The ST. SAVA SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH CONTROVERSY (1963-75) over control of church property and control by a hierarchical form of church government split Cleveland's Serbian community. An administrative dispute in 1963 between the patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox church in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and the church's popular American bishop, Dionisije Milivojevish, resulted in the bishop's being deposed. As in other parts of the country, Serbs in Cleveland who were members of the St. Sava congregation were divided. When the deposed bishop called for an annual meeting, the congregation split over the issue of attending. Later, supporters of the deposed bishop objected to a church dues increase, and the matter landed in court. The controversy soon escalated and became a struggle to control property, including the recently constructed St. Sava's Serbian Orthodox Church on Broadview Rd. and Ridgewood Dr. in
In Feb. of 1992, Metropolitan Ireney, who succeeded Bishop Dionisije after his death, ended the schism between the mother church and the church in America at a religious ceremony in Belgrade. Later that year, Patriarch Pavle of Belgrade made a tour of the U.S. and Canada to heal communities torn apart during the dispute. In Oct., the Patriarch visited Cleveland and conducted services in both churches, significantly reducing the hostility between them. In 1995, though the two churches retained their separate property and identities, animosity had virtually disappeared as each recognized the other as a legitimate church under the authority of the patriarchate in Belgrade.