Saint Barnabas the New Confessor
Vojislav Nastić was born in Gary, Indiana, on January 31, 1914 into a family of Serbian emigrants. His father and mother were Atanasije and Zorka Nastić. When Vojislav was a child, his parents returned to their homeland. Vojislav attended high school in Sarajevo, graduating in 1933. He continued his education at the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Belgrade, graduating in 1937. After graduating he taught as a catechist in two high schools in Sarajevo.
In 1940, Vojislav took monastic vows in Mileševa Monastery, receiving the name Varnava. Varnava was ordained Hierodeacon by Metropolitan Petar of Dabar-Bosna.
Deacon Varnava remained in Sarajevo during World War II. Croatian fascists, however, tried to force him to join a fascist creation called the “Croatian Orthodox Church” that they had organized to subvert the Serbian population in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dn. Varnava categorically refused this. Soon he had to leave Sarajevo in order to save his life.
After war he was ordained a Hieromonk and raised to the rank of Protosyngellos by Bishop Nektarije of Zvornik and Tuzla. In its first regular session, the Holy Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church elected Fr. Varnava auxiliary bishop to the Serbian Patriarch with the title of Bishop of Hvosno, with the responsibility of administering the Diocese of Dabar-Bosna. He was consecrated by Patriarch Gavrilo, Bp. Nektarije, and Bp. Vikentije of Zletovo and Strumica on May 20, 1947.
In his new position Bishop Varnava began openly criticizing the new communist regime for mistreating the church. He was soon arrested and sentenced to twenty years in prison. He was accused of being an American spy with one of the charges being that he was teaching his sister English, so she could be used as a spy for the Americans.
Bp. Varnava was subjected to torture, lack of food, and was kept in the most isolated wing of the prison. But Bp. Varnava remained calm. Every day he sang the troparia and other hymns. The communist Government even arranged an accident in order to get rid of him in which he broke his leg. Although the communist secret police, OZNA, did not allow doctors to provide him any medical help, he recovered. He was released after the accident to house arrest in the Gomionica Monastery in the Diocese of Banja Luka until his release in 1960.
He died on November 12, 1964, in circumstances that led some historians to believe that he was poisoned by OZNA. In 2005, during the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church Bp. Varnava was canonized and his name was added to the list of other saints of the Serbian people and of Orthodox Christian faith.