Founder of the order
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was born in Basque (Spain), in 1491. He was the thirteenth child in the family. He spent most of his youth in the aristocratic and royal courts. An unexpected turn occurred in his life on 21 May 1521. Ignatius organized the defense of Pamplona from the attack of the French. A cannonball shattered his knee. He became bedbound. And the turning point in his life starts right there.
When he recovered, he withdrew into solitude in the town of Manresa. He gradually acquired mystical experiences. He had a vision of the Holy Trinity. He meets Jesus Christ in a new way. He discovers the mystery of the Church in a new light. He wrote about his experiences in those several months in the book “Spiritual exercises”.
He dwelled in the Holy Land as a pilgrim. He recognized the need for additional education. He finishes his studies in Paris. He gained and educated his first followers there through spiritual exercises. He was ordained priest in Venice in 1537. Upon his arrival in Rome, he began a comprehensive apostolic action. Pope Paul III approved the Society of Jesus, this new monastic community, in 1540. Its members put themselves at Pope’s disposal by a special vow of obedience, so that he may mark the area of apostolic work for them and to send them where it is most needed. They were led everywhere by the thought of St. Ignatius: “All for the greater glory of God.”
Ignatius devoted all himself to the Society of Jesus by working on the Constitutions of the Order, which he wrote with a lot of inspiration and visions, not only of Jesus, but also of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He died in Rome in 1556, at the age of 65. He was canonized in 1622. His body rests in the church of the Gesu. Pilgrims still love to visit Camerette of St. Ignatius next to the church, that is, the room where the saint lived, worked and prayed.
Ignatius has left a lot of long-lasting works behind, of which the Society of Jesus is surely the most important one and it has over 20,000 members today. He is still present in the Church through his spiritual exercises, which are permanent inspiration and a unique way for those who are seeking God, looking for the real meaning of life and selflessly want to put themselves at the service of God’s kingdom.
Ignatius started out as a soldier, but he continued and finished as a great teacher of spiritual life, a mystic and unusual Jesus Christ Crucified and Risen enthusiast.
Jesuits in Belgrade
Saint Ignatius must have heard of Belgrade, as his nephew was killed defending the city. Father Bartol Sfondrati from Dubrovnik, who entered the Society of Jesus while St. Ignatius was still alive, came to Serbia in the eighties of the 16th century. In the early 17th century, the famous father Bartol Kašić found himself in Belgrade. A group of Jesuits founded the first grammar school in Belgrade, 1613. The superior of the community gets the painting of Mary Help of Passau in Bavaria in 1718, which was later named the Virgin of Belgrade. She is still highly respected, especially on every 19th of the month as well as on 19 October, which is her day.
That painting, like the Jesuits in those troubled times, shared the fate of people in this region. In 1735, three Jesuits died as victims of the plague, while serving infected patients. In 1739, two Jesuits died in the fights near Grocka. The Jesuits then left Belgrade along with the picture of the Virgin of Belgrade. The first Jesuit as a national missionary came to Belgrade in 1922. In 1929, Jesuit father Zore moved in the purchased house and the parish community was formed on 1 January 1931 and the new church of St. Peter was blessed in December 1933. “The Virgin of Belgrade” returned from exile in Tekije on 19 September 1934, which was solemnly celebrated on 6 and 7 October. Since then, the Virgin of Belgrade has permanently remained present with the Jesuits in the center of the Old Town.
Church of Saint Peter
23 Makedonska Street, 11000 Belgrade
Pater Anto Lozuk, Parish priest
Pater Smiljan Miličević, SI, Parish Vicar
Phone / fax: 011 / 30-30-815
Weekdays: 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Sundays and holidays: 7 a.m., 9 a.m. (in English), 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.