Word of Editor for year 2009 edition of “Svetosavsko Ognjiste” (“Saint Sava fireplace“)

The past year brought spiritual happiness to Serbian Orthodox Church, to it's faithful children and to members of Serbian Church Community in South Africa. We have celebrated important jubilee - 30 years since St. Apostle Thomas Temple was built in Johannesburg, as the only Serbian Orthodox temple on African continent.

Importance of this jubilee and effort that was necessary for such importance to be presented are way beyond our strengths, ability and available space in our magazine Svetosavsko Ognjiste. However, with God's help, we have tried to present, within ninth edition of one and only magazine in Serbian language in Africa, the spirit of celebration of this major jubilee, as such the majority of this edition will contain words and photographs related to mentioned jubilee and visit by official delegation of Serbian Orthodox Church for this important celebration.

Within a frame of jubilee celebration we are going to publish received letters from His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle, His Royal Highness Prince Alexander, His Grace Artemije Bishop of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohia, His Eminence Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria Kyr Seraphim, Serbian writers Mr. Antonije Djuric and Mr. Matija Beckovic, as well as letters from their Excellencies Ministers (or Deputy Ministers) from the Ministries of Religion, Diaspora, Foreign Affairs and Culture - of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

Along with these official letters, we are publishing several pages with photographs from early period - consecration of the church foundation from 1978, construction of the temple in year 1978; Church holidays and celebrations from the years after the construction of the temple was completed. Also, we are publishing newest photographs from the celebration of 30 years jubilee since St. Apostle Thomas Temple was built, that was organized on Sunday, October 19th, 2008, on St. Thomas day.

Also, in this edition of our magazine we are publishing yearly report of spiritual and material results at the Church and School Community of Saint Sava in Johannesburg, for the year 2008. In addition, we have covered reports of St. Sava Day celebration (for the year 2009); double-jubilee celebration of Russian Church in Johannesburg (Ten years since parish was established and five years since Saint Sergius church was built.) and great group baptism in Thembisa, a suburb of Johannesburg, that is mostly inhabited by African population.

In this year of celebrations, along with celebration of 30 years since St. Thomas Temple was built, we received much joy from one more important event that took place in our church - St. Sava School, first official Serbian School in South Africa, was established with Blessings of His Eminence Archbishop of Montenegro and Coastlands Amfilohije and will operate under of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Diaspora of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

In professional terms, school is led by Professor Mrs. Violeta Marinovic and on the feast of Lazarus Resurrection the first public class was held for the pupils and their parents. Within pages of this year's edition we are publishing Act from the Serbian Patriarchate, as well as informative text about newly found Serbian School St. Sava and as school progresses and advances, we are going to follow these developments and will dedicate more space to this important matter.

Also, this edition has two special reports. One is on the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vuk Jeremic and high delegation of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to our Church and School Community; while another report is focused on first pastoral visit to members of Serbian community in Lusaka, capital of Zambia with the blessing of His Grace Ioakim Bishop of Zambia.

The biggest gratitude for "Svetosavsko Ognjiste" to continue its mission as the only magazine of Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian community in Africa, goes to Ministry of Diaspora of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which financed this ninth edition, as well as to Mrs. Marijana Mandic, Technical Editor, Mr. Miodrag Pepic who printed Svetosavsko Ognjiste in his printing company L&K Print in Johannesburg and to all other contributors without whose help it will not be possible to complete and produce our magazine.

Our wish and prayer to God is for Svetosavsko Ognjiste to reach the goal of continually informing readers in Motherland and throughout Diaspora about work, activities and life of only Serbian Orthodox Parish in Africa, which is of great importance for all the Serbs on African continent and which is successfully representing Orthodox faith and Serbian Orthodox Church to all people of South Africa.

May be blessed this jubilee of 30 years since Serbian Orthodox Church was built in Africa to all Serbs and Orthodox Christians who lives in Africa. We wish to gather for spiritual benefit in numbers in our holy church of St. Apostle Thomas, to right here teach our children about Orthodox Faith, Serbian language and Serbian alphabet, history and to pray together and use all Holy Sacrament of the Orthodox Church for eternal salvation. Our wish is also to pass to our children and all African nations greatest blessing: Holy and Pure Orthodox faith.

Many, many years!

Archimandrite Pantelejmon (Jovanovic)
Rector and Dean of St Thomas Church in Johannesburg
Editor in chief of Svetosavsko Ognjiste magazine