the Serbian Orthodox Church
May 13, 2004
REGULAR ASSEMBLY OF THE HOLY SYNOD OF BISHOPS
On Thursday, May 13, 2004, this year's regular spring Assembly
of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church began
with Holy Archierchal Liturgy and the Invocation of the Holy
Spirit, served in the Patriarchal court church of St. Simeon
the Myrrh-Gusher, in the Patriarchal residence in Belgrade, by
His Holiness Patriarch Pavle.
The Assembly of the Holy Synod will deliberate all current issues
from the life of the Church and its people. All bishops of the
Serbian Orthodox Church are taking part in this assembly.
As part of the work of the Assembly of the Holy Synod of Bishops,
on May 15, 2004 at 11:00 a.m. the regular assembly of the main
body for completion of St. Sava Cathedral in Vracar (Belgrade)
will also take place. The body includes representatives from
every diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS PATRIARCH ALEKSII II OF RUSSIA TO PATRIARCH
On the occasion of the jubilee ceremony in Belgrade His Holiness
Patriarch Aleksii II of Moscow and All Russia, addressed the
following letter to His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia:
TO THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE JUBILEE CEREMONY IN BELGRADE
May 8-10, 2004
Eminent bishops, venerable fathers, dear brothers and sisters!
Christ is risen!
On behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church, I sincerely greet
all those gathered at the celebration of the completion of construction
of the church of the great St. Sava the Enlightener, the teacher
and builder of the land of Serbia. The great celebration that
is taking place is further enhanced by the marking of the two
hundred year anniversary of the beginning of the First Serbian
Uprising under the leadership of Karadjordje.
Present in spirit with you, beloved holy fathers, brothers and
sisters, I hope that you spend these festal days in spiritual
joy and fraternal like-mindedness.
The enemies of Orthodoxy, wishing to erase the memory of the
spiritual father of a great Slavic people, burned the holy relics
of St. Sava, the first Serbian Archbishop, who was tonsured a
monk on the Holy Mountain in the Russian monastery of St. Panteleimon.
But the name of St. Sava was not forgotten. To the present day
his name remains known not only to every Serb but to numerous
Orthodox Christians in the whole world. And in Vracar, where
a crime was committed against the holy relics of the ascetic
laborer, today a splendid and majestic holy shrine has been built
in his honor.
The life work of St. Sava was the building of the most holy
Serbian Church. And to the present day, both in the middle of
pain and difficulties, as well as in days of peace and prosperity,
the Church of St. Sava flourishes and to the entire Orthodox
world gives the fruits of confessionality and unshakeability,
great spirituality and theological wisdom.
The name of St. Sava, his intercession and prayers inspired
the fighters for Serbian freedom. With the name of St. Sava in
their hearts, Russian soldiers also ran to their aid in the battle
of Shtubik *, as well as in many other battles. The First Serbian
Uprising did not achieve its goal – the creation of an independent
Serbian state – but the blood we spilled together for the freedom
of Orthodox peoples, strengthened the brotherhood of our peoples
for all time. Through joint efforts, the centuries of rule by
the enslavers was finally cast off.
However, even today there is still no lasting peace in the Balkans.
Only weeks ago in Kosovo and Metohija churches were destroyed
and unsanctioned crimes committed against peace abiding citizens.
On the ancient and holy land of their ancestors, Orthodox Serbs
lack basic conditions to survive. However, representatives of
the countries which took upon themselves the responsibility for
the just solution of the situation in the province, cannot or
will not stop the bloodshed.
The bishops, priests and faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church
received with great pain news of the suffering of the people
and their shrines, and they continue to pray for their long-suffering
In everything that is occurring we see a call for the strengthening
of unity among Orthodox Christians and for the strengthening
of our mutual cooperation, in the Balkans as well as throughout
the world. Together with all men of good will, we must put an
end to internal unrest and violence.
I believe that the Serbian people, which rejoices in every unexpected
guest, which is patient in its suffering, which is devoted to
its Homeland, following the example of its heroic ancestors,
will fulfill the command of the Savior: Fear not them which kill
the body, but are not able to kill the soul (Mat10:28).
Aleksii II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
* Battle of Shtubik (1807) was the first common military victory
of the Serbs and the Russians against the Turks
ARCHBISHOP PAUL OF RYAZAN AND KASIMOV VISITS NIKSIC
The high delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by
His Eminence Archbishop Paul of Ryazan and Kasimov, which participated
in the main church celebration of the Bicentennial of the First
Serbian Uprising and the completion of construction on St. Sava
Cathedral in Belgrade with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch
Aleksii II of Moscow and All Russia, also took part in the Days
of St. Basil of Ostrog event in Niksic on May 11 and 12.
At a formal
academy held in Niksic on the occasion of the 200 year anniversary
of the First Serbian Uprising, His Eminence
Archbishop Paul pointed out the necessity for unity among the
Slavic peoples. During the course of his presentation, His Eminence
emphasized: "The visit of the delegation of the Russian
Orthodox Church on this holiday had the purpose of showing that
we are with you. The Holy Apostles brought people together. St.
Sergei of Radonezh, St. Daniel of Moscow, St. Sava, St. Basil
of Ostrog... always sought to unite people. Today Europe is uniting
and we want everyone to live in peace and prosperity. May God
grant that the holy men of our peoples continue to unite us." The
distinguished church envoy from Russia reminded that we must
always remain aware of the fact that we are strong only when
we are united. He said that "our strength lies in our spiritual
unity and the Slavs, in addition to their faith, are also united
by knowledge and culture".
After returning from Montenegro, Archbishop Paul visited the
Serbian Orthodox Church Museum. On that occasion the distinguished
guest again emphasized the need for spiritual unity of all Orthodox
USTASHE GRAFFITI IN SERBIAN CEMETERY IN VINKOVCI
faithful visiting the cemetery in Vinkovci on Saturday, May
8, 2004 were met by a horrible sight: Dozens of graves were
desecrated and bore Ustashe graffiti: "(Long) live Ante
Pavelic, Ustashe, Kill the Serb, We will not give up Gotovina".
These messages by vandals upset, embittered and saddened the
Orthodox believers. This is not the first time that the Orthodox
cemetery has been desecrated: Over 80 percent of its gravestones
have been destroyed, broken and scattered. Police in Vinkovci
were informed immediately regarding the unfortunate event and
are seeking the perpetrators.
WHERE THE WORD, THERE THE SOUL
of a book by Father Tomislav Djordjevic called "Gde
rec tu i dusa" (Where the word, there the soul) will be
held on Thursday, May 13, 2004 in the Vuk Karadzic Cultural Hall,
Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 77 a, at 6:00 p.m.,
Speaking about the book will be Father Dr. Ljubivoje Stojanovic,
Goran Radenkovic and the author, Father Tomislav Djordjevic.
Chants at the promotion will be sung be the choir of the Theological
Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church under the direction of
Copyright © 1999-2004 by
The Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church
Kralja Petra I no.5
+381 11 3282 596