Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

January 31, 2005


His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa met in the Bishop’s residence in Novi Sad with members of a delegation of the European Parliament headed by Mrs. Doris Pack, a deputy of the European Parliament in charge of issues concerning respect for human rights and the position of national minorities.

The theme of the meeting was the role and contribution of the Serbian Orthodox Church to religious, cultural and multinational cooperation, as well as the contribution of the Church to the prevention of multiethnic conflicts in Vojvodina. Bishop Irinej welcomed Mrs. Pack and her associates and expressed the readiness of the Church to assist in the preservation and further building of good religious and national relations in Vojvodina. His Grace emphasized that Vojvodina is a unique model of cooperation between Churches and religious communities in all areas of social life, giving as an example of this cooperation the recently held conference on “The Contribution of the Churches to Religious, Cultural and National Cooperation on the Road to European Integration” jointly organized by the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Backa and the Roman Catholic Bishopric of Subotica. Another example of cooperation between Churches and religious communities cited by the Bishop was the work of the Republic of Serbia Government Commission for Religious Instruction, including representatives of the Ministry of Religions and the Ministry of Education and Sports, as well as authorized representatives of all traditional Churches and religious communities. The best example of cooperation in this Commission, the Bishop underscored, is the return of religious instruction to primary and secondary schools in Serbia.

When asked for his views on individual incidents that have occurred in Vojvodina that have been portrayed to the public as national conflicts, Bishop Irinej replied that these incidents were the result of individual altercations and that certain events have been exaggerated by the media while others have become the subjects of media manipulation. “These incidents occurred as a result of activities on the part of extremist individuals and groups of from all nationalities living in this area. The Church, which by its very nature is a community of love, by all means wishes not only to establish a climate of good multiethnic and multiconfessional relations and tolerance but far more than that; it wishes to establish a relationship of mutual respect and love towards one’s neighbor. We believe that the people will sooner listen to the voice of the pastors in their Churches than the slogans of certain extremist groups and individuals, or irresponsible local politicians,” emphasized Bishop Irinej. At the end of the meeting, Mrs. Pack thanked the Bishop on behalf of the delegation for the reception. Bishop Irinej invited Mrs. Pack to attend the next Conference to be jointly organized by the Diocese of Backa and the Bishopric of Subotica.

Secretary to the Bishop of Backa
Presbyter Vladan Simic


As in our earlier communiques, we wish to inform the public regarding the unfortunate incidents occurring in Prijepolje on January 28, 2005 in the interests of truth and justice.

On that day at approximately 3:00 p.m. in the immediate vicinity of the Bishop’s residence in Prijepolje from whence he was returning to his home after performing his duties for the Bishop, Father Jovo Andan, the elder of the church of Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Basil of Ostrog, aged 28 years, was attacked.

A group of five secondary school students, as the priest stated in his official statement to an official of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Prijepolje, shouted behind him: BIG BLACK HEAD, TURN AROUND! They repeated this three times and the priest logically concluded that the taunt must have been addressed to him for there was no one else nearby except for him and the students provoking him. This, and of the intention of the students to provoke and attack the priest without reason, was confirmed by the fact that the hoodlums threw a snowball at him that narrowly missed, falling at the feet of the priest. The priest was surprised by the incident.

By coincidence, Zoran Stjepanovic, a policeman in uniform going home from work, happened to be walking toward the priest and the students in Dusana Tomasevica Cirka Street. The priest ran forward to meet him and asked for his help.

After Father Jovo informed him of what had happened, the policeman reacted and asked the students their names but they acted arrogantly toward him, appearing to be intoxicated. He managed to get a notebook from the bag of one student and therefore concluded that he was a minor and a student of the second year of the Economics Secondary School in Prijepolje.

Father Jovo Adnan gave an oral statement to representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Prijepolje on January 28, 2005 at approximately 6:00 p.m. He gave an official statement to an authorized official of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Prijepolje on January 29, 2005.

Through further investigation the Ministry of Internal Affairs obtained information regarding all participants in the incident and has taken over the handling of the whole case.

We, as the Church, do not in the least blame the children for this incident, provided it is not repeated, taking into account children’s prankishness; however, we call upon their parents and teachers and urge them to ask themselves where are their children, are they drinking alcohol, are they perhaps taking drugs, how do they behave in their homes and outside them? They need to peer at their childrens’ souls a little bit more instead of just counting them.

This is the complete truth such as it is.

Any and all media must not “create an incident” out of this, especially in this environment which, as we all know, has its specific characteristics.

Father Jovo Adnan was attacked in the manner we have described and documented; he was not beaten, and the children involved in this misbehavior need to be helped and counseled, not blamed for something they did not do.

The Serbian Orthodox Church and the Diocese of Milesevo once again, as always in the past, calls on all people to live in peace and reiterates that no incidents, including incidents such as this, should be allowed to reoccur.

It is now up to the authorities, the parents and all people of goodwill because as the folk saying goes: resolve your small problems in timely and effective fashion, lest you find yourself facing big problems in the near future!

From the office of the Diocese of Milesevo


The feast of St. Sava, the first Serbian Archbishop, was celebrated most festively on Sunday, January 30, in the Swedish city of Helsingborg. Protopresybter Dragan Predic served Holy Liturgy accompanied by the chanting of the members of the children’s choir of our parish.

