Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

July 26, 2004


On Saturday, July 24, 2004 the rite of election of the new Bishop Gerasim of Gornji Karlovac took place in the Serbian Orthodox monastery of Gomirje in the Republic of Croatia in accordance with ancient Christian tradition. It was followed by a Vigil presided over by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle together with Metropolitan Jovan of Zagreb and Ljubljana; Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral; Metropolitan Nikolaj of Dabro-Bosnia; Metropolitan Jovan of Veles and Povardarje, the Exarch of Ohrid; Bishop Vasilije of Srem; Bishop Irinej of Backa; Bishop Lukijan of Osijek Polje and Baranja; Bishop Pahomije of Vranje; Bishop Hrizostom of Bihac and Petrovac; Bishop Jovan of Sumadija; Bishop Sava of Slavonija; Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia; Bishop Porfirije of Jegar; Bishop Nikolaj of Znepolje, the vicar of His Holiness Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim; and Bishop Atanasije of Zamulje and Herzegovina (retired) with the concelebration of the clergy, monks and nuns of the Diocese of Gornji Karlovac. On this occasion the faithful in attendance were addressed by Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia, who said that the Diocese of Gornji Karlovac is a martyred diocese that has given us martyrs, including Bishop Sava himself, who was killed while testifying his faith with his faithful congregation.

On Sunday, July 25, 2004 after morning services several thousand faithful gathered and Holy Hierarchal Liturgy began, presided over by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle with the participation of the aforementioned Hierarchs, who were also joined by Bishop Konstantin of Central Europe, Bishop Luka of Western Europe and Bishop Maksim of Hum. After the recital of the bishop’s confession, the act of vestment of the new bishop (chirotonia) was performed.

Upon the conclusion of the Holy Liturgy, handing the miter to the new Bishop Gerasim of Gornji Karlovac, His Holiness said: “That your light may be sanctified before the people who upon seeing your good deeds will celebrate your Father who is in the heavens. It is the program for us all to serve until the end of the world as the true light of the world. On what basis? On the basis of our knowledge of Orthodox evangelical faith, on the basis of our preaching of our faith by the words we speak and write but also by our very lives. That we may testify our faith and thus preach it even when we are silent. As St. Ignjatije Bogonostac said of a young Bishop that he preaches even when he is silent, i.e. by His deeds. May this also be the program of your faith and your life, our dear new brother in Christ. As you become on this day a Bishop of the Orthodox Church we wish you all that is truly good; and consequently, we give you this miter to graze Christ’s flock entrusted to you. May it serve to support and give strength to the obedient; teach the disobedient and unruly, tame them by reprimand and educate them in Jesus Our Lord Christ. Worthy!”

In his sermon the newly ordained Bishop Gerasim said: “The service of a bishop of the church of God is not easy, especially in these times we live in when we are called upon to be the Light of the world, the Light of the Living God, and that we invoke the greatest of all names in our prayers, the name of the greatest pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ... I wish to thank Your Holiness and the Holy Assembly of Bishops for selecting me to the high office of the Bishop of Gornji Karlovac, and all the Hierarchs for coming here today because your arrival is a sign of support to the faithful of the Diocese of Gornji Karlovac.”

Other senior church officials and state representatives attending Holy Hierarchal Liturgy included the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Rijeka, Monsignor Dr. Ivan Devcic; Monsignor Vlado Kosic, the envoy of Josip Cardinal Bozanic and Auxiliary Bishop of Zagreb; the Rt. Rev. Dinko Popovic, Commissioner for Ecumenism; the General Vicar of Gostinje and Senj, Tomislav Sporcic; the parish priest of Vrbovsko, Mate Vukovic; the Baptist pastor from Rijeka, Djordje Grlje; Mr. Franjo Dubrovic, the Croatian Secretary for Religious Communities; Mr. Aleksandar Tolnauer, the Chairman of the Council for National Minorities; Croatian Parliament Deputy Dr. Milorad Pupovac; the assistant zhupan of Primorje and Gora, Luka Denona; the Republika Srpska Minister of Religions, Mr. Dusan Antelj; the Republic of Serbia Minister for Diaspora, Mr. Vojislav Vukcevic; the Assistant Minister of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Cedomir Visnjic; representatives of the Embassies of Serbia and Montenegro, Greece, Russia, the United States of America, and other cultural and public figures from the Republic of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Republika Srpska and other regions.

After services His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle and Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia held a press conference regarding the chirotonia of Bishop Gerasim and answered many questions. All present guests were invited to a festal luncheon in the village of Vrbovsko, where they were addressed by Bishop Gerasim of Gornji Karlovac; Bishop Irinej of Backa; the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Rijeka, Dr. Ivan Devcic; Bishop Nikolaj of Znepolje; the Croatian Secretary for Religious Communities, Mr. Franjo Dubrovic; the Serbian Minister for Diaspora, Mr. Vojislav Vukcevic; Auxiliary Bishop Vlado Kosic; Republika Srpska Minister for Religions; Mr. Dusan Antelj; and the Hierarchal Exarch of Plascane, Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Mico Kostic.

After the luncheon His Grace Bishop Gerasim invited the Patriarch and the Hierarchs to visit Karlovac, where he showed them the ruins of the destroyed Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas and the Bishop’s Residence, also in ruins since the wartime destruction of 1991-92.


