As we have been making our way west in Canada I have been thinking about my great-grandparents and grandparents and their journey from Serbia to Saskatchewan. After winding our way through Canada, the United States and Mexico these past fourteen months we have finally made it to Regina.
Apparently back in the early 1900s the Canadian government offered incentives to emigrate here from other countries like Serbia, Poland, the Ukraine and Germany. The idea was to lure them to landscapes and occupations similar to the countries in which they were leaving. In this case flat, prairie, farmland similar to that of their native province of Banat in Serbia. I think it went something like this: my great-grandfather, Misha Yakovlev, came first and then his wife Dorinka and their two daughters (my grandmother, Julka and her sister Blanche) followed. I try to imagine the journey from Serbia to here and it just amazes me. My uncle told me that they first farmed land in North Battleford and then when the Dust Bowl hit and they lost all their crops they moved to the city of Regina. It is here that my great-grandfather helped found the first Serbian Orthodox Church in Canada in 1916. It is in this church that my grandmother and grandfather, Julka and Vladamir Nedin married and where they held the funeral for their first daughter, Ruth.
Today Christian and I visited this church, met the priest V. Rev. Radovan Maric and his daughter; Zoran (son of the former priest) and the rest of the congregation. They accepted us into the church with open arms and invited us to join them for lunch. They were so happy to meet a descendant of one of the founders of the church. We also visited the Serbian Club and the Regina Cemetery where my aunt Ruth is buried.
The congregation of Holy Trinity Church has invited us and all our family to the 100 year anniversary next year on June 18 and 19, 2016.