SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH: PUBLIC STATEMENT
- 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 ORTHODOX CHURCH
May 23, 2001
THE HOLY SYNOD OF BISHOPS OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
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
THE HOLY SYNOD OF BISHOPS OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
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
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.