CONGREGATION OF THE MISSION – THE LAZARITES
Congregation of the Mission was founded by St. Vincent de Paul, who born in 1581, France. As a child, he lived among the poor and got to know their living conditions. He became a priest in 1600. While he was doing priestly service near a small village of Gan in January 1617, he was called to a respectable man who lay dying, where he realized that it was necessary to preach Gospel to the poor. So, the day of the Conversion of St. Paul, as he claimed, was the beginning of his vocation and Congregation of the Mission itself.
He established the brotherhood of Christian charity to help the patients who were unassisted in the same year. He gathered around his first assistants in 1625 in order to evangelize the rural population along with them. The following year, they committed themselves to live together for the same goal. The missionaries went to various parts of France, other European countries and Madagascar from the center of Congregation of the Mission i.e. their head office in Paris. The Missionaries were named “Lazarites” after their head office in Paris (The House of Saint Lazarus).
Members of the Congregation can be priests or brothers. They are not monks. Their motto is: “He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.” Vincent’s missionaries share this particular attention for the most neglected and the most rejected with other congregations and organizations emerged from his spirit (Daughters of Charity, Sisters of Mercy, Mary’s Sisters etc.), which make up a large Vincent’s family.
Congregation of the Mission (the Lazarites) in Belgrade
Čukarica had long been a remote and impoverished suburb of Belgrade with a few residents. After the First World War, there were quite a number of Catholic workers from Croatia and Slovenia among them. The parish priests of Christ the King were taking care of them, and masses were served in private homes.
The Lazarist, father Alojzij Plantarič, CM, arrived in Belgrade on 27 August 1928 and assumed the spiritual leadership and care for the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul (Sisters of charity), who were working in Belgrade-based hospitals. At the same time, father Alojzije was a catechist for the Catholic children in Belgrade-based schools. On the intervention of then Apostolic Nuncio in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Msgr. Ermengildo Pellegrinetti, provincial leader of Slovenia decided to send more confreres to Belgrade to take over the pastoral of Čukarica. Thus, the Congregation of the Mission of St. Vincent was founded in Belgrade on 1 October 1929.
They bought land and a house in Požeška Street. A chapel was made there in 1929 where regular services began immediately. Preparations for the construction of a new church in Čukarica started the same year.
Church of Saint Cyril and Methodius
35 Požeška Street, 11000 Belgrade
Alojz Letonja, Parish priest
Spiritual Assistant Petar Tashev
Spiritual Assistant Jurij Devetak
Phone: 011 / 30-56-120
Weekdays: 6 p.m. (in summer); 5 p.m. (in winter)
Sundays and holidays: 7 a.m. , 10 a.m., 5 p.m. (In winter), 6 p.m. (in summer)