by Veliborka STALETOVIC
"In 1957, as a high school student, I skied for the first time in Brezovica and broke my leg. The roads were impassable at the time, there were no ski-lifts or phones. Shepherds carried me on their backs through snow for 12 kilometers and I spent a whole week in the house of Miro Stojanovic, who took care of me. That's how I came to love this people, villages and the mountain. Consequently, for the next 44 years I regularly visited Brezovica. I have remained faithful until today," Dr. Aleksandrov says for Reporter.
The digging of the foundation for the church of St. Stefan started in the autumn of 1996, and the construction moved on the following spring. Distinguished individuals from the Strpce municipality founded the church board, and Dr. Aleksandrov first contributed $5,000 for the construction of the church. That was his reply to the well-meaning question of bishop Artemije: "Doctor, do you have enough money for a church?"
The first financial contribution for the construction of the temple came from the sold ancestral home. Doctor Aleksandrov continued to collect money for other construction tasks. He hails from a noble Russian family and experienced the construction of the church as his personal mission and fulfillment of the wishes of his ancestors.
"I shall never forget the words of my late grandmother, who was a countess at the Russian court - 'never lose your homeland'."
In the meantime the locals continued the construction and are mostly responsible for its completion. In return, they got a church. The local companies also helped a lot.
"People who live there deserve a new church. In Sirinicka Zupa there are about fifteen churches built in the fourteenth and fifteenth century. The 'youngest' church was completed soon after WWI. The amazing adaptability of the people living under the Sar Mountain is the reason people remained living there, even though they were (and many remain until today) 'tarred' by the former authorities. Serbs will remain in Zupa because no one has managed to move them from there until now," claims Dr. Aleksandrov.
The church of St. Stefan will be sanctified on July 14, on the day of Holy Magi. Patriarch Pavle and bishop Artemije of the Serb orthodox church promised that they would attend the act of sanctification and the accomplishment of Dr. Aleksandrov's dream.