Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Donating to Serbian Orthodox Church Made Easy

The Serbian Orthodox Church is not very wealthy. Many churches are in pretty bad condition, especially those in Croatia where the remaining parishioners are often poor and elderly. In thanks for our good fortune this year, we're donating money to our local church, St Sava in Cambridge Mass. But, we also want to help out Orthodox churches in areas where my husband's family has lived for hundreds of years. The church nearest his father's house in Lika is missing a roof.

One tiny problem, my accountant says the IRS won't recognize donations to churches outside the US for tax deductions. (I know, I should not care if the right hand knows what the left is doing... but in this economy with a kid in college, etc., I'll take any financial break I can get.)

Luckily, St Sava's priest Father Aleksandar Vlajkovic has made this very easy. We can just donate the funds to the US church, who'll give us an IRS-worthy receipt, and then he'll arrange for the churches we earmarked in Croatia to receive funds. He needs the church name and location to do this, and a local priest name is also helpful but not required.

I was also delighted to discover that our US bank already has online bill pay set up for St Sava's. To donate, I just went into our account online and clicked a couple of buttons! Strangely though, when I tried to use the same online service to pay my New York Times subscription, that was harder. I guess church wins over state.

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