Photo credit / ImageAuCarre

First Serbs In Montreal

The first Serbs arrived in Montreal before World War I, between 1912 and 1916. There were between 10-50 Serbs in the area at that time. By 1929 there were approximately 400 to 500 Serbs in Montreal. The first Yugoslav office on Mackay Street was soon established and according to the Serbian family names in the registry, the first immigrants came from the Banat and Lika regions.

Photo credit / ImageAuCarre

Early Days In Montreal

The establishment of the parish in Montreal as an organized community of parishioners was preceded by the Serbian Assembly of Montreal. Parishioners gathered to celebrate Christmas, Easter, patron Saint-Sava and the Serbian New Year. The early church liturgies and other services took place at other fraternal churches, some orthodox and some not, as well as public halls. The establishment of the Holy Trinity Serbian Parish Community began with the arrival of the first Serbian priest in Montreal in early 1954. A young Arch Monk, Justinian (Ilkic), became head of the Serbian Montreal parish on January 2nd, 1954.

On 6 February 1954, in the hall of the Ukrainian church, the founding assembly was held that began the Montreal Holy Trinity Serbian Church-School Congregation and elected its first executive committee members.

Basement of the church 1993-1994

Purchase And Setup Of The First Holy Trinity Church

1960 was a very important year for Montreal Holy Trinity Serbian Parish. The arrival of Dr Dmitrije Najdanovic represented an important turning point milestone in the life of Serbs in Montreal. June 23, 1961 marks the date when the building on De Bullion Street was purchased to become the Holy Church. Without delay, the Serbian community came together, and work began. Architects made plans, carpenters took care of carpentry work, painters painted, and artists completed frescos and icons.

The first Holy Liturgy in the first Holy Trinity Serbian Church in Montreal was held on September 10th, 1961. The sense of unity, freedom, and new possibilities helped the work of other activities. The reorganized Circle of Serbian Sisters originally founded in 1930 was able to become more active in their mission. Church choir “Milan Rakic” magnified Sunday worship. At some time, there was also a chess club, as well as a theatrical troop. By 1963, a Serbian library was founded with donations by Stevan Jorgovic’s parents in his honour; weekly Church Sunday school began, and a folk-dance group was being nurtured.

With the final artistic works of the iconostasis and icons in place, Holy Trinity finally took the shape and appearance of an Orthodox church. Church sanctification was performed on September 6th, 1964. 1964 also marked the arrival of a very large number of Serbian immigrants to Montreal. From the purchase of the building to the implementation of Church, the following years were characterized by active and fruitful work. With an increase in the number of faithful and diverse activities, the church and residence became too small, so that at the next meeting of the executive committee board, members mentioned that there were thoughts of organizing a fundraising campaign to erect a new church.

Purchase Of Second Church And Moving

With a decisive acceptance of Dr. Dragutin Drago Papic as president of the construction committee with Dr. Dimitrije Pivnicki as president of the Holy Trinity Serbian Church-School Congregation, it is decided to move from a modest framework to a more serious search of an adequate space to become the pride of our parish and community. Finally, the search materializes with the purchase of a Presbyterian church in 1976 along with the parish residence in an established and enviable neighbourhood of the Montreal island. The church was originally built in 1900 and was designed by the famous Canadian architecture Edward Maxwell in Westmount. Consecration of our Holy church was carried out on The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke – October 31st, 1976. In the next years, under the same leadership the Church success followed with the advancement of the church and the improvement of the iconostasis and addition of two notable icons – Saint-Sava, and Saint-Basil of Ostrog. Also, included in the ongoing advancement was the completion of the church reception hall, the kitchen and a refurbished parish residence – used by the parish priest.