His Excellency

Bishop of Sumadia Mr. Jovan

Jovan Mladenovic, Bishop of Sumadia since 1st September 2002 was born on 11th September 1950 in the village of Dobračama near Arilje, from father Radojko and mother Stana, born Karaklajic. Bishop Jovan’s parents gave birth to fourteen children and belonged to the blasphemy movement of Bishop Nikolaj (Velimirovic). In the house of Mladenovic lived a strict Christian life, and every morning and evening it flowed in common prayers. A weekly and festive visit to the Liturgy at the nearby Holy Archangel Monastery in Klisura was mandatory for most of the family.

At the invitation of the abbot of the Klisura Kasian Monastery, after his participation in the Liturgy for Epiphany, Jovan temporarily stayed in the monastery, and then, at the age of eleven, became a deacon in Klisura. Before that, he finished elementary school in his native village.
After nine months in the Klisura Monastery, in December 1963 he moved to the Studenica Monastery.

Shortly before that, Bishop of Zica Dr. Vasilije (Kostic) (1961-1978) appointed the abbot of the monastery of Raca Julian (Knezevic) as the elder of the student laurel and created a new student family from the Raca fraternities on the Drina, Vujan and Holy Trinity in the Ovcar-Kablar Klisura. The theatrical fraternity will also include the theologically educated hieromonk Simeon (Vasilijevic), the latter priest, with Father Julian, John (Mladenovic). With these two distinguished priests and with the relics of the student saints – Simeon the Peaceful, Simon the monk, King Stephen the Firstborn, and the Holy One Anastasia of Serbia, will grow up a young temptress from Dobrac. In the period from 1967 to 1969 attended the first post-war Monastic School of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Ostrog Monastery. After completing this school with great success, he goes to military service in the Slovenian town of Vipavu.

During the Holy Week 1971 in the year of the year Jovan the tempted monk, of the same name, was introduced and ordained a clergyman: Bishop Vasilije of Zice, on April 25th, the tempter of Jovan the monk, to bring him the next day, the 25th April (Antipasha Sunday) ordained deacon. At the same time, he became a fellow of the student family. In addition to his duties as a monastery, he became an extraordinary student of Saint Sava Theology in Belgrade. During her education in Belgrade Theology, on 29th July 1973 he was ordained by Bishop Vasily of Zica in the rank of presbyter – monk. Next up, in 1974 he finished the Theology in Belgrade with great success.

During his studies at the Faculty of Theology of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade, which he enrolled, after the blessing of Bishop Vasili Vasic, in 1976 he also teaches at the Department of History at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. In the meantime, he was deputy monastery student and deputy abbot of Julian and Simeon.

At the unanimous proposal of the monastery fraternity, and at the decision of Bishop of Zice Stefan (Boca), he was introduced into the throne by the abbot of the student’s on the 25th July 1980 he will remain in this post until 1993 when he was elected Bishop. Bishop Stefan Zice will distinguish him with all monastic acts, in 1983 syncellus act, in 1986 a protocyncellus, and in 1989 he became the archimandrite.

The abbot student Jovan (Mladenovic) has repeatedly, over the course of Studenica’s management, improved both the internal organization of the family, educating her with the ideals of the Sudanese Tipic of St. Sava, and the influence of this Mother of all Serbian churches on the broader spiritual and social issues – by virtue of being a non-Germanic time. The monastery, in which our spirituality, literacy, art, science, medicine, originated, is once again becoming a meeting place and patron of the Serbian scientific and intellectual elite, whose representatives are hosted by Abbot Jovan, under her auspices to explore and reflect on the most important issues of the cultural past and present. Important theological and scientific symposiums attended by prominent foreign and domestic scholars were particularly frequent. On that basis, in 1986 the celebration of the eighth anniversary of Studenica was organized with hundreds of thousands of participants. Many religious, scientific and cultural gatherings to commemorate the grand jubilee of the first throne Serbian monastery, organized by the student disciple, were related to the celebration and celebration of Saint Sava, Saint Simeon the Peaceful, Saint Simon the Monk – the First King of Serbia and the commencement of the regular meeting of the Holy SPC, they assured a large part of the Serbian people that the important issues of his existence, which were raised in difficult political circumstances, would be much easier to resolve if the Serbian Orthodox Church were no longer excluded from the foundations of national identity. This is the time when the hoops of communism and atheism begin to burst in Yugoslavia and when our people in Kosovo realize that all the difficulties await them in their struggle for survival.

