Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

June 23, 2004


His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited Austria on June 16-22, 2004. His itinerary during his stay was exceptionally rich and the highest Austrian church and state representatives honored the Patriarch of Constantinople. The reason for the Ecumenical Patriarchs visit was the 200-year anniversary of the Greek church of St. George, as well as the 200-year anniversary of the Greek national school in Vienna.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met in the Austrian capital with Austrian president Thomas Klestil, chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, foreign affairs minister Benito Ferrero-Waldner, parliament speaker Andreas Kohl, and several ministers and ambassadors. The newly elected Austrian president Heinz Fischer, who will be assuming office in the near future, also received him. The Patriarch visited the Pro Oriente Foundation, the Greek and Turkish embassies and signed in the Golden Book of the City of Vienna in the city hall. He received an honorary doctorate (honoris causa) in law at the University.

Attending the reception organized in his honor by Cardinal Christof Schoenborn were senior church officials from various confessions and, of course, representatives of all Orthodox Churches in Austria.

On Sunday, June 19, 2004, Patriarch Bartholomew served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the Greek Holy Trinity Cathedral in Vienna in the presence of Greek president Konstantinos Stefanopoulos, who read the Symbol of Faith and Our Father. In the evening His All-Holiness and his escort together with representatives of the Orthodox Churches attended evening services served by cardinal Senborn in the Roman Catholic St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna. His Eminence Metropolitan Michael of Vienna delivered the Patriarchs address.

During the course of his visit to Austria, His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew received an honorary doctorate in theology in Graz prior to visiting Innsbruck and Salzburg.

Text and photo: Miodrag Mecanovic


       The parish church of St. Sava in Paris is located in the north of the city on Simplon Street. The church was built in 1905 by Protestants and turned over to the Orthodox Church for its use in 1965. In 1980 the Diocese of Western Europe finally became its owner.

The church was completely refurbished and adapted to the needs of religious services of the Orthodox Church. It is decorated by a beautiful iconostasis created in 1989 by the nuns of the monastery of Celije. The grand chandelier was a gift to the church from the Greek family of Arnopoulos. Major works are currently in progress to rebuild the official space according to the latest European Union standards (ramp and elevator for mobility impaired, heating, etc.) Once completed, the parishioners will have facilities for many activities.

The number of the faithful is constantly increasing. According to the senior priest of the church, Father Jovan, about a hundred parishioners, as well as increasing numbers of French attend Sunday Holy Liturgy. Father Jovan says that the French are increasingly receptive to Orthodoxy and that classes of religious instruction are offered for them, as well as for Serbs, every Thursday.

The church of St. Sava includes a charitable organization that has been especially active during the most recent difficult years but still sends medicine and needed items to people in the homeland.

The extent of the French interest in Orthodoxy is best attested to by the fact that this years calendar of the Diocese of Western Europe is printed in both Serbian and French.


On Sunday, June 27, the Serbian Orthodox parish of St. Sava in Brussels will celebrate St. Vitus Day (Vidovdan) and the feast of the Holy Prince Lazarus and all martyrs who perished for the Holy Cross and golden freedom.

On this day the first Holy Liturgy will be served in the church, which the Roman Catholic Church has turned over for the permanent use of the Orthodox Serbs in Belgium.

The church and courtyard cover a surface area of 750 square meters. The church itself is a three-nave basilica turned over to our Church out of Christian love after great efforts on the part of Father Jakov Markovic of Brussels.

The Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels personally confirmed an agreement between the two church parishes and allowed the church to be furbished in accordance with regulations of our mother Church. The monks of the monastery of Tvrdos in Herzegovina are busy creating an iconostasis in oak with reliefs and icons, which, God willing, will be installed on Christmas Eve 2005.

For the first time in Brussels bells from our church will announce the beginning of Holy Liturgy at 10:30 a.m. and call on all Orthodox Serbs and people of goodwill to honor this prayerful celebration by their presence. Officiating at the service alongside the church priest, Jakov Markovic, will be the Bishops deputy, Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Nikola Skrbic from Paris, with chanting by the diocesal choir of St. Simeon the Myrrh-gusher from Paris.

Upon the conclusion of Holy Liturgy at 12:15 p.m., a Belgian trio (three students from the Academy of Music in Antwerp) will hold a concert of Central European music of Slavic origin in the church with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Luka of Western Europe. The performers will donate all proceeds from the concert toward the cost of the iconostasis.

The address of the church is:
Rue des etangs noirs 110
1080 Bruxelles (Molenbeek Saint Jean)
Tel & fax : ( 32 ) 02 - 203 - 75 - 93
gsm: ( 32 ) 04 - 78 - 53 - 96 - 19


His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa and His Grace Bishop Pahomije of Vranje proposed Sombor painter Zoran Stosic Vranjski to the Holy Assembly of Bishops for the Medal of St. Sava.

This high honor was accorded to the artist for many years of creative work inspired by faith and for his thematic exhibitions Portraits of Spiritual Leaders held in Sombor and Vranje. Mr. Stosic received the Medal of St. Sava in Vranje on the occasion of the consecration of the renewed home of Father Justin Popovich of blessed memory.


On June 22, 2004, His Grace Bishop Ignjatije of Branicevo opened an exhibition of icons in the small auditorium of the Army Cultural Hall. The exhibition was organized by the Christian Cultural Center and all proceeds from sales will be donated to help the suffering people in Kosovo and Metohija and the Chilandar Monastery.

At the opening of this very important exhibition, Bishop Ignjatije emphasized that it is no coincidence that money is being collected for the suffering people in Kosovo and Metohija by the sale of icons for icons are representations of the Kingdom of Heaven, not of this earth.

[Serbian Translation Services]

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