митрополит Антоний Су́рожский (Блум)

Archpriest MIloje Nikolich, 1910–1989 (From the sermon at his funeral in St Sava's church)

In the person of Father Miloje, the Serbian community of Britain has lost one of her noblest leaders; a man of true greatness in his undivided love and loyalty to his Church and to his country; of indomitable courage; a friend who would never fail those whom he respected and trusted; a leader who never hesitated to speak the truth, and yet who knew how to bear other people's burdens with compassion, and support them at the hour of trial. If human voices were still, the very stones of this Church, the glorious beauty of its icons, the Presence of God which is so clearly felt in it would proclaim that he did not live in vain; one could clearly say of him that although a small grave can contain his earthly remains, this whole cathedral is too small to contain his great immortal soul. A warrior who has fought the good fight, run the race with loyalty and endurance and who has now reached the goal; who stands before the Throne of God and – we all believe – hears his Lord say to him, «Good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of thy Lord»; he stands now before the God whom he worshipped and served all his life, and prays for all of us, for his Church which still is hard pressed in a world of godlessness, for all those for whom God became man, for whom He lived and died that all may be saved; and to all of us he leaves an example. Let each of us reflect on the life and on the person of Father Miloje as each of us knew him, and learn from him to be true sons and daughters of our Church and of our countries, so that one day we may stand together with him before God. May he then be able to say with joy in his heart, «Here am I, Lord, together with the children Thou hast given me», and hear the Lord say, «Truly thou hast not toiled in vain; they are thine eternal glory». Metropolitan Anthony

Fr Miloje Nikolich, Archpriest of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Britain, died in London on 16 April 1989. He was taken ill while attending a lecture in Lambeth palace. In his long career, which included the duty of representative of the Serbian Patriarch to the See of Canterbury, he played a significant role in the organisation of the Serbian Church in the Diaspora.

Born in a small village in Serbia, Fr Miloje graduated from the Theological Seminary in Sarajevo and was ordained in 1932. During the war, he joined the resistance movement led by Draza Mihajlovic. He was caught and tortured by the Gestapo and then sent to the punitive camp of Eruville in France. After being liberated by the Allies, he came to Britain at the end of 1944 and joined the Serbian Orthodox community in London. In 1945 he was appointed vicar of the London parish of St Sava.

The parish of St Sava had been established in 1942 to serve a community formed largely of Serbian refugees. It was a period of extreme hardship for the Serbian Church in Yugoslavia: Patriarch Gavrilo and two bishops had been taken to the Dachau concentration camp, and the victims of Ustase massacres of the Serbian Orthodox population included three bishops and 180 priests.

As the number of Serbian immigrants increased, Fr Miloje took a leading part in establishing six new Serbian Orthodox parishes outside London. During this period., the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Patriarch in Yugoslavia were under considerable pressure from the newly established Communist regime. While maintaining the principle of free expression for the Church in the Diaspora, Fr Miloje exercised diplomacy in avoiding embarrassment to the Patriarch. He showed great appreciation for the generous moral and economic assistance provided by the Anglican Church in his work to establish an adequate pastoral ministry for the Serbs in Britain. In 1969 Fr Miloje became Episcopal Vicar to Bishop Lavrentije, of the Diocese for Western Europe and Australia, created to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of Serbian workers abroad. While still based in London, he spent considerable time on pastoral and administrative work in several countries of Europe and in Australia; he was also responsible for editing the journal of the diocese.

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