the Serbian Orthodox Church
June 7, 2004
OF THEOLOGICAL FACULTY IN BELGRADE VISIT PONTIFICAL LATERAN
UNIVERSITY IN ROME
A delegation of the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Belgrade
left on Monday, June 7, 2004, on an official visit to the Pontifical
Lateran University in Rome. The representatives of the Theological
Faculty, including dean presvyter Dr. Vladan Perisic, assistant
Bogdan Lubardic, M.Th., and archimandrite Andrej (Cilerdzic),
the secretary for interchurch cooperation of the Holy Synod,
will be returning a visit made to the Theological Faculty last
year by the rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, Monsignor
The purpose of this visit is to further theological-research
cooperation, exchange of theological knowledge and experience,
as well as the possibility of student exchanges for a deeper
understanding of the mission of the Church in the modern world.
The domestic public was incorrectly informed recently by some
media that an official delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church
will be visiting the seat of the Roman Catholic Church.
The visit for the opening of academic cooperation is especially
significant taking into account the fact that our Theological
Faculty has finally been reintegrated into the University of
Belgrade and that its first international contact with its new
status is with a research and educational institution of world
renown. This is without doubt an event of spiritual and academic
significance not only for the Theological Faculty but also for
the University of Belgrade.
UNIVERSITY RECTOR VISITS THEOLOGICAL FACULTY
In keeping with the practice of visiting all the faculties of
the University of Belgrade, on June 4, 2004, the newly appointed
rector of the University of Belgrade, Dr. Dejan Popovic, made
his first visit to the Theological Faculty in Belgrade. On the
occasion of the passing of the Law on the University on the centennial
of the First Serbian Uprising, the Theological Faculty occupied
the prime and most honored position. This visit reconfirmed that
the Theological Faculty is an inseparable part of the University
of Belgrade, which it never ceased to be either legally nor in
EXHIBITION OF WORKS BY STUDENTS OF SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ACADEMY
On June 8, 2004 at 6 p.m. in the studio of the Academy of Arts
and Conservation of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Kralja Petra
I Street number 2, His Grace Bishop Ignjatije of Branicevo will
open the year end exhibition of works by students of the Academy
of Arts and Conservation of the Theological Faculty of the Serbian
To be exhibited are works from the areas of fresco painting,
icon painting, mosaic, modelling and documentation that attests
to the restoration and conservation of all icons and frescoes
done by the students of the Serbian Orthodox Church Academy under
the guidance of their teachers during the course of the 2003-4
The opening of the exhibition will feature chants by the Chamber
Choir of the Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church
under the direction of Predrag Miodrag, a lecturer at the Theological
Faculty and the Academy of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
NEWLY APPOINTED BISHOP JOVAN OF DIOCLETIA SERVES LITURGY AT
SITE OF 9TH CENTURY CHURCH
His Grace the newly appointed Bishop Jovan (Puric) of Diocletia
served Holy Liturgy in Martinici Gradina near Spuz in Montenegro
on the foundation of the church of of the Holy Archangel Michael
(9th century), the former seat of the Diocese of Diocletia.
The Orthodox Diocese of Diocletia (according to scarce but reliable
historical sources) existed in this area from the 5th century
under the jurisdiction of the Byzantine patriarch and emperor.
After the war waged against Byzantium by Bulgarian emperor Samuilo,
during which prince Jovan Vladimir was also killed (10th century),
the last Bishop of Diocletia, called Jovan (a renowned chanter
and composer who wrote homilies to martyrs of Christ), withdrew
This ancient Diocese then died out only to be resurrected recently
when the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church
decided to appoint as Vicar Bishop of Diocletia under the Metropolitanate
of Montenegro and the Littoral the first bishop in a thousand
years with the same name as his famous predecessor ten centuries
APPEAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS
OF SLAVIC AND ORTHODOX PEOPLES
We, the members of the International Association of Cinematographers
of Slavic and Orthodox Peoples, an organization numbering more
than 12,000 members, creators who work in the field of European
cinematography, as well as all participants of the 13th Golden
Knight International Film Festival held in Irkutsk (Russia) from
May 22 to May 31, 2004, provide you with this document adopted
at the closing ceremony of the film forum by all membres of IACSOP
and participants in the Golden Knight International Film Festival
in which we express our deepest protest, coming from the depths
of our soul and heart, against the genocide of the Serbian people
living in Kosovo and Metohija on the primordial territory of
Serbia. Genocide on this holy land is being carried out by illegal
Albanian outlaw organizations which are also inciting the local
Albanian population to the same misdeeds and doing so under the
eyes of international peacekeeping forces.
