed by President, Djiakonica Danica Paul, served the meal family-style in the upper hall. His Grace commented that he has not had better bakalar since leaving Bosnia! Everyone appreciated the extra efforts that had been taken to make this luncheon special.
At the conclusion of the luncheon, author Milina Jovanovich presented an overview of her new book All Roads Lead to Jackson, the latest publication of Sebastian Press, the printing arm of the Western American Diocese.
Milina’s book is essentially a collection of interviews which she collected in the Serbian community. Her goal was to document the contributions of Serbian- Americans to the development of both Amador County and the state of California.
Following her presentation, all those assembled sang “Dostojno Jest” and received a benediction from His Grace. Milina then offered books for sale and signing. Within twenty minutes, all 45 copies available were sold and orders were taken for 25 more.
We in Jackson are grateful for the archpastoral love and care of our Bishop Maxim and look forward to his next visit.