Dionysius (Milivojevich) of United States and Canada

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His Grace Dionysius or Dionisije (secular name Dragoljub Milivojevich) was the ruling hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese for the United States and Canada from 1940 to 1963. He was suspended in 1963 at the time the Synod of Bishops the Serbian Orthodox Church expanded its diocese in the United States to three dioceses.


Dragoljub Milivojević (Драгољуб Миливојевић)[1] was born on July 13, 1898[2].

On April 15, 1940, Bp. Dionysius was named by the Serbian Holy Synod to lead the Serbian Diocese for the United States and Canada. Bp. Dionisije served his first Hierarchical liturgy on April 21, 1940 at the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church.

In 1963, the Synod of Bishops the Church of Serbia restructured the Diocese for the United States and Canada, dividing the United States into three dioceses. Additionally, the Synod elected Bp. Dionysius' administrative secretary, Archimandrite Fermilian (Ocokoljich), as bishop of the new Diocese of Midwestern America. The action by the Holy Synod led to a long controversy as Bp. Dionysius refused to relinquish his office and charged that the American diocese was being subjected to communist control. In March 1964, Bp. Dionysius formed the Free Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church, leading the American diocese into a schism.

After initially being suspended, Bp. Dionysius was removed from his see in 1963. In 1964, he was deposed by the Holy Synod for disobedience. Bp. Dionysius contested his removal in the civil courts of the United States that eventually reached the United States Supreme Court which found "The reorganization of the Diocese involves solely a matter of internal church government, an issue at the core of ecclesiastical affairs. Religious freedom encompasses the "power [of religious bodies] to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine." "[3]

Bp. Dionisije died on May 15, 1979.[4]


Succession box:
Dionysius (Milivojevich) of United States and Canada
Preceded by:
Mardarije (Uskoković)
Bishop of United States and Canada
Succeeded by:
Fermilian (Ocokoljich)
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