Twenty-six St. Vladimir's seminarians, along with family members, seminary staff, and SVS Chancellor Archpriest Chad Hatfield, joined a large "Orthodox Christians for Life" contingent in the annual "March for Life" in Washington, D.C. on January 22, 2009. This year marks the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion, and the SVS delegation traveled to the nation's capital to show their compassionate and protective stance toward the unborn and to express their strong disagreement with the Supreme Court decision.
A new church, built almost entirely with private donations, opened Sunday in the Sofia "Levski" district. The construction of the Saint John Chrysostom; church began in 1995, but was completed just recently due to lack of funds, which have been collected mostly from the district's residents.
In a small hall of the Culture centre in Gracanica,which was full of people, a formal St Sava`s Day academy was held with a Hymn to St Sava,performed by pupils of the Music school. At firstm, guests were addressed by Bishop Artemije of Raska - Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija, and on behalf of the City council, which organized the academy, they were welcomed by Dragutin Peric. On this occasion, Peric reminded of the suffering of the Serbian people and its sanctuaries in Kosovo and Metohija. He also, pointing at the hard position of the Serbian community in the province, appealed to stop selling the Serbian estates because of the further survival of the Serbian community in the province.
After a completion of the service of the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy and paraklesis dedicated to Holy Belgrade first martyrs Hermylusand Stratonicus , and with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia and His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, His Grace Bishop Atanasije of Hvosno with associates visited the Special Hospital for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Neurology, as well as the clinic for rehabilitation Dr Miroslav Zotovic in Sokobanjska street , in Belgrade.
The Holy Martyrs Ermil and Stratonik, by origin Slavs, lived at the beginning of the IV Century during the time of persecution against Christians by the emperor Licinius (307-324). They were friends. Saint Ermil served as deacon in the city of Singedonum (Belgrade). Condemned by Licinius to imprisonment, he was long and cruelly tortured for the Name of Christ, but he remained unyielding. Saint Stratonik was a superintendent of the prison and a secret christian. Seeing the agonising torments of his friend, he was not able to keep from weeping, and he revealed that he was a christian. They subjected him also to torture. After the torturing, they put the martyrs into a net and threw them into the Danube/Dunai. On the third day, the bodies of the saints were discovered on the bank of the river by christians and buried near Singedonum. Their venerable heads are located in the Church of Saint Sophia, where the Russian pilgrim Antonii saw them in the year 1200.
The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church has begun its work on 25 January 2009 at the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Before the first plenary session, the archpastors who assembled at the Church Councils Hall sang the troparion of Pentecost: ‘Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, Who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit - through them Thou didst draw the world into Thy net. O Lover of Man, glory to Thee!’