Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

May 27, 2004


On May 28, 2004 at 10 a.m. as part of the campaign of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church called “Let us breathe life into Serbia”, His Grace Bishop Irinej (Bulovic) of Backa will deliver five incubators to the Department for Prematurely Born Infants of the Narodni Front Clinic for Gynecology and Obstetrics.

We invite representatives of the media to support this humanitarian campaign by their coverage.


On Thursday, May 27, 2004, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia together with Bishop Irinej of Nis, Bishop Jovan of Sumadija, Bishop Grigorije of Zahumlje-Herzegovina, Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje-Niksic of the Holy Assembly of Bishops, as well as Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral and Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren received Captain Fabio Ficuciello, a representative of the Italian carabinieri engaged in establishing peace in Kosovo and Metohija in the Patriarch’s residence in Belgrade. The reception was also attended by Dr. Nebojsa Covic, the president of the Coordinating Center in Kosovo and Metohija, and Dr. Dragana Janjic, the coordinator of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s Council for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.

Welcoming Captain Ficuciello, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle expressed gratitude to the Government and people of Italy, and especially its soldiers and carabinieri who have been in Kosovo and Metohija for several years for their dedication in protecting the monasteries and churches of Kosovo and Metohija, as well as the lives of Serbs who live in Kosovo enclaves.

Captain Ficuciello thanked His Holiness Patriarch Pavle and the bishops for the honor of being received in the Serbian Patriarchate at the highest level. He informed the Serbian Patriarch and bishops that he came to Serbia from Rome, where he works in a service for the protection of cultural heritage within the framework of the carabinieri units. During his visit to Kosovo and Metohija, he observed that almost all cultural monuments in this region are owned by the Serbian Orthodox Church and that it is part of the world cultural heritage in terms of its significance. This inspired him to make a film during the period from November 2002 to May 2003 about the most important Serbian churches and monasteries. On this occasion Capt. Ficuciello gave Serbian Patriarch Pavle a copy of the film and conveyed the willingness of Italy to assist in the restoration of some of the destroyed churches. In conversation with the Patriarch and the bishops regarding the catastrophic consequences of the recent March violence, it was agreed to make a new film showing a comparison of the most important medieval churches before and after their destruction by terrorists.


~ Church supports development of information technology ~

Cooperation of the advancement in the field information technology continued during today’s reception of Mr. Dejan Cvetkovic, Microsoft director for Serbia and Montenegro, and his associates at a meeting of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Mr. Cvetkovic informed His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle and the members of the Holy Assembly with the newest version of Microsoft Office in the Serbian language, including the programs Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access and Publisher. On this occasion, Mr. Cvetkovic presented the Serbian Orthodox Church with a package of programs for the use of the church administration.

The Microsoft representative informed the members of the Holy Assembly of Bishops that his company, in conjunction with Telecom Serbia, to ensure that every 30 elementary and secondary school students in Serbia has access to a computer with Office in Serbian. The members of the Holy Assembly expressed their great interest and support for this campaign which should establish a better foundation for information literacy among our people.


Foto: Vladimir GogicOn Wednesday, May 26, 2004 Serbian Prime Minister Dr. Vojislav Kostunica visited Chilandar Monastery together with Serbian Minister for Religions Milan Radulovic, following the greatest tragedy the monastery endured in its history at the beginning of March of this year.

Before Chilandar Prime Minister Kostunica and Minister Radulovic first visited Karyes, the administrative seat of the Holy Mountain, where Dr. Kostunica presented Protos Stefan with an icon of the Mother of God with Christ. In Chilandar the Prime Minister presented Fr. Metodije, the deputy of Abbot Mojsije, with an icon of Christ the Savior.

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Foto: Vladimir GogicThe damage Chilandar Monastery endured during the night of March 3-4 of this year is estimated at about 25 million euros and it will take some ten years for the monastery to be returned to its former glory. So far, thanks to the goodwill of contributors throughout the world, about 2.5 million euros have been collected. The clearing of the debris is already under way and will be completed during the fall. Work is going on around the clock with the assistance of the Serbian and Greek Orthodox Churches and the Republics of Serbia and Greece. The Government of the Republic of Serbia will donate one million euros per year for the next nine years and has already provided one million euros for the current year.

The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, on its part, has launched a fundraising campaign called “A gift for Chilandar” to provide assistance for the restoration of Chilandar Monastery. On Bright Tuesday this year the Holy Synod and the Serbian Orthodox Church organized a benefit concert called “A gift for Chilandar”.

Ever since 1191 when Rastko Nemanjic arrived in the monastery of Panteleimon to take monastic vows, “the Holy Mountain has been an empire without a crown, a state without an army, a country without women, a treasure without money, wisdom without a school, a kitchen without meat, a prayer without end, a connection with the heavens without interruption, a panegyric to Christ without weariness, death without regret” (Holy Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich).

Prime Minister Kostunica said on this occasion: “Whenever I have come to Chilandar in the past I have been touched. Now more than ever for this is not the Chilandar I know. But what builds these monasteries and what is stronger than any tragedy is faith.”

By the grace of God, the Church dedicated to the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple remains untouched. However, the fire destroyed more than half of the monastery complex: monastic cells, guest quarters with the dining hall, the White Dormitory, four chapels and valuable frescoes, the administrative quarters and the book store. The library, one of the pillars of Serbian literacy where a large number of parchment books and manuscripts decorated with miniatures as well as a rich collection of Serbian charters, luckily escaped the fire. The Zakonopravilo (The Nomocanon of St. Sava), a collection of canonic, church and civil laws which not only established the organization of the Serbian Church in the 13th century but influenced the constitutional consciousness of the people until the creation of the Serbian state in the 19th century, is unharmed. Also untouched is the treasury with the Abbot’s scepter of St. Sava, gifts from the Nemanjic dynasty and later medieval protectors, and Russian emperors from Ivan the Terrible to Peter the Great.

ABOUT MT. ATHOS – Situated on the Athos Peninsula in the Aegean Sea, the Holy Mountain since the founding of the laura of St. Atanasios in 963 to 1204 and the fall of Byzantium under Latin rule remained under the rule of Byzantine emperors. For the next 18 years it was under Frankish rule only to be included as part of Dusan’s empire in the mid-fourteenth century.

It was under the Ottoman Empire from 1430 to 1912, when Greece obtained special status and internal self-rule. Although under the protection of Greece, the Holy Mountain today is the only independent monastic state in the world consisting of 20 inhabited monasteries, 17 Greek and one each Serbian, Russian and Bulgarian with about 2,000 monks.


Recently an official delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York visited Moscow at the invitation of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Upon the arrival of the delegation in Moscow on May 14, 2004, His Holiness Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow and All-Russia met with His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus. Talks on overcoming differences were held in a warm atmosphere of mutual understanding. The following day the two archierachs celebrated Holy Archierchal Liturgy presided by the Russian Patriarch in Butovo, where a large number of martyrs perished under the atheist regime in Russia, many of whom have already been canonized.

Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow and All-Russia advised that the major obstacles to the unification of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad have been overcome.

We remind that in 1922 the late Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky said that the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad formed at that time was temporary.


[Serbian Translation Services]

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