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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2001.05.23 SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH: PUBLIC STATEMENT Serbian original at http://www.spc.yu/Vesti/05/23-5-01_l1.html THE INFORMATION SERVICE OF THE SERBIAN
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2001

      Serbian original at http://www.spc.yu/Vesti/05/23-5-01_l1.html


      May 23, 2001



      At its session on May 23, 2001 the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian
      Orthodox Church devoted considerable attention to statements by certain
      individuals in which the Serbian people in Republika Srpska are
      characterized as being Fascist. It is questionable whether statements of
      this type can contribute positively to inter-confessional and
      inter-religious relations in general, and to confidence and cooperation
      among the Inter-Religious Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular.

      The Serbian Orthodox Church has always condemned and continues to condemn
      everything which disrupts the harmony of life among people of differing
      religious persuasions or ethnic identity no matter its origin, and it has
      emphasized and continues to emphasize this a countless number of times.

      On this occasion we again call for harmony, love, peace, dignity and
      mutual respect among all nations and peoples in countries which formerly
      comprised the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This will result in
      the overcoming of all disagreements which divide and separate them.


      serbian original at http://www.spc.yu/Saopstenja/sabor-vanred01_c.html



      following the regular session of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian
      Orthodox Church held in Belgrade from May 14 - 23, 2001

      The regular session of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox
      Church was held from May 14 to May 23, 2001 in the Patriarchate of Belgrade
      and presided over by His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch Pavle. All bishops
      of the Serbian Orthodox Church participated in the work of the Holy Synod.

      The Holy Synod sought to review all aspects of the life and mission of
      the Serbian Orthodox Church throughout its entire ecumenical territory,
      including, of course, all of its dioceses abroad, and to make appropriate
      decisions. During this process, the Holy Synod devoted special attention to
      church unity and the centuries-old ecumenical order of the Orthodox Church
      throughout the world, as well as the Serbian Orthodox Church as one of the
      local autocephalous Churches, welcoming with joy all initiatives which
      protect and promote the unity of Holy Orthodoxy and regretfully condemning
      all actions which undermine the ecumenical order and unity of the Church.

      Within this framework it was again reaffirmed that it is only
      ecumenically appropriate and beneficial to all Orthodox believers that the
      overcoming of the division in the church and establishment of church unity
      in Macedonia be realized by means of the broadest church autonomy of the
      dioceses there under the ecumenical auspices of the Serbian Orthodox
      Church. The suggestion was also made to the bishops of the Serbian Orthodox
      Church in Northern and Southern America to speed up the work on the
      completion of a common Statute in order to establish administrative unity
      as well after the re-establishment of liturgical unity. Difficulties and
      disputes were also pointed out in relations between some local Orthodox
      Churches, especially among the emigrant community, and the desire was
      expressed that the Serbian Orthodox Church consistently and impartially
      follow the path of serving the unity of the Orthodox Church and loyalty to
      the sanctified all-Orthodox ecumenical order as always in the past.
      Therefore the Holy Synod once again calls on the organs of state government
      in the Republic of Montenegro not to give practical support, citing
      democracy and human rights, to a para-religious organization (the
      self-styled "CPC" /Montenegrin Orthodox Church/) which is equivalent to the
      manipulation of faith for political purposes, thus endangering the
      identity, rights, freedom and property of the centuries-old Diocese of
      Montenegro and the Littoral. The Holy Synod also regrets uncontrolled
      criticism and attacks by individual groups and calls on all to respect
      ecumenical norms and to nurture within themselves the spirit of unity,
      confidence, sobriety and calmness.

      The Holy Synod carefully followed reports regarding the situation in many
      dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Special attention was devoted to
      the report of the Bishop of Slavonia, Sava, and the difficulties with which
      he has been confronted in the renewal of his war-torn diocese.

      Exceptional attention was devoted by the Holy Synod to tragic
      developments in Kosovo and Metohija and the escalation of Arbanas terrorism
      in the area of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac, as well as in Macedonia.
      The Holy Synod welcomes all efforts by state organs of Serbia and the
      Federal Republic of Yugoslavia towards a peaceful and just solution for all
      people and nations in this area and condemns every form of violence,
      especially the terror and violence of Albanian para-military and terrorist
      organizations. In addition to refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and
      Herzegovina, there are also a great number of refugees from Kosovo and
      Metohija. Not only is their return being prevented but Kosovo and Metohija
      are also being settled by many newcomers from Albania who are appropriating
      the houses and property of the expelled Serbs and doing so in the presence
      of international military and police forces. The Holy Synod calls on the
      domestic and international public to do everything possible in order to
      secure returns as quickly as possible for the refugees of Kosovo and
      Metohija and for all refugees and displaced persons, and to provide for the
      protection of their homes and property.

      The Holy Synod officially addressed the highest representatives of Serbia
      and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the request that with the
      beginning of the next school year, in accordance with international
      conventions, democratic standards in Europe and the world, and the
      democratic choice of our country following last year's political changes,
      respecting the right of the Church to educate children and young people in
      the spirit of faith, regular catechism, that is, religious instruction, be
      introduced in all beginning grades of primary and secondary schools. In
      conjunction with this, the Holy Synod advocates that this right be
      respected also with regard to other historical churches and religious
      communities in general which have traditionally been present in this
      region. At the same time, the Holy Synod welcomes the fact that no
      conscientious and responsible person any longer contests the necessity of
      the presence and spiritual-educational activity of the Church in all
      sectors of society and domains of public life.

      The Holy Synod welcomed and blessed the activities of "Covekoljublje",
      the philanthropic foundation of the Serbian Orthodox church, for helping
      hundreds of thousands of refugees and socially endangered persons.

      Toward the goal of furthering church education and schooling, the work of
      the Holy Three Hierarchs Seminary /Bogoslovija Sveta Tri Jerarha/ in the
      monastery of Krka in Dalmatia is being resumed. The Holy Synod expects that
      during this period of privatization, the authorized organs in Serbia and
      Montenegro, and of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, will implement a
      process to return unjustly confiscated church property as soon as possible.
      The Holy Synod is also carefully following and encouraging the continuation
      of work on the church of St. Sava in Vracar /Belgrade/. The Holy Synod has
      decided that the holy remains /mosti/ of the Holy Emperor Uros, transferred
      in 1705 from Nerodimlje in Kosovo to the monastery of Jazak on Fruska Gora
      /Vojvodina/ and taken from there in 1942 to Belgrade for safekeeping due to
      Ustashe /Croatian Fascist/ violence be once again returned to the monastery
      of Jazak.

      The Holy Synod founded the Diocese of Budim and Niksic which is to be
      seated in the monastery of Djurdjevi Stupovi (Berane) and in Niksic from
      parts of the historical dioceses of Budim-Polimlje and Niksic, and elected
      the acting bishop of Budim, Joanikije (Micovic), as the administrator of
      the newly established diocese.

      The Holy Synod of Bishops at its next session will be comprised of the
      following members: the Serbian Patriarch, Pavle, as president; and the
      bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla, Vasilije, the bishop of Backa, Irinej, the bishop
      of Timok, Justin, and the bishop of Vranje, Pahomije, as members.
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