We express our protest against the barbaric, unthinkable to
the modern world, systematic, five year-long destruction of over
150 Orthodox monasteries and churches, many of them among the
oldest holy shrines and monuments of Serbian and European culture,
some of them under the protection of UNESCO.
This spiritual and physical genocide of the Serbian people in
Kosovo and Metohija, which is still happening, must be stopped
by a Resolution of the European Parliament: It must be stopped
once and for all by your decision.
The apocalypse which is unfolding in the very heart of Europe
must be brought to an end!
All of us, the cultural workers of Europe, believe that all
reasonable European parliamentarians share our common feeling
of anger and shame because of the anarchy on the territory of
Kosovo and Metohija. We hope that this European disgrace which
is happening under the eyes of all the peoples in the world will
be stopped immediately. Europe which endured so many casualties
for its liberation and for the liberation of the entire world
from fascism does not deserve such a humiliating and perspectiveless
Todayís Europe is not a concentration camp!
Todayís Europe is not a military base of anyoneís interests.
Todayís Europe must be a model of love of humanity and love of
All we can count on is the conscience of every one of You. And
on our collective conscience!
We are convinced that You, the representatives of so many European
peoples, are in a position to stop the horror and unprecedented
trampling of human rights which is occurring in Kosovo and Metohija,
the endless murders of innocent citizens of Serbian nationality
and the destruction of the oldest churches of Christianity and
Orthodoxy in Europe.
We hope that you will solve this problem immediately by the
adoption of a Resolution of the European Parliament. This will
be a confirmation that you truly intent to defend the life of
every person in the world, their social position, as well as
peace and freedom for every citizen. This will be a confirmation
that a unified Europe, de facto if not de jure, is capable of
showing the rest of the world that human life is more valuable
than anything by passing a resolution on Kosovo.
And that the human life of every person on this planet is inviolable,
that it is the Lordís work and therefore priceless!
We believe in and place our trust in you: We hope that you are
truly the representatives and guardians of Europe!
N. P. Burlyayev
President of the Golden Knight International Film Festival
President of IACSOP
IMPRESSED BY THE SPIRITUAL BEAUTY OF THE PEOPLE IN KOSOVO AND
Captain Fabio Ficuciello, a representative of the Italian carabinieri
engaged in the protection of patrimonial sites as part of the
program of establishing peace in Kosovo and Metohija, was recently
received by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle and several
members of the Holy Assembly of Bishops.
During his visit to Kosovo and Metohija, Capt. Ficuciello observed
that the Serbian Orthodox Church owns almost all cultural monuments
in this region and that it is part of the world cultural heritage
in terms of its significance. This inspired him to make a film
during the period from November 2002 to May 2003 about the
most important Serbian churches and monasteries. On this occasion
Capt. Ficuciello gave Serbian Patriarch Pavle a copy of the
film and conveyed the willingness of Italy to assist in the
restoration of some of the destroyed churches. In conversation
with the Patriarch and the bishops regarding the catastrophic
consequences of the recent March violence, it was agreed to
make a new film showing a comparison of the most important
medieval churches before and after their destruction by terrorists.
We spoke with Capt. Ficuciello on this occasion.
Mr. Ficuciello, you came from peaceful Italy and the eternal
city of Rome to Metohija, a completely new environment, a different
world. What was your encounter like with our Holy Shrines?
I was part of the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo under the auspices
of NATO for seven months. I am an officer of the carabinieri
who worked on the protection of cultural heritage in my homeland.
