Middle Years

When Proto Trbuhovich returned, the homes were razed and the building of the first Ravanica Church in Detroit was begun. Due to lack of funds and the Great Depression, work on the church ceased. Those were bleak days, when it appeared the faithful Serbs would lose all they had hoped to achieve.

The Maccabee’s (a Michigan Corporation Mortgages) held a mortgage for $10,480.25 and gave notice that the property would be sold at sheriff’s sale on July 14, 1932, because of default. The Serbs rallied and, united with deep faith and determination, reached an agreement with The Maccabee’s. The women of the parish fervently peddled baked goods door-to-door to raise funds, sponsored teas and held bunco parties in private homes. Personal loans came out of nowhere. The property reverted to the Serbs and work continued. The church was consecrated on June 17, 1934, under the presidency of Jovo Chakara. Church Kumovi were Mateja and Anna Rudelich, and the church school Kum was Dave Muzljakovich. Our church was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Mardarije Uskokovich. The leaders of the time included Alexander I of Yugoslavia, His Holiness Patriarch Varnava, His Grace Bishop Mardarije of America and Canada, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Governor William A. Comstock and Mayor Frank Couzens. The architect was Lancelot Sukert.

The iconostas (altar partition), with three rows of oil paintings in gold leaf ornate frames, was imported from Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, as a gift from Udruzene Srpkinje. Other paintings on the walls were the work of Cveta Popovich, Detroit Serbian artist. Udruzene Sestre, from Davison, purchased the altar chandelier and four smaller ones. Credit is also due the Serbian National Hall on Frederick, the Serbian School Hall on Grant, the S.N.F. Lodges Beograd, Bratska Sloga, Bratska Prosveta and Kosovo, whose boards and members exerted a lot of effort and concern, and gave financial aid as well.

The Ravanica Church Choir, directed by John T. Fill, the lsidor Bajich Serbian Church Choir of Akron, Ohio, and the Romanian Church Choir alternated in singing responses during the dedication and services. The Jugoslav Sokols (Falcons) acted as guards of honor inside the church and hall during the all-day celebration. Guest of honor was Radoje Jankovich, author, editor and then the Jugoslav Consul General in New York. Both he and Professor Dr. Mihailo I. Pupin were elected honorary church members at a previous church meeting.

It should be noted that the Serbian Singing Society Ravanica has earned its own recognition in this Serbian colony. They have not only embraced older members in their ranks but have welcomed the youth as well. The Serbian Singing Society Ravanica is not just a part of this colony, but a part of entire American Serbdom. It was the choir that inspired the creation of the Serbian Singing Federation, the preservers of Serbian song on this continent. Detroit served as the original and present national headquarters for the S.S.F.

It was in October of 1934 that the Sisters from Davison merged with a group of women from the immediate church vicinity, taking the name of Serbian Sisters Ravanica and, advised by Proto Trbuhovich, became the women’s church auxiliary group.

The Serbian Orthodox Church Congregation was incorporated and registered with the State of Michigan on September 27, 1932, in Lansing as an ecclesiastical corporation. Signatures appearing on the original document included. Andrew M. Kavaya, John Bayat, J. (Isa) Santovich, Sophie Reed, Vaso Kresojevich, Nicholas Bachevitch, Petar Licina, Stefan Uzelac, Stevan Welemirovich, Jovan Gavrilovich, Mike Glavas, John Jurich, Milan Dilber, Dusan Gvozdenovich, Alex Erdelian, Archie Peyovich, Trifun Pekija, Stanko Cakmak, Steve Milicich, Petar Radelic, Sava Varajon, Petar S. Glushac, Jana Glushac, Rada Gagich and lgnat Nesich.

THE EARLY YEARS

THE LATER YEARS