On the occasion of the 13th anniversary of the Pogrom on Kosovo and Metohia

On the 17th of March 2017. it is 13 years since from the Kosovo and Metohija, in destructive attacks by Albanian extremists, 4,012 Serbs were expelled, most of them have not still returned to their homes.

In a wave of violence in Kosovo and Metohija 19 people were then killed, eight of them Serbs, while 11 Albanians were killed in the clash with members of the international security forces. At least 170 Serbs were injured as well as dozens of members of the international forces who clashed with local Albanians while protecting Serbs and their property. About 800 Serbian houses were destroyed and 35 religious shrines were burned, including 18 cultural monuments, among which the Church of Our Lady of the Levish in Prizren.

This church is one of the most representative monuments of medieval Serbia, being Bishop’s residence in the Middle Ages, acquiring its monumental forms in the time of King Milutin (1282-1321), although it had previously been a  seat of the Prizren Bishop of the Serbian Church. The church was somewhat restored, the first Divine Liturgy was officiated in it six years later, but traces of the devastation and fire have not been eliminated. This shrine was included in the list of monuments under the protection of UNESCO in 2006.

Extremists specifically attacked Serbian Orthodox churches; they destroyed 35 churches and monasteries, and in these unprecedented acts of vandalism, - destruction of some was broadcast live on local television on Kosovo (such as in Podujevo), - numerous icons and immovable cultural treasuries, that have survived centuries of Ottoman occupation and World Wars, have been forever destroyed.

The Seventeenth March 2004 particularly painfully affected the Serbian people and its Church because all this happened not during the chaos of a war, but in the presence of thousands of international peacekeepers: KFOR, the Kosovo Police and UNMIK none of whom publicly claimed responsibility for numerous omissions.

According to the data of the Serbian Orthodox  Diocese of Raska-Prizren ofApril 2004, the total number of destroyed church buildings was near 100. International prosecutors and judges on Kosovo and Metohija have processed seven cases for destruction of churches and sentenced 67 persons to prison terms ranging from 21 months to 16 years.

The reason or excuse for the pogrom was the campaign of the Albanian media according to which the local Serbs and their dogs chased across the river Ibar a group of Albanian children from the village of Cabar near Zubin Potok, one of whom was drowned in the river, which was not true. UNMIK investigation police established that the allegations were false, and a spokesman for the International Police Neridž Sing said at that time that the "surviving boys were under strong pressure from the Albanian journalists and politicians to accuse the Serbs from a neighboring village".

March events on Kosovo were condemned by the UN Security Council, as well as the European Union, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution on 29 April 2004.

Lenten Vespers held by the Clergy Brotherhood of Tampa Bay

On Sunday, March 12, 2017 10 priests from the Orthodox Clergy brotherhood of Tampa Bay gathered together with Orthodox Christians from St. Petersburg and all of Tampa Bay for the Lenten Mission Vespers celebrated by the Brotherhood during each  Great Fast.

Sadly, the St. Petersburg Deanery is too vast for the Serbian Orthodox priests to gather together regularly, but we do have local brotherhoods which help to fill the void. Both Fr. Stephen Zaremba, from St. Sava in St. Petersburg and President of the Brotherhood, and Fr. Dragan Zarić, from St. George in Clearwater, are active in the brotherhood. Each parish hosts a vespers service on alternating years.

The head of Iran's state delegation visited Serbian Patriarch

The head of Iran's state delegation visited Serbian Patriarch
The head of Iran's state delegation visited Serbian Patriarch
The head of Iran's state delegation visited Serbian Patriarch
The head of Iran's state delegation visited Serbian Patriarch

His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej received on March 8, 2017 at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade a high state delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by His Excellency Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

His Excellency Mr. Allaeddin Boroujerdi expressed gratitude to the Head the Serbian Orthodox Church for the warm and friendly reception during which they talked, among other matters, about the life of the members and representatives of religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Deacon Dragan Tanasijević: Chilandar – the Mother of Serbian Spirituality

Deacon Dragan Tanasijević: Chilandar – the Mother of Serbian Spirituality
Deacon Dragan Tanasijević: Chilandar – the Mother of Serbian Spirituality
Deacon Dragan Tanasijević: Chilandar – the Mother of Serbian Spirituality
Deacon Dragan Tanasijević: Chilandar – the Mother of Serbian Spirituality

It was in the gallery of the Parish house of Saint Sava church in Belgrade that deacon Dragan S. Tanasijević, the official photographer of the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church, presented a lecture on the topic extremely interesting Chilandar – the mother of Serbian Spirituality and with projection of the selected photos submitted to the audience a new insight into the Holy Serbian Rpyal Lavra, the monastery Chilandar.

On the world and eternity of the Athonite monasteries and specifically on the monastery Chilandar, the artist, photographer by the will of God, deacon Dragan Tanasijević exposed an unusual story complementing it with the photos that were incorporated into the line of pearls of Serbian spirituality.

Deputy Head of the Russian Foreign Minister received by the Bishop of Banat

Deputy Head of the Russian Foreign Minister received by the Bishop of Banat
Deputy Head of the Russian Foreign Minister received by the Bishop of Banat
Deputy Head of the Russian Foreign Minister received by the Bishop of Banat
Deputy Head of the Russian Foreign Minister received by the Bishop of Banat

His Grace Bishop Nikanor of Banat received in Vrsac on 11 March 2017 Mr. Mihail Bogdanov, deputy head of the Russian Foreign Minister and Special Representative of the Russian President for the Middle East and Africa.

The reception was attended by His Excellency Aleksandar Chepurin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Serbia. Bishop Nikanor welcomed the guests and reminded them of the centuries-old ties between the Russian and Serbian peoples that have especially been cherished and respected in the Diocese of Banat.

Sunday of Orthodoxy Central Concelebration

Sunday of Orthodoxy Central Concelebration
Sunday of Orthodoxy Central Concelebration
Sunday of Orthodoxy Central Concelebration
Sunday of Orthodoxy Central Concelebration

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America - New York, March 5th 2017

His Eminence, Geron Archbishop Demetrios (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America-Ecumenical Patriarchate), Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America invited hierarchs of the Assemblyto concelebrate at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan.