On 29 June 2008, the day when the Russian Orthodox Church commemorates All Saints who shone forth in the Land of Russia, the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church completed its work taking part in which were one hundred and eighty-three archpastors from twenty countries. His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia officiated at the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of Al Belarus, read out the Message of the Blessed Bishops' Council to the clergy, monastics and all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church.
During its regular session, held on June 23-25, 2008, The Holy and Sacred Synod reviewed the invitations of His Beatitude Alexy, Patriarch of Moscow, requesting a Patriarchal Delegation to attend the festivities of the 1020th anniversary of the Christianization of the Kievan Rus and of His Excellency Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine, to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to personally lead the aforementioned festivities.
Prince Lazar was born in 1329 in Prilepac to the aristocrat
family Hrebeljanović. His father Pribac was a Logotet-secretary doing very
confidential work for King Dušan the Powerful in the royal palace. Young Lazar
was raised in the palace, and was respected by the King who entrusted him with
the rule of two parts of his kingdom: Srem and Mačva. Lazar married Milica the daughter
of an important aristocrat named Vratko also known as Yug Bogdan - a very wise
and honorable man from the Nemanjic family. Lazar had three sons: Stevan, Vuk
and Lazar and five daughters: Jelena, Mara, Despa, Vukosava and Mileva.
King Dušan the Powerful died unexpectantly in 1355 at the age of 48. This led to a weakening of Serbia's central government. Many dukes used this opportunity to secede from the Kingdom with the land that had been entrusted to them. The young son of Dušan Uroš took over the throne and soon was killed. Vukašin Mrnjavčević proclaimed himself the King of Serbia. At this time, Turks were advancing toward the Kingdom of Serbia. In a battle on the river Marica in 1371, Vukašin was killed leaving behind him a weakened, poor and torn Serbia. Serbia was in desperate need of a gifted statesman, rich in virtue and deserving of God's Grace: a man similar to St. Sava and his father St. Stefan Nemanja who had founded the Serbian state. The Church recognized just such a man in Prince Lazar. His talent for leadership, wisdom and experience lifted him above those who would seize the throne by force and sought their own glory and importance.
In the thousand year long-history
of Serbs, Kosovo and Metohia were for many centuries the state center and chief
religious stronghold, the heartland of their culture and springwell of its
historical traditions. For a people who lived longer under foreign rule than in
their own state, Kosovo and Metohia are the foundations on which national and
state identity were preserved in times of tribulation and founded in times of
Protodeacon Radomir Rakic Bible Encyclopedia, I - II , pp. 600 и 632, Theological Academy in Srbinje (Foca), 2004.
The year of 2004. saw the publication the Bible Encyclopedia in two volumes by Protodeacon Radomir Rakic, lecturer at the Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade and Lecturer in the New Testament at the Theological Academy in Srbinje (Foca) as well as the official interpreter of the Holy Synod of Bishops. The first volume includes terms from A to L on a total of 586 pages, and the second volume comprises 632 pages, in encyclopedic format in two columns with four geographic maps on sub- covers and many illustrations, diagrams, etc. This work, the first of its kind in the Serbian language, has been no less than 10 years in preparation by the author, using the best biblical encyclopedias in the world as his model, including the Russian encyclopedia of Archimandrite Nikifor from the end of the 19th century reprinted in Moscow in 1992. German works used included Fritz Rienecker’s Lexikon zur Bibel and the six-volume biblical dictionary published by Brockhaus, Das grosse Bibellexikon. English works of greatest aid to the author were Harper’s Bible Dictionary (San Francisco, 1985), as well as The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Vols. 1-3 (London, 1980).