Parish History


“…and on this rock I will build My church.” (Matt 16:18)

More than 2,000 years ago, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Twelve Apostles gathered in the Upper Room. Birth was given to the New Testament Church at that very moment. By late afternoon, some 3,000 souls believed in Christ and were baptized; hence, the first Christian Community was born. From Jerusalem, the Christian Faith spread to lands near and far —   Judea , Samaria, Antioch, Asia Minor, Roman Empire, …United States of  America … and  Sacramento, California. As the Serbian Orthodox community grew in Sacramento, the faithful had a strong desire to worship in their local community. On October 12th, 1952, a group of Serbian Orthodox Christians gathered together to map out plans for a future Church.  Officers were elected, by-laws were written and submitted and to the Eparhija, and soon after, we received our Charter.  The name of our church was chosen – "Uspenije Presvete Bogorodice" – Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  

During the initial years, the parish faced many challenges. Foremost were a church building and a permanent pastor. However, our community was blessed because we were able to hold services at the Episcopal Church on Capitol Avenue. On August 28th, 1954, the first Krsna Slava "Uspenije Presvete Bogorodice" was celebrated.  The first Sunday School classes were held in October, 1954. In September 1954, Reverend Milovan Shundich was appointed as pastor to the Jackson and Sacramento parishes; however, financial woes prohibited our newly formed parish from obtaining a permanent priest. Also during this time, our parish incorporated as a non-profit organization under the laws of the State of California.  Reverend Dusan Vavich came to our parish in September 1957. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the parish grew and bought their first Church located at 3866 65th Street in Sacramento. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was consecrated on October 18, 1959. Most Reverend Bishop Dionisije, Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese for the United States and Canada was present.

Fr. Vavich left the parish in 1960 and Rev. Miladin Garic assumed the duties as parish priest. Our parish enjoyed many years of spiritual harmony. The period between 1964 and 1975 found us celebrating the burning of the mortgage of the church, purchasing and paying off a parish home on Fotos Court, a triplex next to the church, and a duplex property. On July 17th, 1978, three acres of land in Fair Oaks were purchased. After five years of careful planning, the building of the Fair Oaks Church, Social Hall and Parish home began.

Blessing of the Grounds was held on Sunday, October 12th, 1980.  A Pontifical Liturgy was held followed by the Ground Blessing ceremony with His Grace Bishop Gregory officiating.   Kumovi were Lubo Martinovich Danica Ryder. The new hall and parish home were dedicated on October 18th, 1981. Gordon Gojkovich was Kum for this occasion.  The Cornerstone Blessing for our new church was held on July 31st, 1983; Kumovi for this occasion were Mane and Savka Mileusnic. The Blessing of the Bells and the new Pavilion were also celebrated shortly thereafter; Kumovi for the Blessing of the Bells were Gordon Gojkovich, Danica Gojkovich Ryder, John Gojkovich, Jennie Gojkovich Stossel, Ken Kinnaman, and Gina Gojkovich Kinnaman; Kumovi for the new Pavilion were Pete and Ceil Stefanick. Through-out all the ceremonies we were honored by the presence of His Grace Bishop Gregory and welcomed the responses of both St. Steven’s Cathedral Choir from Alhambra, CA, as well as our own Pera Ilich Choir under the direction of Irene Vickers.

Many committed members worked diligently in raising funds to pay off the mortgage of the Fair Oaks Church. Clearing the debt allowed us to pursue our dream to adorn the church with frescoes. Miloje Milinkovic, a talented fresco iconographer, adorned our beautiful parish with frescoes from the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, His Holy Apostles, and martyred Saints of our faith. Our Church frescoes were consecrated on October 22, 1986.

Protopresbyter Garic served as our parish priest for 32 years until his retirement on December 15, 1992. The Reverend Dobrivoje Milunovic served as our parish priest from December 1992 until August 2002. Our current Parish Priest is Protopresbyter Dane Popovic, who continues to guide our spiritual growth.   

We are deeply indebted to the founders of our church who had the vision and perseverance to establish a place of worship for us. We wish to express our gratitude to all those faithful people who, through their love and support, have made it possible for our parish to exist and grow into what it is today.

If anyone has more information about the history of our church  (such as  stories, news articles,  or photographs) and would like to see it shared on this page, please send an email to:  webmaster  (webmaster@sacserbchurch.org)