news 04 Mar 14

Transfer of Tesla's Urn to Church Opposed

The decision to transfer the remains of one of the 20th century’s scientific greats to a churchyard has angered some secular Serbs.


"We are against transporting the remains of Nikola Tesla from his museum to the churchyard of St Sava. This cannot pass," says a Facebook group, entitled "Leave Tesla alone", which has attracted almost 30,000 "Likes".

"We want this place to be the beginning of a civil initiative for the defence of common sense," the group continued.

The reaction came after Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej, Zorana Mihajlovic, the outgoing Energy Minister, and Sinisa Mali, head of the interim authority in Belgrade, decided on Friday to move the ashes of Nikola Tesla from a museum in Belgrade named after him to the churchyard of St Sava's cathedral, also in Belgrade.

The burial urn with Tesla's ashes has been in the museum since 1957. The transfer to the churchyard is planned for July 10.

The Patriarch said that there was "nothing more natural than for the earthly remains of the great thinker to rest in the holiest place of the Serbian people - the church dedicated to St Sava [Serbia's first Archbishop]."

Vladimir Jelenkovic, director of the Museum of Nikola Tesla in Belgrade, said that Tesla's successors wanted the urn placed in the museum, however.

Scientists, gathered in a group entitled "Save Science", also condemned the decision. "The agreement to move Tesla's urns in the midst of the election campaign represents misuse of the great scientist," the group said in a statement. The early parliamentary vote is scheduled for March 16.

A petition against the decision has also appeared online under the name, "Say NO to moving Nikola Tesla's urn from his museum in Belgrade to St. Sava Church."

Tesla was born in Smiljan, Croatia, on July 10, 1856. After completing his education, he moved to New York in 1884, where he worked at a company owned by Thomas Edison, the inventor and businessman.

In 1891, he introduced to the world wireless energy transmission known as the Tesla Effect, as well as the Tesla Coil, an electrical resonant transformer circuit used to produce high-voltage, low-current, high-frequency alternating-current electricity.

Later, he experimented with X-rays, remote radio control and a steam-powered mechanical oscillator known as Tesla's oscillator. In all, Tesla held nearly 300 patents in 26 countries. He died in 1943.

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