Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

September 20, 2004

ORTHODOX DIOCESE OF BACKA CELEBRATES ITS PATRON SAINT

The patron saintís day of the Diocese of Backa, the feast of the Miracle of the Holy Archangel Michael in Honaes, was celebrated on Sunday, September 19, 2004, with the serving of a formal religious service in the cathedral of the Holy Great-martyr George in Novi Sad. Participants included His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa, His Grace Vicar Bishop Porfirije of Jegar, the entire clergy of the divinely protected Diocese of Backa, and many faithful from all parts of this region in Serbia.

After evening services the faithful were addressed by Bishop Irinej and Bishop Porfirije, who by their archpastoral lesson and blessing spiritually and prayerfully strengthened the entire divinely saved Diocese of Backa.

On this occasion, before the gathered multitude of priests and faithful, a letter from the Commander of the Novi Sad Corps of the Serbia and Montenegro Army, Major-General Dragan Paskas on the occasion of the patron saintís day of the Diocese of Backa was also read.

RESTORATION OF LIFE IN DRAGOVIC MONASTERY

Since itís founding in the year 1395 to the present day, the monastery of Dragovic, the great shrine of the Cetinska region and the Diocese of Dalmatia, has had an exceedingly difficult past. In its history it has been destroyed and burned many times, and its monks frequently forced to flee. During the rule of the godless Communist regime, the monastery and the surrounding villages were flooded. The new Dragovic Monastery was built above the old one and monks lived there until 1995.

A new phase of suffering for the monastery began in 1995, when it was again looted and destroyed. Knowing the great importance of Dragovic Monastery, His Grace Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia gave his blessing to Protonamesnik Djordje Knezevic to initiate the restoration of this holy shrine. Fr. Djordje succeeded in restoring a part of the monastery so that monks could begin living there, and on September 15, 2004 Bishop Fotije appointed Hieromonk Varsonufije (Raskovic) the new elder of the monastery of Dragovic.

According to the age-old tradition of Dragovic Monastery, the monastery patron saintís day, the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God, is always celebrated on the Sunday before the feast. So it was that this year the first Liturgy and the first patron saintís day in the renewed monastery were served on that day. Bishop Fotije and His Grace Bishop Gerasim of Gornji Karlovac served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy with the concelebration of a large number of priest-monks and priests. During the Liturgy Bishop Fotije elevated Hieromonk Varsonufije to the office of Abbot and Protonamesnik Djordje Knezevic to the office of Protopresbyter. In his sermon Bishop Fotije emphasized the importance of this holy shrine for Orthodox Serbs of the Cetinska region, saying that the renewal of life in the monastery is a blessing of God and the Most Holy Mother of God. Bishop Fotije thanked all donors and philanthropists of this monastery, as well as Bishop Gerasim for his love in coming to serve at the first patron saintís day in the renewed monastery. This is a historic event for all Orthodox people in the Diocese of Dalmatia, said the Bishop, because life has been restored to yet another monastery that will continuously celebrate the Lord. Monasteries are places of continuous prayer and monks by distancing themselves from the world are in continuous community with God. With their prayers they help all those who need assistance. Dragovic Monastery, too, was once a place where everyone, regardless of his or her religion, sought the prayerful assistance of the brotherhood, and it would continue to be such a place in the future. During the festal luncheon Bishop Fotije welcomed eminent guests Mr. Milan Simurdic, the ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro, and Mr. Ratko Gajica, Serbian deputy in the Croatian Assembly. Mr. Simurdic expressed his thanks for the invitation to take part in the celebration of the monasteryís patron saintís day, and wished the new brotherhood success in further restoration of the monastery. Mr. Gajica emphasized that everyone in attendance at this monastery celebration would be going home spiritually enriched, and that the monasteryís renewal is a new sign that Serbs can stay and survive in this region.

MONUMENT TO KARAGEORGE IN VILLAGE OF VISEVAC

In the year of the bicentennial of the First Serbian Uprising and the modern Serbian state, an initiate has been launched with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Jovan of Sumadija to erect a monument to Karadjordje, the leader of the First Serbian Uprising, in Visevac, the village of his birth. The monument is to be placed in the churchyard of St. George the Great-Martyr, the endowment of Bishop Sava Vukovic of blessed memory. The local residents of Visevac and those originating from the village have therefore founded the George Petrovich Ė Karageorge Fund for this purpose.

Bishop Jovan of Sumadija has chosen the spot in the churchyard in front of the church of St. George, which has just been newly decorated with frescoes. The monument to Karageorge is cast in bronze, 290 cm. high and is the work of academic sculptor Stanimir Pavlovic. It is interesting that the statue is made of tank shells from the Serbian Army donated by Serbia and Montenegro Army. The figure depicted is in motion and showing the church with his hand. A major donor is the owner of the Tresnja Construction Company in Belgrade. The Fund plans to create a historic village in Visevac, including an auditorium, for students and tourists who will come to visit the birthplace of the greatest Serbian military commander.

The George Petrovich Ė Karageorge Fund asks all people of good will to help to the extent that they are able so that the village of Visevac can open its doors to Serbia and the world and repay its debt to its Leader. The dinar account number at Privredna banka Beograd A.D. is 255-0033620101000-55, and the foreign currency account is 5443-VA-0002531.

Dr. Zivan Zivoinovic
Council president
George Petrovich Ė Karageorge Fund

[Serbian Translation Services]


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