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:
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.
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.
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.
The Apostle Paul says:
- Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. (Gal. 2:10)
- Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Your browser may not support display of this image.Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. Your browser may not support display of this image.And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. Your browser may not support display of this image.And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me. Your browser may not support display of this image.(1 Cor. 16:1-4)
Regarding the news from Diocese of Rashka and Prizren that its Bishop, His Grace Dr Artemije , " does not give a blessing" for a visit of the US Vice President Joseph Biden to the Monastery of Visoki Dechani, the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church informs the public that it annuls this decision of Bishop Artemije and expresses regrets because of it. It is in contradiction with traditional Christian principles of hospitality, deeply rooted in the Serbian people, and especially in our monasteries.
The visit of the US Vice President is legitimate visit to states of this region, and among them, to Serbia; and the Assembly considers, no matter what are Biden personal or American general positions on a status of Kosovo and Metohija, that the decision of Mr. Biden to visit our greatest sanctuary in our south province, Monastery of Dechani, represents a gesture of good will and a clear message to those who would continue to destroy or convert Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija.
Bishop Irinej of Bachka
Spokesman of the Holy Assembly of Bishops
of the Serbian Orthodox Church