Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

June 21, 2004




His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle, together with members of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church: His Grace Bishop Irinej of Nis, His Grace Bishop Jovan of Sumadija, His Grace Bishop Grigorije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina, and His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic, met today in the Patriarchal residence in Belgrade with Dr. Vojislav Vukcevic, the Minister for Emigrants of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and his closest associates, Deputy Minister Aleksandar Cotric, and assistants Vukman Krivokuca, Miodrag Jaksic and Miodrag Bozic.

Minister Vukcevic and his associates informed His Holiness and the Bishops of the Holy Assembly with the work and goals of the newly formed Ministry for Emigrants which can be summed up as follows:
- Enhancement of cooperation between emigrant Serbs and the Homeland on cultural and economic programs;
- Preservation of national, religious, cultural and linguistic identity;
- Full and equal participation of emigrants in the public, political and cultural life of the Homeland.

Dr. Vukcevic emphasized that the state and the ministry he heads cannot succeed in this goals without agreement and full cooperation with the Serbian Orthodox Church, which enjoys unique and undivided authority among Serbian emigrants of whom there are, according to estimates, between 3.5 and 4 million.

In order to create the necessary conditions for the realization of the above stated goals, the Ministry for Emigrants, in the acquiescence of the Ministry for Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, has submitted a proposed draft of a new Law on Citizenship. Dr. Vukcevic emphasized that earlier legislative solutions in this field dating back to the Communist period were directed more toward preventing and discouraging Serbs who live outside the Homeland from acquiring the citizenship of their mother country than helping them realize their legitimate right. According to the new proposed draft law, which is completely in accordance with the legislation of European states, all those of Serbian nationality or Serbian origin who desire to acquire Serbian citizenship will be able to do so.

On behalf of the Holy Assembly of Bishops, Patriarch Pavle expressed his satisfaction with the proposed solution and emphasized that it is the moral obligation of the Church to uphold it. The adoption of such a Law of Citizenship will enable not only the establishment of the number of our compatriots scattered throughout the world but also the establishment of their religious and cultural identity. It is especially important, emphasized His Holiness, that the citizenship of the motherland will also be available to Serb refugees from surrounding newly formed states, who are completely disenfranchised, as well as those who remained living in them.

In conclusion, Patriarch Pavle and the members of the Holy Assembly Bishops, and Dr. Vukcevic and his associates agreed that Serbs who live outside Serbia have never been more needed by Serbia than today.


His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle and members of the Holy Assembly Bishops received Dr. Bojan Dimitrijevic, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Services of the Republic of Serbia, and his assistant Srdjan Sreckovic, in the Patriarchal residence in Belgrade today.

Dr. Dimitrijevic informed the members of the Holy Assembly with the BUY DOMESTIC GOODS – RENEW SERBIA” campaign initiated by the Ministry with the goal of launching and reaffirming domestic production, which is still struggling with problems caused by sanctions and isolation; strengthening of confidence in domestic production; enhancement of awareness regarding the quality of domestic products; reduction of negative monetary flow abroad (the trade deficit last year was five billion dollars); preservation of existing and creation of new jobs; strengthening of social funds (pension, medical and social); and encouragement of creativity in the domestic economy.

Patriarch Pavle and the members of the Holy Assembly praised the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Services for initiating this campaign and emphasized that it is the best way to help ourselves. They also expressed satisfaction and gratitude toward all producers and domestic retailers who joined this campaign and reduced the prices of their products in order to make them more accessible to our population. The members of the Holy Assembly of Bishops advised Dr. Dimitrijevic to encourage other state offices to join in the protection of domestic production as much as possible by providing subventions and all possible measures to invigorate production, increase employment and improve living standards for citizens.


On Sunday, June 20, 2004 the newly elected Bishop of Lipljan, Abbot Teodosije (Sibalic) of Decani Monastery, was consecrated. The ordination of the Bishop and service of Holy Hierarchal Liturgy at Decani monastery was conducted by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle with the concelebration of many Bishops, hieromonks and priests.

