Varnava Nastić

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Saint Varnava the New-Confessor
Bishop, Hierarch, New Confessor
Born January 31, 1914
Gary, Indiana, U.S.
Died November 12, 1964
Beocanin Monastery
Canonized May 15, 2005, Žitomislić Monastery, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Serbian Orthodox Church
Feast October 30 (Julian calendar)
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Saint Varnava (Barnabas) the New Confessor (Serbian: Свети Варнава Нови Исповједник), also known as Varnava of Hvosno was auxiliary bishop of Hvosno and is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church. His feast is October 30 on Julian Calendar.


Varnava was born Vojislav Nastić in Gary, Indiana, on January 31, 1914 into a family of Serbian immigrants. His father and mother were Atanasije and Zorka Nastić. When Vojislav was a child, his parents returned to their homeland. Vojislav attended high school in Sarajevo, graduating in 1933. He continued his education at the University of Belgrade's Faculty of Orthodox Theology, graduating in 1937. After graduating he taught as a catechist in two high schools in Sarajevo.

In 1940, Vojislav took monastic vows in Mileševa Monastery, receiving the name Varnava. Varnava was ordained hierodeacon by Metr. Petar of Dabar-Bosna.

Dn. Varnava remained in Sarajevo during World War II. Croatian fascists, however, tried to force him to join the "Croatian Orthodox Church" which they had organized to subvert the Serbian population in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dn. Varnava categorically refused this. Soon he had to leave Sarajevo in order to save his life.

After war he was ordained hieromonk and raised to the rank of protosyncellus by Bp. Nektarije of Zvornik and Tuzla. In its first regular session, the Holy Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church elected Fr. Varnava auxiliary bishop to the Patriarch of Serbia with the title Bishop of Hvosno, with the responsibility of administering the Diocese of Dabar-Bosna. He is consecrated by Patriarch Gavrilo, Bp. Nektarije, and Bp. Vikentije of Zletovo and Strumica on May 20, 1947.

In his new position Bp. Varnava began openly criticizing the new communist regime for mistreating the church. He was soon arrested and sentenced to twenty years in prison. To support the accusation that he was an American spy, it was presented as evidence that he was teaching his sister English so she could be used as a spy for the Americans.

Bp. Varnava was subjected to torture, lack of food, and was kept in the most isolated wing of the prison. But Bp. Varnava remained calm. Every day he sang the troparia and other hymns. The communist Government even arranged an accident in order to get rid of him in which he broke his leg. Although the communist secret police, OZNA, did not allow doctors to provide him any medical help, he recovered. He was released after accident to house arrest in the Gomionica Monastery in the Diocese of Banja Luka until his release in 1960.

He died on November 12, 1964, in suspicious circumstances, leading some historians to believe that he was poisoned by OZNA. In 2005, during the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church Bishop Varnava was canonized and his name was added to the list of other saints of the Serbian people and of Orthodox Christian faith.

External links[edit]

  • September, 2005 issue of Clergy Messenger PDF (329 KiB), the newsletter of the Clergy Brotherhood of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada, with a biography of St. Varnava
  • Communique from the annual Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church for 2005

This article incorporates text from Varnava (Nastic) at OrthodoxWiki which is licensed under the CC-BY-SA and GFDL.