On the basis of a Memorandum that was signed by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in Belgrade on 15 November 2014, and with the blessing of both, Russian and Serbian Patriarchs, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, paid a working visit to R. Macedonia from 19 – 20 December 2014.
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion visited Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje Jovan, who for the sake of this meeting, was temporary transferred from the prison of Idrizovo to the Skopje hospital “Mother Theresa” on 20 December. After these talks, Archbishop Jovan was returned back to the prison.
On the same day Metropolitan Hilarion, accompanied by Mr. Oleg Scherbak, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to R. Macedonia, met with President of the R. Macedonia Mr. Djordje Ivanov. Following this meeting, chairman of the DECR talked with President of the Government of the R. Macedonia Mr. Nikola Gruevski and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Nikola Popovski. Ultimately, Metropolitan Hilarion also met with the head of the self-proclaimed, non-canonical Macedonian Orthodox Church Kyr Stephen.
While in Skopje, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion led these talks guided by the concern for unity of the Church, its salvific mission and salvation of the baptized souls in FYR Macedonia, and with respect to the perspective of regulating the canonical status of the Church in this area as well as to the unconditional final release of His Eminence Jovan, Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, who had been sentenced to hard labor in a manipulated political process.
The Serbian Orthodox Church expresses herewith its deep gratitude to the sister Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk for fraternal love and cooperation, for the invested great efforts in the ministry for the canonical order and unity of the Church, as well as towards the release of His Eminence Archbishop Jovan, imprisoned without any reason, and subjected to a cruel regime in prison despite his severely impaired health.
Bishop Irinej of Bachka,
Spokesman of the Serbian Orthodox Church
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irenaeus served the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the church of Holy Prophet Elijah at Sokolac, Republic of Srpska, and handed in His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas the order of Holy King Milutin, as a token of love and gratitude for the all thatt the Metropolitan had done in his life.
The order of Holy King Milutin the Serbian Orthodox Church presented to Metropolitan Nicholas of Dabar-Bosna for his effective, fruitful forty-years-long hierarchal work in the field of the ecclesial mission and education, as well as in the field of construction and renovation of shrines and theological institutions of our Holy Church.
His Eminence Amphilochius, Archbishop of Cetinje and Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, the Bishop-Administrator of the Diocese of Buenos Aires and South-Central American of the Serbian Patriarchate, began his three-day visit to the Argentinian province of Chaco on Friday, December 12th.
His Eminence is accompanied by Archimandrite Kirilo Bojovich, Bishop’s deputy of the Diocese; hieromonk Simeon Lopez, parish priest in Medellin, Colombia; and protodeacon Nikola Radish, president of the Church-school congregation in Buenos Aires as well as protodeacon Igor Balaban from Cetinje. Metropolitan Amphilochius and his delegation were welcomed at the airport in Resistencia by local Serbian priests.
Commemorated May 9/27, December 6/19
The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.'
So reads the troparion of St Nicholas, hierarch of the Church of Myra in Lycia (now Demra in Turkey), known as 'wonderworker' and 'father' throughout the Christian world. He is beloved in the Orthodox Church, and indeed far beyond, for his kindness, almsgiving and aid, meted out both during his earthly life and after. As one of the multitude of English lives of the saint joyously proclaims, 'he is one of the best known and best loved saints of all time.' And in another: 'The name of the great saint of God, the hierarch and wonderworker Nicholas, a speedy helper and suppliant for all hastening to him, is famed in every corner of the earth, in many lands and among many peoples. In Russia there are a multitude of cathedrals, monasteries and churches consecrated in his name. There is, perhaps, not a single city without a church dedicated to his honour.'
On Sunday, December 14th, 2014, when our Holy Church celebrated prophet Nahum and Saint Philaret the Merciful, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irenaeus officiated the Hierarchal Liturgy with the concelebration of His Grace Bishop John of Shumadia, as well as of the clergy of the Archbishopric of Belgrade-Karlovac and the Diocese of Shumadia, at the church of Great Martyr Demetrius in Lazarevac, some 70 Km south of Belgrade.
This church preserves remains of thousands of Serbian as well as of the Austria-Hungarian officers and soldiers who lost their lives in the battle launched here hundred years ago.
John was first the chief minister to Caliph Abdul-Malik and later a monk in the Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. Because of his ardent defense of the veneration of icons during the reign of the iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Isaurian, John was maligned by the emperor to the Caliph, who cut off his right hand. John fell down in prayer before the icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, and his hand was rejoined and miraculously healed. Seeing this miracle the Caliph repented, but John no longer desired to remain with him as a nobleman. Instead, he withdrew to a monastery, where, from the beginning, he was a model to the monks in humility, obedience and all the prescribed rules of monastic asceticism. John composed the Funeral Hymns and compiled the Octoechos (The Book of Eight Tones), the Irmologion, the Menologion and the Paschal Canon, and he wrote many theological works of inspiration and profundity. A great monk, hymnographer, theologian and soldier for the truth of Christ, Damascene is numbered among the great Fathers of the Church. He entered peacefully into rest in about the year 776 at the age of 104.