At the regular meeting of the Holy Bishops’ Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1993, the 25th May, Archimandrite Jovan the Abbot of Students is elected Bishop of Tetovo, with all the rights of a diocesan bishop, to administer all the dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Vicar of the Patriarch of Serbian Paul. In the Church of the Mother of God of the Studenica Monastery the episcopal chitotony was performed by Patriarch Pavle of Serbia on July 25 1993 on the feast of the Miraculous Icon of the Virgin Mary of the Trojeručica of Hilandars, with the participation of twenty-five bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Despite his calm and reasonable efforts by the Serbian Church, archetypal work in the eparchies in Macedonia was not allowed due to unsettled political circumstances. He only succeeded in establishing in these dioceses twelve church congregations and appointing three priests. He occasionally goes to the monastery of St. Prohor Pcinjski, in order to make any contact with his congregation. But that is why he remained remembered for his contribution, as Patriarch’s Vicar, that in these turbulent political times on the inside, the Church did not become involved in current world strife, but that through messages of love and service the people would unite in the God-man Lord Jesus Christ by suggesting what the true signpost was to the kingdom of heaven. At the same time, Bishop Jovan of Tetovo leads the charitable activity of the Serbian Church and organizes the revival of national cuisines, with the involvement of international humanitarian organizations (KEK) and our priests from abroad, such as Archpriest Drasko Todorovic of Zurich, through whom three and three thousands of meals a day.

Members of the Holy Bishops’ Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church in May 1994 Bishop of Tetovo Jovan was elected Bishop of the West American Diocese. The enthronement is at the Cathedral of St. Stephen the Firstborn in the Alhambra (Los Angeles, CA) 18th September 1994 was executed by the Serbian Patriarch Paul, with the participation of the Midwestern Metropolitan Administrator The Diocese of West Bishop, Bishop of Zice Stefan, Bishop of Canadian George, Bishop of East American Mitrofan, Bishop of Tihon of the American Orthodox Church, and Archimandrite Julian Studenich.  

During his eight-year archpastorship on the throne of West American Bishops, Bishop Jovan established nine new parishes and rebuilt and built churches in Moraga, Los Angeles, Jackson, Eugene… The merit in the revival of Orthodoxy in America is evidenced by the fact that Bishop Jovan established, respectively under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Church, two very distinguished monasteries, St. German of Alaska in Platinum and St. Paysi (Velickovsky) in Arizona and three more monastery skits. He left about sixty nuns and nuns in the United States, without even a drop of European, let alone Slovenian blood, and this is what resurrected the West American Diocese. Many priests and monks from America are still spiritually attached to their former Bishop, who is often visited in Sumadia. Today, this monasticism is actively contributing to the growing role of Orthodoxy in the spiritual life of America. Particularly important is their publishing activity, as books published under the auspices of these two monasteries are considered to be top pieces of Orthodox theology. A large echo among believers and in the broader theological circles of America was the English-language edition of the Prologue of Bishop Nikolaj (Velimirovic), translated by the Hieromonk Timothy Tepsic, printed by West American Bishop Jovan. In this Diocese, Bishop Jovan especially took care that modern technological developments, such as the electronic media, characteristic of developed societies, serve to spread the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s how he ensured that the pastoral Orthodox word was readily accessible to all believers throughout the territory of this very expansive archdeaconry through radio programs and the web site. As Bishop, the West American was a member of the Serbian Church’s delegation at the consecration of the restored Temple of Christ the Savior in Moscow.

After the election of Bishop of Sumadia at the regular session of the Holy Bishops’ Council of the Serbian Church 2002 the third Bishop of Sumadia becomes the 1st September of the same year, when he was enthroned by the Bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla Vasili, administrator of the Sumadija diocese. In the period from 2004 until 2006 he was a member of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In the spring of 2006 he led the Serbian Church’s delegation to the United Nations and the United States in an effort to resolve Kosovo and Metohija’s status as quickly as possible. On the same mission he traveled to Brussels and Germany. He has represented our Church at many important church gatherings; so, for example, in November 2005 he headed the delegation participating in the enthronement of Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem. Notable are his missionary stays, on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church, in Australia, accompanied by Patriarch Paul, at the Hilandar Monastery and among Orthodox believers in South Africa.

He was a very successful host and organizer of celebrating such important anniversaries for The Serbian Church and State, such as the 200th anniversary of the rise of the First Serbian Uprising (Orasac 2004 two centuries of the founding of the first Serbian government – the ruling Soviet in the Volavavci Monastery 2005 and sixth anniversary of the founding of the Kalenic Monastery in October 2008.

