LJUBLJANA, Slovenia Ground was broken for the first meetinghouse in Slovenia, part of the former country of Yugoslavia, on Saturday, Oct. 14. Church leaders, members and their friends participated in the event. Also attending was Dr. Drago Cepar, director of the Office for Religious Communities of the Republic of Slovenia, and Ljubljana Vice-Mayor Milos Pavlica.
The approximately 300 members of the three branches in Slovenia Ljubljana, Maribor and Celje are meeting in rented facilities. Members of all three branches attended the ceremony.
Ground was initially broken by a group including Slovenia/Croatia Mission President Douglas L. Weight, Ljubljana Slovenia District President Matjaz Juhart and Ljubljana Branch President Bogdan Kralj. Eventually, everyone in attendance was invited to take a spade and turn a scoop of soil. Hymns were sung by a choir and the congregation.
The groundbreaking was covered and interviews were conducted by Slovenia television station InfoTV.
President Juhart mentioned in his talk how the history of the Church in Slovenia began some 20 years earlier when Kresimir Cosic, the popular Croatian basketball player who starred at BYU, brought the knowledge of the Church to the then-joint country of six republics, Yugoslavia. Brother Cosic boldly proclaimed the gospel and the restoration of the Church. President Juhart told how President Thomas S. Monson, now of the First Presidency and then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, dedicated the country for the preaching of the gospel and added a blessing that chapels would be allowed to be built.
The first Slovene member, Albin Lotric, joined the Church while studying in Norway, and his then-girlfriend and now wife, Boza, joined the Church in Klagenfurt, Austria, where they both attended the Church before it was organized in Slovenia. The first member to be baptized in Slovenia was Suzana Georgijevski, wife of the first counselor in the district presidency, Sasa Georgijevski. Sister Georgijevski and Brother and Sister Lotric were the true pioneers of the Church in Slovenia.
Members look forward to the time when more meetinghouses will be built in major towns of Slovenia to cut down on driving time, which can be as much as an hour-and-a-half, to attend Church meetings.