Smiljana Joy (Pavichevich) Knight was born to Very Reverend (Proto) Dennis and Protinica Jovanka Pavichevich on December 23, 1977, in East Chicago, Indiana, and moved to Alhambra, California in 1982, when her father was appointed Dean of St. Steven’s Cathedral. Smiljana, better known to all as “Smich”, returned to Chicago as a teenager in 1992, when Fr. Dennis was appointed Dean of Holy Resurrection Cathedral. Smiljana’s maternal grandfather, the late Proto Dusan Popovich (with his wife, the late Protinica Radojka), had been Dean from 1951 until his untimely death in 1972, having overseen the purchase of the new property and the construction of the Church Hall on Redwood Drive.
Smich followed in her mother’s footsteps as a member of the SOKO Folklore Group at Holy Resurrection as well as participating in Diocesan Summer Camp programs both in the Midwest and Western Dioceses. Smich actively partook in the sacramental and all other aspects of parish life. In particular, she enjoyed Sunday School, later serving as a teacher and member of the young adult fellowship groups. Youth education and fellowship were the focal point of her church stewardship, in keeping with the values of her family. Smiljana’s mother and sister are teachers, and Fr. Dennis’s main efforts during his tenure were toward initiating St. Sava Academy (parochial and dual language school at Holy Resurrection Cathedral).
Smich followed in her mother’s footsteps as a member of the SOKO Folklore Group at Holy Resurrection as well as participating in Diocesan Summer Camp programs both in the Midwest and Western Dioceses.
In 2005, Smich moved back to Los Angeles, where she met her husband, John Knight. They were married at St. Steven’s Cathedral on October 25, 2008. Smiljana passed away suddenly on January 9, 2010 in Pasadena, California, at the age of thirty-two. Both Holy Resurrection and St. Steven’s Cathedral parishes and much of the Serbian Orthodox diaspora – as well as countless friends and acquaintances worldwide were bewildered and sorrowed at her sudden passing.
Smiljana’s family legacy is one of service to and life in the Church. Her exceptionally gentle and light spirit, her humble demeanor and her dedication to the Church and her family of friends will forever be a light and an inspiration to all who knew her and who continue to follow her example. May she rest in peace, and may her memory be eternal.