Church of Serbia – August 2018
On Sunday, August 19, 2018, the Great Feast of Transfiguration, His Grace Irinej, Bishop of Eastern America, blessed the newly erected bust of Nadezda Petrovic, famous Serbian painter and philanthropist of the 20th century, in the Serbian Cultural Garden in Cleveland, Ohio.
After the Service of Blessing, Bishop Irinej reminded everyone of certain details from the biography of this remarkable woman. Nadezda was a great artist, someone who advanced new trends in Serbian art, but other than that, she was a woman filled with love towards others. She eventually died serving others as a nurse in World War I. Her paintings are not her only legacy – she was also the founder of the Circle of Serbian Sisters.
Mr. Alex Machaskee, founder of the Serbian Cultural Garden, thanked the Bishop and everyone else for coming and appealed for all to help preserve monuments of our culture here and everywhere.
History of the Cultural Garden
Originally founded as the Slovenian Cultural Garden in 1934, Serbs and Croats joined in 1937 to form the Jugoslav Garden. The three coexisted peacefully and in harmony in Rockefeller Park until the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. At that point the Serbian and Croatian representation left the Garden – and as a result the Jugoslav Garden once again became the Slovenian Cultural Garden.
In the spring of 2006, Alex Machaskee, then President and Publisher of The Plain Dealer, led the initiative to raise the funds necessary to create a new Serbian Cultural Garden on the west side of Martin Luther King Boulevard, just north of the St. Clair overpass within Rockefeller Park. The Garden was dedicated on October 5, 2008, in a grand ceremony led by His Grace Bishop Irinej, then of Australia and New Zealand, which included Serbian government officials, Serbian clergy, Senator George Voinovich, Mayor Jackson and many local Serbians and supporters.
Featured in the Serbian Cultural Garden are busts of Bishop Petar Njegosh, Mihajlo Pupin, King Peter I, Nikola Tesla, Stevan Mokranjac, Vuk Karadzic, Milutin Milankovic and Mileva Maric, wife of Albert Einstein and now, Nadezda Petrovic. During the last ten years, nine busts were ercted, but this number is not conclusive.