Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

December 31, 2004


On Thursday, December 30, 2004, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa received a group of representatives of the Lisje Public Communal Services Company headed by director Milorad Buha in the bishop’s residence in Novi Sad. Issues discussed included the future revitalization of the Almasko and Uspensko cemeteries, possibilities for construction of a chapel at the Novo Groblje cemetery in Novi Sad, and further cooperation between the Diocese of Backa and its parishes in the greater Novi Sad area, and JKP Lisje.

From the Office of the Bishop of Backa
and the Information Service of JKP Lisje


On the feast of the Holy Deacon Avakum, on December 30, 2004, a wooden cross appeared on Freedom Square in Belgrade across from the National Theatre bearing the inscription: “In this place the Holy New Martyr Deacon Avakum perished in 1814”. The cross was placed at the former location of Stambol Kapija*.

In 1814 the Turkish occupiers of Serbia offered the young deacon Avakum the option of renouncing the Orthodox Christian faith and converting to Islam rather than being impaled on the stake. Deacon Avakum hesitated not. He bore the stake on his own shoulders as Our Lord bore His cross to Golgotha, and he sang: “The Serb belongs to Christ and rejoices in his own death.”

Curiously, the “perpetrators” of the placement of the cross remain anonymous.

* Stambol Kapija or the Istanbul Gate was built by the Austrians at the beginning of the 18th century and got its name from the fact that the road to Istanbul led through it. The Turks used it as the location for execution of the dispossessed Christian rayah, their Serbian peasant subjects, by impaling them on the stake.


The Nativity issue of “Svetosavsko Zvonce” (The Little Bell of St. Sava, the children’s publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church) is now available to readers. In addition to a wonderful selection of Nativity stories and poems, readers will be able to learn more about the city where Christ was born, Nativity customs and traditions, and the Nativity rose. Other features include God’s Answer, a true Nativity story, the story of the New Year’s Tree, as well as Vertep, and many texts and drawings by children. The column “Treasury” includes pearls of folk wisdom and the “Religious Instruction” column talks about the vestments of bishops. The music page includes the notes and texts to several Nativity songs, and the column “Why do we say” looks at the expression: guiding star. The regular column “Our heritage from time immemorial” describes Milesevo Monastery and the topic for the Grand Award Competition on the Holy Dynasty of the Nemanjices is St. Sava. So far several thousand works by students from schools throughout Serbia have been submitted.

[Serbian Translation Services]

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