Since 2002 our command has been prepared to intervene in other
areas, wishing to inform the public, prepare documentation regarding
the situation of cultural property and provide protection. In
this case, it was in Kosovo and western Metohija. We approached
the task very thoroughly and comprehensively and prepared a video
document on video cassette and DVD. We sought to have an objective
approach and the records themselves are truly valuable from the
historical and artistic aspects.
Although I was relatively informed, when I saw all these 13th
and 14th century churches I was truly surprised by their beauty
as were we all. These are, first of all, Christian sites and
consequently near to us as Italians, too. Our attitude toward
them was full of respect. When we entered the churches, we tried
to be discreet and with a sense of respect for a holy site which
is holy for all of Christianity. It is our duty to protect these
sites which are not only religious but also cultural properties.
As well, we worked on protecting them in the best manner possible.
This is not always an issue of physical presence; it is also
important to register and film, to photograph everything inside
the churches and monasteries due to the always present possibility
of theft or destruction. In this manner, every article from an
Orthodox Christian church in Kosovo and Metohija that is offered
for sale anywhere in the world will be immediately recognized.
Those who are destroying cultural treasures cannot be called
anything else but terrorists. Only a terrorist can destroy a
church or steal articles which in addition to their historical
and cultural value are also priceless in the religious sense.
There is quite a bit of Italian influence in the architecture
of our medieval churches.
Despite all differences, there are many things that we share,
such a painting techniques, mosaics, some elements in architecture.
Decani Monastery, for example, has a very specific Italian inspiration.
Of course, there are many differences as well as common points
not only in building technique but in the Christian essence.
These are two branches of the same tree. That is why everything
is so nicely joined in the architectural form.
Unfortunately, many monuments of Serbian Orthodox culture are
not sufficiently known in the West. When I developed these photographs
and showed them to people who did not have the oppotunity to
see the churches and admire the frescoes for themselves, they
were truly amazed by the fact that such testimonials from the
13th century even exist in Kosovo. I spoke with a university
professor of art history who asked me, after seeing the videos
of the exquisite church interiors, where they were located because
everything reminded him of the revolution in painting begun by
Giotto in Italy. Monuments of spirituality and culture in Kosovo
and Metohija are something of tremendous importance for all of
humanity. They concern not only Serbia and Europe but the global
cultural community. They have what would generally be described
in the (Roman) Catholic Church as ecumenical grandeur.
I would like to take this opportunity, in accordance with my
duty, to say that in additional to monumental testimony of spiritual
and artistic beauty, there are also people in Kosovo and Metohija
who unite us and bring us closer. I was impressed by the beauty,
the spiritual beauty of the people. I would like to thank the
monks and nuns who live in the monasteries there for their kindness,
hospitality and openness. I am honored by the fact that I have,
in a sense, won their trust because they have understood the
purpose of my job. Itís not a job for tourists wearing uniforms
but a job whose purpose and justification is to assist in the
protection of these works. And that is why I would like to most
sincerely thank all Kosovo and Metohija Serbs and monks and nons
who have taught these soldiers the meaning of spiritual strength.
Itís a strange thing, being there. We guarded them and should
have been the ones encouraging them but they, especially the
elderly sisters of the Pec Patriarchate, were the ones encouraging
us with their calmness and spiritual strength. They would tell
us: ďDonít worry; no matter what we will go on. There is no fear
in our hearts. I have been wonderful people who are monks in
Gracanica and Decani. I attended one of their religious services
and found it a singular experience.
We would like to thank you and your colleagues for courageously
defending and protecting our spiritual homeland.
Thank you for your kindness and hospitality.
It is fortunate that an Italian contingent that respects the
tradition of these settlements and defends them with the respect
and dedication they deserve has arrived in western Kosovo, where
important sacred sites have been preserved.
It is Godís providence.
It has been a new and important experience for us, too, and
we have learned a lot. In todayís world, where people have a
tendency to view and accept things superficially, it is easy
to give up at difficult moments. Recalling the spiritual strength
of the monks and nuns in Kosovo and Metohija is a call to everyone
to never surrender and always remain determined and standing
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