Besides His Holiness, the audience was also attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, His Grace Bishop Hrizostom of Zvornik-Tuzla, His Grace Bishop Arsenije of Toplica, and protopresbyter-stavrophor Savo B. Jovic, chief secretary of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Cardinal Koch was accompanied by Apostolic Nuncio His Excellency Orlando Antonini, Archbishop Stanislav Hocevar, Monsignor Janusz Błachowiak, priests Jacinth Destivelle and Robert Pastiuk.
In Zagreb 30,000 Serbs live, but many of them are afraid to declare themselves publicly because of the fear that their rights to have normal life would be endangered, Serbian Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb-Ljubljana said three days ago. The Metropolitan also noted that the arrival of Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic in Zagreb, on the feast-day of Meeting of the Lord, the state holiday of Serbia, was a great encouragement for the Serbs in Croatia.
Metropolitan Porfirije added as examples that only about two or three hundred Serbs attend church services on Sundays. “The reason is fear. It is particularly precarious in situations when there is a possibility that a camera of some media is present, and consequently even a less number of them goes to church, because they fear to be seen. They fear that they could have problems”, he said. He also added that these problems were different, but the people fear, in one word, that their rights to have normal life would be compromised…
…He added that our people in Croatia rejoiced at the arrival of the Serbian Prime Minister in the capital city of Croatia, “because it is primarily an expression of Serbia’s concern for the position and problems of the Serbian people in Croatia”. “There are numerous open issues between Croatia and Serbia regarding the status of the Serbian people in Croatia, which cannot be resolved without a dialogue. The lack of communication is of no use for anyone, and the problems deepen. Hence, this visit of Prime Minister Vucic, it seems to me, represents a shift in relations between the two countries”, Metropolitan Porfirije concluded.
The founder's Patron Sаint-day of the Holy Imperial Laura Monastery Chilandar, the feast-day of Venerable Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher, was celebrated in Monastery of Chilandar on 19 February.
According to the calendar, this feast-day should be celebrated annually on 26 February, but this year, because it falls in the first week of Great Lent, the date of celebration was transferred to the February 19, according to the Chilandar Typicon of Saint Sava. Metropolitan Stephen of Gallipoli and Medita from the Ecumenical Patriarchate was present as a guest of honour. Guests of the monastery were also representatives of many Athonite monasteries, Consul of the Republic of Serbia to Thessaloniki Sinisa Pavic, pilgrims from Greece, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro etc.
Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral observed the traditional Saint Simeon’s Assembly in the capital of Montenegro Podgorica, which is organized annually in honour and to the glory of the progenitor of the holy Nemanjics dynasty, Stephen Nemanja, later Saint Simeon the Mirrh-Gusher.
The Divine service at the Cathedral church of Resurrection of Christ was celebrated by Archbishop of Cetinje and Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Amfilohije together with six Bishops of our Local Church – Atanasije of Bihac-Petrovac, Joanikije of Budimlje-Niksic, Joakim of Polog-Kumanovo, Marko of Bregalnica, Jovan of Nis and Jovan of Pakrac-Slavonia, and many priests and deacon in presence of hundreds of faithful.
On the occasion of the Patron Saint-day of the church, on 22 February 2015, His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, officiated the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy at the Patriarchal chapel of Saint Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher in Belgrade.
The Patriarch was concelebrated by protopresbyter-stavrophors Stojadin Pavlovic, Professor Dr. Dragan Protic and Miroslav Milenkovic; presbyters Panagiotis Karatasios, Jovan Petrovic, Vukasin Milicevic, Miroslav Colakovic, Mihajlo Rapajic and Borjan Antic, as well as deacons Vladimir Rumenic, Savo Topalovic and Aleksandar Sekulic. The First Belgrade Singing Society sang responses.
Saint Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher, King of Serbia Stephen Nemanya was the Great Zhupan of Serbia, and lived during the twelfth century. The saint toiled much for his fatherland: he united a large portion of the Serbian lands, and strove for the political independence of his country from the Byzantine Empire. In his zeal for the Orthodox Church, he defended his nation against heresy and false teaching.
At the age of eighty, Stephen went to Mt. Athos, where his son St Sava (January 12), was glorified by the holiness of his life. Together they restored the desolate Hilandar monastery, to which monks from various lands began to gather.
St Simeon was a great ascetic and wise guide for the monks. He died on February 13, 1200, and his relics began to exude myrrh. St Sava transported his father’s relics back to Serbia, and placed them in a church of the Most Holy Theotokos at the River Studenitsa. St Simeon had richly adorned this church while he was still ruler of Serbia.