Funeral Service and Burial of V.Rev. Stavrofor Lazar Kostur 1940 – 2023

Funeral Service and Burial of V.Rev. Stavrofor Lazar Kostur 1940 – 2023

On Thursday, December 7, 2023, at 6 P.M. the Funeral Service for Fr. Lazar Kostur was held in St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana, where Fr. LKazar was parish priest for twenty two years.  The St. Elijah Cathedral was filled with faithful who came to pay respect to this well loved priest. Many of his former parishioners from different parishes were in attendance. Most of them were from St. Elijah parish and Chicago area.

Bishop Longin presided over Funeral Service. Participating were archbishop Peter (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia), twenty seven priests and three proto-deacons.

During the service His Grace Bishop Longin and V. Rev. Nedeljko Lunich said eulogies. Eulogies are included in this obituary.

It was moving to hear Fr. Lazar’s  grandchildren reading epistles during the service. The parish choir with the clergy responded at service. After the last farewell the casket with  earthly remains of Fr. Lazar was taken around the church.

The parish of St. Elijah prepared memorial meals.

The Holy Hierarchical Liturgy and Pomen in St. Sava Monastery

On Friday, December 8, 2023 His Grace Bishop Teodosije (Diocese of Rass-Prizren) was presiding over Holy Liturgy with His Eminence archbishop Peter (ROCOR), His Grace Bishop Longin and His Grace Bishop Mitrophan in attendance. Over thirty priests and 4 proto-deacons participated in Holy Liturgy. It was gratifying to hear Fr. Lazo’s grandchildren responding at Holy Liturgy, lead by Mihaila Tuba Tomic and Vasilije Katanic. We believe Fr. Lazar’s soul was rejoicing, hearing beautiful emotional voices of his grandchildren. That was consolation for Father’s afmily, protinica Mira, son Peter (Danielle), son Fr. Nikolaj (popadija Katya), daughter Christina (V. Rev. Stavrofor Dragomir) Tuba and daughter Tatjana (V. Rev. Stavrofor Milovan) Katanic, daughter Suzzane (Nicholaos) Triphologos.

Following Holy liturgy Memorial Pomen Service was held with four Hierarchs, thirty five priests and three proto-deacons and one deacon participating.

Pomen Service was held at the grave side by His Grace Bishop Longin and few priests and deacons. After it the casket with the earthly remains of Fr. Lazar were laid in the grave.

Memorial luncheon was held at the new Gracanica Monastery Hall.

Fr. Nikolaj, on behalf of Fr. Lazar family thanked all who attended funeral service and Holy Liturgy and pomen as well as all who expressede their sympathy. Then, he spoke of his father, his love, compassion, devotion and dedication in his priestly services. He aws proud of his family. He was a humble, never put himself before and above anybody. He was always ready to help those in needs. Many immigrants in 1990’s who came to the Northwest Indiana needed help. Fr. Lazar took them to where ever they had to go, never accepting any compensation. Fr. Lazar was rich man in God. Fr. Nikolaj thanked his father for all he did for his family.

Archpriest-Stavrophor LAZAR KOSTUR

APRIL 1, 1940 – DECEMBER 1, 2023

On Friday, December 1, 2023, Archpriest Lazar Kostur passed away in his home in Coral Springs, Florida, with his loving wife of 54 and a half years, Protinica Mira, by his side.

Lazar Kostur, was born on April 1, 1940, in Civljane, Dalmatia, to the late +Ilija and +Cvita Kostur. He came to Gary, Indiana, in 1958, where he graduated from Emerson High School.

In 1962, Lazar enrolled in Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York, which he successfully completed in 1967, receiving a Bachelor Degree in Theology from the University of the State of New York. Entertaining post-graduate studies in Russian and History at Indiana University Northwest, he further pursued a Master of Arts Degree in History at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois.

On June 8, 1969, Lazar was united in marriage with Mira Stepanovich of Detroit, Michigan. On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14/27 September 1969, Lazar Kostur was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at the hands of the His Grace Bishop Dr. Firmilian (Ocokoljich), Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Midwestern America, at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

His first parish was St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Waukegan, Illinois, where he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on Sunday, February 1, 1970.  On October 1, 1973, Fr. Lazar was transferred to serve at Sts. Peter and Paul Serbian Orthodox Church in South Bend, Indiana. In April of 1976, his work in the vineyard of the Lord continued in the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America; first, at St. Sava Church in San Gabriel, California, and later at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Castro Valley, California. In April of 1980, he assumed the pastorate of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Duluth, Minnesota. In April 1986, Fr. Lazar moved to St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Merrillville, Indiana. On the November 5, 1989, he was elevated to the dignity of an Archpriest by the Diocesan Administrator, His Grace Bishop Mitrophan (Kodic) of Toplica.  Fr. Lazar served St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Merrillville, Indiana, until his retirement on August 31, 2008.  On the occasion of his forty years of priestly service, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross, September 27, 2009, His Grace Bishop Longin (Krco) of New Gracanica and Midwestern America, awarded Fr. Lazar with the right to wear a pectoral cross.  In retirement, he prayed and assisted at St. Simeon Serbian Orthodox Church in North Miami, Florida, and in his home parish of St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Cathedral during the warmer months.

Fr. Lazar and Protinica Mira had five children, Kristina, Petar, Tatiana, Suzana  and Nikolaj. He was a loving father, who brought up his children in the way of Christ and His Holy Church.  The divine services and the Church were always a priority for the entire family.  Fr. Lazar made sure that his children were on the path of faith, always being an example of prayer in the home.  He was a moral example, served and taught with a pure heart and dedication to Christ.  Daily he prayed for all of his friends, former parishioners and clergy. 

From his children, he proudly had 24 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild: daughter Protinica Kristina and her husband Archpriest-Stavrophor Dragomir Tuba: Jovan and his daughter Amara, Mihaila (Aleksandar) Tomic, Petar, Ana and Lazar; son Petar and his wife Danijela Kostur: Ivana, Marina and Dejana; daughter Protinica Tatiana and her husband Archpriest-Stavrophor Milovan Katanic: Vasilije, Lazar, Nikolina, Jelena, Jovana, Milica and Ilija; daughter Suzana and her husband Nikolaos Tripologos: Ioannis, Alexia and Stefan; son Priest Nikolaj and his wife Popadija Katherine Kostur: Lazar, Kasijana, Marija, Ilija, Nikolaj and Ksenia.  His family was his utmost pride and joy.  He lived every day thinking about them, visiting with them, calling them and showering them with love.

Fr. Lazar and Protinica fulfilled their dream of retirement together in Coral Springs, Florida, where they spent 15 blessed years together in the sunshine, which he loved so much.

Over the last few years of life, Fr. Lazar had some health problems, suffering a stroke in 2021, yet he persevered with rehabilitation, trying to fulfill his desire to serve the Divine Liturgy once again.  In September of 2023, Fr. Lazar was diagnosed with the most aggressive brain cancer.

May our Lord receive the noble soul of his servant, Archpriest-Stavrophor Lazar Kostur, into the dwellings of His Heavenly Kingdom, where there is neither sickness, nor sorrow, nor sighing, but life everlasting.  Memory eternal!

V. Rev. Lazar Kostur 1940-2023

V. Rev. Lazar Kostur 1940 – 2023


Dear family, protinice, children, grandchildren and great grandchild,

May God comfort you at the departure of your loved one, from his God given earthly life to the eternal Heavenly one.

Born in a God fearing family of +Ilija and +Cvita Kostur in a mountainous Dalmatian hinterland in the region of Vrlika at the outbreak of World War II, in his early childhood he was growing up with older and younger sisters, Andja and Milica. Father Ilija being a part of a Serbian resistance was dividing his time between taking care of family and participation in the Serbian uprising movement. That will be a picture through the war years, 1941 -1945. Due to the outcome of the war the Dinara Chetnik Division was compelled to move to the North West of the country. His father went too. Now it was to his mother to raise young family. With God’s help she raised them in a fear of God; installing in them the values of honorable Christian life.

Young Lazar completed elementary and grade school in Vrlika. He spent couple years with his uncle in Beograd where he studied at tailors trade school. Though coming from a mountainous  village area where men had a harsh way of life which reflected  on their character  toughness Fr. Lazar contrary had a mild character, good manners and a noble soul.

He immigrated with his mother Cvita and sister Milica to the United States in 1958 and joined father Ilija in Gary, Indiana. He graduated from local High School and enrolled to the Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, N.Y. in 1962. He graduated in 1967. Later in priesthood he will pursue studies at Indiana University Northwest and Masters studies  at Roosevelt University in Chicago

Upon my arrival to the United States in Gary, Indiana 1963, Fr. Lazar and his family extended their hand to me. He took me around, introduced to the various people. His parents treated me as their own. I will later have an opportunity to return favor in a very significant way. It was God’s will that he visited me while I was assistant pastor in Detroit. There he met a lovely girl Mira who became his wife, life- long faithful companion.

