His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, received in audience His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade on 30 August 2016.
The audience was attended by members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Their Graces Bishop Irinej of Backa, Justin of Zica and Fotije of Dalmatia, as well as by members deputies His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral and His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren.
President of the Republic of Italy
Mr. SERGIO MATTARELLA
Rome – Italy
Honorable Mr. President,
We are deeply shocked by the news on the devastating earthquake which struck Italy all of a sudden. The hearts of thousands of relatives bear indelible scars due to a huge number of the deceased, the injured and the missing ones.
On the behalf of the fullness of the Serbian Orthodox Church and on Our own behalf, please accept sincere condolences on the pain of the families of the tragically deceased and the heavily injured in this extraordinary tragedy.
To You personally and to all the people who have been entrusted to You, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian people, with sorrow in the heart, send our sincere prayerful wishes and moral support for the fast recovery and spiritual consolation in these hard times of the disaster.
We pray to the God to grant repose of the souls to all the tragically perished, fast recovery to the injured, and consolationto the relatives for their pain, and that the Italian people may overcome the present diffuculties.
Mr. GIUSEPPE MANZO
Ambassador of the Republic of Italy
On behalf of the Serbian Orthodox people and on Our own behalf, please accept Our deep and sincere condolence on the occasion of the tragedy that struck the Republic of Italy – a devastating earthquake which took a huge number of human lives and caused material damages across your beautiful country.
Sincerely sharing the pain with the people of Italy, we pray to God the Merciful One that the appaling sufferings come to an end, and that the missing persons be found safe so that they may return to the embrace of their closest ones.
We use this opportunity to request Your Excellency that Our letter of condolence, sent to the President of the Republic of Italy – Mr. Sergio Mattarella, be kindly forwarded to His Excellency the President.
On 28 August 2016, according to news agencies, the Albanians, mostly residents of Musutiste, blocked the road that leads to a ruined church of the Mother of God Hodigetria, on which foundations the displaced Serbs wanted to attend the Liturgy on the occasion of the feast day of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos that morning.
Protesters carried Albanian flags and shouted slogans “UÇK, UÇK” (KLA). The Albanians from Musutiste through social networks previous days had called upon their compatriots from Suva Reka and nearby villages to prevent the arrival of the Serbs to Musutiste. About 150 displaced Serbs, among whom there were also children, were in three buses and waited for safe conditions to continue their trip to Musutiste.
The Lord Who, on Mount Sinai, gave the Fifth Commandment, Honor thy father and thy mother, showed by His own example how one should respect one’s parents.
Hanging on the Cross in agony, He remembered His Mother, and indicating the Apostle John He said to her: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He said to John: Behold thy mother. And so, providing for His Mother, He breathed His last. John had a home on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, in which the Theotokos then lived. She dwelt there to the end of her days on earth. By her prayers, kind guidance, meekness and patience, she greatly assisted her Son’s apostles. She spent most of her remaining time on earth in Jerusalem, often visiting those places that reminded her of the great events and of the great works of her Son. She especially visited Golgotha, Bethlehem, and the Mount of Olives. Of her few distant journeys, her visit to St. Ignatius the God-bearer in Antioch is recorded; as is her visit to Lazarus (whom our Lord resurrected on the fourth day), the Bishop of Cyprus. She also visited Mount Athos, which she blessed; and she stayed in Ephesus with St. John the Evangelist during the time of the great persecution of Christians in Jerusalem.
The faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America are busily preparing to welcome their new Archpastor, His Grace Bishop Irinej (Dobrijevic).
His Grace, who was elected in May by the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church to head the Eastern American Diocese, will be enthroned at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 1.
The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will begin at 9:30 AM, with the welcoming of the hierarchs by the clergy and faithful. It is anticipated that numerous hierarchs and other guests will be in attendance. Leading the list of dignitaries will be Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, who made adjustments to their busy schedule to be present.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy His Grace Bishop Irinej will be led to the cathedra, or throne of the Bishops of the Eastern American Diocese by His Grace Bishop Longin of New Gracanica-Midwest America as the senior Serbian Orthodox hierarch in North America. There Bishop Irinej will take his place as the fifth Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Eastern America, and deliver his first archpastoral message to his new flock. Following the services all will be welcomed for a short reception at the Cathedral.