Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine accompanied by Princess Katarina (daughter of Prince Tomislav), together with His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej, attended a celebration marking half a century since the consecration of the Church of the Holy Prince Lazar in Birmingham, HRH Crown Prince Alexander laid the cornerstone in 1968.
“My wife and I are very happy to be with you in Birmingham today, at the church of the Holy Prince Lazar, which represents a tiny part of Serbia in England. Today we are celebrating five decades of Lazarica church, the first Serbian church built in the United Kingdom. It was not easy for the Serbian community to build this beautiful church, in a foreign land, at that time. Let us remember today all of those who, through their great efforts, helped to build Lazarica Church. Today, too, our nation faces great challenges. Let us make sure that all of us leave our descendants with at least as much as our ancestors had left us with. Let us do everything in our power to provide them a bright future. I sincerely congratulate you for the 50th anniversary of Lazarica Church”, said HRH Crown Prince Alexander.
Lazarica is the first built Serbian Orthodox church built in the United Kingdom and is described as a hidden gem in the city of Birmingham. The church is known for its richly decorated frescos depicting Orthodox Saints and Biblical scenes. Situated in the leafy suburb of Bournville, Lazarica continues to be the focal point of a thriving Serb community. Everyone is welcome.
The church is a unique example of 14th Century Byzantine – Morava artistic style and architecture in the United Kingdom and is dedicated to the Holy Prince Lazar of Kosovo, whose relics lie in the church foundations. The marble for floor and walls, the sandstone columns, the walnut furniture overlaid with beaten copper, the candelabra were all brought from Yugoslavia and have a symbolic association with sacred places there. The architect was Serbian Dr Dragomir Tadić who worked collaboratively with Mr S. J. Clewer, the chief architect of Bournville Village Trust.
The frescos that cover the walls and ceiling of the church, were painted by the Serbian artist, Dusan Mihajlovic, are copies of the best known mediaeval frescoes found in Serbia. They especially “takes ones breath away” when first time visitors come to the church.
Lazarica is evidence and a reminder of the strength and power of faith. Those who came to United Kingdom after World War Two, who lost all their earthly possessions, their friends, family, their homeland and their youth, brought with them their faith and the need to follow the example of Christ, Saint Sava and Saint Lazar. This beautiful church is their legacy.