Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

July 19, 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. On Saturday, July 17, 2004 at 5:00 p.m. the rite of election of the newly appointed Bishop was performed, followed by formal Vigil. On Sunday, July 18, 2004 at 9:00 a.m. Holy Hierarchal Liturgy and the rite of chirotonia were conducted.

His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle consecrated Archimandrite Maksim (Vasiljevic) as Bishop of Hum on Sunday, July 18, 2004 in the Orthodox Cathedral of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God in Sarajevo with the concelebration of many bishops, priests and deacons of our holy Church. Serving with the Serbian Patriarch were His Eminence Metropolitan Nikolaj of Dabro-Bosnia; His Eminence Metropolitan Jovan of Veles and Povardarje, the Patriarchal Exarch of the Autonomous Ochrid Archbishopric; His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa; His Grace Bishop Luka of Western Europe; His Grace Bishop Pahomije of Vranje; His Grace Bishop Filaret of Milesevo; His Grace Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia; His Grace Bishop Grigorije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina; His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic; His Grace Bishop Porfirije of Jegar; His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan; His Grace Bishop Jovan of Dioclea; and His Grace Bishop Atanasije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina (retired).

The rite of chirotonia was attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Linda Karadjordjevic; Republika Srpska president Dragan Cavic; Republika Srpska prime minister Dragan Mikerevic; Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency member Borislav Pravac; Bosnia and Herzegovina foreign affairs minister Mladen Ivanic; Serbia and Montenegro ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Stanimir Vukicevic; Republika Srpska secretary for religions Dusan Antelj; and Dr. Borisa Starovic, rector of the University of Serbian Sarajevo. Representatives of other churches and religious communities in attendance included Dr. Mato Zovkic, the general vicar of the Vrhbosanska Archbishopric (the envoy of Archbishop Vinko Cardinal Puljic) and the rabbi of the Jewish community in Republika Srpska, Jozef Atijas. A congratulatory message from His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople was also read.


Standing with wonder, awe and praise before the Lord after the blessed and splendid act of ordination as bishop of my unqualified and unworthy self, and under the impression of the fearful promises made before Him in His overcrowded Church today, I dare to speak these words, human words of thanks, dedication and obedience. Thanks, for today, o Holy Bishop, I am the recipient in this Holy Shrine of shrines of the miraculous mystery of the Pentecost in the presence of my compatriots from this region, and many others here in attendance. Dedication, furthermore, for from today I no longer live for myself but for God and His Church in the service of the Cross and the Gospel... And obedience, for my heart, after its initial hesitation, finally is ready to execute the will of God and serve the Mother Church, aware that only thanks to God’s love in the Church is it supported over the abyss of nonbeing.

I am grateful to the Triune God for all His gifts: from my birth to today, for my parents, my brothers and sisters in body and spirit, my teachers and all my friends – from proud Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, crucified Kosovo and Metohija, the Great Church of Constantinople and the ecclesiastic unity of Orthodoxy that it represents, ancient Hellas, the mountainous and turbulent Balkans, Europe in its rebirth, the light and wisdom of the East, the bustling and powerful West; I thank the Creator for all living beings, animals and plants on this planet Earth, for the Heavens, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars of our galaxy and all other galaxies in God’s Universe breathing in the rhythm of cosmic Liturgy in expectation of the day of its salvation and restoration – in Him Who Was, Who Is and Who Is to Come – Christ the God-Man.

I thank all those present here and all those not present, and those who passed on in the hope in resurrection. All of us are interconnected by one single thing: participation in the Eucharistic Community. Furthermore, in this experience that we belong to each other we are led by none other than the Holy Spirit in the Eucharist. This opening of the individual to the community, the opening of history toward the future, the opening of the earth to the Heavens... is and will be my sermon and my faith...

This and such is the faith that was “once and for all time given to the saints” for which I undertook responsibility today is not something to protected in the future like some archeological artifact but something to bear witness to as a living reality, experienced and interpreted in the spirit of the theology of the Ecumenical Councils, ancient and new Fathers and Teachers of the Church and the experience of the Saints. And to do this in the context of the needs of the modern man and woman, those closest to us who are greatly tried and crushed by worry over an uncertain future. The word of a bishop should be the word of love, baptismal self-cleansing, understanding. It is a message that should touch peoples’ existential “chords”, a message so necessary to them in their tragic deadlock. Permanently focused on the Kingdom of God and saintly individuals, we are responsible for communicating the message of eschatological joy of the Holy Spirit and hope for ultimate salvation and transformation of the world, redemption from death and decay... a hope permanently embodied in the Church.

This faith is saturated with the ethos of sacrifice for others, whose origin is in the holy Eucharist and ascetic life. It is a Church accepting all, especially sinners, among whom I am the first; and modeling itself on Christ “gentle and lowly in heart” like the good Samaritan, “pouring on oil and wine” on human wounds. We pray to God the Philanthropist to heal the wounds of us all, especially the most recent living martyrs, Father Jeremija (Starovlah) and his son Aleksandar...

Today I have also been called to protect the greatest of gifts, the gift of peace, unity and conciliarity in the Church, which the devil so despises, and human frailty and sins undermine. On this road there are also other difficulties. Among other things, in the world which is coming, face to face with the ethos of western Christianity and culture, Orthodoxy will not be able to offer its testimonial if it is in shreds but only “with one voice and one heart”. Churches are invited to transcend imprisonment in their national borders and to express themselves and act as one Church.

Standing with reverence and awe before the suffering peoples and innocent victims of this tragic but proud land, may I be permitted to address a message of hope to them as well: Unknown and unreachable are the ways of the Lord! From the din of human history a new reality emerges which God uses as the tool of blessing in His world. We who are weak and ostracized before the world “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) – gaze with hope toward a future of all-Christian and all-human unity for the glory of God and the salvation of humanity. Not mondialistic and globalistic unity but a unity in which freedom, dignity and the uniqueness of every human individual without exception is respected, as well as the specificities and characteristics of every people without exception.

The great goals of God overlap with my humble wishes for the well being of the Church and Orthodoxy, with my faith and hope.

Knowing that all this is impossible to achieve with my own strength, I pray that all of you, Your Holiness and honorable assembly of Bishops, dear brothers and sisters, pray to God that He may fortify and enlighten me and direct my steps. May “the mercy of the Lord follow me all the days of my life” and the perfection of the Holy Spirit compensate for my own shortcomings and sins.

O Holy Fathers, bless our faith and our hope, that through us, too, His servants today, like in Jerusalem two thousand years ago with the Holy Apostles, our service may be in accordance with His will and for the glory of His Holy Name, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


In the newly built monastery at Soko Grad near Ljubivoja dedicated to the Holy Bishop Nikolaj of Serbia the Moba 2004 group campaign will begin today. Two hundred youths from all over the world, including Serbs from abroad and other Orthodox youth, will take part in the event. This is the fourth time this group campaign is being held in the monastery at Soko Grad with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Lavrentije of Sabac and Valjevo and the assistance of the Serbian Ministry of Religions, the Ministry for Diaspora and Matica Iseljenika Srbije (Serbian emigre publishing and cultural organization). The group campaign will take place from June 19 to August 19 of this year and participants will work on excavating the foundations of the ancient city of Soko Grad located near the monastery. The Turks abandoned the city after their withdrawal from Serbia and the Balkans, said Bishop Lavrentije.

Source: Politika Ekspres daily, Belgrade, July 19, 2004


The church of St. Nikolaj in Zemun, the oldest church in Belgrade, is undergoing reconstruction to return it to its original appearance in the eighteenth century. Construction on the dome of the bell-tower has been replaced on the copper-roofed church where generations of residents of Zemun have been baptized and married for centuries, and all ornaments have been plated in gold. Presbyter Djordje Popovic said after the old concrete was removed the church was restored to its original appearance. The bricks that are found serve as maps; using them as indicators, great effort is being exerted to return the church to its original neo-Byzantine style. The most precious artifact in the church is an iconostasis by Dimitrije Bacevic representing the pinnacle of Baroque art in Serbia.

The church was built in 1730 in the Byzantine style but in 1780 the Austro-Hungarians transformed into Baroque. The church was damaged in 1869 by fire and the bell tower now renewed was built the next year. Although surrounded by scaffolding, the church of St. Nikolaj remains open to visitors and liturgy is served daily.

Source: Vecernje Novosti daily, Belgrade, July 19, 2004


Construction workers pouring asphalt around Koporin Monastery in the Diocese of Branicevo have discovered 13 graves. The monastery is the endowment of Serbian despot Stefan Lazarevic and is located between Velika Plana and Smederevska Palanka.

Two of the graves contained only skulls; one contained the remains of a child and the other nine graves of adults. Dejan Radovanovic, an archeologist from the Regional Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Smederevo, emphasized that there were no other items in the grave, making the work of investigators that much more difficult. All that was found were the remains of nails holding the caskets together; however, from them it is not possible to reliably determine how old the graves may be. During the 1980s, Radovanovic notes, three graves were discovered in Koporin. He hypothesizes that they may date back to the period of Turkish rule and further investigation is being done to confirm or disprove this. Mother Nina, the abbess of Koporin Monastery, says that traditional lore states that during the Turkish period the monks in the monastery were slaughtered and that the monastery was subsequently desolate. She notes that in 1977 the relics of despot Stefan Lazarevic were found underneath the patron’s fresco. In June 1983 noted anthropologist Dr. Srboljub Zivanovic from London analyzed the relics. In October 1979 the relics were transferred from the monastery chapel to the church.


The Serbia and Montenegro Embassy in Athens has managed to retrieve 41 copies of frescoes from Kosovo and Metohija sent to Greece in 1999 for an exhibition and subsequently lost. The exhibition was very successful in Greece but the documentation accompanying the exhibition was soon lost and the copies of the frescoes were mislaid in an unidentified warehouse. The National Museum in Belgrade has been corresponding for years with the former Embassy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, now the Embassy of Serbia and Montenegro in Athens with the request to investigate the location of the reproductions, which are of exceptional quality on a 1:1 scale and owned by the Gallery of Frescoes in Belgrade. The Embassy staff managed to find the copies in a warehouse at the old airport in Athens and transport them to the diplomatic mission where experts of the National Museum claimed them.

Source: Balkan, July 19, 2004


A new copper roof is currently being placed on the church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Banja Koviljaca. The placement of the new roof construction is being done to prevent leaks during rain and damage to frescoes. New crosses will also be placed on the church; the largest is three meters high and 1.5 meters wide. Presbyter Dragan Bajic said that the work on frescoes inside the church is also nearing completion. Protopresbyter Dobrica Kostic from Smederevo is painting the frescoes.

[Serbian Translation Services]

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