This story is from the ELCA News Service, July 7, 2010. Bishop Cobrda received a Master of Sacred Theology (STM) from LTSP in 1984. The Slovak Zion Synod, in addition to the synods in ELCA Region 7, relate to LTSP as their seminary.
Juan Cobrda, Former Bishop of ELCA Slovak Zion Synod, Dies
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Juan Cobrda, former bishop of the Slovak Zion Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), died July 1 after an illness. Cobrda, 79, was also a former bishop of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (UELC) in Argentina.
A funeral service for Cobrda will be held July 9 at Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church, Chicago.
Cobrda, who was retired and resided in Mundelein, Ill., resigned as Slovak Zion bishop in 2002, one year earlier than the end of his second term. In his resignation letter Cobrda cited his 44 years of ordained ministry and an ongoing synod restructuring process as reasons for his decision to leave as bishop.
Cobrda was born in 1930 in Pribovce Turiec, Czechoslovakia. His family immigrated to Argentina in 1948. From 1955 to 1958, Cobrda attended Lutheran Theological Seminary, Jose C. Paz, Buenos Aires, and in 1959 he attended Hamma School of Theology, Springfield, Ohio. In 1984 he earned a master of sacred theology degree at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). In 1988 he earned a doctorate at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio. LTSP and Trinity are among eight ELCA seminaries.
Cobrda began a lengthy career in ministry in 1954, serving as a lay preacher at two Slovak-Spanish congregations in Berisson and Buenos Aires, Argentina, until 1958, when he was ordained by the UELC in Argentina.
Between 1960 and 1972 Cobrda was pastor of five different congregations in Argentina, and was bishop of the UELC in Argentina from 1966 to 1976. He served as a vice president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) from 1970 to 1977. The LWF is a global communion of 140 Lutheran churches in 79 countries, representing more than 70 million Lutherans.
Before he became bishop of the ELCA Slovak Zion Synod Cobrda was pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Trenton, N.J.; El Redentor Iglesia, Buenos Aires; Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Akron, Ohio; and Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church. He was first elected Slovak Zion Synod bishop in 1993 and was re-elected to a six-year term as synod bishop in 1997.
During his career Cobrda served a four-year term on the board of ELCA Global Mission and a three-year term on the Slovak Zion Synod Council. He frequently assisted and made pastoral visits to Lutheran churches in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Yugoslavia. Cobrda also worked as an advocate for refugees, including a three-year term as chair of the Argentinean Committee for Refugees.
Cobrda was fluent in English, German, Slovak and Spanish.
Cobrda is survived by his wife, Sofia, and their two children, Analia and Juan III.
The ELCA Slovak Zion is one of 65 synods of the ELCA, and is the church's only non-geographic synod. It is based in Torrington, Conn.