Atanasije Gereski

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Atanasije Gereski
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Died30 March 1885
Novi Sad
  • Merchant
  • Philanthropist

Atanasije Petrov Gereski (Serbian Cyrillic: Атанасије Петров Герески; Čerević, 1810 - Novi Sad, 30 March 1885) was a Serbian merchant and philanthropist. He is best known for bequeathing a significant sum to the venerable Serbian institution in Novi Sad -- Matica Srpska.


He was born in Čerević, in Srem, to parents Petar and Marta. He finished primary school in his hometown, and his secondary education and post-secondary schooling in trade and economics in Dunaföldvár and Vienna, where, upon graduation, he spent six years in a large Viennese trading house.

For a while, he worked as a trader in Trieste, from where he contacted his brother with a request for help and some money, which his brother could not send him. He was then assisted by a Serbian teacher in Serbs in Italy|Trieste, Dimitrije Vladisavljević, who took him to a tutor of the Saint Spyridon Church, Trieste|Serbian church who gladly gave him six Spanish thalers from the church fund.[1]Atanasije was not the only Serb who received help in this way, and the tutor told him on that occasion: "If God helps you, you will return that money to us" (Atanasije would keep his promise by returning the sum and sending precious gifts to the church).[1]Then Gereski found himself on a ship for Constantinople, but the captain of the ship convinced him that it was best for him to go to Imperial Russia|Russia instead. Then the captain took him for free to Odessa, where Atanasije spent fifty years. For the first few years, he worked in other people's shops, and later he opened his own shop after saving enough to buy the property.

He enjoyed a great reputation and occupied a significant position in Russian high society. For merits in Russia, he was awarded two gold and one silver medal. He adapted his Greek surname to the spirit of the Russian language in Gereski.

In his old age, he returned to Čerević, and from there, in 1880, after the death of his wife Jelena Spiridonova, he moved to Novi Sad.[2]


After all his children died, Gereski decided to bequeath his property to educational and cultural institutions.[3]

In 1878, he intended 21,000 Russian rubles for the establishment of a student dormitory next to the Serbian Orthodox Gymnasium (school)|Gymnasium, called "Athanaseum Gereski" so that the interest could annually help the education of eight poor students. The dormitory is not open, but students from this fund received scholarships. He bequeathed the property in 1883 to the Serbian girls' school in Novi Sad, and most of the funds went to the Matica Srpska. After his death, the management of Matica used the income from the "Atanasija Gereski Fund" from 1891 to help "deserving and poor Serbian writers". According to his wish, in the case of Matica's relocation, the fund should be handed over to the management of a related institution in Novi Sad or the management of the Serbian folk-church funds in Sremski Karlovci.

He was buried in the gate of the church of Saint Sava in Čerević.[2]


  • Andra Gavrilović (1904): "Famous Serbs of the 19th century", Volume II. Zagreb: Naklada i štampa Srpske štamparije, p. 101—102;
  • "Serbian Biographical Dictionary", Book 2, V-G. Novi Sad: Matica Srpska, 2006, p. 671;
  • "Atanasija Petrov son of Gereski (obituary)", Slovan, Issue 9: No. 145. 1 May 1885.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ур. Гавриловић, Андра (1904). Знаменити Срби XIX века II том. Загреб: Наклада и штампа Српске штампарије. pp. 101–102.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Српски биографски речник књига 2, В-Г. Нови Сад: Матица српска. 2006. p. 671.
  3. "Atanasija Petrov sin Gereski (nekrolog)". Slovan. 9: 145. 1 May 1885.

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