COMMUNIQUE From the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church Held in Belgrade May 14-22,2009

With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle and under the presidencyof His Eminence Metropolitan Amphilohije of Montenegro and the Coastlands, who, in accordance with Article 62 of the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church is serving as substitute to the ailing Patriarch, the regular Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church was held at the Patriarchate in Belgrade from May 14 through 22, 2009. Participating in the work of the Assembly were all the diocesan hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, including His Beatitude Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skoplje Jovan with the hierarchs of the Autonomous Archdiocese of Ochrid.

Conscious of the Church's responsibility for the life and salvation of people and of the great spiritual challenges of our day, the Holy Assembly of Bishops dedicated itself to solving the vital questions of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Public Statement Issued by the Holy Synod of Bishops about the violence applied against Drug Addicts at the Crna Reka Monastery

With shock and sorrow the Holy Synod of Bishops has received news about the brutal violence which was applied against those afflicted with the illness of drug addiction at the Crna Reka Monastery of the Raska-Prizren Diocese. The pictures presented and the open recognition of a cleric of the Raska-Prizren Diocese are unmistakable evidence of a violence which is totally foreign to the spirit of the Gospel and mission of the Church, and which is absolutely unacceptable.

Therefore, the Holy Synod of Bishops calls upon His Grace Bishop Artemije to disband immediately and without delay the illegal clinic for the treatment of the illness of addiction, and to undertake ecclesiastical court proceedings against his clerics who participated in the violence.

Communique of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the SPC on Tuesday, May 21, 2009

The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, during its regular session on 21 May 2009, based on a recommendation of the Episcopal Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, relative to the restructuring of the existing Dioceses in North and South America, rendered the following decision confirming the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, according to which the Dioceses of our Church on that territory will be restructured:

Forced entry at residence of Bishop of Bihac and Petrovac

During the night between May 21 and 22, 2009 unknown robbers broke into a residence of Bishop Hrizostom of Bihac and Petrovac in Bosanski Petrovac, in spite of the fact that this building is secured by regular police patrols. An investigation is currently being conducted.

US Vice President Biden visits Monastery of Visoki Dechani

The US Vice President Joseph Biden has visited today the monastery of Visoki Dechani. On behalf of the abbot of the monastery , Vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, who takes part in the regular may session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the high guest from the States has been received by deputy abbot Father Sava Janjic with the brotherhood of the monastery.

After the visit to Dechani church and lighting of candles, US Vice President has stayed for some time to talk with the monks. Father Sava informed Mr. Biden with a life of the monastery and a situation in which Serbs live in Kosovo and Metohija.

It has especially emphasized a need to protect human and property rights, for preservation of the Serbian spiritual and cultural heritage on these territories, as well as a need for the return of the displaced people.

Mr. Biden visited the Monastery of Visoki Dechani as a senator in 2001.

One more in series of untruths

In the Skopje newspaper Vecher on May 19 was published an article of a journalist Marjan Nikolovski titled " The SOC should sit and negotiate with the MOC". In this text it is being stated that a visit of His Eminence Bishop Dr Marko of Berlin (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) and Reverend protopresbyter Nikolai Balashov , the Secretary of Inter-Orthodox Relations of the MP DECR to hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church on May 14 in Belgrade had as a goal to convey a message of His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All Russia that the Serbian Orthodox Church should not elect a new head and "that in Belgrade tell them to bring a decision to begin talks with the Macedonian Orthodox Church".

None of these statements are truth. During talks among the members of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church there was no single word on the themes that this journalist mentioned. Furthermore, it is impossible that one autocephaly Church brings any kind of requests or orders to other autocephaly Church. All talks between the Russian and the Serbian Church lead only to spirit of brotherly love and full mutual trust. The attempt of the Skopje journalist that the Moscow Patriarchate is presented to public as a "lawyer" of schismatic Church circles is in contradiction with the facts.

However, I agree with the position of Mr. Nikolovski that a dialogue presents a way for resolving all disputes, as well as the church related dispute in Macedonia.

Bishop Dr Irinej of Bachka