Benefit on Eve of US Open Seeks to Save Saint Sava Cathedral

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New York City– Professional athletes, dignitaries and media personalities alike will join Host Committee members Gordon Bijelonic, Dusan Vemic, Mirjana Sladic and Mark Jovanovic and friends of the Cathedral of Saint Sava at the “Save Saint Sava Benefit” on Monday, August 22 at the New York Athletic Club in Midtown. Held on the eve of the 2016 US Open, the benefit reception will feature a red carpet, musical entertainment, and an auction of exclusive autographed sports memorabilia and unique entertainment experiences.

"Save Saint Sava Benefit" will take place on Monday, August 22, 2016 at the New York Athletic Club, 180 Central Park South, New York, NY. The event will feature a RED CARPET and VIP reception.

I do not exist without the Cathedral of Saint Sava in New York City. This church created safe passage for my parents to the U.S.A. from an Austrian refugee camp during the communist era of former Yugoslavia,” said Gordon Bijelonic, a Hollywood producer

New York City– Professional athletes, dignitaries and media personalities alike will join Host Committee members Gordon Bijelonic, Dusan Vemic, Mirjana Sladic and Mark Jovanovic and friends of the Cathedral of Saint Sava at the “Save Saint Sava Benefit” on Monday, August 22 at the New York Athletic Club in Midtown. Held on the eve of the 2016 US Open, the benefit reception will feature a red carpet, musical entertainment, and an auction of exclusive autographed sports memorabilia and unique entertainment experiences.

The event is a fundraiser for the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava which was destroyed by a fire on Orthodox Easter Sunday, May 1st of this year. The 161-­‐year-­‐old church was established as Trinity Chapel. In 1865, it was the site of the first Orthodox liturgy held in an Episcopal church in American history. Twenty years later, famed writer Edith Jones married Edward Wharton at the chapel in 1885. Edith Wharton went on to feature the church in her renowned novel The Age of Innocence. In 1968, the Cathedral of Saint Sava was designated a New York City landmark.

A place of refuge and a vital resource to many people over the years, the Cathedral of Saint Sava served not only New Yorkers but the Serbian diaspora around the world. "I do not exist without the Cathedral of Saint Sava in New York City. This church created safe passage for my parents to the U.S.A. from an Austrian refugee camp during the communist era of former Yugoslavia,” said Gordon Bijelonic, a Hollywood producer with over 40 film credits to his name.

Now based in Beverly Hills, Bijelonic grew up in the Saint Sava Community. His movies feature a Who’s Who of Hollywood actors from Vin Diesel to Robert De Niro to Keira Knightley and the late Robin Williams, among many others. And his response in those first sad days following the fire was shared by many in the community: “we must help the church in this time of need!” Donations have been sent to the church and through avenues online, but the costs of renewing or erecting a new church will run in the millions.

Bijelonic reached out to close friends: Mark Jovanovic, New York-based Real Estate Broker at Compass, a technology real estate brokerage firm with a valuation of over $800 million; Mirjana Sladic, Team Leader USA of the Novak Djokovic Fan Club; and Dušan Vemić Dusan Vemic, a former top ranked professional tennis player and coach of the 2016 Serbian Men's Olympic Tennis Team (currently in Rio). Vemic is also credited with having one of the top 20 fastest serves in history at 146 miles per hour. The group was inspired to create the “Save Saint Sava Benefit” and host it on the eve of the US Open as many of their friends and associates from around the world will be in New York for the tennis tournament.

The "Save Saint Sava Benefit" will take place on Monday, August 22, 2016 at the New York Athletic Club, 180 Central Park South, New York, NY. The event will feature a red carpet and VIP reception for sponsors and special invited guests at 7:30 PM. The general reception and silent auction will be held from 8:30 ‐ 10:30 PM. Tickets begin at $500 and are available online at savesaintsava.eventbrite.com or https://www.eventbrite.com/e/save-saint-sava-benefit-tickets-26736299993. For sponsorship information contact Rachel Strader at (646) 883-­‐8360 or SaveSaintSava(at)stsavanyc(dot)org.

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Tijana Perl
@StSavaNYC
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Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava in New York - Саборна црква Св. Саве
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