Allow me to use few passages from the Scriptures and apply them to Fr. Lazo’s  life. 

 We read in the Psalm 122, 1: “I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord”! Once Fr. Lazo as a young boy entered into the house of the Lord, at Holy Trinity Monastery, he stayed in the house of the Lord all his life. He may not been always physically present but his heart and soul were.

Further we read in the Psalm 26, 8: “Lord, I have loved the habitation of your house, and the place where you glory dwells!” His love was not just expression of gratitude, but love and fear of God. He always with the fear of God and with love entered the house of the Lord.

Now we come to the passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew, 7: 16-20;” You will know them by their fruits…Even so, every good tree  bears good fruit…Therefore by their fruits  you will know them…” Fr. Lazo leaves a rich heritage. Three of his children are in the service of the Lord. Son Nikolaj a priest and two daughters protinice. The other two, son and daughter and their families are very much part of a church life. Thus he leaves five children, three sons in laws, two daughters in law, twenty four grand children and one great grand child. Indeed a treasure of wealth. 

The following are the words of his family:

” He was a loving father, who brought up his children in the way of Christ and His Holy Church. The divine services and the church were always priority for the entire family. He made sure that his children were on the path of faith, always being example of prayer at home. He was moral example, served and thought with a pure heart and dedication to Christ. His family was always his pride and joy. He lived every day thinking about them, visiting with them, calling them and showering them with love!” 

His strong belief in a miraculous work of the glorified God’s saints led him to make pilgrimages to the Serbian monasteries prior to his ordination, as well as later. He made several pilgrimages to St. John of Francisco. He traveled to Russia to make homage to the Holy Russian orthodox church on the occasion of the unification of the Russian church abroad with the Mother Church.

Fr. Lazar made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the Holy City of Jerusalem to quench a thirst with  the holy water from the life spring, and could had repeated the words of the Lovchen’s prophet:”O preblagi tihi Ucitelju, slatka li je sveta, bistra voda; s istocnika Tvoga besmrtnoga!”

“The most gentle peaceful Teacher, sweet is holy pure water, from Thy eternal spring!”

Fr. Lazar served well where ever he was called. His first sixteen years were more pastoral missionary work. Starting in Waukegan, IL, 1970, he will follow to South Bend, IN. 1973, then San Gabriel, California, 1976, Castro Valley 1977, Duluth, MN, 1980, and finally to St. Elijah in Merrillville, IN, 1986, his “home town”. In St. Elijah parish he served till his retirement in 2008. In this parish he left the visible marks. He continued in the steps of his predecessor, well known and highly respected Fr. George Lazich. Yes, we the priests have some bumps on the roads in our pastoral travels,  but no bumps could derailed Fr. Lazar from his straight path, since his faith was a his strong shield. Unwavering  support of his devoted honorable wife, protinica Mira, his children and the whole family had given him strength and the wings in his pastoral work. For his dedicated priestly service Fr. Lazar was awarded the highest honor and rank in the priesthood, a right to wear pectoral cross.

Dear family, I pray that comfort will enter into your hearts and that the meaning of his life will grant you peace in your grief. There will be a void. How could not be so? For indeed, such a life, that was perhaps larger than life, cannot be expunged from your minds and hearts. He will remain a great presence among you, as well as among us, and that presence, over time, will be reassuring and comforting.

We are forever grateful for the time we spent with him and for the lasting impact he left on our hearts. Let us find comfort in the knowledge that Fr. Lazar’s spirit endures through every act of kindness and love we share.

Fr. Lazar’s words, wise counsel and unwavering spirit have been an immense source of strength for his flock.

Travel safe, dear kum, to the bosom of Abraham; to the company of the righteous. May you hear the words: “Good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Master!

Eulogy by V. Rev. Nedeljko Lunic

More posts...

Bishop Longin of New Gracanica-Midwestern America expresses his heartfelt condolences to the family of Marko...

With the blessing of His Grace Longin, the Serbian Orthodox Bishop of New Gracanica Midwestern...

The Diocesan Youth Department is thrilled to announce the upcoming Youth Soccer Tournament, set to...

Under the auspices of His Grace Longin, the Serbian Orthodox Bishop of New Gracanica Midwestern...

Chicago, IL, May 5, 2024 – The Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois,...

The Serbian Orthodox Churchto her spiritual children at Pascha, 2024 PORFIRIJE By the Grace of...