Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

May 7, 2004


Foto: FoNetOn May 7, 2004 in the press center of Hotel Slavija a press and media conference was held for reporters and media representatives regarding the Central Church Celebration of the Bicentennial of the First Serbian Uprising. Speaking at the conference were His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral; His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa; His Grace Bishop Grigorije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina; Deacon Nebojsa Topolic, the Secretary to the Office of His Holiness; and Mr. Dusan Stokanovic; the Secetary to the Holy Synod of Bishops and Secretary to the Information Service of the Serbian Patriarchate. The conference was hosted by Mrs. Vesna Prlja Jovanovic, the director of the JAT Media Center-Slavija.

Those present were first addressed by Metropolitan Amfilohije, who reminded them of the three important reasons for the events the city will commemorate from May 8-11, 2004. The first is the Bicentennial of Karadjordje's Uprising, which is also the bicentennial of the Serbian renaissance, the great accomplishment of the Serbian people toward their physical and spiritual freedom. The second reason is the completion of external work on St. Sava Cathedral, the heritage church of the Serbian people. Construction on the cathedral began in 1894 and was influenced by all the wars and changes that occurred; consequently, it mirrors the comprehensive fate of our time and our people. On the Centennial of the First Serbian Uprising, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts was established; on the 150 year anniversary the cornerstone for the National Library was placed; and on the Bicentennial the cornerstone will be placed for the Serbian Patriarchate building. Plans were made to build the Patriarchate on this site prior to the Second World War; however, after the war, other buildings were built there instead. Nevertheless, sixty years later the Patriarchate building will be built on the St. Sava plateau.

His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa said that the celebration of this milestone date comes at a time that is difficult for the Church and the state and the people; thus, the manner of its celebration is adapted to the circumstances. The celebration will center on gathering in prayer and a restrained tone, as spectacular events are not appropriate at this moment.

Foto: Vladimir GogicUpon the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia and the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the following have kindly consented to magnify the celebration by their presence: His All Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople; His Beatitude Sawa, Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland; and His Beatitude Nicholas, Archbishop of Preshov, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. The Bulgarian and Romanian patriarchs initially confirmed their attendance but were forced to cancel for reasons of health, sending their representatives instead. All Orthodox churches will send their high delegations to be led by the most eminent bishops. For the first time a representative of the Albanian Orthodox Church will be present. This will be the largest gathering of representatives of Orthodox Churches in these parts. In the 1960's a large Orthodox gathering was held on the occasion of the Pan-Orthodox Conference; however, this event is larger both in terms of the number of Orthodox church dignitaries present, as well as the levels of the delegations.

His Grace Bishop Grigorije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina emphasized that the Serbian Orthodox Church will send a message to Europe and the world, as well as that this historical gathering is a way of showing the world the true face of the Orthodox. Liturgy is an all-people's event; it is our great joy that we will be hosting such distinguished guests but every Orthodox Christian, man, woman or child, is also a great joy as we gather together for Holy Liturgy. Bishop Grigorije called on monks, nuns, priests and all Orthodox faithful, old and young alike, to come to Holy Liturgy. On that day the Holy Communion Table will be placed in St. Sava Cathedral and from this day forward Holy Liturgy will be regularly served there.

The arrival of senior representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and all Christian communities living on the territory of Serbia and Montenegro has also been announced.

Deacon Nebojsa Topalovic, the Secretary to the Office of His Holiness, and Dusan Stokanovic, the Secretary to the Holy Synod of Bishops and the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church, informed those present regarding the program of liturgical and prayer ceremonies to begin with the serving of the Doxology and the Evening Service in St. Sava Cathedral on Saturday, May 8, 2004 at 5:00 p.m.

On Sunday, May 9, 2004, one of the central events will take place: the St. Sava religious procession, which will set out at 6:00 p.m. from the location Stambol Kapija, the present-day Republic Square. The religious procession will be led by His Holiness Patriarch Pavle with His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and other highly distinguished guests, all bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and all Belgrade priests and deacons. The religious procession will include forty church choirs, music school students, and cultural and artistic societies in folk costumes. This prayer procession is expected to include representatives of all Christian churches.

Religious procession prayers with readings from the Holy Gospel will be offered at three locations: at Terazije Fountain, on the plateau in front of the Belgrade Palace and in front of St. Sava Cathedral.

The Second Assembly of Serbian Choirs will be held this year as part of the great St. Sava religious procession and a formal concert in St. Sava Church to be held immediately following the religious procession and beginning at 7:00 p.m. At the concert the selected and best Serbian choirs will sing Byzantine, Serbian and Russian church songs. After the concert all choirs participating in the Second Assembly of Serbian Choirs will perform a brief musical program in the central streets of the city.

On Monday, May 10, when the Serbian Church marks the Burning of the Relics of St. Sava, Holy Archierchal Liturgy (beginning at (9:00 a.m.) will be served in St. Sava Cathedral by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, all archbishops of sister Orthodox churches and all members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who will begin this year's regular assembly with this act of prayer.

The Homily of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle and the Holy Synod of Bishops addressed to the faithful on the occasion of this great celebration will be read at the Holy Liturgy. After the Liturgy, His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will serve a requiem service for the Serbian uprisings at the Vozd Karadjordje Memorial and will then consecrate the cornerstone of the new building of the Patriarchate and formally open St. Sava Square, which was built thanks to the efforts and funds of the Belgrade Municipal Assembly.

During the course of these festal days, the eminent guests of the Serbian Orthodox Church and representatives of local sister Orthodox Churches will be welcomed and thus shown the highest honors by the President of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, Mr. Svetozar Marovic; the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Government, Mr. Vojislav Kostunica, the President of the Executive Council of the Belgrade City Assembly, Mr. Nenad Bogdanovic; and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Aleksandar II Karadjordjevic.

Hotel Slavija



The Educative Seminar for a new group of twenty young volunteers who will join in the Project “Psychosocial Care for People Living With HIV/AIDS and Drug Users” was held form May 4-5th in the Hotel ‘Park’, Belgrade. Among the lecturers and trainers were HE bishop of Eger Kyr. Porfirije, dr Jelena Brkovic, psychologist Milanka Lalovic Brajovic, prim. dr Aleksandar Ramah, dr. Jovan Ranin. Most volunteers are students of psycholgy, theology or medicine, but also coming from other faculties. The Humanitarian Organization of the Serbian Orthodox Church - “PHILANTHROPY” started this project in January 2003, aiming to help people suffering from these most serious diseases. All activities are implemented in cooperation with the Reference Team consisted of top medical experts and with the spiritual support of the Orthodox Church.

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