Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

September 9, 2004


His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle has received the highest award of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, the Order of Nemanja of the First Degree. Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic presented the top award on September 9, 2004 after nomination by Republic of Serbia Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica on the occasion of Patriarch Pavle’s ninetieth birthday.

Upon presenting this high state honor to the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, President Marovic emphasized that it was “a gift from the heart” recognizing Patriarch Pavle’s achievements in building confidence and understanding among the people and nations living in this region. In a brief response Patriarch Pavle expressed his thanks for the honor bestowed upon him emphasizing that he was honored to be a recipient. “I accept this award with the awareness that today we represent our people. One day when we stand before our ancestors, we should not be ashamed nor should they be ashamed of us.”

This very important event was attended by Republic of Serbia Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, as well as by His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa, His Grace Bishop Vasilije of Srem, His Grace Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia, His Grace Bishop Gerasim of Gornji Karlovac, His Grace Bishop Profirije of Jegar, His Grace Bishop Milutin of Australia, and His Grace Bishop Lukijan of Osijek Polje and Baranja.

His Holiness Patriarch Pavle is the only church dignitary to receive the highest award of the state.


As part of his visit to Temerin and Subotica, where he met with representatives of provincial and local government Republic of Serbia Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica also met with representatives of all traditional Christian churches in Vojvodina: Bishop Irinej of Backa and Bishop Porfirije of Jegar of the Serbian Orthodox Church; Bishop Ivan Penzes of the Roman Catholic Church; Bishop Istvan Cete-Semesi of the Reform Christian Church, Bishop Samuel Vrbovski of the Slovak Evangelical Church, and Superintendent Arpad Dolinski of the Evangelical Christian Church.

Upon his return from Subotica, Prime Minister Kostunica and his delegation visited the Orthodox Diocese of Backa in Novi Sad and Their Graces Bishop Irinej of Backa and Vicar Bishop Porfirije of Jegar. A meeting was held in the Bishop’s residence in Novi Sad, where Bishop Irinej presented the honored guests with gifts and invited them to stop by again in the future whenever they find themselves in Novi Sad, the Athens of Serbia.


The city of Cleveland in the U.S. is a true oasis and sanctuary where several thousand Serbs who were forced to leave their Homeland after World War II found a new home. Others who left their native land much earlier but never forgot it warmly received them there. Gathered around their church, they opened their brotherly arms in Christian fashion to the new arrivals.

Diligent and industrious, the Serbs of Cleveland knew that “hope places its faith in no one but God and one’s own hands” and they got down to work. In Cleveland the Serbian Orthodox Church and the local parish were the center where Serbs gathered long before the war, and after the war they continued to work and progress there as well, not for the wealth of any individual but for the good of the community.

Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Djuro Majerle told us about the Serbs of his parish in Broadview Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. He said that the Cleveland parish is one of the largest in number of believers in the U.S. This parish also warmly received a large number of refugees who arrived during the 1990s because of the war in this region. It helped them to adjust to their new surroundings and now many of these new arrivals are themselves in a position to help others.

When news broke in faraway Cleveland of the fire in Chilandar Monastery, no heart remained indifferent and no eye failed to shed a tear. They resolved to help as they had already done so many times in the past, and responded to a brotherly appeal. Recently their priest, elderly and dear Father Djuro, brought 10,000 dollars to help Chilandar. The Serbs from Cleveland have not forgotten their brothers and sisters in Kosovo and Metohija nor in other regions.

When asked whether it was difficult to remain a Serb in the United States, Father Djuro replied that it was necessary to preserve one’s faith, mother tongue and traditions. This cannot be learned in school because it is something that is passed on by families.

The church of St. Sava in Cleveland is the spiritual heart of the city. Recently a holiday was celebrated there which has been celebrated for many years. Njegos Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in the month of September on the same day as the U.S. holiday of Labor Day. After Liturgy a memorial service is held near a monument to Njegos, which is now in front of the church. In 1934 it was located in the Yugoslav garden in Cleveland’s Rockefeller Park. Every year on Njegos Day the late Holy Bishop Nikolaj of Ochrid and Zica would come and serve the memorial service for Njegos.

The church of St. Sava in Cleveland is one of the few in the United States where Liturgy is served in the Serbian language. The didactic parts of the service and some prayers are also in English to facilitate understanding by non-Serbian spouses.

This parish can truly serve as a model for others in gathering the flock, preserving the traditions of our people, and diligently working for the benefit and glory of God and one’s people. At the same time, parishioners are model citizens in their new homeland.


On Wednesday, September 1, 2004 a group of 14 Orthodox Christians from the United States of America arrived in Banja Luka to see the humanitarian work of the International Orthodox Christian Charities in action. The guests from the U.S. were welcomed on behalf of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle and the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox church by Hieromonk Irinej Dobrijevic, who will accompany the delegation during the six days they will be spending in the northwest part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Princess Linda Karadjordjevic also joined the group.

The delegation from the U.S. includes five Orthodox members of the clergy and four members of the main board of the International Orthodox Christian Charities, which is based in Baltimore. The director of this international humanitarian organization, Mr. Konstantin Trandafil, heads the group. IOCC has been very active in the region of ex-Yugoslavia since 1992 and since then has given assistance over 80 million dollars in assistance to refugees and those expelled from their centuries-old homes. This humanitarian organization opened its office in Banja Luka in 1995. Since then with their assistance repairs have been made on devastated homes and infrastructure has been improved. People of good will from the U.S. are helping so that all those who lived difficult lives during the war can renew agriculture, the economy and social activities throughout the region. These Orthodox philanthropists are working in the building of fundraising capacities of all local Orthodox Churches.

On September 1, 2004 the group from the U.S. visited returnees in Mrkonjic Grad, Cadjavica and the Majdan area, as well as the monastery of Krupa on the Vrbas. The following day, on September 2, 2004 they visited the NGO Prvi Osmijeh (First Smile) and Zastite Me (Protect Me) in Banja Luka, the Cathedral and the Bishop’s residence in Bosanski Petrovac, where His Grace Bishop Hrizostom of Bihac and Petrovac received them. They went on to visit Krnjeusa and the cooperative in Vrtoc. On September 3, 2004 this group visited returnees in Novi Grad, Rudici, Mala Krupska Ruiska and Agrojapgra in Donji Agici, the NGO Svetionik (Lighthouse) in Prijedor, and a school in Trnopolje. Their travels continued on September 4, 2004 with visits to the NGO Ekologika (Ecologica) and Forum NGO, as well as the Association of Beekeepers in Derventa, and a school in Sevarlija.

On Sunday, September 5, the guests from the U.S. took part in Holy Liturgy in Banja Luka’s Holy Trinity Cathedral with guest U.S. clergy concelebrating with local priests and deacons with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Jefrem of Banja Luka. In the afternoon they visited the monastery of Liplje, the endowment of St. Sava, which was renewed by the Holy King Dragutin. On the last day, September 6, 2004 they visited the Ethno-cooperative Duga (Rainbow) and the Circle of Serbian Sisters in Banja Luka, where a farewell luncheon was held prior to their departure for the United States.

[Serbian Translation Services]

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