With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia and by the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Order of St Sava of the first class has been presented to His Excellency Christos Panagopoulos , the ambassador of Greece, on occasion of the special audience which was held today on January, 15 2009, at the Patriarchate of Serbia in Belgrade.
On Wednesday, November 12, 2008, His Grace, Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah was born James Paffhausen in Chicago, IL, and was baptized into the Episcopal Church. While still a child, his family later settled in La Jolla, CA, near San Diego. He was received into the Orthodox Church in 1978 at Our Lady of Kazan Moscow Patriarchal Church, San Diego, while a student at the University of California, San Diego. Later, he transferred to UC Santa Cruz, where he was instrumental in establishing an Orthodox Christian Fellowship.
On the day of the Saint Abramius the Recluse and the Saint Anastasia the Roman, His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy at the Cathedral Church in Belgrade, with the concelebration of Their Graces Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand and Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan and attended by most Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
At the end of Holy Liturgy, at 9.00, at the Patriarchate Chapel of Saint Simeon the Myrrh-gusher Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand served a rite of the invocation of the Holy Spirit which was the beginning of the formal sitting of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The ceremony was attended by all Bishops of our Church.
Georgian Catholicos Patriarch Illia II spoke about the political crisis in Georgia in His Sunday Preachment today. The Patriarch expressed his concern that Orthodox Russians were bombing Orthodox Georgians and that such aggression had never occurred in the history of two nations. ''Indeed, we are facing very serious peril, but don't be afraid of anything, God is with us and Virgin Mary is protecting is, but one thing concerns us very deeply that Orthodox Russians are bombing Orthodox Georgians. This is unprecedented act of relations between our countries. Reinforce your prayer and God will save Georgia. There is a saying ''Water will flow up and down and will return to its weir. So, believe that God will not separate Georgia into peices,'' Patriarch declared.
Having learnt about the hostilities in Tshinvali and its outskirts, I call upon the warring parties to cease fire and return to the path of dialogue. Blood is being shed in South Ossetia and people are being killed and this makes my heart to grieve profoundly. Among those who have lifted their hand against each other are Orthodox Christians. What is more, those who have come into conflict are Orthodox nations who are called by the Lord to live in brotherhood and love. I am aware of the appeal to peace made by His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Iliya of All Georgia. I also make my ardent appeal to those who have gone blind with hatred: stop! Do not let more blood be shed, do not let today's conflict be expanded many times over! Show common sense and virtue: sit at the negotiation table for talks with respect for the traditions, views and aspirations of both the Georgian and Ossetian peoples. The Russian Church is ready to unite efforts with the Georgian Church and help in achieving peace. May our God, Who ‘is not a God of disorder but of peace' (1 Cor. 14:33), be our Helper in this endeavor.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia