St. Sava Church History
Serbians emigrated to Minnesota at the turn of the 20th century and they settled in basically three heavily industrialized areas of Minnesota: the Iron Range, Duluth, and the metropolitan area of St. Paul-Minneapolis, part of which is South St. Paul. All three areas built Serbian churches.
In the early days for the Serbs in South St. Paul, the religious and cultural needs were part of the struggle for existence. For religious worship, the Serbs combined with the Russians to form a Serbian-Russian Church. At the same time, the Serbian cultural needs were fulfilled by the formation of a local Serbian fraternal lodge, which built the Serbian National Home in 1924. This large hall served as an altar of worship, Serbian school, lodge, and social hall for all Serbian functions and gatherings. The Serbians, however, longed for a Serbian Orthodox Church in the Twin Cities.
On August 27, 1950, an organizational meeting was held with the Rt. Rev. Bishop Dionisije of the St. Sava Serbian Monastery, Libertyville, Illinois in attendance. The name "St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church of South St. Paul" was chosen. On November 12, 1950, the new church-school congregation elected Reverend Nikanor Paljich as parish priest. He worked with great zeal to solicit donations, along with personal participation in the physical labor aspect of the construction of the church.
In March, 1951, two lots were purchased for the church site. On May 20, 1951, Bishop Dionisije blessed the church grounds. On April 21, 1951, the edifice construction began. On July 8, 1952, Bishop Dionisije officiated at the laying of the cornerstone ceremony. Dedication ceremonies were held on June 14, 1953.
Today, St. Sava thrives on the dedication of an energetic group of parishoners who enjoy being together, preserving their faith, and thus enriching their lives in this world and the world to come.