Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

June 29, 2004


His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle, His Eminence Metropolitan Nikolaj of Dabro-Bosnia and members of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, General-Colonel Dr. Zoran Stankovic, the director of the Military Medical Academy n Belgrade and Dr. Mirsada Prso, the director of the Anesthesiology Department of the University Clinical Center in Tuzla will hold a press conference regarding further medical treatment of Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Jeremija Starovlah and his son, Catechist Aleksandar, on Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 3:00 p.m. at the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade.

Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Jeremija Starovlah and his son Aleksandar were seriously wounded the night of April 1, 2004 at 1:00 a.m. when SFOR forces carried out a raid on the parish home in Pale. Both were delivered to Tuzla Hospital in extremely serious condition but thanks to timely and appropriate reaction by hospital staff, the lives of the two heavily beaten Serbs were saved.

According to the testimony of Father Jeremija and local police inspectors, approximately one hundred SFOR troops took part in the attack on the parish home in Pale.

The seriously wounded priest and his son were bound and transported to Tuzla Hospital by SFOR helicopters.

The parish home bore signs of enormous damage, serving as proof of the brutality and excessive use of force utilized. There is also photographic evidence that has already been provided to the media. After the SFOR campaign, members of the local police arrived on the scene, conducted an investigation and secured the location.

His Eminence Metropolitan Nikolaj of Dabro-Bosnia arrived in Pale at 5:00 a.m. on the same day.

Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Jeremija Starovlah and his son Aleksandar were later transferred from Tuzla Hospital to the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade, where they continue to receive medical treatment to today.


His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has presented a gift of 100,000 euros for the restoration of the monastery of Devic, which was torched on March 18 of this year by Albanian extremists.

His Grace Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren announced that the Diocese plans to restore at least one residence hall of the monastery prior to the winter. The monastery was built in 1434 and is located in the forest of Drenica, five kilometers south of Srbica. Albanian extremists looted and desecrated the monastery in June 1999 and broke the marble tomb cover of its patron-endower, St. Ioannichus. In March of this year all the nuns from the monastery were evacuated and the monastery was torched. The greatest spiritual treasure of the monastery is the relics of St. Ioannichus of Devic, known among the people as a great miracle-worker and healer.

Source: Balkan, June 29, 2004


Six gold crosses were raised yesterday on the domes of the church of Christ’s Resurrection in Podgorica. The crosses are a gift from the Council of National Assemblies of Montenegro. Holy Hierarchal Liturgy and consecration preceded the raising of the crosses. His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral served Holy Liturgy with the concelebration of a large number of priests from his Metropolitanate.


On the occasion of the celebration of the Bicentennial of the First Serbian Uprising, His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic will be presenting the awards of the publication Svevidje to elementary and secondary school students for literary and artistic works. The presentation ceremony will take place today, June 29, 2004 at 12:00 noon in the St. Basil of Ostrog Cultural Hall in Niksic. The program will continue with a benefit concert of spiritual music by the Holy New Martyr Stanko Choir under the direction of Lenka Durutovic. The concert guest will be the choir of Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade directed by Predrag Miodrag. All proceeds from the concert will go toward the restoration of Chilandar Monastery.

Source: Dan daily, Podgorica, June 28, 2004


On June 27, 2004 His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic consecrated the foundation of a dormitory for the nuns of the monastery of the Most Holy Mother of God, a Nemanjic dynasty endowment from the 12th century located in Voljavac, some 15 kilometers from Bijelo Polje. On that occasion Bishop Joanikije served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy and then ordained Zoran Bubanja as deacon.

Dr. Budo Rakonjac spoke on behalf of the committee for the building of the dormitory and the Bishop concluded the event by saying: “May this dormitory be completed and protected from enemy attacks for this holy shrine was built by the Holy Stefan Nemanja and it is the first of the Nemanjic endowment in the valley of the Lim. The Bijelo Polje region is fortunate in having no less than three Nemanjic endowments: in addition to this one in Voljavac, there is also the church of St. Peter and the church in Nikoljac.”

Source: Dan daily, Podgorica, June 28, 2004


On the Sunday following his consecration in the monastery of Visoki Decani, Bishop Teodosije (Sibalic) of Lipljan, vicar (auxiliary) bishop of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, served Holy Liturgy in the church of the Holy Martyrs Florus and Laurus in Lipljan, the seat of the historical Diocese of Lipljan.

