Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

July 16, 2004


At its regular meeting from May 10 to May 19, 2004, the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church selected Hieromonk Dr. Maksim (Vasiljevic) as Bishop of Hum and vicar (auxiliary bishop) of the Metropolitan of Dabro-Bosnia.

The formal ceremony of consecration of the new bishop, the chirotonia of the elected Bishop of Hum, will be performed by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle with the concelebration of several bishops, priests and deacons of our holy Church in the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God Orthodox Cathedral in Sarajevo.

According to the description by the Holy Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovich, the consecration of a bishop is comprised of three separate rites: the rite of election, of confession and the actual consecration.

Election: Before the Vigil on the eve of the consecration, the hierarchs who are to perform the rite take their places at a table in the middle of the church. From the altar two senior priests lead the candidate to the table. All stand as the protodeacon reads the nomination, to which the candidate responds: "I return thanks, and accept, and say nothing contrary thereto." The hierarchs chant some brief prayers, invoking the Holy Spirit Who was sent down upon the Apostles and empowered them to "catch the universe" with the preaching of the Gospel. After a short litany, the nominee delivers his acceptance speech. He then retires to the altar and the Vigil begins.

Confession: The next morning, after the reading of the Hours, the hierarchs again take their places behind the table, in front of which is a large eagle rug. The senior priest and protodeacon lead the bishop-elect onto the tail of the eagle. He is asked, "How believest thou?" and responds by reciting the Creed. Advancing to the middle of the rug, he expounds on the Creed by reciting a second "confession of faith". Finally, at the top of the rug, he is asked to explain his attitude towards the canons and traditions of the Church. The candidate promises to observe these and likewise "to preserve the peace of the Church and firmly to hold and zealously to teach the people entrusted to me, and not to devise any thing whatsoever which is contrary to the Orthodox Catholic Christian faith of the East all the days of my life....I promise also to do nothing through constraint, whether coerced by powerful persons, or by a multitude of the people....I promise to visit and watch over the flock now confided to me, after the manner of the Apostles...and to inspect with diligence, and to exhort and inhibit, that there be no schisms, superstitions and impious veneration, and that no customs contrary to Christian piety and good morals may injure Christian conduct....And may our God, Who seeth the heart, be the witness to my vow." The bishop-elect then bows down before the assembled hierarchs and kisses their hands as a sign that he is entering their ranks and as a pledge of love and peace with them in Christ. The choir sings "Many years", and the bishop-elect goes into the altar, where he stands at the side on an eagle rug, waiting like a bride-to-be, as the Liturgy begins.

Consecration: After the Small Entrance (which represents the coming to earth of the Lord incarnate) and the singing of the Trisagion, the senior priest and protodeacon lead the bishop-elect through the south door onto the ambo to the Royal Doors where he is received by two hierarchs. While the candidate kneels with his head touching the altar table, an open Gospel is placed face down upon his head, as a sign that although he is given authority over all, he himself is under the law and his head is Christ. Holding the Gospel in this way, the bishops pray: " O Lord our Thou make this be an imitator of Thee, the true Shepherd, Who didst lay down Thy life for Thy sheep; to be a leader of the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a reprover of the unwise, a teacher of the young, a lamp to the world..."

The new bishop is then vested as a hierarch, and when the omophorion-an article unique to the episcopal office- is placed upon his shoulders, the clergy followed by the people shout thrice, "Axios!" ("Worthy"), indicating their assent to the implied question: "Is he, in truth, worthy of this ministry?"

At the end of the Liturgy, the Chief Bishop gives a word of instruction to the new bishop and hands him his pastoral staff. The new bishop blesses the congregation with both hands as the choir sings, "Eis polla eti Despota" (Many years, O Master).


InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is a student organization with a concern for peace between different ethnic groups visiting Belgrade and the Serbian Orthodox Church from July 14-16, 2004. The fellowship’s goal is to study areas where interethnic conflicts have occurred and find the best solutions for problems between conflicting peoples. During the course of the year 2004, the Christian fellowship intends to study three regions: the Balkans, South Africa and South America. During their three-day stay in Belgrade the students visited St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Vracar and the Patriarch’s residence, where they met with His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic of the Holy Assembly of Bishops and Hieromonk Irinej Dobrijevic, consultant to the Holy Assembly of Bishops. The students then toured the Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Kovilj Monastery, where they spoke with His Grace Bishop Porfirije of Jegar.

In his address during the meeting with the U.S. students who are helping people to reconcile and overcome interethnic differences, Bishop Joanikije emphasized that there are two kinds of peace, the divine and the secular, both equally necessary for peace as a whole.
Since peace on earth can also be an artificial peace, an authentic feeling of peace can only be secured through God in the Church, where at every Holy Liturgy we pray for peace and hear “Peace onto you.”

Lisa Sharon Harper and Tom Sharp of Yale University are leading the group of about 30 students of all confessions and races from Yale, Wesleyan, the University of California-Los Angeles and the Claremont Colleges. Their pilgrimage to the Balkans includes Serbia and Montenegro as well as Bosnia and Croatia.


Princess Katharine Karadjordjevic visited the Dr. Dragisa Misovic Clinical-Hospital Center in Belgrade on the occasion of the hospital’s patron saint’s day, the feast of the Holy Martyrs Cosmas and Damian. A generous donor to the hospital, on this occasion she presented the institution with a neonatal incubator and aspirator valued at over 15 000 euros. This gift is a part of the “Let Us Breathe Life into Serbia” campaign sponsored by the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Princess Katharine Foundation has taken part in this campaign for the past three years and has already donated more than 60 incubators to maternity wards in Serbia.

The donated equipment will be used by the Department of Neonatal Care in the new Gynecology and Obstetrics building of the Dr. Dragisa Misovic Clinical-Hospital Center, which was damaged during the 1999 NATO bombing.

Source: Borba daily, Belgrade, July 16, 2004


The first participants in this year’s fourth annual campaign began to arrive in Soko Grad Monastery near Ljubivoja. This traditional event brings together Serbian children from the emigrant community. Among the new arrivals in Soko Grad Monastery are five boys and girls from Belorussia, who will be joined today by 15 more youths from Moscow and other parts of Russia, and several professors who are studying the Serbian language. “The guests from Belorussia and Russia will enhance and contribute to this year’s roster of participants, who will be helping archeologists in unearthing the foundations of ancient Soko Grad,” said His Grace Bishop Lavrentije of Sabac and Valjevo. By Monday approximately 200 participants are expected to arrive who will also be visiting other holy shrines and cultural and historic sites in the homeland, as well as Vukov Trsic. Various cultural and artistic societies from throughout Serbia are preparing entertainment and they will also have ample opportunity to make friends with their peers.

Source: Vecernje Novosti daily, Belgrade, July 16, 2004

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