Response of the Serbian Patriarch Irinej to the letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew concerning the fire in the St. Sava Cathedral in New York26. May 2016 - 9:07
THE MOST HOLY PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE, IN CHRIST GOD BELOVED AND MOST DEAREST BROTHER AND CONCELEBRANT OF OUR HUMBLENESS KYR B A R T H O L O M E W, EMBRACING YOUR ESTEEMED HOLINESS BROTHERLY IN THE LORD, WE MOST CORDIALLY GREET YOU.
It is with gratitude that We received Your kind letter by which You express the sympathies of the Most Holy Ecumenical Patriarchate after fire that swept through the Saint Sava Church in New York on the very day when our Holy Church was celebrating the Feast of feasts – the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The faithful of this Parish, the Orthodox faithful in New York and the entire Serbian Orthodox Church, find, in Your concern and Your love, consolation upon the tragedy that has befallen this church with historical significance in the New World. Having compassion in this way with the local Serbian Church, Your Holiness shows fraternal care, and above all Christian love, because "if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it" (1 Cor. 12:26).
On the feast day of the Midfeast of the Pentecost, with the blessing and in the presence of His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral officiated the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy at the Patriarchate Chapel of Saint Simeon the Myrrhgusher.
He was concelebrated by presbyters Vladimir Vranic and Arsenije Arsenijevic, protodeacon Stevan Rapajic and deacon Aleksandar Sekulic. Students of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the University of Belgrade sang responses. The hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, gathered at the regular session of the Assembly, were prayerfully present, as well as pilgrims from Belarus.
Saints Cyril and Methodius were brothers from Thessalonica of distinguished and wealthy parents, Leo and Maria. The older brother Methodius spent ten years as an officer among the Macedonian Slavs and thus learned the Slavic language. After that Methodius withdrew to Mount Olympus and dedicated himself to the monastic life of asceticism. It was here that Cyril (Constantine) later joined him. When the Khazarite king, Kagan, requested preachers of the Faith of Christ from Emperor Michael III then, by command of the emperor, these two brothers were found and sent among the Khazars. Convincing King Kagan of the Faith of Christ, they baptized him along with a great number of his chief assistants and even a greater number of the people. After a period of time, they returned to Constantinople where they compiled the Slavonic alphabet consisting of thirty-eight letters and proceeded to translate ecclesiastical books from Greek into Slavonic. At the request of Prince Rastislav, they traveled to Moravia where they spread and established the devout Faith and multiplied books and distributed them to the priests to teach the youth. At the request of the pope, Cyril traveled to Rome where he became ill and died on February 14, 867 A.D. Then Methodius returned to Moravia and labored to strengthen the Faith of Christ among the Slavs until his death. Following his death - he died in the Lord on April 6, 885 A.D. - his disciples, THE FIVE FOLLOWERS, with St. Clement, the bishop at the head, crossed the Danube River and descended to the south into Macedonia, where from Ohrid they continued their labor among the Slavs begun by Cyril and Methodius in the north.
His Royal Highness Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic, the eldest son of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Paul and Princess Olga was buried today in the Saint George Church yard in Oplenac. Their Graces Bishop Jovan of Sumadija and Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand officiated the funeral service at 10:30 am.
The solemn funeral was attended by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander, Crown Princess Katherine and Hereditary Prince Peter who was Prince Alexander’s Karadjordjevic’s godson and HE Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, President of Republic of Serbia.
His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, awarded the Sretensky Stauropegic monastery from Moscow with the Order of Saint Sava of the Second Degree on 18 May 2016.
The high award of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the hands of His Holiness was received by hieromonk Ignatiy Shestakov, co-brother of the Sretensky monastery (Meeting of Jesus in the Temple). Namely, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, upon the suggestion of His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren, awarded the Sretensky Monastery from Moscow with the order of Saint Sava for the love towards the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian people expressed in granting unselfish aid during the restoration of the Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Prizren. The ceremony at the Patriarchate Court in Belgrade was attended by Hierarchs summoned at the regular convocation of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The monastic brotherhood of Dechany led by its abbot, Very Venerable Archimandrite Sava, welcomed His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej and Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, on the occasion of the beginning of the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, on the afternoon on 14 May 2016.
On the next day, on the Sunday of the 15th of May 2016, hierarchs officiated the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral church of Saint Great Martyr George in Prizren, and performed the rite of consecration of the renovated buildings of the Theological Seminary of Sts Cyril and Methodius in Prizren.
The working sessions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops will commence at the Patriarchate Palace in Belgrade on May 16, 2016.