Nikola Tesla as a contributor to Orthodoxy

  1. Lemma
  2. Nikola Tesla kao darodavac pravoslavlju
  3. Serbian
  4. Stevanovic, Aleksandra
  5. Modes of interaction
  6. 30-11-2016
  7. Protic, Aleksandar [Author]. Serbs 1903–1914, History of Ideas. 647–661, Nikola Tesla
    1. Tesla, Nikola
  8. Orthodox scientist
    1. In this paper, the author presents some aspects of life and thought of Nikola Tesla, one of the world’s greatest scientists. Nikola Tesla, holder of Order of St Sava 1st class, is presented as a notable inventor and electrical engineer, but also as a fighter for universal peace. The author focuses on Tesla’s activities regarding peace establishment and maintenance, as well as his lifelong endeavor to bring peace to the mankind.

      Peacebuilding was one of the main preoccupations of Tesla during the period 1901–1913 according to the author, during which he tried to spread peace policy and activism and provide concrete solutions to the issue. Furthermore, there is some evidence that the great scientist was cooperating with another prominent Serbian scientist – Mihajlo Pupin, in order to find means of war termination. Charity and well-being for the whole humanity was therefore, one of the primary aims of the great scientist. Thereby, the paper by Protic is aimed at presenting Tesla’s contribution to peace and humanity and Tesla himself as a very good man.

      The last part of the paper presents Tesla as an Orthodox Christian. From the author’s point of view, Tesla’s spirituality and relationship towards church demand deeper and multilayered analysis due to the endless creativity of his thought. His origin implies long tradition of universality and connection to the church; for instance, his maternal grandfather, Toma Budisavljevic, was a priest and a commander of troops, and his father was a priest as well. His everyday connection with church and Orthodoxy undoubtedly directed his thought and shaped his life. For instance, one object Tesla accepted as a family heritage was  "The Liturgikon" – a liturgy book, printed in Venice in 1519.

      The author implies that Tesla’s connection to Orthodoxy is evident in his explanation that God is the “initiator” of the world and Tesla’s view on religion as one of the life ideals. Apart from that, Tesla used a lot of Christian references and connected peace and well-being to Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, and once admitted to praying to God every day. There was also a note from Tesla, on one occasion, saying he belonged to the Orthodox religion. The author accentuates that Tesla significantly contributed to the reputation of Serbian Orthodox Church in America and was a contributor to the Saint Sava Church in Chicago. What the author also indicates is that Tesla died on January 7th – Orthodox Christmas, one of the greatest Orthodox holidays.

      Although the paper by Protic is rather dedicated to Tesla’s biography and peacebuilding activities, not considering religion of Tesla thoroughly, the last part does indicate a very important point – the need for a multilayered analysis of Tesla’s religion. Therefore, this paper is significant for opening the question of Orthodox religion presence in the life and work of the great scientist.