During sessions on May 18 and 19, the Holy Assembly of Bishops learned about a condition and problems of dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church by reports of bishops.
During the session on May 19, Bishop Lavrentije of Shabac informed the Assembly about his wish and decision, due to health and other personal reasons, to retire from an active service and to continue to live as a retired Bishop, but he then accepted a position and a petition of the Assembly , due to current spiritual needs of the Church at this moment, to postpone (‘'to froze'') until further notice his resignation from the active service of diocesan hierarch and to continue to govern Diocese of Shabac.
During the same session the Assembly had a business meeting with Minister for Kosovo and Metohija Mr. Goran Bogdanovic and counselors of the President of Serbia Mladjan Djordjevic and Damjan Krnjcevic.
The Patriarchate, May 19, 2009
Bishop Irinej of Bachka
Spokesman of the Holy Assembly of Bishops
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has announced his intention to appeal to the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg over violations against the Orthodox community and its foundations, unjustly expropriated of lands and buildings by Ankara's Direction for Religious Foundations.
Speaking to faithful in St Georges' Parish, close to the Byzantine walls of Istanbul, the Patriarch affirmed that the decision to go to the Strasbourg court was made by the Synod.
On May 15, the Holy Father Benedict XVI traveled to the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem for an ecumenical meeting with the representatives of the Christian community in the Holy Land. After greeting His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III, the Holy Father recalled the "historic meetings" that have taken place in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, and also between Pope John Paul II and His Beatitude Patriarch Diodoros. "These encounters, including my visit today, are of great symbolic significance. They recall that the light of the East has illumined the entire world from the very moment when a 'rising sun' came to visit us and they remind us too that from here the Gospel was preached to all nations," the Pope said.
Here is the text of the address Benedict XVI gave 15th May in an ecumenical meeting at the Greek Orthodox patriarchate of Jerusalem.
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is with profound gratitude and joy that I make this visit to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem; a moment to which I have much looked forward. I thank His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III for his kind words of fraternal greeting, which I warmly reciprocate. I also express to all of you my heartfelt gratitude for providing me with this opportunity to meet once again the many leaders of Churches and ecclesial communities present.
On the feast day of St Atanasije the Great , at the Patriarchate chapel of St Simeon the Myrrh-gusher, His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral has served the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy with the concelebration of His Grace Bishop Jovan of Shumadija and His Grace Bishop Atanasije of Hvosno, a vicar of Patriarch Pavle, presbyter Miroslav Cholakovic, protodeacon Stevan Rapajic, deacon Dragan S. Tanasijevic and hierodeacon Jovan (Panic) and Hristofor (Nedjic). The Holy Liturgy was attended by all bishops who take part in the work of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church believes that the European community should take urgent measures to combat Christian phobia in today's Europe. "We should become aware that Christian phobia was generated by Christian civilization, or whatever we call European civilization now. Christian phobia is nothing else but malignant cancer which threatens European civilization with fatal effects," Russian Church representative at the European Council Hegumen Filaret (Bulekov) said at the Dialogue of Civilizations World Public Forum in Prague.