The basic principle that Bishop Jovan adheres to during his seven-year archpastorship in the Church of God in Sumadija (this text was created at the end of August 2009) is the service and renewal – not reform – of liturgical and sacramental life.  He strives to bring the Church closer to the people of God, to convey to him his Living Tradition, to give him a proper understanding of the Church as a community of God, angels and saints – men. In this sense, during the almost daily service of the Holy Liturgy and the teaching of the participants in the Eucharistic gatherings, it is advocated that the Orthodox spirituality among believers be understood in ecclesiological dimensions, in the context of liturgical experience and experience, which are equated with the Eucharistic union with the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  

On the idea that monasticism is not a historical, accidental, or transient institution, but rather that it is a deep experience of the life of the Church and a true community that is realized through the Eucharist and through the principles of obedience and obedience, Bishop Jovan of Sumadija advances and restores monastic life in his Diocese. He established a number of new monasteries, with a considerable number of new monks, nuns, martyrs and tempters, such as Brezovac, Ćelije near Lazarevac, Preradovac, Petkovica, Pinosava, Monastirak, while in many existing he renovated the generalist arrangement of ancient monastic practice – in the monastery of Saint Ports in Bosnjan, Josanica, Denkovac, Sarinc, Divostin. 

The construction and restoration of churches and other parish buildings has been carried out during these seven years in almost every church municipality of the Diocese. Where a new church and parish home, or church hall, is not erected, a new iconostasis or painting in the temple is erected, a candlelight chapel wall, a bell tower, a fountain in the port … Thus, the large-scale construction activity, initiated during the peak of Diocese of Sumadija of Bishop Sava (Vukovic) (1997-2001), was further improved..  Bishop Jovan consecrated about forty newly built and completely restored parish temples. More than ten fully completed churches await consecration. And for nearly thirty places of worship, some of which were completed, he sanctified the foundations of 2002 until 2009. New parish homes, church halls, iconostasis, wall paintings, fountains, candle lighters are consecrated in each bishops’ office..  Following the needs of the faithful, he founded a new, Lepenyky Bishops’ Office, while in several parishes he completed the landscaping and regulation in order to facilitate a closer relationship between the clergy and the people. Bishop John uses every canonical visit to the parishes of the Diocese to point out that, unless they are filled with the people of God assembled into a community for love, the newly built churches and homes will only be transitory monuments of pride and vanity. Immediately after his arrival in the Diocese of Sumadija, he completed the general renovation of the Parish Church in Kragujevac, and the works on the completion of the new Bishop’s Palace in the cathedral city of the Diocese and the charity-spiritual-sports center of Kragujevac.  

The care of the priestly youth is also a priority in the archdiocese Bishop Jovan. This can be seen first of all through the spiritual supervision of the work of St. Jovan Zlatousti in Kragujevac, which has become one of the most respected theological colleges in our local Church. The bishop, as far as opportunities allow, also takes care of the material sustenance of this school, especially in the last few years, when other ecclesiastical institutions have neglected this issue. The Diocese of Sumadija also allocates significant funds for scholarships for students at higher education institutions, and now there are many candidates among the clergy who have earned the highest academic titles of theological sciences.

First church leader of the Church of God in Sumadija since 2002 until 2009. In the year 2007, he ordained about seventy candidates in the deacon and presbyterian rank, and the number of tempters who received the monastic service with the blessing of Bishop John is not negligible. He introduced the practice of spiritual and practical preparation, under personal supervision, of candidates for ordination. For example, pre-ordination deals with some topics from pastoral theology, which proved to be very effective for better work in parishes. The development of special diocesan funds to improve their social status is also in the domain of clergy care. And keeping in mind the dignity and theological-spiritual readiness of many religious teachers in schools in the Diocese is an important, and seems successful, area of work for Bishop Jovan of Sumadia.

Continuing the practice of the Blessed Bishop Sava of Sumadija, the present Archbishop of Sumadia pays great attention to publishing and printing theological books and journals. The Diocese of Kalenic Publishing House has published dozens of new theology books, many of which represent a major contribution to theological science. He also provided the conditions for the diocesan newspaper Kalenic to be published without problems for more than three decades. He also takes care of the very successful website presentation of church life in the parishes of the Diocese, that is, the theological-pastoral lessons. Radio Zlatousti, which as a diocesan radio began broadcasting on Petrovdan 2009. With the care and blessing of Bishop John, the aim will be to promote to the listeners in a more receptive and modern way the high life and ethical values of Christianity.

Bishop Jovan of Sumadija is known for his very good and sincere relations which he establishes with many factors of social life in the Diocese and throughout Serbia – state institutions, politicians (regardless of affiliation), businessmen, scientific and cultural institutions and employees, artists. Bishop Jovan of Sumadija (Mladenovic) is the author of several pastoral theories, including the work of Saint Sava on national enlightenment, upbringing of the family, monasticism as a role model to the world, the holy bodies in Christ – cremation of the dead, which have been published in print and electronic church publications.