COMMUNIQUE From the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church Held in Belgrade May 14-22,200926. May 2009 - 6:32
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 Monastery24. May 2009 - 12:56
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.
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:
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