PARISH OF SAINT LOUIS, Bor
The town of Bor has long been known as a rich mining center, the town of copper, as ore has been mined there since the Roman era. After the liberation of Serbia from Ottoman rule, mining was given a new momentum and Catholic experts and workers started coming to town. Germans, the French, the Polish and Italians were coming too and later Croatians, Slovenians etc.
The first foundations of the parish had already been established by the apostolic administrator of Catholics in Serbia and parish priest from Niš, Ferdinand Hrdy, but he could neither build churches nor appoint parish priests (in the early twenties).
Upon establishment of the Archdiocese of Belgrade, an independent parish was established in Bor by its separation from Niš on January 1, 1928 and they chose St. Louis the King as their patron saint. Management of the parish was entrusted to a French priest – a monk the Assumptionist, Privat Bellard. There were a lot of French workers in the mine at the time, so ordination of the priest and selection of Patron were quite understandable. The Assumptionists stayed there until 1943. In 1928, a small church was built as a temporary building, but the church, with constant repairs, has remained like this until today. There is a parish house next to small church. It was built by Chrysostom Louis Monnie, the second parish priest.
It is interesting that the Orthodox Church, at least the major part of it, was built by Catholics (the stone plaque in the very church says: “The French”), as Bor was a village then, and the French constituted almost majority of the population.
Restoration of the church, as it looks now, was carried out from 1992 to 1993. Further renovation of retaining wall and the facade was done later, then installation of central heating in 1999 and the extension of the sacristy is being planned now.
According to the statistics from 1996, there are about 1000 believers in the parish of Bor, while about twenty children and young people attend catechism.
About 50 believers take part in the Sunday Holy Masses.
The most important celebrations of this parish are the following:
– St. Louis, the patron saint of the parish – August 25 and
– St. Barbara, patroness saint of miners – August 6. This day has especially been celebrated since the arrival of a large group of Polish miners in 1996. They donated a beautiful coal statue of their patroness saint to the church in Bor.
In addition to the Assumptionists, the parish has been run by the Salesians, Diocesan priests, and now members of the Neocatechumenal Way.
There are coal mines nearby: Avramica, Vrška Čuka, Lubnica, Bogovina, Rtanj, as well as copper mine Majdanpek, which are along with Boljevac, Žagubica, Negotin and Kladovo branches of Bor, i.e. Zaječar-based parish. None of them has its own chapel, but masses are often served in Catholic homes, especially in Majdanpek and Negotin, and these are unique experiences both for believers and parish priests.
In 1860, a French priest Esprit Dalton built a church for French miners’ needs and founded a mission.