Platon of Banja Luka
Saint Platon of Banja Luka (1874-1941) (serbian:Свети свештеномученик Платон Бањалучки ) is an Orthodox hieromarytr. He was the 3rd Serb Orthodox bishop of Banja Luka.
Saint Platon was born in Belgrade, on September 29, 1874. His parents Ilija and Jelka (maiden name Sokolovic) were from Herzegovina. He attended primary school in Vranje and Nis, and then continued his education in the Seminary in Belgrade. Milivoje took monastic vows as the third-grade pupil of the Belgrade Seminary. Having completed the Seminary he was ordained deacon and afterwards presbyter, and then, in 1896, he was sent in the Serbian mission in Moscow, where he continued his theological education at the Spiritual Academy, which he completed in 1901. Having returned from Russia, he was appointed the head of the Rakovica Monastery, and soon afterwards the professor in Belgrade. He worked as professor in Aleksinac and Jagodina, and during that period he obtained the ranks of syncellos, protosyncellos and archimandrite. In 1912, during the war, Archimandrite Platon was a brigade priest, and in World War I he was a military priest. For a short period of time Platon was an Administrator of the Ochrid Diocese. He spent the period of occupation in Serbia, and with the help of his acquaintances abroad, he managed to render aid to all the people who suffered afflictions - especially orphans and widows. From 1932 to 1938 he was the manager of the Monastery printing office in Sremski Karlovci, as well as the editor of the " Glasnik srpske Patriaršije". Archimandrite Platon was also the head of the Krusedol Monastery. He was elected Moravian Bishop in 1936. Patriarch Varnava ordained him in Sremski Karlovci that same year. In 1938 he was elected the Bishop of Ochrid-Bitolj, and a year later he was transferred to Banja Luka. Platon was the Bishop of Banja Luka when the World War II came in Yugoslavia.
Teritory of his Diocese became part of so-called Independent State of Croatia. Since he was a Serb born in Serbia, not in Bosnia, he was told to leave Banja Luka. he writed-back: "The authorities appointed me the Bishop of Banja Luka lawfully, according to canon law; having such a position I took the obligation before God, Church and people, thereat inseparably binding my life and my destiny with the life and destiny of my spiritual flock, to take care of my spiritual flock permanently and firmly, regardless of any events, and to stay on its spiritual path all the time of my life given to me by God, persevering in my staying with the flock as a good shepherd who gives his soul for his sheep…" He asked a Roman Catholic Bishop Dr Jozo Garić(who was a Croat like Ustašas) to intervene with the authorised military officer and let him stay for two or three days more so that he could prepare for the departure. This Bishop told him to be calm and peaceful. However, the Ustaše arrested Bishop Platon the very next night (May 5, 1941) and took him, together with priest Dušan Subotić - hierarchal administrator from Bosanska Gradiska, somewhere out of Banja Luka. The two of them were killed there and their corpses were cast into the Vrbanja River. Ustasa Asim Celic committed this repulsive deed. Bishop's corpse, which was scarred and disfigured, was found in the village of Kumsale, on May 23, 1941. He had first been buried in a military graveyard in Banja Luka, and in 1973 his remains were transported to the Banja Luka Cathedral.
At the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1998, Banja Luka Bishop Platon was canonized and entered into the List of Names of the Saint people of the Serbian Orthodox Church. His fast is on April 23 in julian calendar (May 5 in Gregorian)