Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

September 29, 2004


On Tuesday, September 28, 2004, a conference took place in the great amphitheater of the Faculty of Machine Engineering of the University of Belgrade on the topic of “The Church and the Media in the New Millennium”. The event was organized by “Pravoslavlje” (Orthodoxy) on the occasion of the 900th issue of this official publication of the Serbian Patriarchate.

At the beginning of the conference, Professor Milos Kuburovic welcomed all participants in the conference and the public, present in great number, in front of the Faculty on behalf of Dean Nedeljkovic. Sanja Lubardic then spoke on behalf of the “Pravoslavlje” editors, emphasizing that the publication was celebrating its 900th issue and reading a telegram of congratulation from His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle. Ms. Lubardic then introduced the speakers, who needed no introduction: His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa, His Grace Bishop Porfirije of Jegar, Protonamesnik Miodrag Popovic, the editor-in-chief of “Pravoslavlje” and, lastly, Branimir Nesic, the operations editor of “Pravoslavlje”.

Protonamesnik Miodrag Popovic reminded everyone that “Pravoslavlje” was launched upon the initiative of a group of Belgrade intellectuals and His Grace Bishop Lavrentije in 1967 as the magazine of the Archdiocese of Belgrade and Karlovci, and that only after seven issues did it become the magazine of the Serbian Patriarchate. The basic theme of the periodical was the familiarization of the faithful with the truths of Orthodox faith, and current events throughout the Serbian Church. “Pravoslavlje” endured great problems during the Communist period; on two occasions it was banned due to unsigned texts by the Holy Bishop Nikola and Protopresbyter Dusan Ivancevic. Protonamesnik Popovic reflected on these difficult times, and especially on the first visit of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople to Serbia. The issue of “Pravoslavlje” devoted to the visit of this high church dignitary was 44 pages long and sold approximately 30,000 copies. In closing, Protonamesnik Popovic emphasized that the “Pravoslavlje” staff would continue to follow religious and social events in the world and in Serbia, that it would influence its faithful to avoid ethnology in the description of church holidays, and that it would strive to provide quality information for its readers regarding art history, architecture and culture.

Branimir Nesic presented the 900th issue and the following new columns: the Church and youth, Christian periodicals, the crucified metoh (church estate) and the Kosovo Covenant, the emigrant community, the living letter, and album images (launched by Antonije Djuric).

His Grace Bishop Porfirije of Jegar spoke regarding the general role of the media in the Church, and the Church in society through the media. It is a great joy that young people are entering the Church where they have the opportunity to enhance their potential. Today there are many who view the activity of the Church in an ideological and political context, citing the legacy of the French Revolution. Religion, in their opinion, is a private matter. This form of secularism, which literally banishes God, is leading humanity to self-destruction. The Church should strive to desecularize society through the media. Bishop Porfirije emphasized that in 1929 the radio program in this region contained ample religious content whereas today the situation is catastrophic. He compared this with the media of neighboring countries, citing the example of Croatian Radio Television, which broadcasts religious services every Sunday, provides 25 minutes weekly of news from all Churches, includes a seven minute-long interpretation of the Holy Gospel every Saturday evening, etc. Bishop Porfirije concluded that we must not simply give in to those who are fighting against spirituality; instead, we must spread the good news of Christ everywhere because by doing so we will not be denigrating but affirming evangelical values. He also presented the idea of organizing the media under the auspices of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

At the beginning of his presentation, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa recalled working in Television at the beginning of the 1990s in the capacity of editor of Bukvar Pravoslavlja (Primer of Orthodoxy). This was a shortened catechesis in television form prepared through the joint efforts of Metropolitan Amfilohije and Bishops Porfirije and Irinej. As well, Bishop Irinej was a participant in the first post-war discussion between two members of the clergy directly broadcast by television. This was the first instance where the clergy could speak live since World War II. After this introduction, Bishop Irinej emphasized that today relations with the media are catastrophic because of supposed experts on behind the scenes activities in the Church. He also expressed some self-criticism with respect to the official publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church, noting that there have been instances of factual errors published because the editors were primarily tasked with other responsibilities within the Church. Today there is a tendency toward falsely describing church life, and that is why all media should ask senior church dignitaries whether they agree with the texts that are being published. As a negative example, Bishop Irinej cited the church celebration of the Bicentennial of the First Serbian Uprising, which television stations refused to broadcast live even though they were asked to do so. Instead, news of this grand event, which was attended by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, lasted all of twenty seconds on the evening news, and was broadcast just before sports.

His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral emphasized that at the time the first issue of “Pravoslavlje” was published, the Church was called the Church of Silence. In an age of much ado and a deluge of wasted words, “Pravoslavlje” has been trying in 900 issues to shape the Word – Logos. “Pravoslavlje” strives to make the Word strong and powerful, and to make it divinely inspired.

In conclusion, despite criticism Bishop Irinej emphasized that there are local television stations that are trying to organize their programs according to Christian principles. As a very positive example, he cited Television Trstenik – LOGOS.


Upon the invitation of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle, on September 29, 2004 in the Belgrade Patriarchate, a meeting was held between the Serbian Patriarch and a delegation of the community of Western Rite Orthodox in France. His Holiness Patriarch Pavle together with His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, and His Grace Bishop Luka of Western Europe received the delegation. The delegation of the community of Western Rite Orthodox in France included Protopresbyter Jean Pierre Paud, Protopresbyter Maxime Jordan, Protopresbyter Pierre Francois Meant, and Mr. Guy Treca. (All name spellings are approximate.) Presbyter Jovan Georgievski, the parish priest in Paris, and Mr. Kosta Hristic, the vice-president of the Executive Council of the Diocese of Western Europe also attended the talks.

At the beginning of the conversation the delegation expressed their desire to be under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church within the framework of the Diocese of Western Europe, and by uniting with the Orthodox Church to preserve their liturgical tradition.

His Holiness listened to the presentations of the dear guests with great interest and demonstrated understanding for the difficult situation of this community, which currently numbers approximately ten parishes with more than a thousand faithful.

After a thorough discussion a decision was reached to form a special committee of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church to look into the matter and prepare a proposals for the next session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops.


On Tuesday, September 28, 2004, the first collective baptism of officers and soldiers from one Serbia and Montenegro Army unit took place in the monastery of Vavedenje (the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple) located eight kilometers from Cacak. It was the baptism of five members of the Rear Headquarters of the Serbia and Montenegro Army General Staff, and the mother of one member. The ceremony was attended by about one hundred uniformed members of the unit who left the monastery with their newly baptized colleagues for a luncheon prepared in the garrison of the Serbia and Montenegro Army in Pozega. The sacrament of baptism was conducted by Father Milorad Cicovic accompanied by the prayers of the nuns of this female monastery. Also present was the commander of the Rear Headquarters of the General Staff, Colonel Dragomir Krstovic, who said that members of this unit visited 25 monasteries throughout Serbia during the course of the past year for baptisms, and thus the idea was born to baptize those who for various reasons were not baptized immediately upon birth. Colonel Krstovic called on all officers and soldiers in the unit to be baptized if it was in accordance with their wishes and something they as individuals wished. Baptized yesterday were Colonel Radomir Jovanovic, assistant to the commander of the Rear Base for morale and information; Captain First Class Sasa Petrovic of Belgrade and Dragomir Grujovic of Cacak; a civilian employee of the Serbia and Montenegro Army, Radmila Krsmanovic; and a contracted soldier from Lukovica near Gornji Milanovac, Marijan Mirkovic, and his mother.

Source: Ekspres Politika daily, Belgrade, September 29, 2004

[Serbian Translation Services]

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