DJURDJEVDAN – SAINT GEORGE’S DAY (Orthodox calendar)
May 6, 2016
Happy Saint George’s Day No. 2!
Yes. No. 2.
May 6 on the Eastern Orthodox (Julian) calendar is the equivalent of April 23 on the Gregorian (western) calendar. Same saint – two different dates. You can see both icons on the walls of our home at the Rainbow Shower in Maui.
Ever since 2008, I have been celebrating St George’s Day as my second “Slava” (Saint-protector Day). But it was not until St Nicholas Day on Dec 19, 2015, my first Slava, that I found out why. “Djurdjevdan,” or St George’s Day, was my maternal Bogdanovic family’s Slava, my elder sister told me as she called from Serbia to wish me a Happy St Nicholas Day Slava.
The reason I was guided to start celebrating St George’s Day in 2008 had a lot more to do with my spiritual awakening and becoming a Shaman than it did with the Orthodox faith. So it was a wonderful “bonus” to learn six months ago that there was also a strong familial reason for it.
Eight years ago, I had an opportunity for the first time to participate in St George Day celebrations in Belgrade. First, I went to a 9AM service at the Saborna (Congregational) Church. Churches frown at photos being taken inside, but I figured St. George would not mind it if I tried to educate some of my worldwide friends about him and this special day
Second, I was invited to a St. George celebration at the Serbian Medical Society building in George Washington Street in Belgrade. It turns out St. George is the patron of the Serbian doctors, as well as of the whole country, since the medical society was formed on this day in the 19th century.
After a private tour of the facility, I attended my second St. George’s service of the day. This time, it was performed by Archbishop Atanasije on the steps of the Medical Society’s building. This archbishop was one of several I was introduced to when I was meeting the late Serbian Patriarch Pavle during my many wartime visits to Belgrade. But this was the first time he and I had an opportunity for a private chat.
During his sermon, Archbishop Atanasije spoke lovingly of the Roman war soldier George who was loved by his troops as well as his superiors, both for his courage and his wisdom.
“But what set him apart from other men was his sense of timing,” said His Grace. “He chose exactly the right moment when he would have the maximum impact on his people to declare himself a Christian publicly, in front of his troops. And for that, he suffered terribly. But not only did he endure all the tortures, he rejoiced while it was happening. Only a man imbued with the Spirit of God could have done that.”
Here’s now also a link to a short clip I made on May 6, 2008 of my first St George’s Day service in Serbia:
PART OF ST GEORGE’S DAY SERVICE BY ARCHBISHOP ATANASIJE IN BELGRADE, SERBIA (May 6, 2008)
After this service, I walked to St. Mark’s Cathedral. Which is the second largest church in Belgrade.
Saint Mark Cathedral
Inside St Mark
Holy Trinity Russian Church, next to St Mark Cathedral
I also spent some time inside, where a procession of St. George celebrants were saying their prayers and offering their respects to the Patron Saint. That’s where you can also see a crypt of the Serbian Czar Dusan (1355) who was the ruler of the country before the Ottoman conquest. At the time, Serbia was one of the most powerful empires in Europe (late 14th century).
And so with that personal note, once again, Happy Djurdjevdan! (St George’s Day).
ETYMOLOGY OF THE NAME DJURDJEVIC (MACGEORGE)
By the way, for those interested in etymology, the surname stems from the ancient Serbian first name DJURADJ. Which was the old Serbian equivalent of GEORGE. The ending “ich” is equivalent to Mac or Mc in Gaelic names. So the Irish/Scottish name corresponding to Djurdjevic would be MACGEORGE (or McGeorge, Macgeorge. McJore, McJoar).
Here’s the Celtic genealogy of MacGeorge aka. O’Djurdjevic as I call myself on St Patrick’s Day… 🙂
MacGeorge, originally Mac Jore, the surname of an old family which, from an early period was settled in Galloway. Towards the middle of the 17th century they had became divided into several branches – all land proprietors and all in the same district, chiefly in the parish of Urr.
There were branches of several distinguished Irish families settled in Galloway (Galway), such as the clan Carthy (called in that district as Macartney) and others: and the late Mr Brydson, the author of an excellent work on Heraldry, is of the opinion that the family Macgeorge is descended from the ancient Irish clan Mac Yoris, which had settled, he says, at an early period, in Galloway (Galway), and which in the time of Henry II, was reckoned among the great families of Ireland. This is confirmed by the manner in which the name at and early period was pronounced and spelt in Galloway (Galway).
DJURDJEVIC FAMILY HISTORY
As for the DJURDJEVIC family history, that’s what my 2oo8 trip to Serbia and Montenegro – the Djurdjevic Mountain was about – visiting the mountain where my ancestors had lived for about 300 years (between the late 1300s and late 1600s, before migrating northward toward Belgrade -see the maps).
Before the 1300s, the Djurdjevic’s were the nobles with properties in the area of today’s southern Macedonia-northern Greece, near Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great. In fact, I discovered several years later that I had been Philip II of Macedon in one of my past lives, the father of Alexander. And my father in this lifetime, Jovan, was back then my son – Alexander the Great.
But I had not known any of that back in May 2008 when I arrived at the Djurdjevic Mtn in Montenegro. What I did know is that, when I was a kid visiting my father’s homestead in Srem, just west of Belgrade, I’d heard that the local villagers nicknamed us”the Greeks.” I never knew why until I did this genealogical research a quarter century ago.
Shortly after that, in June 1990, I visited the Djurdjevic Mtn and the Djurdjevica Tara river (above right) with my family for the first time (see the photos with my daughters).
I had only been there one more time, in 1994, during one of my wartime trips through Bosnia. My escorts and I crossed the border from Bosnia into Montenegro in the vicinity of the Djurdjevic Mtn. So I just could not pass up the opportunity of stopping by, even just for a few minutes (right photo).
Back to 2008, this time, it was not just a casual visit. There are certain rites that I needed to perform on “my mountain.” So it would not get “jealous” of my new patrons in the Andes.
For more, see… ANSWERING A MOUNTAIN CALL – http://yinyangbob.com/Photos/Europe5_08/Montenegro2.html