A large number of faithful filled our church but the detail deserving of the greatest attention was the presence of a large number of small children, which has not been the case in past years. Prota Dragan has managed to unite the youth and the experience of the members of the parish and the parish of St. Basil the Great in Helsingborg has recently made great strides forward. In his sermon he called on parents to be determined in the upbringing of their children in the spirit of St. Sava, to speak the Serbian language in their houses, and to teach their children the Cyrillic script. This is the only approach that will ensure that their children will not forget who they are and where they originate.

Divine Liturgy finished with the cutting of the slava cake. Ms. Ivana Popovic, born in Orasje near Varvarin, accepted the honor of being the hostess of for next year. All the children present in the church received packets of sweets prepared by the Circle of Serbian Sisters in our parish for their students’ patron saint’s day.

A festal banquet was prepared in the church hall followed by socializing and celebration that lasted into the late afternoon hours.

Budimir Kojic, vice-president of the parish of St. Basil the Great


On Saturday, January 29, 2005, St. Sava’s Day was festively celebrated in the Serbian parish of Johannesburg. This great feast day is also the patronal feast of the Serbian parish of St. Sava in South Africa. The celebration began with a festal religious service in the church of the Holy Apostle Thomas served by representatives of the Romanian and Alexandrian Patriarchate, Father Michael and Father Stephen, together with Hieromonk Panteleimon, the spiritual father of the Serbs in South Africa.

After the service, the celebration continued in the church hall where Father Panteleimon addressed the gathered parishioners, who filled the hall to the last seat, with words about the importance of St. Sava for the Serbian Orthodox People and wished all present a happy holiday and patronal feast with the prayerful wish that in the future our people follows the path and knowledge of St. Sava even more and with greater determination.

Then children wearing folk costumes, a total of 25 of them, recited poems about St. Sava before an enthusiastic audience that included South African guests, as well as Greeks, Romanians, Bulgarians, and Russians with their new priest, Father John.

After the presentation by the children, Father Panteleimon cut the slava cake and blessed the wheat with the hosts of the slava, Milenko Jankovic from Pale and Branislav Nikolic from Sarajevo. All the children in folk costumes helped to turn the slava cake with them. According to our tradition, Miodrag Danilovic of Vrnjacka Banja agreed to be the host of next year’s slava.

The celebration was enhanced by the beautiful chanting of a choir composed of Greeks and South Africans from the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in Johannesburg. The Serbian community, although far from its homeland, once again gathered on distant shores to celebrate its greatest saint and to strengthen its ties to its Church and place of origin.


In the Zagreb church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord the celebration of St. Sava’s Day began on January 26, 2005 with a festal vespers service served by His Eminence Metropolitan Jovan of Zagreb and Ljubljana with the clergy of the Zagreb parishes. On the feast of St. Sava itself Metropolitan Jovan served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy with the concelebration of Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Marinko Juretic, Protonamesnik Milenko Popovic, Presbyter Milan Topic, Presbyter Dalibor Djukic and Deacon Aleksandar Obradovic. The church of the Transfiguration was filled to the last seat, even though for most Zagreb Serbs it was a working day.

In his sermon His Eminence the Metropolitan said: “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! Respect your teachers who spoke the word of God to you and support their faith. Dear brothers and sisters, the feast of St. Sava is one of the greatest feasts in our Serbian Church. St. Sava is a great Hierarch of the Church of God who came from the Nemanjic dynasty and who did so much for his people and the founding of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which during his enthronement became autonomous in 1219. It is enough just to go the monastery of Zica, the former seat of the Serbian church and state, the place where so many important historical events occurred. The Pec Patriarchate, the monastery of Studenica, the monastery of Chilandar and many other holy shrines were build by rulers from the distinguished Nemanjic dynasty. The life of the Nemanjices was life in accordance with the Lord, and following the example of their venerable rulers, the entire Serbian people lived accordance with Christ. Our teacher and enlightener, Holy Father Sava, become renowned for his spiritual accomplishments, first and foremost, during the course of his monastic life, and later, as the elder of Chilandar Monastery, and ultimately as the first Serbian Archbishop. On Athos in the garden of the Theotokos, St. Sava had opportunity to see the greatest religious and cultural achievements, to retreat to the Karyes Hermitage, to translate and to write the Karyes, Chilandar and Studenica Typicon. He journeyed throughout the Holy Land and worshipped in the greatest Christian holy shrines, as the epic poet and narrator described in the songs and stories of the life and works of St. Sava. Glory to God and St. Sava that we have lived to see the day that the St. Sava Memorial Cathedral in Vracar (Belgrade) has been completed, and that such a monumental holy shrine now stands in the holy place where his holy relics were burned. May God and Holy Sava grant that this church becomes a great spring and wave of Divine blessing. Help us, St. Sava, that from all our churches the evangelical waters of eternity may flow and that led by you we all live in God-pleasing manner, celebrating the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

At the end of the Liturgy the slava cake was cut and the Serbian children who attend religious instruction presented a St. Sava’s Day program. The St. Sava’s Day celebration was enhanced by the consecration of a new hall in the building of the church parish of Zagreb at Preobrazenjska Street 2/1. The church parish of Zagreb prepared suitable gifts for all children who came to celebrate their own patron, St. Sava.

[Serbian Translation Services]

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