Eulogy for Prota Nedjo: A Life of Faith, Service, and Love – Delivered by Bishop Longin

Eulogy for Prota Nedjo: A Life of Faith, Service, and Love – Delivered by Bishop Longin

Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. (Мт. 25, 21) 


Bereaved Familyreverend fathers, dear brothers and sisters! 

The book of earthly life of our good Prota Nedjo is now closed! After various health problems he was translated into the Kingdom of light and joy. All the treasures of this world are nothing compared to the goodness of one man. Out of love for Fr. Nedjo, we wanted him to stay here on earth a little longer. But God loved him more than we have and has taken him to Himself. While we are sad and feel pain, along with Fr. Ned’s family, over his departure, at the same time we thank God for having given us such a unique man who has left an indelible trace in the hearts of his parishioners, family and friends. His sincere faith, dedication to the Serbian name, as well as love and generosity – will be missed by all of us. Through the tears which we cannot escape, at the funeral, we see the light of the resurrection, and through our pain, Jesus’ victory over death and eternal life which  is opening for all those  departed. 

Photo Source: Shaw Local News Network

Prota Nedjo served the Serbian Orthodox Church for many decades, in Joliet, Chicagoland and elsewhere, carrying his heavy pastoral cross with dignity and great patience. 

I am grateful to him also for his years of service to the Diocese in various capacities. Just to mention one thing, he served for 36 years on the Board for the Path of Orthodoxy. He was very active in all national and cultural organizations, always ready to help someone. But, most importantly father Nedjo was a good spiritual shepherd to you.

He was a great helper, especially to his Bishop, as the Dean of the Chicago Deanery, as he helped also the late Metropolitan Christopher and late Bishop Firmilian for many years. We recognize his selfless service on the Central Council and Diocesan Council for many years, as well as his sincere help as the Bishop’s Deputy. 

He was a positive person, very humble, honest, direct and down-to-earth. He has a wealth of experience and wisdom about people. Fr. Nedjo was an excellent mentor, a role model, a support to his parishioners and especially to younger brother priests. He loved being with the seminarians and young priests who serve at our parishes and vice versa. He enjoyed their enthusiasm and excitement about priesthood and they enjoyed hearing his experiences and insights.

On this occasion, I would especially like to point out his love and help for the Church in the Old country. Some time in the 1970s I heard the name of Nedeljko Lunic while I was still a seminarian at the Krka Monastery. Much help came from him including stipends, other financial help and even a van for the needs of the seminary choir. This is why his name is written in gold at Holy Three Hierarchs Seminary in Krka and in the Diocese of Dalmatia as a whole. Since he was born there, he could not act otherwise. Serbian people in Dalmatia have a strong character and soft, tender hearts. They are good patriots and faithful Orthoodx Christians.

I see fr. Ned (not saw – since all are alive with God), as a true friend, a good coworker and a brother for whom I have most profound respect and love, and whose departure I lament! It is difficult to find any words of comfort at this time. The last several days have been full of grief and sadness for all of us.

Our dear Father Nedjo was blessed by God with many gifts, which he richly shared with his parishioners, family, and friends. He comforted many, as a good priest and shepherd, he encouraged many, and touched many hearts and inspired them to do good. Those gifts we received from him we are obligated to multiply and bear rich fruits so that in his departing, this world wouldn’t be deprived of them. Each of us whom he knew was the field in which he sowed goodness, righteousness, wisdom and love. And the seed of his virtues and good deeds should bear forth fruits, in order that the words of the Gospel be fulfilled: “If the wheat does not die, it remains one. But if it dies, it bears multifold fruits.” After the funeral service, the seed, Fr. Nedjo is going to be sowed in the earth of the Serbian cemetery of St. Sava’s Monastery and will bring fruits in each of our lives. In that sense he leaves and turns over the responsibility to us, and calls us to live a life worthy of that Light which every candle reminds us of.

At the end of each funeral service, we sing vecnaja pamjat— memory eternal.

Memory is the only antidote we have against death. But human memory is temporary. Only when we commit our loved ones to the memory of the eternal God, then they live forever. Because whatever God “remembers,” whatever He has in His memory, takes existence. It lives. There we always commit our dead, our loved ones, when they depart from this life, that is why the Church has the Divine Liturgy, the Divine Eucharist, where the memory of the Lamb is celebrated, in which we also place the memory of our beloved brothers and sisters, living and reposed.

Usually, when we think about death, we see it as a departure. That’s right, because we are being separated from the person who is dear to us. But we shouldn’t forget that through death, something mystical and invisible happens; something which every soul is longing for. And that is meeting God, meeting with that beauty, goal and fullness of life which everyone desires. This is why candles at the funeral service don’t just mean that the person just went through life as a spark of light, but that we are escorting them to the mystical feast of meeting God, the Creator and Father.

I especially want to express my sympathy to Neda, Stevan, grandchildren, Family and friends. We offer you our most sincere condolences, our prayers, and our love. We all want to in some way share in your pain so that you can carry this burden. 

And now we ask Fr Nedeljko to join the prayers of other heavenly dwellers, and intercede for his flock, for all the parishioners whom he served, and for all our people, for their success in spiritual life, for the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church, and for the whole world. May the sorrow of his family and all the bereaved ones here be turned into joy, because we have gained an intercessor in heaven.

To this unique priest, honorable man, and wonderful father and grandfather, may God be merciful. May God grant Father Nedjo blessed rest in his kingdom, and to the family health and strength to continue your life and work. Упокой, Господи, душу усопшего раба Твоего!  Grant rest, O Lord, to the soul of Thy servant!

May his memory be eternal 


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