Holy Synod Statement
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).
Announcement of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on the occasion of the latest imprisonment of Archbishop John14. May 2012 - 10:37
After years of persecution, harassment, arrests and imprisonments, His Beatitude the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje kyr Dr. John, pan-Orthodoxly renowned and recognized canonical Prelate of the ancient Ohrid Archbishopric, was sentenced yesterday, May 11th, to two and a half years in prison under false charges of alleged fraud and embezzlement, the result of a politically motivated and staged pseudotrial of a Stalinist-type, organized upon the blatant request of the schismatic organization calling itself “The Macedonian Orthodox Church”. He was sentenced solely because of His unwavering commitment to the unity of the Church of God; because of his communion with the Serbian Patriarchate and thereby with universal Orthodoxy worldwide; and because of his persistent and confessional fight against the schismatic mentality and anti-Ecclesiastical ethnophiletism. This is a unique case in contemporary Europe – if not in the whole civilized world – of the authorities, by order, to commit an act of cruel violence and an atrocity upon the Orthodox Church and Her lawful senior representatives, most violently breaking both their own laws and international norms and conventions. Fortunately, several diplomats, representatives of the Orthodox Church, as well as representatives from organizations and institutions dedicated to the protection of human rights and religious freedom, attended the “trial”, and thus an accurate report and a clear picture of this sad and ugly scene staged in the Veles courtroom can be made to the relevant factors and the public.
The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, under whose canonical jurisdiction the autonomous Ohrid Archbishopric is, condemns with the deepest moral indignation this incomparable violence and persecution conducted under the guise of legal order, and is always with the brothers and sisters from the Ohrid Archbishopric, in prayer and evangelic love, and especially with their Shepherd, who gladly accepts and endures suffering for our forefathers’ faith as well as for the unity of Christ’s holy Orthodox Church. The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church finally calls:
- for all sister Orthodox Churches throughout the ecumene;
- for all other Christian Churches in the world;
- for the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches and other Christian organizations;
- for the spiritual leaders of major world religions;
- for the for governments and relevant public authorities of legally regulated states, primarily democratic;
- for the international institutions;
- for the institutions and organizations of human rights and religious freedom; and
- for all people of good will;
to provide spiritual, moral, legal and any other possible support to the prisoner of conscience, the Archbishop John, and to contribute to his release from prison as soon as possible.
Belgrade, May 12th, 2012
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church with this appeal addresses all participants of the drama in the northern region of Kosovo and Metohija, with the warm prayer to God, the only Source of true peace, unity and love among peoples and nations, that they not allow this drama to be turned into a tragedy.