First hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York Diocese deceased on Sunday at the age of 80. Metropolitan Laurus passed away on the Feast of Orthodoxy. He was born Vassily Mikhailovich Skurla on January 1, 1928, in the village of Ladomirova, present day Slovakia. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1950, and became a hieromonk in 1954. Fr. Laurus graduated from the Holy Trinity Theological Seminary in 1954 and was appointed its inspector in 1960. He was elevated to archimandrite on April 17, 1966. Archimandrite Laurus was consecrated bishop of Manhattan on August 12, 1967, and appointed archbishop of Syracuse and Holy Trinity on October 20, 1981. The same year Laurus was elected First hierarch and Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York.
Metropolitan Laurus was actively involved in restoring canonical unity of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia and abroad broken after the civil war. Metropolitan Laurus will be buried at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York, where the ROCOR administrative center is situated and where previous ROCOR first hierarchs were buried.
AUSTRALIA'S Serbian Orthodox bishop has written to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urging him to reverse Australia's recognition of Kosovo and warning that it increases the risk of terrorism. Bishop Irinej told Mr Rudd that the Government had a foreign policy mandate to be independent rather than automatically falling into line with the US and Britain. "Recognition of Kosovo betrays this trust placed in you and your Government by the Australian people," he wrote in the letter. At least 2000 members of Melbourne's Serb community are expected to gather at Federation Square tonight to oppose Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia, announced at the weekend.
ANTIOCHIAN ARCHBISHOP PAUL OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND REQUESTS SECOND READING OF RUDD GOVERNMENT
Sydney, 10 March 2008, His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop Paul of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand in his letters to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith, requested a second reading of their decision of 19 February 2008 to recognise Kosovo's unilateral secession from the Republic of Serbia. "The determination of final status can neither be seen as a reward for systematic violence and organized terror", stated the Archbishop, "nor undertaken without the continued, full involvement of the Serbian government and the United Nations." For these reasons, the head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Australia urged Prime Minister Rudd and his government to revoke their decision to recognise Kosovo independence, while using Australia's good standing as an international citizen to respect the rule of law by fostering negotiation and constructive dialogue among the interested parties.
WASHINGTON - Kosovo represents one of the transit countries over which mainly heroin produced in Turkey and Afghanistan is being transferred to Western European countries. But it is also a „promising market for drugs'', according to the 2008 U.S. State Department's International Narcotis Control Stategy Report.
An International Steering Group composed of the representatives of 15 states has been formed in Vienna. It has orderd the implementation of Martii Ahtisaari’s plan in the Southern Serbian Province
Беч Vienna –An International Steering Group for Kosovo (ISG) was formed yesterday. It is composed of 15 states. It was decided at their first meeting that Pieter Feith be the International Civil Representative in Kosovo (ICR). Veit said during a press conference at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the ISG was “the significant coalition of states, friends of the independent state of Kosovo’’ and that it was made up of five members of the Contact group – the U.S.A, Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy, as well as Austria, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Turkey, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Slovenia, and Switzerland.