Work has begun on painting the temple of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Smiljan, Croatia.
The church in which one of the greatest minds in the world, the scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla, was baptized, was damaged and looted in the last war.
The wooden temple in Smiljan and 17 Serbian houses are mentioned in preserved documents from 1697, and it is also on the list of Orthodox parishes in the Karlovac Generalate from 1700. The masonry temple was built on its foundations, with the approval of Empress Maria Theresa, and was consecrated in 1765.
The Serbian archpriest Milutin Tesla, an erudite who was known in that area for the size of his library, and mostly for his inspiring sermons and exceptional newspaper articles, also served in the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
Son Nikola was baptized in this temple in 1856, as a three-month-old baby, in October. All available sources indicate that Nikola Tesla liked to spend his childhood and early youth in this church and his father’s library.
Today, there are no more descendants of this large family in Smiljan, as the books testify, 119 Serbs with the surname Tesla died in the graves due to the Ustasha pogrom.
Before the Second World War, 620 Serbs lived in Smiljan and the surrounding hamlets, and 558 of them were brutally killed by the Ustashas. 74 children were among them.
The church was demolished, it was rebuilt only in 1986.
In the last war in Croatia, which ended with the persecution of 250,000 Serbs, the church in which a man who indebted humanity with his inventions was baptized, was damaged and robbed was also destroyed.
Twenty Serbs from Smiljan were also killed, among them a couple of old people who survived the Ustasha liquidations in the Second World War.
Today, all rare returnees to Smiljan live next to the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, which was renovated in 2006, and then an iconostasis was made of oak with icons that are the work of the sisterhood of the monastery of the Mother of God Trojerucica from Sibenik.
The main fresco painter of the renovated church, with the blessing of the Bishop of Gornja Karlovačka Gerasim, is the priest Milan Radusin, a graduated icon-painter from the Diocese of Dalmatia.
Today, in the church where the Serbian genius, “the man who invented the 20th century” Nikola Tesla, was baptized, the parish priest of Gospić-Smiljan, priest Dragan Mihajlović, serves.