In his sermon following the first Hierarchal Liturgy, which he served before several hundred Serbs gathered in this location in central Kosovo and Metohija, Bishop Teodosije called on the Serb population to remain in its centuries-old homes because "the holy shrines can survive only if there are monks and nuns and faithful people in them".

"With the blessing of Bishop Artemije, I am here today so we can pray to God for the salvation of our souls, for our survival here, in this town and this holy shrine, and for our survival in our homes. Everyone can abandon us as long as God does not abandon us, for what is impossible for humans is possible to God," said Bishop Teodosije. He recalled the latest example from March 17 of this year: "It was thanks to your faith, courage and determination that you and your priest, in protecting the church with your lives, that God intervened and ensured our survival here and the existence of this beautiful shrine in this town. Today I am happy because I am among the people I am meant to serve. This is a good and honorable people and I am especially happy to see the presence of children, a large number of whom took communion at Holy Liturgy today,” said Bishop Teodosije after distributing monetary assistance to the children of Lipljan from the Visoki Decani Monastery Fund.


St. Vitus Day (Vidovdan), the feast of the Holy Prince Lazarus and the 615th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, was celebrated today with Holy Liturgy in Gracanica Monastery and a memorial service (panykhida) for Serbian heroes in Gazimestan served by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle and three other bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

After remembering "all the heroes who honorably perished for the defense of the land of their fathers from the Battle of Kosovo to today", the primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church reminded in his sermon that "Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day) and Holy Prince Lazar, the eternal values for which he fought and laid down his life, remain at the center of the conscience and hearts of our entire people. This should remain a lesson for us even today and the path we should follow. Glory to all our deceased who perished to today, martyrs and new martyrs, and may the Lord help us endure on His path regardless of all difficulties.”


Patriarch Pavle served the memorial service (panykhida) at Gazimestan hill near Pristina and liturgy in Gracanica together with Bishop Artemije (Radosavljevic) of Raska and Prizren, Bishop Atanasije (Jevtic) of Zahumlje and Herzegovina (retired), Bishop Teodosije (Sibalic) of Lipljan, and the priests and monks of the Dioceses of Raska and Prizren, Zahumlje and Herzegovina and Zica. Because of "the evangelical virtues according to which he lived and his readiness to give his life and spill his blood for eternal values", Holy Prince Lazar, in the words of Bishop Artemije, still remains the leader of the Serbian people, most of all those who have managed to survive in Kosovo and Metohija for more than five years under abnormal conditions, more difficult than during the Turkish occupation.

Services in Gracanica and Gazimestan were attended by the faithful as well as by Milan Radulovic, minister for religions in the Serbian Government, Kosovo Serb political leaders and representatives of the Serbian ministry of culture. Strong KFOR forces secured the memorial service in Gazimestan.


Orthodox priests served Holy Liturgy and a memorial service to all fallen Serbs from the Battle of Kosovo to today on the foundation of the church of St. Dimitrije in northern Kosovska Mitrovica, whose construction is in progress.

The University of Pristina temporarily displaced to Kosovska Mitrovica celebrated its patron saint's day (University Day) on Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day) for the first time in five years.

A formal academy was held in the presence of a large number of guests representing all Universities in Serbia, representatives of economic and political domains and religious communities where the rector of the University of Pristina, Radivoje Papovic, reminded everyone of the difficult history of the Serbian people during the last six hundred years. Papovic emphasized "since the last St. Vitus Day in just two days in March, 40 of our holy shrines disappeared. The requiem is the only song we hear in Kosovo and it is unending," he said. He also asked Europe why it remained silent as innocent people disappeared.


On Sunday, June 27, the Serbian Orthodox parish of St. Sava in Brussels celebrated St. Vitus Day (Vidovdan) and the feast of the Holy Prince Lazarus and all martyrs who perished for the Holy Cross and golden freedom one day earlier because the majority of its faithful cannot attend church on working days. On this day the first Holy Liturgy was served in the church, which the Roman Catholic Church has turned over for the permanent use of the Orthodox Serbs in Belgium.

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 the Orthodox Church. The monks of the monastery of Tvrdos in Herzegovina are busy creating an iconostasis in oak with reliefs and icons, which is scheduled to be installed on Christmas Eve 2005.

For the faithful of the Serbian Church in this Western European country the celebration of St. Vitus Day was very important because for the first time in Brussels bells from our church announced the beginning of Holy Liturgy and called 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, was the Bishop’s deputy, Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Nikola Skrbic from Paris, with chanting by the diocesal choir of St. Simeon the Myrrh-gusher from Paris.

Source: Politika daily, Belgrade, June 29, 2004

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