Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

July 2, 2004


After his four-day official visit to the Vatican, His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople invited His Holiness Pope John Paul II to visit the see of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. Pope John Paul II was pleased to accept the invitation.

Earlier, the two religious leaders signed a joint declaration in which they reaffirm their commitment to work toward the full unity of Christians in order to proclaim the Gospel in a "more credible and convincing" way. They also relaunched the work of the International Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

On July 1 the Patriarch of Constantinople served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the Church of St. Theodore on the Palatine with the concelebration of Metropolitan Gennadios of Italy. In his sermon His All-Holiness emphasized that on the path toward full unity between Catholics and Orthodox "still have a long way to go. Let us go forward despite so many difficulties through the dialogue of charity and truth." Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for Rome; and Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for general affairs of the Vatican Secretariat of State attended Holy Liturgy.



His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, was on a visit to the Netherlands from June 18 to 21, 2004. Metropolitan Kirill arrived to Amsterdam from Oslo on June 18. The next day, on June 19, Metropolitan Kirill celebrated the All-Night Vigil in the St. Nicholas Church in Amsterdam. On June 20, the Russian Orthodox Church dedicated to the Holy and Right-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky (the Hague and the Netherlands diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate) was consecrated in Rotterdam, which is the second in size city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the largest port of Europe. Metropolitan Kirill cordially congratulated all those gathered for the consecration of the church and thanked all people who took part in its construction and decoration. He expressed his gratitude to the city authorities of Rotterdam in the person of the Mayor for their invariable attention to the needs and interests of the Russian Orthodox parishioners and for support with the construction of the church.

Source: (Europaica)


His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle will officiate at the consecration of the newly elected Bishop Jovan of Dioclea and vicar (auxiliary) bishop of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, Abbot of Ostrog Monastery, to be held tomorrow in the monastery of Cetinje. On Sunday, July 4, 2004 beginning at 9:00 a.m. His Holiness will serve Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in church of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica followed by the chirotonia of Bishop Jovan in the presence of a large number of bishops.

Abbot Jovan (Puric) of the monastery of Ostrog, was born Mladen to Radosav and Zora nee Brankovic on June 6, 1965 in Mijaci near Valjevo.

He completed St. Sava Seminary in Belgrade in 1985 and studied theology in Belgrade and St. Petersburg, where he defended a work in Byzantine studies in 1996. Prior to becoming a novice he taught at St. Sava Seminary in Belgrade in 1990.

He was a novice in the monastery of Tronosa in 1991 and tonsured a monk on June 17 (June 4 according to the Julian calendar used by the Serbian Orthodox Church) 1992 in the church of the Holy Trinity in Ostrog by Bishop Atanasije (Jevtic).

He was ordained a hierodeacon on May 18 (May 5) 1992 in the church of the Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple of the Upper Monastery of Ostrog by Bishop Atanasije (Jevtic).

He was subsequently elevated to the office of hieromonk by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle on May 14 (May 1) 1995 in the church of the Holy Ascension of Our Lord in the monastery of Milesevo.

He became protosyncellus in the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God in the monastery of Cetinje on the feast of Bishop Amphilochius of Iconium (December 6) by His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral.

He was appointed to the throne of the abbots of Ostrog on the Elevation of the Holy Cross, January 18 (January 5) 2001 by His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije.

As a professor at the St. Peter of Cetinje Seminary, he taught on a variety of subjects (currently Orthodox dogmatics) as well as serving as class headmaster and primary education. He is a member of the board of directors of the Patriarchate.

On the day of the transfer of the relics of St. Sava, May 19 (May 6) 2004 he was elected as a vicar (auxiliary) bishop of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral holding the title of Bishop of Dioclea.

