A New Serbian Parish in Des Moines, Iowa

The first Serbs from Austro-Hungary who settled in the city of Des Moines at the beginning of the twentieth century went to the nearby St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Omaha, Nebraska or to St. George in Kansas City, Kansas and less in a local Greek Orthodox church of St. George. In the 1920s in one suburb of Des Moines where surface coal mines were located and where a large group of Serbs from Lika and Montenegrins lived and worked, the Brotherhood of St. Spiridon of the Serbian Supporting Association Sloga was founded but did not last long. 

In 1990s of the last century in the city of Des Moines a large group of Serbs came from former Yugoslavia, devastated by the war. The only Orthodox church in the city was Greek. In 2002 father Aleksandar Bugarin, priest from the Serbian Orthodox Church St. George from Kansas City found out about the large group of Serbs who live in this city and on Sunday, March 31, 2002 organized a vesper service with a permission of the Greek priest in their church. The church was full of the  Serbs newcomers. Since then until 2004, father Aleksandar occasionally went there to serve in the same church. Late Metropolitan Hristofor blessed the work of this small community and gave them a title of a missionary parish that has St. Great Martyr Demetrius as its Patron Saint. For the first administrator was father Sasa Petrovic from Su Falls, South Dakota was chosen, and later was father Bojan Kosanin subtituted him. In 2009 protopresbyter Aleksandar Bugarin was chosen for the new administrator. 

As one small protestant church was on sale, it was suggested by one parishioner to buy this church. So, in October 3, 2011 father Aleksandar, Marko Magazinovic, Radmila Raus and Mirjana Mandic signed the credit in Iowa State Bank and with it the first Serbian Orthodox Church in Des Moines and all Iowa was bought.

The Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Demetrius is located on following address: 4655 NE 3rd Street, Des Moines, IA. Prayers and material help of the Orthodox Serbs on this Continent are needed. In this way we ask priests to check their utility rooms and cupboards in their churches and see if they have a surplus of church items, icons, vestments, or anything that would be useful for this new church,  to send or report to f. Aleksandar.  If you want to send Your contribution make a check to:

St Demetrius Building Fund
4655 NE 3rd Street
Des Moines, IA 50313

The first vesper service was served by father Aleksandar on the Eve of the feast day of St. Demetrius and about forty believers came although it was a work day. The church slava was celebrated on November 19, the Holy Liturgy was served by f. Sasa Petrovic from Omaha. 

Source: serborth.org