History of the Serb National Federation

On June 15, 2016, the Serb National Federation celebrated 115 years and is the oldest and largest Serbian fraternal organization on this continent.

Coming to the United States of America from various regions of the Balkans, Serbs realized almost immediately the need to become organized and to be able to rely on each other to assure survival and promote growth in this new land. They further noticed that this was the means of survival for other ethnic groups too, such as the Russians, Czechs, Slovaks, Croatians, and others. For that reason, even before the founding of the first Serbian Federation, there were several independent Serbian lodges formed who attached themselves to the Russian Federation, called the "Russian Orthodox Federation."

When the Convention of the Russian Orthodox Federation was held on May 14, 1901, the following Serbian delegates attended from Pennsylvania: Adam Maravich of McKeesport, Sava Hajdin of South Side-Pittsburgh, Mile Kasar of Butler Street, Pittsburgh, Petar Hajdin of South Side-Pittsburgh, and Simo Lapcevich of Export.

These five delegates recognized the benefit for the Serbs to have their own Federation where they could feel as though they were "at home." Not long after this Russian Convention, a group of Serbs met in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and thus on June 15, 1901, they founded the first Serbian Federation, under the name: "Serbian Orthodox Federation-Srbobran."

Sava M. Hajdin was elected as their first President. When the 40th Anniversary of the Federation was observed in 1941, many of the original organizers were still living and the original minutes of the founding of the Federation were added to their commemorative book published for the occasion. This was not only a record of minutes of meetings, but included also the objectives of the Federation, the duties, obligations, and rights of the members, the elections of the leaders, and oaths, all of which testify to the great nationalistic consciousness of the first Serb pioneers and the founders of the Federation. 

Although the Serb National Federation had its roots and beginning from the year 1901, the year 1929 was a most important milestone in the progress of the SNF. In 1929, the United Society "Srbobran-Sloga" and the Serbian Federation "Srbadija", the pioneer organizations of the Serb National Federation, merged and incorporated themselves and commenced business on September 21, 1929 under its present charter and under its present name, the SERB NATIONAL FEDERATION. Because of this important milestone, we take the time to call this most significant event to the attention of our members. 

1901 - Founding of the Srpski Pravoslavni Savez "Srbobran," Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Serbian Orthodox Society-Srbobran founded by Sava Hayden).

1909 - Founding of the Savez Sjedinjenih Srba- "Sloga," Cleveland, Ohio, Federation of United Serbs (Unity founded by Michael Pupin).

1917 - Srpski Savez - Sloboda (Serb Society - Sloboda) splintered off from the Srpski Pravoslavni Savez-Srbobran (Serbian Orthodox Society - Srbobran).

1920 - Srpski Savez - Svesna Srbadija (Serbian Society-Svesna Srbadija) and Srpski Potporni Savez-Jedinstvo (Serbian Beneficial Federation Unity) splintered off from Savez Sjedinjenih Srba-Sloga (Federation of United Serbs Unity).

1921 - Merger of Srpski Pravoslavni Savez-Srbobran (Serbian Orthodox Society-Srbobran) with Savez Sjedinjenih Srba-Sloga (Federation of United Serbs - Unity) to form the Srbobran-Sloga (United Society-Srbobran-Sloga).

1927 - Merger of Srpski Savez Sloboda Srpski Savez Svesna Srbadji into Savez Sloboda.

1929 - Merger of Srbobran-Sloga and Savez Sloboda into SERB NATIONAL FEDERATION.

1960 - Independent Society "Obilich" merged into Serb National Federation.

1963 - Srpski Potporni Savez "Jedinstvo" (Serbian Beneficial Federation "Unity") merged into Serb National Federation. 

The greatest achievement of the Serb National Federation was aiding Serbian Orthodox Churches in America and Canada as well as the rebuilding of destroyed churches in the Old Country, in all Serbian lands of Yugoslavia. The help given to the Serbian people in this cause has long since exceeded a million dollars. And what the Federation has done for the Serbian church in the Old Country serves as a matter of pride for all Serbian people, not only the Serbs in America and Canada. By this effort, Serbs on the North American continent have given testimony that they have not severed spiritual ties with the Mother Church, nor with the roots of the birthplaces of their forefathers, nor with our glorious Serbian history.

Today, the Serb National Federation provides quality life insurance and financial products for its membership and sponsors academic, sports, and cultural events.