Father Dennis Pavichevich was born to Stella and William Pavichevich on August 30, 1946 into a large Serbian Pioneer family on the Southside of Chicago. He was raised in the St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church and community. He participated in worship services as an altar server, a choir member, and Sunday school student. His Montenegrin roots were firmly planted in Serbian Orthodox customs and traditions. After completing a year at Evansville University on a football scholarship, he was called into the priesthood.
Father Dennis attended the St. Sava Seminary in Belgrade, where he acquired good Serbian language skills. Returning to the United States, he enrolled at Iona College and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York where he earned degrees in History and Masters of Divinity in 1975. He was also ordained to the Deaconate during this time.
Upon graduating, in 1975, Father Dennis was ordained a priest in the Serbian Orthodox Church. He served the parish of St. George in Schererville, Indiana, completing the building of a church. In 1982, Fr. Dennis accepted a call to St. Stevens Cathedral in Los Angeles. His ministry there, as Dean, provided him an opportunity to preach and teach in English as well as Serbian to second and third generation American Serbs like himself. His adult education classes, youth retreats, sermons and ministry left the community flourishing.
1992 brought Fr. Dennis back to Chicago, where he assumed the position of Dean to the largest Serbian community in the United States. Many challenges were met. Assistant priests were installed, a complete English language liturgy added to Sunday worship, adult education classes provided, and his dream of a parochial school established. St. Sava Academy operates today as a dual language, fully accredited Orthodox school in Chicago. In failing health, Fr. Dennis took an early retirement, leaving another community divinely and spiritually focused.
After a brief retirement, Fr. Dennis was summoned to serve the St. Nikola Church in Brookfield, Illinois. Once again, a flourishing community was built upon Eucharistic practices and Jesus Christ as the principle focus of worship. He established a building program for a new church, organized a church choir and Sunday school program.
In the fall of 2018, Fr. Dennis and his Protinica, Jovanka, took a long awaited trip to his homeland, Montenegro. He served his last liturgy and preached his last sermon at Monastery Ostrog before a large crowd of worshippers, mentioning that although a second generation Serbian American, he treasured his roots- Svetosavlje. Upon returning to America, he passed away, peacefully, on October 7, 2018 in his home.
Very Rev. Dennis Pavichevich received every award given a priest for service in the church. His optimism and forgiveness endeared him to all who met him. He leaves his wife, Jovanka, children Mirjana, Velimir, Radmila, Dusan (Andreana) and two grandchildren, Lorelai and Danilo Dennis Burns. His daughter +Smiljana preceded him in death in 2010.
Fr. Dennis shared his love of Christ through his sermons and his focus on the Eucharist. He left us rich in spirit and faith. Memory Eternal.