THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
TO HER SPIRITUAL CHILDREN
AT PASCHA, 2013
I R I N E J
BY THE GRACE OF GOD
ORTHODOX ARCHBISHOP OF PEC, METROPOLITAN OF BELGRADE-KARLOVCI AND SERBIAN PATRIARCH, WITH ALL THE HIERARCHS OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH - TO ALL CLERGY, MONASTICS, ADN ALL THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF OUR HOLY CHURCH: GRACE, MERCY AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER, AND OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, WITH THE JOYOUS PASCHAL GREETING:
CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!
“For you will not leave my soul in Sheol,
nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”
True, indeed, is this word of God’s prophet by which he announces the radiant feast of Christ Resurrection, this feast of great Christian joy and spiritual celebration. If there is a day among all days for celebration, that is today — the day we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ our God. Thanks to this holy day, all the days of mankind — from the beginning to the end of the world — receive their true meaning, and all that has happened in those days and is happening receives its proper meaning. If there is an event to which Christianity can be narrowed down, then that event truly is the Resurrection of Christ. If there is a feast to which all feasts can be narrowed down, then again, that is the Resurrection of Christ. That is why the Church calls the feast day of Christ’s Resurrection the Feast of Feasts; and in the Church we sing: This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24).
The Holy Synod of Bishops at its session on 22 April 2013 decided to accept the resignation of Bishop Vasilije of Zvornik-Tuzla to the service of an active Diocesan bishop, submitted due to health reasons on 6 November 2012, and to release him from further management of the Diocese of Zvornik-Tuzla. With this, the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops from 6 November 2012 is changed, because then his resignation was provisionally accepted but he was asked to remain on duty until the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops in May 2013, in order to finish ongoing projects. Bishop Jefrem of Banjaluka is appointed an administrator of the Diocese of Zvornik-Tuzla.
From the Office of the Holy Synod
Submitted by: Bishop Irinej of Backa
Addressing the state of Serbia and the Serbian people regarding the signing of the agreement in Brussels.
Text of an agreement was signed in Brussels "on principles which regulate normalization of relations "between "Belgrade" and "Pristina", which is, of course, an euphemism in place of "Serbia and Kosovo", or between the Prime Minister of Serbia and "the Prime Minister of Kosovo," i.e. an individual from the wanted list issued by Serbia. Undeniable is impression that it represents a complete withdrawal of Serbia's institutions from the territory of its southern province and setting up limited autonomy of the Serbian community in the area to the north of the Ibar Bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica within Taci's establishment, therefore, an indirect and silent but still practical recognition of the government system in Kosovo and Metohija which is independent of Serbia's government structures. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the Serbian government agreed to an uninterrupted “European integration” process for Taci's Kosovo (without mentioning Metohija, which sounds too Orthodox and Serbian, and there is no mention of Serbia in this context), and there is no doubt that after such a prohibitive price for the famous “date on the start of accession talks”, and the talks with an unknown number of new conditions and uncertain outcome, the price of EU accession itself would probably be embodied in the formal recognition of “an independent Kosovo” by Serbia and its obligation not to interrupt “Kosovo” in getting the UN membership.
Mr. Tomislav Nikolic,
President of Serbia
Mr. Ivica Dacic,
President of the Government of Serbia
Mr. Aleksandar Vucic,
First Vice President of the Government of Serbia
Esteemed Mr. President,
Еsteemed Mr. Prime Minister,
Еsteemed Mr. First Vice President of the Government,
In this, for both Serbia and the Serbian people very difficult and crucial – and perhaps fateful moment, we address you on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church in fatherly and brotherly manner, with respect and trust in Your Orthodox Christian conscience and in Your sense of patriotism and the state responsibility. We do not address you in an ordinary way, but by this public appeal, and we do it for many reasons, of which two are the most important - shortness of time (the Brussels’ ultimatum expires as early as Tuesday) and a need to refute, in the most obvious manner, the impudent lie which has been shared for the last few days by certain people and media about the silence of our Church regarding Kosovo (!).
Please be informed of several changes in the 2013 church calendar made by the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade based on on characteristics of the Orthodox Church Typicon:
- The feast day of the 1st and 2nd Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist, which falls on Meatfare Saturday, March 9/24, will be celebrated on Friday, March 8/23 (Great Typicon, compiled by V. Rev. V. Nikolajevic, 46a).
- The feast day of the Holy 40 Martyrs of Sebaste (Youth's Day), which falls on Friday of the first week of Lent, March 22/9, will be celebrated on Cheese-fare Sunday, March 17/4 (Great Typicon, compiled by V. Rev. V. Nikolajevic, 46a).
- The feast day of the Translation of the Relics of St. Nikolaj of Zicha, which falls on Great and Holy Friday, May 3/April 20, will be celebrated on Tuesday of Bright Week, May 7/24 (since the feast day of St. George the Greatmartyr, falls on Bright Monday).
THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
TO HER SPIRITUAL CHILDREN AT CHRISTMAS 2012
+ I R I N E J
BY THE GRACE OF GOD ARCHBISHOP OF PEC, METROPOLITAN OF BELGRADE KARLOVCI AND SERBIAN PATRIARCH, WITH ALL THE HIERARCHS OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH TO ALL THE CLERGY, MONASTRICS,AND ALL THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF OUR HOLY CHURCH: GRACE, MERCY AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER, AND OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, WITH THE JOYOUS CHRISTMAS GREETING:
PEACE FROM GOD! CHRIST IS BORN!
"Rejoice O ye righteous, rejoice O heaven, dance O mountains for Christ is born…”
(Hymn from the Nativity of our Lord Matins, tone four)
The Nativity of our Lord brings to us joyous and wonderful news that the Son of God became Man, the God-Man Jesus Christ. With His Incarnation, the prophesy of Saint Isaiah the prophet has been fulfilled: “Lo, the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Emanuel, which is translated: “God is with us”. (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14) From that day until the end of the age, God is with us and we belong to Him. The Son of God has descended to earth, and man has ascended to heaven. Everything has been united. Angels sing with men and men participate in the angelic life. Saint John Chrysostom called Christmas the mother of all feasts, and contemplating the Birth of God in awe as a wondrous mystery, he glorifies it by saying: “I look upon an astounding mystery. Shepherds’ voices I hear in my ears. Angels and archangels sing, seraphim glorify, they all participate in the Feast, looking upon God on earth, and upon man in heaven. They look upon God, Who is in heaven, as upon Him Who is the Cause of His own descent to earth. They look upon man, who is on earth, and see how through God’s love for mankind he dwells in heaven.” God without body puts on flesh; the Invisible becomes visible, He Who is unapproachable becomes approachable, the Timeless one receives a beginning, the Son of God becomes the Son of man. This manifestation of God in our world and our life is the beginning of our own entrance into God’s world. And so, the meaning of Christmas is in the reality that God came to people so that they may come closer to Him.