July 7, 2015
Los Angeles – This is to announce a recent decision of the Holy Assembly of Bishops which added Archimandrite Sebastian (Dabovich) of San Francisco and Jackson, and Bishop Mardarije (Uskokovic) of Chicago and Libertyville, clergymen and preachers of the Gospel who inspired many missionaries, to calendar of Saints of the Orthodox Church. Once again, through the lives of these two saints, we see a faith that produces holy persons, enriches the world with saints and insists on an ethos of holiness.
Orthodox Christian leaders and faithful from the United States and abroad will celebrate this event on Saturday, September 5 at Saint Steven’s Cathedral, 1621 West Garvey Avenue in Alhambra, Los Angeles County, California. The Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Irinej, will lead the festivities. The Church has recognized the holiness of these two missionaries, and as this event will celebrate their lives, it will also be an opportunity to learn from their example of holiness in America.
About Saints Mardarije and Sebastian
Born on June 21, 1863 in San Francisco, Sebastian Dabovich, now Saint Sebastian, was the first Orthodox Christian priest born in the United Sates. Born in San Francisco, California in 1863, the son of one of the earliest known Serbian immigrants to the United States, he was well known for his missionary-apostolic work establishing Orthodox Christian parishes all along the West Coast, including the first distinctly Serbian Orthodox parish in Jackson, California in 1892. The church building there, still home to an active parish, is an officially designated National Historical Landmark. Fr. Sebastian produced inspiring homilies in English, Serbian and Russian, as well as several books in English for missionary needs.
Born in Montenegro, on November 2, 1889, Mardarije Uskokovic, now Saint Mardarije, became the first bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, laboring tirelessly in building churches, particularly establishing the Sava monastery in Libertyville, Illinois, which today as a historical landmark, remains one of the main spiritual centers of Orthodox Christianity. All this is due to Saint Mardarije’s life and work in sowing Christian love, spreading peace, preaching and witnessing to the Gospel of Christ throughout this land.
About the Orthodox Church and The Western American Diocese
The Orthodox Christian Church has preserved the tradition and continuity of the ancient Church in its fullness, and today numbers approximately 300 million Christians who follow the faith and practices that were defined by the first seven Ecumenical Councils. There are some 3000 established parishes in the United States. The Western American Diocese, host of this event in Los Angeles serves the Church in the Western States, including California, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii.