Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

November 25, 2004


Jedinstvo Serbian Singing Society from Kotor will hold its main celebration on the occasion of its 165 anniversary through a series of events. On Wednesday, November 24, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. an exhibition called “A View from Mt. Lovcen: Photographs of Kotor” by Zdravko Velimirovic will open in the Stari Grad Gallery. On Friday, November 26, 2004 in the Music Hall the Jedinstvo Serbian Singing Society from Kotor website will be introduced as well as the CD “Crtice” about the first composers and choirmasters of the 19th century prepared by Professor Dr. Darko Antovic. On Friday, December 3, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. the Society will hold a concert in the Music Hall in honor of its anniversary, as well as that of the Academy of Music in Cetinje and the School of Music in Kotor.


On Friday, November 26, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. the Jedinstvo Choir from Banja Luka, directed by Nemanja Savic, will hold a concert in Belgrade’s Orthodox Cathedral (Saborna crkva). The broad repertoire of this world-renowned choir includes both spiritual and secular music; during this performance the choir will also be introducing some new works.


Religious minorities and the Kosovo office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are seriously concerned by a draft religion law being discussed by Kosovo's government. Fr Sava of the Orthodox Decani Monastery told Forum 18 that they had neither heard of the draft law, nor been given copies of it. The unsigned draft received by Forum 18, dated 12 November, is in Albanian, English and Serbian.

Despite declaring in the preamble that the aim is to define "unique legal provisions, which will provide equal rights and obligations to religious communities, without any discrimination", a number of provisions in the draft law appear to violate international human rights norms.

Although Article 8 recognises the right of religious communities to choose their own leaders, Article 9 part 2 declares: "The religious community leader should be a citizen of Kosovo." It remains unclear what constitutes a "citizen of Kosovo". Given that both the Serbian bishops were born outside Kosovo (both Bishop Artemije and Bishop Teodosije were born in central Serbia), would that bar them from leading the Orthodox Raska and Prizren diocese?



The international court in Prizren has sentenced three ethnic Albanians to a sentence of two years in prison or five years probation for torching and looting the Serbian Orthodox church of Bogorodica Ljeviska (Holy Virgin of Lyevish) in Prizren, UNMIK police spokesman Neeraj Singh advised in Pristina.

Speaking at a press conference, Singh said that the two-year suspended prison sentence for Bekim Moskov, Ibrahim Buleci and Talat Pula took into account their guilt for inciting ethnic hatred, causing general danger and great material damage.

The UNMIK police spokesman also said that the district court in Pristina had reduced the charges against ethnic Albanian Mehmet Morina, who is accused of murdering Zlatibor Trajkovic from Kosovo Polje and attempting to murder his wife during the March violence, to attempted murder.

It is the judge’s opinion that not enough evidence exists Trajkovic’s death resulted from the fact that Morina struck him over the head with a metal bar and consequently the original charge of murder has been changed to attempted murder, said Singh.

Trajkovic and his wife were attacked by a group of Albanians on March 17, 2004 in front of St. Sava School in Kosovo Polje, said Singh, adding that Zlatibor was first struck with the metal bar and then set on fire and thrown into a ditch, and that his wife also sustained serious physical injuries.

The police report states that Trajkovic’s death resulted from multiple causes, said Singh, explaining that analyses determining whether he was burned alive or whether his body was set on fire were not done. Singh added that the investigation into the incident is still not complete because out of the whole group that attacked the Trajkovices only Morina has been arrested.

Singh also said that the trial of two ethnic Albanians for the murder of Dimitrije Popovic, which occurred on July 5, 2004 in Gracanica, began in Pristina on November 16, 2004.

According to Singh, Labinot Gashi and a juvenile are charged with the murder of Popovic and the attempted murder of a group of youths.


The feast (Slava) of the patron saint and founder of Visoki Decani Monastery was celebrated on Wednesday, November 24, 2004, in the presence of several hundred faithful from Kosovo and Metohija and other parts of Serbia and Montenegro. With the concelebration of some twenty members of the clergy from several Dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Holy Hierarchal Liturgy was served by His Grace Bishop Atanasije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina (retired) and His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, who was unable to attend for health reasons.

After Holy Hierarchal Liturgy all guests were invited to take part in the traditional Slava banquet luncheon in the monastery's great dining hall. The celebration in Decani was also attended by senior officials of the UN Mission and KFOR: UNMIK deputy chief Francesco Bastagli, KFOR deputy commander major general Wolfgang Kopp, and general Rossmanith (MNB SW Commander). Also present were representatives of the U.S., British and Italian offices in Pristina. On behalf of the Serbian royal family of Karadjordjevic, Princess Linda Karadjordjevic and her son George also attended the feast.

Contributing to the festive atmosphere by their Orthodox chants and song were members of the Albanian Orthodox Church and the Archdiocese of Ochrid (FYROM), as well as numerous guests from all parts of Serbia.

The guests were first addressed by the slava host, Bishop Teodosije, who thanked everyone present for coming on behalf of Bishop Artemije, who was unable to attend. "We thank the Lord for this day and this joy because we have felt once again, as always in the past, that this holy shrine connects us in true Christian love," said Bishop Teodosije. "We especially welcome the members of Kfor who have guarded and protected us for the past five years, and without whose efforts this celebration today would not have been possible," said Bishop Teodosije.

On behalf of the UNMIK chief, his deputy, Mr. Francesco Bastagli, thanked the hosts and expressed his wishes for peace and prosperity to all present. "After the many wonders wrought by the Holy King, we hope that today he will give vision and insight to all in Kosovo and everywhere where decisions regarding Kosovo are made so that all communities can live in peace and tolerance," emphasized Mr. Bastagli, conveying the greetings of UNMIK chief Soren Jessen-Petersen, who is presently on a visit to the United States.

Bishop Atanasije then gave a sermon in which he spoke of the meaning of the Cross, which consists of a vertical part (love toward God) and a horizontal part (love toward our neighbor). "God came into the world and became incarnate to make us divine, He became flesh to make us incorruptible, He suffered on the Cross to make us immortal. It is this faith that has sustained us and which all of us, and especially our brothers and sisters in Kosovo and Metohija, must maintain in order to stay and survive in our homes and our holy shrines," said Bishop Atanasije, dedicating his choicest words to the children of Kosovo and Metohija and the whole world, who represent the greatest gift of humanity.


The Serbian Center, the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox parish in Vienna and numerous Serbian clubs and organizations from Vienna have organized a large philanthropic event on Saturday, November 20, 2004 called “A Gift for Chilandar” with all proceeds to be sent to help in the restoration of our holy shrine, damaged this year in a great fire.

Numerous guests gathered in the Markova Koliba Restaurant to listen to music from their native land and give their donation for the restoration of the Serbian monastery on Holy Mt. Athos. Books and photographs of Chilandar were available for purchase and scenes of the most beautiful of Chilandar’s icons were shown on the screen. The gathering was attended by many eminent guests, including Serbia and Montenegro ambassador to Austria Mihajlo Kovac and his wife; Serbia and Montenegro ambassador to Slovakia Miroslav Kopecni; Miodrag Jaksic, Serbian assistant minister for emigrant affairs; Stana Bozovic, assistant minister for trade, tourism and services; Ratka Vusurovic, advisor to the ministry for trade, tourism and services; Aleksandra Kojic, ministry for culture and media secretary; Vanja Vulevic, ministry for culture and media director; Silvana Hadzi-Djokic; ministry for culture and media director; Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Drago V. Govedarica, Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Djordje Knezevic, Protpresbyter Sretoje Dusanic, and many others.

On behalf of the ministries, Mr. Miodrag Jaksic, Serbian assistant minister for emigrant affairs, presented commendations for engagement on nurturing motherland and emigrant relations, protection of national, religious, cultural and language rights of our people living abroad, and assistance to the people of Serbia to Milorad Mateovic, Zlatko Miloradovic, Milun Nikolic, Petar Djokic, Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Djordje Knezevic, Zoran Kalabic, Olga Danilovic and Milenko Soskan. Commendations were also presented to representatives of several Serbian cultural and arts societies in Vienna, including "Branko Radicevic", "Stevan Mokranjac", "Jedinstvo" and "Bambi - Pozarevac".

On Sunday, November 21, 2004 a philanthropic concert was held in the Jesuitenkirche in Vienna and all proceeds from the sale of tickets, books and pictures would be sent to help in the restoration of Chilandar Monastery. The primary initiator and organizer of this concert and a general campaign to assist our holy shrine is Roman Catholic theologian Philipp Harnoncourt, a professor of theology in Graz, and the brother of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the renowned conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. A faithful pilgrim of Chilandar Monastery, he visited the Holy Mountain many times and was a good friend of Fr. Mitrophan of blessed memory.

After the fire, which razed the monastery dormitory, he and his friends decided to join in fundraising efforts for the monastery’s repair to demonstrate solidarity “for a world renowned center of spiritual life according to the Orthodox tradition”. Upon the marking of his own 50 year anniversary as a respected theologian, Professor Harnoncourt proposed to all those wishing to offer a gift on this occasion to instead offer a donation for Chilandar. He was selflessly supported in his fundraising efforts by Austrian choral conductor Erwin Ortner, painter Herwig Zens and Dieter Dorner, the editor of the cultural program on Steiner television, also regular visitors to the endowment of the Nemanjic dynasty on the Holy Mountain.

On Saturday, November 20, 2004 the Arnold Schoenberg Choir directed by Erwin Ortner held a concert of spiritual music in that was exceptionally well attended. The next day the same choir performed works by Bach, Schnittke, Messiaen, Reger, Vaskrs and Verdi in Vienna’s Jesuitenkirche with an exclusive solo performance by violoncellist Franz Ortner, the director’s son. The choir concluded the concert with “Our Father” by Igor Stravinsky sung in Church Slavonic, which was warmly greeted by all present. Guests in the overflowing cathedral that day included Serbia and Montenegro ambassador to Austria Mihajlo Kovac and his wife, Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Drago V. Govedarica and Peter Djokic, the president of the Serbian-Austrian Association.

Professor Harnoncourt was pleased to inform us that so far about 80,000 euros in assistance have been collected and that it is his hope to continue this humanitarian campaign in Serbia with the support of Serbian conductor Dimitrije Stefanovic.

Text and photo by Miodrag Mecanovic

[Serbian Translation Services]

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