Patriarch Porfirije consecrates the rebuilt baptismal church of Nikola Tesla

NEWS 02.08.2022 17:16
Source: N1, Ilustracija

The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), Patriarch Porfirije, on Tuesday consecrated the orthodox church in the village of Smiljan near Gospic in central Croatia, rebuilt in the same place where an earlier church stood where the famous inventor Nikola Tesla had been baptized in 1856.

Tesla’s father, Milutin, was an orthodox priest who served at the church at the time.

Porfirije said that the original structure was built when Serbs came to the Lika region in the 1600s, to serve as “a place of prayer, peace, love, and gathering, of meeting with God and with each other, a place of finding peace in Christ, of finding peace within oneself and between one another.”

The original church was destroyed during World War II, when Croatia was ruled by the Nazi-allied Ustasha regime which persecuted ethnic Serbs in its territory. At the time Tesla was living in the United States, where he died in 1943. The building was destroyed again the 1991-95 war in Croatia.

“The Ustasha wanted to eliminate this place, so the temple was destroyed in 1941. It was rebuilt in 1986, and devastated again in the 1990s, and now it has been rebuilt, in the same place where the original church had been built in the 17th century,” Porfirije said.

“One can and should always do better, everywhere, we should always try to do more and be better every day, wherever we are, in Croatia or in some other place,” Porfirije reportedly replied when asked to comment on inter-ethnic relations in Croatia.

Lika-Senj County’s Deputy Prefect, Milan Uzelac, said that Patriarch Porfirije’s message was a message of peace “for all of us who are here, and for peace between Serbs and Croats.”