Serbian Church canonizes hieromartyr, victim of communist authorities

Belgrade, May 24, 2023

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The Serbian Orthodox Church festively celebrated the canonization of a new saint on Sunday, May 21.

St. Nedeljko Streličić, a victim of the Yugoslavian communist authorities in May 1945, was canonized by the Bishops’ Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church held last May, and on Sunday, May 21, the new saint was liturgically proclaimed on his feast day in the Church of the Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas in Belgrade, which the saint himself built in 1937-1939, reports Svetigora.

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The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Petar of Toplica, a vicar to His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije, together with clergy from several dioceses of the Serbian and Russian Churches. The church was filled with a large number of the faithful.

At the Small Entrance, Bp. Petar read out the Bishops’ Council’s decision on the canonization of St. Nedeljko, after which his troparion was sung.

In his sermon, the hierarch expressed great joy at being able to gather in a revived church and to see that “the faith of the people has been restored 50 years after the period when priests and believers were persecuted and killed for being faithful to the Gospel, Christ, and the tradition left to us by the Holy Fathers.”

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“In these days, we see that the blood of the great martyr Nedeljko is the seed of new Christians,” Bp. Petar said.

“Thus, the Lord bestowed upon an ordinary, humble, honest priest the highest gift—the gift of martyrdom, and he unwaveringly testified to his love and faithfulness to Christ God.”


St. Nedeljko served as a parish priest in Belgrade. He was eventually captured by members of the communist Special Service and was declared an enemy of the people and shot in 1945.

He remained almost completely forgotten for more than a half a century, those his memory was preserved by the people of the Rakovića neighborhood of Belgrade where he served in the last years of his life.

“Fr. Nedeljko was a true Serbian priest, a great fighter for Orthodoxy, an opponent of the Concordat and communism. Known as a good preacher, during the war he always used the situation to encourage the people in his sermons,” writes the Serbian Church’s

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