Special communiqué of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the SOC, Wednesday, May 20, 2009
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