On the Celebration of Serbian National Day: Independence and Nationhood 1804-1835-2009
OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHRUCH
THE FEAST OF THE MEETING OF OUR LORD IN THE TEMPLE, 15 FEBRUARY 2009
ROCKDALE COUNCIL ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, ROCKDALE - SYDNEY
MOST HONOURABLE MAYOR OF ROCKDALE, COUNCILLOR BILL SARAVINOVSKI; HONOURABLE DEPUTY MAYOR, COUNCILLOR PETER POULOS; HONOURABLE CITY COUNCILLORS OF ROCKDALE; YOUR EXCELLENCY THE AMBASSADOR OF SERBIA, MR. MILIVOJE GLISIC; YOUR EXCELLENCY THE CONSUL GENERAL OF SERBIA AND MRS. ALEXANDER BESARABIC; VERY REVEREND AND REVEREND FATHERS; CHILDREN, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, SISTERS, BROTHERS - ALL:
On this historic day in which our Holy Orthodox Church celebrates the Great Feast of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple, little over two centuries ago in 1804, in Orasac, the hometown of The First Uprising, a meeting of Serbian leaders took place to determine their course of Independence and future Nationhood for our enslaved Serbian population. Exhorted by their forefathers and persuaded by their descendants, they chose among themselves the Leader Karageorge as their Supreme Leader, their first among equals. And he, guided by Divine Providence, addressed his martyred people and his heroic nobles, then and for all times. And, as the Holy Prince Lazarus of Kosovo before him, he, too, formulated his inspirational words in prayer:
O God, God Almighty, turn Your merciful eye
toward the faithful and Your Church. Amen.
O God Almighty, extinguish not Your faithful. Amen.
O God, have mercy and lend strength to the Serbian
people and to the hearts of the sons of Serbia.
Our Lord God, have mercy on us. Amen.
In light of the same, as patriotic and grateful Serbian Australians and friends
alike, we have gathered here on this august occasion to mark our Serbian
National Day in the City of Rockdale.
May we, together, entertain hope for new readiness to achieve in common great
deeds in that same self-sacrificial spirit of determination; and, on this Feast
of the Meeting of our Lord, may we once again see before us the one and only
Path of Life, and thereby perpetuate the Path of True Independence, the choice
of which lies before us all. Toward this goal, let us continue to abide by the
same, then fledgling and now immortal words of our great Leader Karageorge, our
Serbian dynastic founder, coupled with the subsequent diplomatic and governance
skills of Prince Milosh Obrenovich, evidenced in 1835, also on the Feast of the
Meeting of the Lord, by proclaiming The Parliamentary Constitution and ushering
in a liberal democratic tradition of Serbian Nationhood.
Thus, in celebrating our Independence and our Nationhood this Kosovo Covenant bonds all Serbs - The Honorable Cross and Golden Freedom: from freedom-loving Shumadia, to heroic Montenegro and robust Herzegovina, from proud Bosnia and our lands north of the Sava and the Danube Rivers, throughout the Diaspora, and even unto the very shores of our Australia and New Zealand. And it was only because of this - the Kosovo Covenant made for all eternity - that Karageorge and Obrenovich found their inner strength to rise above this earth and all that is earthly, above circumstance and above themselves, and together with their people to transcend all historical difficulties and circumstances.
Reminding ourselves of these historical events and sacrifices does not imply
regressing or impeding progress. Rather history and its remembrance show
everyone - including ourselves - not only the past, but also the present, as
well as serving to admonish us constantly about the future. The knowledge of
history can successfully cure the alienation and the errors of our modern
world, the loneliness, the selfishness and confusion of peoples, especially in
the face of the maelstrom of so many contradictions and self-centered interests
that thrive in today's post-modernistic society. The unending crises of the
modern, especially in light of the global financial crisis and the violence of
the powerful who exhaust and confound, coupled with the natural disasters which
have befallen us from the floods in Queensland to the raging bush fires in
Victoria and New South Wales, can only be transcended by diminishing the gap
between spiritual and material values, by establishing balance between Earth
and Heaven, the reality of this world and the world beyond.
Precisely for that reason, we have gathered here this afternoon, in celebration of our Serbian National Day on this Great Feast of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple, to foster our cherished Serbian heritage through the democratic Australian generosity of spirit, openness and earnestness, and according to the tried and true principles of faith and freedom, justice and righteousness.