George Radin on Bishop Dr. Nicholai Velimirovich and the Serbian Orthodox Church in America

Nemanja Andrijašević

George Radin on Bishop Dr. Nicholai Velimirovich and the Serbian Orthodox Church in America

Category: Original Research

pages: 369-394


George Radin (Đorđe Radin, 1896–1981) was one of the numerous Serbian emigrants in the USA in the period right before WW2. He studied at the most eminent American Universities and had become an attorney, then a lawyer and finally an expert in international law. He managed to achieve great success and expertise in the field of American foreign politics and diplomacy.

In the period between the two World Wars, he met Bishop Dr. Nicholai Velimirovich who made a strong impression on him. He was the Bishop’s guide across the USA during his two visits there: in 1920 and in 1927. During his first visit to the continent, the Bishop had organized the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC), considering that at the time SOC didn’t have its residing bishop there.

Radin was, according to his own testimony, one of the organizers of the Bishop’s arrival to America at the beginning of 1946. He had been of the opinion that this significant Bishop should live in one of the Protestant Churches and hold lectures at the Universities, thus serving SOC and its members. In other words, it was his conviction that the Bishop should have organized the church life in the same way he did in his previous two visits to the USA. However, the situation between the two World Wars was far more complicated. The Serbian Church had by that time appointed its ruling bishop in America and Canada — Dionisiye Milivoyevich (Dionisije Milivojević, 1898– 1979), who parted ways with Bishop Nicholai soon after his arrival to the USA. Immense damage had been done to the SOC by the utter lack of cooperation between these two bishops. Bishop Nicholai found a “Solomon’s solution” for this by deciding to live and work in Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. It was in this holy place that he reposed in 1956.

Until the end of his life, Radin was of the opinion that a fundamental mistake had been made by the secession of the opportunity that through abiding in the Protestant communities Bishop Nicholai might do more for the SOC and the Serbs, especially through his acquaintances and contacts with the representatives of other Christian confessions, primarily Protestants. He mentioned this in his correspondence with Sliјepchevich (Đoko Slijepčević, 1908–1993). Also, Radin made all the efforts in his power to help overcome the current schism in the SOC. He wrote about his opinions, ideas and steps taken in that direction to the bishops of the Serbian Church, as well as the Patriarch German Djorich himself. Even though the Patriarch of the SOC also made efforts to help overcome the schism, at one point he told Radin that this unfortunate and extremely difficult issue is an internal matter of the SOC, and thus should be dealt with internally. In the appendix of this work, there are excerpts from the letters found in the Radin — Slijepchevich correspondence. They illustrate the enormous mutual trust and respect that these two acquaintances had for each other, having met by the mediation of Bishop Nicholai. The excerpts also present the opinions of the respectful lawyer and law expert — Radin who, in his own way, tried to contribute to the benefit of the SOC. They also convey his judgment on the importance of Bishop Nicholai as well as his discernment about the missed opportunity that the above mentioned bishop should have been presented with in order to contribute more to the SOC, its faithful people and all the Serbs in general — on the American continent, as well as in the whole world. It is clear that he remained hindered in that respect — among other factors — by the will of Bishop Dionisiye. Only a few years after the death of Bishop Nicholai, the most complicated problem of the SOC in diaspora unraveled — the schism. Radin directed all his attention and efforts towards the solution of this problem, in the ways he considered to be the most acceptable. In all this he had agreement with and support of Slijepchevich, with whom he had researched the best ways of achieving reconciliation. Fragments of his letters imply that the majority of his emigrant life he devoted to taking care of Bishop Nicholai, as well as fighting against schism and finding the possibilities of its overcoming.


271.222(497.11)-722.52-36:929 Николај Велимировић, свети

34:929 Радин Ђ.(044)

93/94:929 Слијепчевић Ђ.(044)

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