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St. Stevan of Decani

St. Stevan of Decani was born the son of King Milutin, the most powerful monarch ever to rule the Balkan Peninsula. He had a tragic childhood. His half brother and the king’s court were jealous of this young beneficiary and unjustly accused him of leading a purge against his father. The king believed them and had Stevan blinded and banished to Constantinople. On the way to this great city he had a vision. St.Nicholas appeared to him and said: “I have your lost eyes in the palm of my hand. Some day I will return them to you and you shall see again. “

St. Stevan spent five years in the monastery Pondakration in Constantinople. While there he lived a true Christian life using his time to help the poor and sick. His faith overcame his affliction. God blessed him with a great wisdom. For his many good works, people knew of him throughout the entire Near East.

His father was growing old and requested to see his son again. As he returned to Serbia, the vision of St. Nicholas appeared again to him at the very spot he did before and he was told: “I came to fulfill my promise to you. “ He placed a cross on his shoulder and sight returned to St. Stevan.

Shortly after his return, St. Stevan’s father died, and he became king with the full support of the people who looked up to him because of the miracle and his devout life. He dedicated his entire life as king to God. During his reign he built schools, repaired churches, helped the poor and sick, not only in his kingdom but to Christians in the entire known world. His greatest tribute to God was the construction of one of the most beautiful monasteries built by man. It is called Visoki decani near the town of Djakovica in the southern part of Serbia. He lived a difficult life but remained true to God regardless of the many hardships he faced. He was a man of great compassion and a true Orthodox.

The Serbian Orthodox Church made him a Saint and celebrates his day on November 24th.

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In March 1963 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Bolan, 18 families came together and agreed that there was a need for another Serbian Orthodox Church on the north side of Chicago.

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