Saint Varnava the New Confessor
Варнава (Настич).jpg
Bishop, Hierarch, New Confessor
BornVojislav Nastić
31 January 1914
Gary, Indiana, United States
Died12 November 1964(1964-11-12) (aged 50)
Beočin Monastery, SFR Yugoslavia
Canonized15 May 2005, Žitomislić by Serbian Orthodox Church
FeastOctober 30 (Julian calendar)

Saint Varnava the New Confessor (Serbian: Свети Варнава Нови Исповедник; 31 January 1914 – 12 November 1964) was the auxiliary bishop of Hvosno and is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church. His feast is October 30 on Julian Calendar.

He is also referred to as Saint Varnava of Hvosno (Свети Варнава Хвостански).


He 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 and the family attended the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church of Gary, Indiana which is now located in Merrillville, Indiana was the place where Varnava was baptized, served as altar boy, and was first recognized as a youthful prodigy in reciting Serbian folklore and old ballads.[1][2]

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 Serbian Patriarch with the title Bishop of Hvosno, with the responsibility of administering the Diocese of Dabar-Bosna. On August 28, 1947, he received the episcopal consecration by the hands of Patriarch Gavrilo[3], Bp. Nektarije, and by Bp. Vikentije of Zletovo and Strumica.

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 Bishops' Council 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.


  1. ^ Glass, Thomas E. (1974-01-01). Crisis in Urban Schools: A Book of Readings for the Beginning Urban Teacher. Ardent Media. p. 34. ISBN 9780842202985.
  2. ^ Dorson, Richard M. (1970-01-01). "Is There a Folk in the City?". The Journal of American Folklore. 83 (328): 185–216. doi:10.2307/539108. JSTOR 539108.
  3. ^ V. Migliorati (1948). Diversivi polemici e realtà della persecuzione religiosa in Jugoslavia [Polemic distractions and truth on the religious persecution in Jugoslavia]. La Civiltà Cattolica (in Italian). III. Rome: Società Grafica Romana (So.GRa.RO). pp. 44–46. Archived from the original on Jul 4, 2019.

External links

  • "September, 2005 issue of Clergy Messenger" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-08-21. Retrieved 2007-05-01. (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

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