The second session of the Interparliamentary Conference for Human Rights and Religious Freedoms will be held from August 5-7, 2004 in Brussels, Belgium. Delegates from more than 50 countries are expected to attend. In 2003 more than 100 delegates from approximately 20 countries gathered at EU headquarters to discuss human rights, religious freedoms and anti-Semitism. This year’s conference includes a series of plenary sessions regarding the following topics: international issues such as terrorism, national security, religious freedoms, ethics, religion, citizenship, registration of laws relating to religion, anti-Semitism, human smuggling, abuse within the family, basic women’s rights, etc. Delegates from Saudi Arabia, Italy, Turkey, Jordan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Serbia and many other countries will be discussing these topics. The conference was created in order to discuss issues related to human rights and religious freedoms through institutions of law in the belief that these problems can be addressed before escalating. Representing the Serbian Orthodox Church at this important gathering will be Hieromonk Irinej Dobrijevic in the capacity of envoy of the Holy Assembly of Bishops.


After participation in the annual convention of the Serb National Federation in Pittsburgh, Bishop Artemije returned to Washington D.C. where he had meetings with representatives of the U.S. Congress and Senate. In his meetings with Sen. George Voinovich, Congressman Hyde and other representatives, Bishop Artemije said that after March pogrom the situation of human rights for the Serb population remains equally unsatisfactory as before.

“In fact we can hardly see any improvement, quite on the contrary - Kosovo Serbs still live in their ghettoes, they don't have basic access to institutions (schools, medical facilities), employment, freedom of movement, use of their language etc. Security situation is very fragile and with organizers of the March riots still free (and on their positions) a potential for reiterated violence still exists. The return process has been completely stalled and this should be one of the crucial standards for further progress in stabilization. Kosovo Albanian institutions, particularly on the municipal level, constantly make various kinds of obstructions, while Kosovo Government complains that they cannot provide any money for the returns. In this way Albanian-led institutions openly take part in ethnic cleansing which is completely unacceptable and must not be tolerated by the West,” the Bishop emphasized.

The Bishop confirmed that an agreement was reached on June 25 between the Orthodox Church and the Kosovo provisional authorities to establish an independent Commission under the auspices of the Council of Europe that will manage the cultural sites reconstruction process and urged all parties concerned to push this process forward, but confirmed that since then no progress has been made.

“While everywhere in the region we can see that international community does not reward violence and encourages moderation and respect of human and religious rights, Kosovo province remains a shameful exception. It is not only that UN Mission, KFOR and Albanian-led institutions have tolerated ethnic violence against Serbs for five years but have also proved to be ineffective to protect Serb civilians and churches in front of Albanian mob and extremists. So far no one has openly taken responsibility for these failures and resigned,” said Bishop Artemije. “UNMIK bears responsibility for many of the failures but we must not forget that life for non-Albanians in Kosovo would be far more worse without UNMIK and KFOR. In fact, I can frankly confirm that no Serbs would stay to live in such a society tailored only for ethnic Albanians,” he added.

“In Kosovo many Albanian extremists believe that the U.S. will tolerate ethnic cleansing and creation of a new ethnic Albanian state. The U.S. Administration must finally give them a clear message that the U.S. will not allow creating of a society based on ethnic crimes and brutal violation of religious rights. Otherwise the U.S. policy in the Balkans will prove to be in dramatic discrepancy with the policy in other parts of the world,” concluded the Bishop his statement to the media after meeting with the U.S. representatives on the Capitol Hill. This is Bishop Artemije's third visit to Washington D.C. this year. In his attempt to bear witness to the catastrophic situation of human and religious rights in Kosovo, particularly after the March pogrom Bishop Artemije will visit the U.S. capital once more before the end of 2004.


On Thursday, July 23, 2004 Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Kosovo and Metohija Charles Brayshaw told media that UNMIK had set aside an additional half million euros in addition to the previously earmarked amount of one million euros for the restoration of churches and monasteries destroyed during the March violence.

The truth, however, is that so far work has not even begun on any of 30 Orthodox shrines damaged or destroyed during the March pogrom, let alone on any of the other 11o shrines damaged during the previous five years of so-called international "peace". It makes sense to ask what happened to the one million euros provided earlier for restoration when work has not even begun; if it had, the Diocese of Raska and Prizren would be the first to know. Even if the entire sum had been spent on the purpose for which it was intended, for that matter, it is grossly inadequate to cover the cost of repairing the damage. Just the damages done during the March pogrom is estimated at incomparably more.

In any case, it is with regret that we must conclude that an effort is being made to create a false public perception that work is being done on restoring churches and monasteries, which is simply not the case. Even though senior officials of the international community have made the restoration of destroyed churches one of the conditions for Kosovo institutions the task has not been fulfilled and UNMIK skillfully skirted it by proposing the establishment of a commission to concern itself with the issue of restoration. Although more than a month has passed since the signing of an agreement between the Diocese and UNMIK representatives, nothing has been done toward the rebuilding of the destroyed shrines.

Precious Serbian cultural and historical monuments are decaying with each passing day without even temporary protection from rain and bad weather. Bogorodica Ljeviska (Holy Virgin of Lyevish) and other Prizren churches have not even been cleaned and reek of urine while KFOR has blocked off the locations with wire and protective tape. The lack of care and interest toward these holy shrines on the part of appropriate institutions is extremely shocking.

[Serbian Translation Services]

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