Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Meeting Between Saint Nikolai Velimirovich and Nikola Tesla

In his lifetime, Saint Nikolai Velimirovich visited the USA four times. He visited Britain in 1910. He studied English and was capable of addressing an audience and making a strong impression on listeners. Shortly after the outbreak of World War I this contributed to his appointment by the Serbian government to a mission in the United States. In 1915, as an unknown Serbian hieromonk, he toured most of the major U.S. cities, where he held numerous lectures, fighting for the union of the Serbs and South Slavic peoples. This mission gained ground: America sent over 20,000 volunteers to Europe, most of whom later fought on the Salonika Front.

At the celebration of the Cosmopolitan Club in New York, held in 1915, disappointed by Europe, he had a great hope in America as a new center of civilization.

“The greatest American minds are occupied now by studying and making a new program for their New World. They are at the crossroad. They have to decide: Whether America will be alone for itself, and the world for America, or will it be for the whole world... America stands on the pinnacle of its power girded with two belts: creativity and mercy. Will it lift the world upward, up to that pinnacle, or will it darken its vision by arrogance....”

A primary mission of Saint Nikolai in America in 1915 was to unite the three most famous Serbs in America to unite the whole Serbian population. His idea was that Mihailo Pupin (a scientist), Nikola Tesla (a scientist) and Paja Radosavljević (a psychologist) together sign the Vidovdan Constitution and, by that, announce the beginning of a new history of American Serbs. He had previous conversations with Pupin and Radosavljević, and through Radosavljević asked for a meeting with Tesla.

Their meeting on July 6th, 1915, was described by the priest Petar Stijačić, who prepared the meeting, according to an order of Paja Radosavljević:

Tesla defined that the reception would be punctually at 3 p.m. in the Blue drawing room in the hotel Waldorf Astoria, where he lived and was the oldest resident there. We also were punctual; at 3 o’clock, we entered the defined drawing room, and from the aside room Mr Tesla came, tall, straight like a candle and slim. After becoming acquainted with each other personally, the conversation started on our catastrophe in Serbia and Montenegro, and about the Serbian struggle generally, and then we talked about our discord in America. Dr Nikolai suggested that the gentlemen Tesla, Pupin, and Radosavljevic would sign one common appeal, directed to American Serbian nationals, to get along together during the war, so that they could help their people in the homeland better. Tesla apologized that he was not active in any of our societies or unions, and that those organizations should be appealed first; but he recommended that Pupin and Radosavljevic do it, as being active presidents of the unions Sloga in New York and Srbobran in Pittsburgh.

On repeated request of Dr Nikolai, Tesla answered like this: “I know our Serbian people, they have their own views about everything, such an appeal would not be well received and some of our journalists would stab the signatories with the sharpness of their pen. But now that you have come from the homeland, why did you not bring such an appeal to the American Serbs from our two Serbian rulers: King Petar I Karadjordjevic and King Nikola I Petrovic?" Tesla stuck to his decision, but due to respect toward Dr Nikolai, he took a copy of that appeal to read it....

The next day, after meeting with Tesla, Father Nikolai Velimirovich informed Radosavljević:

“I was with Mr. Tesla. I am satisfied that I got to know such a great man. But, on the other hand I am sorry that I even tried to involve him in the things of the nation... It is a sin to dissuade him from doing his job and that I dragged him out of his peace of mind. I have completely accepted his reasons.”

Radosavljevic and Pupin signed the appeal, without a visible result, and Radosavljevic suffered criticism from Srbobran Serbs, who considered this appeal as a treason.

This doesn't seem to have been the only meeting between the Saint and the Scientist. An anecdote of one of the meetings between Velimirovich, now a Bishop, and Tesla has arisen from 1927, which is described as follows:

The Holy Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich was a close friend of Nikola Tesla, who himself was the son of a priest. The two of them often called each other Tocayo (a person with the same name). When the Bishop was in America in 1927, he visited the famous scientist and Tesla invited him to his laboratory.

As soon as the Bishop opened the door of the Tesla Laboratory, Tesla put in motion a thousand wheels and gears.

"My friend, what did you just do? What kind of force is it that drives so many wheels?" asked Bishop Nikolai.

"You’re an educated man, you should know what it is?" Tesla answered.

"What is it?"

"Electricity, tocayo!"

"Since you are such a big expert in electricity, tell me whether your science will reveal the way to see this current of power with the naked eye."

“Never,” Tesla said, “as long as the world exists.”

"Then why are people asking to see God? For power exists even when you cannot see it with the naked eye," concluded Bishop Nikolai.

It should also be noted that the busts of these two men are located together outside the Cathedral of Saint Sava in New York City.