The chirotonia itself was preceded by the act of election, which took place on Saturday, June 19, 2004. The service began with doxology and was followed by the address of the host, His Grace Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, who welcomed the Patriarch and all who gathered around the tomb of Holy Stefan of Decani. The Bishops participating in the ceremony together with the Serbian Patriarch and Bishop Artemije included Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, Metropolitan Ambrosios of Kozani (of the Greek Orthodox Church), Metropolitan Jovan of Veles, Bishop Irinej of Nis, Bishop Vasilije of Zvornik and Tuzla, Bishop Lukijan of Budim, Bishop Georgije of Canada, Bishop Irinej of Backa, Bishop Konstantine of Central Europe, Bishop Pahomije of Vranje, Bishop Jovan of Sumadija, Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic, Bishop Grigorije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina, Vicar Bishop Porfirije of Jegar, Vicar Bishop Joakim of Velicka and retired Bishop Atanasije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina. After the ceremony evening services were officiated by Abbot Teodosije of Decani, the newly elected Bishop of Lipljan.

On Sunday, June 20, 2004, morning services were officiated by Abbot Jovan (Puric) of Ostrog Monastery, the newly elected Bishop of Dioclea. This was followed by Divine Liturgy officiated by the Serbian Patriarch with the concelebration of over 40 hieromonks, hierodeacons and priests. At the end of the Liturgy, His Holiness handed the archpastoral scepter to the new Bishop with warm fatherly words to which the Bishop responded with his special sermon for the occasion.

Thanks to well-coordinated KFOR escorts, the consecration of the new Bishop was attended by a large number of faithful from Kosovo and Metohija, as well as representatives of the Serbian Government: Serbian minister of education and sports Ljiljana Colic, Serbian minister for emigrants Vojislav Vukcevic; Return Coalition deputies and members of the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija Rada Trajkovic and Randjel Nojkic; and Nebojsa Bakarec, president of the Executive Council of the Municipal Assembly of Stari Grad (Belgrade). Representatives of the U.S., British, French and Italian offices in Pristina also attended the liturgy, ceremony and luncheon, as did the commander of Italian and German military forces, general Danilo Errico and his officers. Representing the UNMIK chief was Johannes Regenbrecht, the deputy chief of the UNMIK police section. At the end of the luncheon Svetlana Stevic delighted all present with her rendition of authentic Kosovo songs, and poet Ranko Djinovic from Djakovica recited a poem from his collection dedicated to Decani Monastery.


An exhibition of paintings and drawings by children from the Kockica Preschool in Borca opened today in the Serbian Orthodox Church Museum. Opening the exhibition on behalf of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle was His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic of the Holy Assembly of Bishops. Attending the opening were Museum director Slobodan Mileusnic; Hieromonk Irinej Dobrijevic, the director and editor in chief of the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church; Slavica Tomic, the teacher of this outstanding group of youngsters; Kockica Preschool education coordinator Ana Skokic; Deacon Miladin, the religious instructor at the Borca Elementary School, who also collaborates with the preschool; Ljiljana Dejanovic, a teacher; and many parents who helped Ms. Tomic by providing colors and materials without whose help this beautiful exhibition would not have been possible.

Bishop Joanikije blessed the children and conveyed the greetings of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, who saw the exhibition earlier and liked it very much but was prevented from being present by official obligations.

The young artists explained to Bishop Joanikije and those present what they had depicted in their pictures, demonstrating that they truly had an outstanding knowledge of the subject. They described religious feasts and scenes from the life of Christ in their children’s joyful and spontaneous manner. The audience was charmed and driven to laughter, as well as moved by the children’s pure, innocent and sincere narrative of how the devil tempted Christ. They pointed out that the picture showed all the things with which the evil one had tempted Christ: “He offered him treasure, gold, chocolate, lollipops and cakes; and chicken and drumsticks and cookies but Christ answered him in the words of God’s commandments and the devil couldn’t do anything.”

These pictures, which are filled with love and faith and represent an exceptionally high level of children’s artistic creation, are truly a joy for the eyes and the soul. Mrs. Radmila Misev, the director and editor in chief of the children’s magazine of the Serbian Orthodox Church, “Svetosavsko zvonce” (St. Sava’s Little Bell), also greeted the children and gave each child a copy of the magazine. After the opening of the exhibition, the children toured the Museum and then visited the printing office, where director Gradimir Stanic welcomed them. After a tour of the printing office, he distributed gifts to the children.

[Serbian Translation Services]

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