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NEVESINJE, November 8 /SRNA/ - Priests of the Diocese of Zahum-Herzegovina and the Littoral held a memorial service for fallen veterans at the main monument in Nevesinje on Thursday to mark St Demetrius Day, the municipal patron saint’s day and the day of remembrance of the St Demetrius battles of 1992 and 1994.


Wreaths were laid to the memorial and tribute was paid to 276 fallen veterans of the Nevesinje Brigade, 64 of whom were killed in the two St Demetrius battles, which is why Nevesinje celebrates St Demetrius Day as the municipal patron saint’s day.

Wreaths were laid by the Republika Srpska presidential envoy Sinisa Karan, Minister of Labour and Veterans’ Affairs Milenko Savanovic, MP Ilija Tamindzija on behalf of the National Assembly, a delegation of the Veterans Association of Republika Srpska /BORS/ headed by leader Milomir Savcic, and the envoy to the Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency.

Flowers to the memorial were also laid by the delegations of eastern Herzegovina municipalities, many delegations from veterans associations and the Third Infantry /Republika Srpska/ Regiment of the BiH Armed Forces.

Wreaths were laid by the Serbian Minister of Agriculture Branislav Nedimovic on behalf of the Serbian Government, as well as a delegation of the Russian Strategic Security Support Fund, and Association of Military Officers of Republika Srpska.

After the flower laying ceremony, the Cultural Centre in Nevesinje carrying the name of the recently deceased actor Nebojsa Glogovac was consecrated and a formal St Demetrius Day ceremony was held there.

Before the commemoration, a holy hierarchical liturgy was conducted in the Church of the Holy Ascension of Jesus Christ in Nevesinje by the retired Bishop Atanasije of Zahum-Herzegovina and the Littoral.

After the service, the retired Bishop Atanasije recalled the hard day of St Demetrius in 1992 when he came to Nevesinje himself.

He said that Nevesinje had sacrificed a lot for Orthodoxy and Jesus Christ and that St Demetrius, who will always help the town, helped it back then.

St Demetrius Day is marked in Nevesinje with special respect because Nevesinje and Republika Srpska were defended in the two St Demetrius battles of 1992 and 1994.

Forty-two veterans were killed in the St Demetrius battle in 1992 and 750 were wounded.

Twenty-two veterans were killed in the St Demetrius battle of 1994 alone and 140 were wounded.

The first St Demetrius battle is one of the greatest battles of the homeland and liberation war, because 3,500 members of the Nevesinje Brigade defeated the troops made up of the Croatian Army, Croatian Defence Council and the so-called Army of BiH, which outnumbered the brigade by five times, which charged at Nevesinje with 15,000 soldiers followed by heavy artillery in order to break through to Dubrovnik and get to the Yugoslav border.

A total of 476 veterans of the Nevesinje Brigade made up of soldiers from Nevesinje and the Neretva valley gave their lives for the defence of Republika Srpska.

A two-day event honouring St Demetrius Day is organised by the Srpska Government committee in charge of nurturing the tradition of liberation wars, BORS and Nevesinje municipality. /end/ds