His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, officiated the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in Belgrade’s Cathedral church on Sunday, 23 November 2014, on the feast of Holy Archangel Michael.
During the liturgical gathering on the occasion of the slava of the church, Patriarch Irinej ordained Branislav Jocic a deacon. After the cutting the slava bread, Patriarch congratulated the Patron Saint-day (slava) to the rector of the Cathedral church protopresbyter-stavrophor Petar Lukic and the clergy of the church, Mr. Dejan Tomasevic, the famous basketball player and the president of the Orthodox Sport Society „Holy Serbia“, and lawyer Toma Fila.
The angels of God were celebrated by men from earliest times but this celebration was often turned into the divinization of angels (IV Kings 23:5 [II Kgs KJV]). The heretics wove all sorts of fables concerning the angels. Some of them looked upon angels as gods; others, although they did not consider them gods, called them the creators of the whole visible world. The local Council of Laodicea (four or five years before the First Ecumenical Council) rejected the worship of angels as gods and established the proper veneration of angels in its Thirty-fifth Canon.
In the fourth century, during the time of Sylvester, Pope of Rome, and Alexander, Patriarch of Alexandria, the present Feast of Archangel Michael and all the other heavenly powers was instituted for celebration in the month of November. Why precisely in November? Because November is the ninth month after March, and March is considered to be the month in which the world was created. Also, as the ninth month after March, November was chosen for the nine orders of angels who were created first. St. Dionysius the Areopagite, a disciple of the Apostle Paul (who was taken up into the third heaven), described these nine orders of angels in his book, On the Celestial Hierarchies, as follows: six-winged Seraphim, many-eyed Cherubim, God-bearing Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Virtues, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. The leader of all the angelic hosts is the Archangel Michael.
The Bishop was concelebrated by protopresbyter-stavrophor Dr. Dragomir Sando, chairman of the Committee for religious education of the Archbishopric of Belgrade-Karlovac; five military chaplains, serving in military units in the territory of Belgrade, and two deacons. More than hundred army members, led by Chief of the Staff General LjubisaDikovic, participated in the Liturgy. Bishop Arsenije served the panichida for all the warriors fallen in the First World War, especially for the famous Field Marshal ZivojinMisic and the fighters of the Battle of Kolubara.
In honour of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej arranged a reception which was attended by members of the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church, bishops and clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as by representatives of the public and political life of Serbia.
On this occasion Serbian Patriarch Irinej awarded Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk and Bishop Sergius of Solnechnogorsk with the Order of Saint Sava, 2nd degree; while protopresbyters Nikolai Balashov, Igor Jakimchuk, Andrei Milkin and protodeacon Vladimir Nazarkin, deacon Alexander Volkov and Mr. Legoida Vladimir Romanovich, were awarded with the Order of Saint Sava, 3rd degree.
Following the liturgical gathering in the church of Saint Sava, President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić unveiled the monument to Tsar Nicholas II Romanov.
On 16 November 2014, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia conducted the rite of blessing of a monument dedicated to the Holy Tsar Nicholas, in the presence of His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia. Having performed the liturgical rite and having sprinkled the monument with consecrated water, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed a multitude of people present with a brief homily, saying in particular:
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia officiated the solemn Divine Liturgy in the Memorial Cathedral of Saint Sava of Serbia at Vracar in Belgrade on 16 November 2014. Patriarch Kirill was awarded with the highest distinction of the Serbian Church – Order of Saint Sava, 1st degree.
Concelebrating were Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk and Metropolitan Michael of Geneva and Western Europe, Their Graces Bishops: Lavrentije of Sabac, Vasilije of Srem, Nikanor of Banat, Irinej of Backa, Hrizostom of Zvornik-Tuzla, Lukijan of Osek-Polje, Pahomije of Vranje, Atanasije of Bihac-Petrovac, Joanikije of Budimlje-Niksic, Grigorije of Zahumlje-Herzegovina, Joakim of Polog-Kumanovo, Marko of Bregalnica, Teodosije of Raska-Prizren, David of Krusevac, David of Stobi, Jovan of Slavonia, Bishop Sergius of Solnechnogorsk, Antonije of Moravica, Arsenije of Toplica and Jeronim of Jegar; archpriests Nikolai Balashov and Igor Jakimchuk; abbots of the Serbian monasteries and clerics of the Serbian Orthodox Church.