SAINT DEMETRIUS CHURCH IN WINDSOR
The church was founded in 1965. The first president was Dimitrije Mijatovic. The old Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Seminole street was bought for $25,000. A lot of work followed upon the acquisition inside and outside the church. The roof leaked, sewers did not function, heating equipment was broken and many other repairs were necessary. Working groups were established, a lot of ingenuity and hard work went into this labour of love. Consecration took place on 19 September 1966. The godfather was Savo Kovac. Bishop Dionisije officiated with the new parish priest Milan Radojevic. The banquet that followed was attended by 300 guests from various walks of life in Windsor.
The work continued without rest. On the SW part of the hall an addition was erected; a kitchen and a reception room. The balcony on the eastern side was transformed into an appartment for the priest. Under the balcony toilets were installed. The roof was completely restored. All the work was done by amateur volunteers who gave it their all.
The other parts of the church life continued. With Circle of Serbian Sisters leading the way the other groups contributed to quality of church life: the folklore group, a soccer team, Sunday School, the celebrations of various groups within community, the church choir.In the seventies the new wave arrived. These were immigrants seeking work and a better life for their families. Many of them joined St. Demetrius. In 1979 Zarko Vucinic was elected president of the congregation. His resume is endless, a man who knew St. Nikolaj Velimirovic, a tireless worker, always ready to help financially and with good sound advice. Even today at 95 he leads a young church executive wisely. An inspiration to us all!
In the 80’s the new ikonostas was built by Dusan Dosen and Marko Krajinovic.The ikons on it are the work of Moma Golubovic from Detroit. The offering for the ikonostas was donated by Spasoje Uljarevic. The hall and church were additionally renovated and remodelled. The basement was extended and beautified with pictures from various parts of Serbia. The church tower was reconditioned and the crosses on the church were changed. In 1987 St. Demetrius hosted diocese 22nd Choir Festival. Choirs from all diocesan churches participated and left with great memories.
A lot near the church was purchased, as well as a house for the priest and 12.5 acre of land in west Windsor. This property was sold at a very good profit, the money to be used as a reserve fund for the church’s lasting existence. The church continued its benevolent activities: sending funds to the Serbian victims of the war, the erecting of a statue to Gen. Mihajlovic, church building at Grace Lake in Illinois, Children’s Village in Windsor, church of All Saints in Mississagua as well as to the fire damaged Hilandar monastery.
In 1992 Patriarch Pavle visited our church with a high profile Serbian Orthodox Church delegation from Belgrade on their way to end the schism, in which with God’s help they succeeded. In 1999 St. Demetrius becomes part of the new Canadian diocese.During this period the fourth wave of immigrants reached Windsor. These were mainly the victims of Balkan wars. They needed much help. Our priest Zoran Milosevic saw personally almost every refugee to help them with their first experiences in Canada.
To commemorate the 2000 years of Christianity our church installed new bells, a gift from parishoners in Ohio, U.S. The consecration was performed by bishop Longin. In July 2007 our priest Milan Krstic launched the idea to cover the inside of th church with frescoes. Contract was signed with fresco painter Gligor Stefanov and the work started in October 2007. Famous choir from Nis paid us a visit, first time that a choir from Serbia graced our church with divine music. They were accompanied by their bishop who would a few years later become the Serbian Patriarch. He visited us as Patriarch in 2015 and will be with us for our 50th anniversary. Our church is truly blessed to be visited by two Patriarchs.
In 2007 our new priest Miroslav Ratkovic presided over the building of a place for candle burning, as well as the banquet for the frescoes which raised $26,000. In November 2011 the frescos painting was completed and many have said that they are among the best on this continent.
In August 2012 protojerej Jovica Cetkovic joined St. Demetrius as the new spiritual father. Work in and around the church continued: the courtyard is enlarged and redone, the new classrooms are built, a library and an archive are initiated, Church Herald is enlarged, two new festivals are started. In February 2014 the church hosts a hundred delegates from parishes across Canada for their annual conference. We sent $100,000 to Republica Srpska and Kosovo and Metohija to help the needy, as well as $50,000 in 2014 for flood victims.
Today the congregation consists of 250 families, 200 of which are actively involved in church activities. The Church attendence is up 50%. We hope and pray that we never have to go through horrible tribulations such as schism or something similar. We will keep on guarding and bettering the heritage that our founders 50 years ago started and passed it onto us. With God’s help we shall succeed!
On the Feast of the Dormition Of the Mother of God 2016
Your servant in Christ,