The Calgary Chetniks have been very active in the Calgary Serbian community in promoting Serbian history and culture through guest speakers from Serbia and North America, history movie nights, and other events such as the commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of WWI, which symbolizes the victory and sacrifice of the Serbian people for God, King, and Country. The highlight of the group’s tenure was the unveiling and consecration of a memorial plaque on September 29, 2012, in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in the Canadian Rockies where there is a mountain peak named after Field Marshal Radomir Putnik
By Bosko Ivkovic
The Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravna Gora in Calgary, Alberta, Canada has been planning for a Chetnik center since they formed in March of 2003. The dream of having their own place finally came true at the end of August 2023 when The Heritage Building was given a “pass” by the Municipal District of Foothills of Calgary for final inspection. The Heritage Building was a joint effort by the Calgary Chetniks and the St. Simeon Serbian Orthodox Church. The building sits on an 18-acre church property located in De Winton on the outskirts of Calgary. The Heritage Building will have dual purpose with the top floor being used by the Ravna Gora Chetniks, while the main level will be used by the church as a maintenance facility with a candle-making space and garage for maintenance equipment.
The Calgary Chetniks, also known as the Ravna Gora Serbian Heritage Society (RGSHS), are registered as a heritage society in the Province of Alberta. They have donated $415,000 to the church for construction of The Heritage Building, with the exception of $5000 which was donated to The Jasenovac Holocaust Memorial Foundation for the bulk purchase of Dr. Gideon Greif’s book Jasenovac – Auschwitz of the Balkans and to Pogledi for the documentary film about Vojvoda Momcilo Djujic. The total construction cost of The Heritage building is near $600,000 which includes a parking lot with stalls.
The Calgary Chetniks have been very active in the Calgary Serbian community in promoting Serbian history and culture through guest speakers from Serbia and North America, history movie nights, and other events such as the commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of WWI, which symbolizes the victory and sacrifice of the Serbian people for God, King, and Country. The highlight of the group’s tenure was the unveiling and consecration of a memorial plaque on September 29, 2012, in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in the Canadian Rockies where there is a mountain peak named after Field Marshal Radomir Putnik. The inscription on the memorial plaque reads as follows:
“Mount Putnik is named in perpetual remembrance of the men and women of the allied armed forces in Serbia and their leader Field Marshal Radomir Putnik (1847-1917). Serbia lost a quarter of its population, both army and civilian, during WWI (1914-1918). This sacrifice was part of Canadian and Allied efforts in Europe against three empires to protect the rights and freedoms of humankind.”
Mount Putnik was named in 1918 in appreciation of the sacrifices of Field Marshal Radomir Putnik and the Serbian army during the Great War.
The Heritage Building in Calgary was designed by Zoran Ivanovic, a local Serbian architect, to reflect the old traditional Serbian buildings seen in the old country with approximately 4000 square feet on two levels. The plans for the second floor include a Serbian library which will house history and other Serbian books, including rare books which were sourced from estate sales and donated by individuals. There are plans for the library to become a Serbian research and education center in the future. There is also a meeting and presentation area, office, kitchenette, and outdoor veranda with BBQ overlooking the soccer fields used by the local Serbian soccer teams.
On Sunday, October 1, the Heritage Building was blessed by His Grace Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church of Canada Dr. Mitrofan Kodic after church service. Ravna Gora members Branko and Katrina Tumbas were Kumovi for the occasion. The parishioners followed Bishop Mitrofan, Proto Obrad Filipovic of Calgary, and Proto Sinisa Milutinovic of Vancouver as they walked over to the new building. Once everyone was gathered upstairs, a blessing commenced as everyone checked out the Ravna Gora library and meeting area for the first time.
On Saturday, October 21, the Calgary Chetniks held a banquet to celebrate its 20 years as a chapter of The Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravna Gora and the completion of The Heritage Building. The evening started with a speech by the President of the Calgary Pokret Chapter Bosko Ivkovic followed by an inspirational video made by the Serbian Chetniks in Australia with a musical arrangement by Mica Petrović from Mississauga, Ontario. The video demonstrated the strong bond between The Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravna Gora and Serbian Orthodox Church. After the speech and video, kolo dances were performed by Calgary’s SKUD Frula folklore dancer group.
The music for the evening consisted of both narodne and chetnik songs by the world-class accordionist Velimir Zivkovic from Belgrade, professional pianist and keyboard player Bane Djordjevic from Chicago, and local singer Miki Stojnic. In one word, the evening was “magical” and will be long remembered.
It is the intent of the Calgary Chetniks to arrange future visits by central committee board members of The Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravna Gora and other patriotic Serbs who would like to visit the Chetniks in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This is the only chapter of The Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravna Gora in Western Canada.
The Ravna Gora Serbian Heritage Society would like to acknowledge the members who have been instrumental in the success of our organization, including Bosko, Vesna, George, and Jovana Ivkovic, Brian and Katrina Tumbas, Bogdan Karadjordjevic and Marcella Murray, Svetomir (Toki) Petrovic, Milan Radenkovic, Kosta Gregovic, Casey and Sheryl Porter, Djuro Bosancic, Miso Panic, Brian Dojcinovic, Sasha Dojcinovic, Dusan Maodus, Mary Dimitrijevic Vega, Aco Tadic, Dusan Mikulic, Punisa Miletic, and Rajko Crnogorac. RGSHS would like to thank Branko Vukelic, the first president and founder of RGSHS, for taking the initiative to establish the Calgary chapter of The Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravna Gora. A special thanks goes to Vesna Ivkovic who guided RGSHS in its qualification as a charity organization with the Alberta Government Liquor Control Board, which allowed the organization to receive casino funding proceeds. Lastly, RGSHS would also like to give a special thanks to Djuro Bosancic, who is presently in a care home after his surgery, for attending the banquet and bringing his sense of humour. His will and humour has taught us that you can’t keep a good man down, especially one with a Chetnik heart. Ravna Gora Pobediti Mora!
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