He has published hundreds of studies and articles. He prepared an Anthology of Prayer Traditions based on the work of Father Justin Popovic. He published the book “Lestvica tajnovodstvenog putovanja” (The Ladder of Mysterious Ascent). Another book, “Ostroski Istocnik (I deo)” (The Ostrog Source, part I) is currently in preparation. He is also preparing the works of the Holy Fathers in the Serbian language. He is the editor in chief and technical editor of several books and broadcasts on Radio Svetigora. He is one of the collaborators on the Encyclopedia of Montenegro. He has issued a cassette and CD of his chanting.


On the eve of Vidovdan, the congregational holiday of the entire Serbian people, the Serbian Orthodox parish of St. Sava in Vienna organized a formal St. Vitus Day – Vidovdan academy held in the Haus der Begegnung Mariahilf auditorium. Participants in the program included guests from Belgrade Protopresbyter Dr. Radovan Bigovic, a professor at the Theological Faulty in Belgrade, who delivered a wonderful and substantive address; National Theatre actress Ljiljana Blagojevic; and the musical group “Beogradska Calgija” (Belgrade Urban Instrumental Band). This group comprised of Vladimir Nikolic, Vladimir Simic, Nikola Popmihajlov, Milan Brkovic and Aleksandar Jovanovic impressed the many guests in attendance, among them the Serbia and Montenegro ambassador to Austria, Mihajlo Kovac, and his wife. Using authentic instruments and musical traditions from the Orthodox East, these exceptionally talented young men were highly successful in evoking the old style of music popular among the people before the domination of Western musical styles in our region in the second half of the 19th century. These musically gifted young people also contributed much to the prayers at two Liturgies in the church of St. Sava by their chanting.

In an inspired address during the academy, Protopresbyter Dr. Radovan Bigovic said that St. Vitus Day, the day against which all our other days are compared, does not represent a celebration of either victory or defeat but a celebration of God, a celebration of human individuality and human dignity. The Church does not celebrate anything impersonal but, first and foremost, God, and then those individuals who by their manner of living have realized the will of God to the greatest possible degree here, in this world and time. The Church celebrates this at all times, including at this religious holiday. There are no essential differences between Kosovo ideals and the ideals of the modern world and modern Europe. No one can seriously believe that the project of European unification can last for long unless a common European spirit and identity is created. For Eastern and Western Europe, its essential identity is in fact Christian or what we call the Kosovo covenant or the choice of the Kingdom of Heaven. Christianity in all its dimensions is neither tribal nor racial nor is it a national ideology or religion. Christ came into this world to save all people and the entire cosmos and unite them with God. That is why our God is the God of Love, open to all peoples in the world. The Church has nothing against integration but it opposes all forms of unification of the world, not for ideological reasons but out of historical experience. Every unification eradicates differences and by doing so eradicates the greatest gift of humanity, which is freedom. Unification and freedom cannot coexist. Integration and ties are positive but not assimilation. We need to choose that which has withstood the test of history and time, that which has eternal value and to always keep in mind the basic Christian concept that what is essentially important is never in the past but in the future. Christians are never turned toward the past but toward the future. We are celebrating St. Vitus Day this year after two great tragedies and, in all honesty, we do not feel like celebrating. One was the fire at Chilandar Monastery, the other the genocide against the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. Perhaps God is reminding us and pointing out to us the one essential fact of our lives in this way: that all earthly things, no matter how valuable, important and precious are nonetheless transient. Nothing of this earth, not even sacred and cultural treasures, is eternal. Perhaps God is reminding us not to treat our holy shrines, such as Chilandar and the shrines of Kosovo, like attractive tourist destinations but as holy shrines that need to change and transform and change our inner being.

Text and photo by Miodrag Mecanovic


The church of Lazarica in Krusevac has issued a CD dedicated to this holy shrine as part of its multimedia presentation. The authors of the multimedia presentation are theology graduate Filip Jovanovic and architecture student Djordje Banovic. Prince Lazarus built the church of Lazarica around 1376 as his palace church. The building is known for its beauty at home and abroad and represents a model of architecture from the Morava school. The church is located in the former center of the city, now a park, which Prince Lazarus built about 1371 as his capital and military fortification.

Source: Nacional, July 2, 2004

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