Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church

May 16, 2005


The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church convened on Sunday, May 15, 2005 in the monastery of Zitomislic in the Diocese of Zahumlje and Herzegovina, which was founded in 1219 by St. Sava. On this occasion the Archpriests and faithful also gathered on the occasion of the restoration of Zitomislic Monastery. The original church was built in the fourteenth century and rebuilt in 1563 on the foundations of the old church, and decorated with frescoes in 1609. All the monks of this monastery were slain by the Ustashe in 1941. The monastery was restored in 1963 and the holy relics of the martyred monks were removed from an abyss in 1990 and buried on February 3, 1991 in a marble tomb behind the altar. The peaceful life of the monastery was again interrupted by suffering. In June 1993 members of Croatian armed forces dynamited the monastery and reduced it to rubble.

On Sunday, May 15, 2005 His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy next to the newly consecrated and restored monastery with the concelebration of the Archpriests of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Concelebrants during the Holy Liturgy included Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, Metropolitan Nikolaj of Dabro-Bosnia, Bishop Lavrentije of Sabac and Valjevo, Bishop Irinej of Nis, Bishop Vasilije of Zvornik and Tuzla, Bishop Georgije of Canada, Bishop Longin of America and Canada, Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren, retired Bishop Atanasije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina, Bishop Lukijan of Osijek Polje and Baranja, Bishop Konstantin of Central Europe, Bishop Jovan of Sumadija, Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic, Bishop Grigorije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina, Bishop Milutin of Australia and New Zealand, Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, Bishop Jovan of Dioclea, Bishop Maksim of Hum, as well as Metropolitan Jovan of Veles and Povardarje, Bishop Joakim of Polog and Kumanovo, and Bishop Marko of Dremvic. During Holy Liturgy 29 newly glorified confessors and hieromartyrs were added to the Diptych of Saints of the Orthodox Church, who died a martyr’s death for the Living Faith in the First and Second World Wars, as well as those who perished during post-war Communist rule. In his sermon the Patriarch emphasized that today everyone needs justice, peace and freedom. He pointed out the necessity for the biological, moral and spiritual survival of the Serbian people. He also said that it is essential to follow Christ’s evangelical messages of peace and love. During the course of Holy Hierarchal Liturgy, Abbot Danilo of Zitomislic Monastery was elevated to the office of Archimandrite, and Protopresbyter Savo B. Jovic received the honor of wearing a pectoral Cross and became Protopresbyter-Stavrophor.

The meeting of the Holy Assembly of Bishops began with Holy Hierarchal Liturgy.

The ceremony was attended by Serbian President Boris Tadic, representatives of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation, Borislav Paravac, President of the Presidency; and Sulejman Tihic, Member of the Presidency; members of the Council of Ministers, as well as many ministers of the Federation. The ceremony was also attended by Dragan Cavic, President of Republika Srpska; Pero Bukelic, Prime Minister of the Government; members of the Government and ministers; Their Royal Highnesses Princess Jelisaveta, Princess Linda and Prince Mihajlo; numerous representatives of the International Community, as well as representatives of the Catholic Church and the Muslim and Jewish religious communities, members of the diplomatic corps in the Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation, and many business people, public and cultural figures.

Welcoming His Holiness, brother Archpriests, eminent guests and representatives of the Karadjordjevic family, donors and philanthropists and the faithful, His Grace Bishop Grigorije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina said that this was a great day for the Serbian people and the Serbian Church, especially because of the restoration of Zitomislic Monastery. The Bishop went on to emphasize that it was a great honor to have Serbian President Boris Tadic present in the monastery to celebrate the restoration of this holy shrine.

Republika Srpska President Dragan Cavic emphasized that the event at Zitomislic is an example of how a great event can be organized with dignity and without injury or insult to anyone.

Retired Bishop Atanasije (Jevtic) of Zahumlje and Herzegovina welcomed those present, explaining that, according to their name, the monastery and village of Zitomislic are dedicated to Christ himself, since wheat [“zito” in Serbian] is the “bread of life” and God’s thought [“misao” in Serbian, deriv. “mislic”] is “Logos”, which is Christ. The Bishop added that when the people suffer, its holy shrines also suffer; and when the people undergo renewal, its holy shrines are also restored. The message of Bishop Atanasije is that the restoration of this holy shrine in the Neretva River Valley should serve the people for the renewal of everything human, divine and dignified within them, just as this holy shrine has been restored from the ashes.

A formal academy was held which included performances by some of our best known artists: Bora Dugic, Katarina Radivojevic, Ljiljana Blagojevic, Marija Karan, Hor, the Cultural and Arts Society from Crkvina and the Singers’ Group from Gacko.


The UNESCO International Donors Conference for the protection and restoration of the cultural heritage was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Friday, May 13, 2005. The official delegation of Serbia and Montenegro was comprised of Hieromonk Irinej (Dobrijevic), Ministers of Foreign Affairs Vuk Draskovic and Minister of Culture Dragan Kojadinovic.

Together with His Excellency the Ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro to UNESCO, Mr. Dragoljub Najman, the delegation visited His Excellency the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura. During the conversation Mr. Matsuura said that some of the necessary funding would be collected at the conference, and that this was not the end but just the beginning.

Hieromonk Irinej Dobrijevic spoke about the recent visit of the delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church to the United States of America, and about requests with regard to refugee returns, the redefinition of returns in compact zones around monasteries or in places where Serbs are in the majority; about restoration of destroyed holy shrines and other buildings and the employing of returnees to restore holy shrines; about restoration of confiscated property,; about the establishing of a protective zone around Decani Monastery that will serve to preserve the monastery property, local natural resources and the continuity of monastery life; and about local self-government in accordance with the decentralization process.

UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura called on countries, foundations and private donors to help in restoring the cultural heritage of Kosovo and Metohija in order to preserve it for future generations. Opening the First International Donors Conference for the protection and restoration of cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija organized by UNESCO in Paris, Matsuura said that “this is a special opportunity for international organizations to join forces toward such a valuable and important goal. The preservation of monuments and cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is an important, urgent and high priority for the international community” and that UNESCO is the only organization with a mandate at the international level to protect the world’s cultural heritage. He emphasized that “cultural heritage is key to the achievement of reconciliation and the achievement of lasting peace. Time is passing and the international community must react in order to protect the cultural heritage of Kosovo and Metohija and restore it where necessary,” said the UNESCO Director-General.

Minister Draskovic said at a press conference that the Serbian side is asking not only for restoration but also for the establishment of “protected zones” around monasteries, such as the one around Decani Monastery because, he said, Serbs want to go back to areas around the monasteries. He again called on Kosovo Serbs to join the work of Kosovo institutions and for Serbian-Albanian dialogue, saying that they knew the position they were living in better than Belgrade.

This First International Donors conference for the protection and restoration of cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija was organized in Paris by UNESCO in order to collect funding for the restoration, protection and preservation of numerous Christian (48) and Islamic (14) monuments, as well as other monuments of great historical significance (13) which have been destroyed in recent years. During the first meeting in the morning, monetary donations were pledged by the European Commission, the Kosovo Provisional Government, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, the USA, Sweden, France, the Czech Republic and Hungary, while technical and expert assistance was offered by Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, the Netherlands and Portugal.


On May 10, 2005 the Ministry of Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia decided that the Kantakuzina-Katarina Brankovic Serbian Orthodox General Secondary School in Zagreb can begin work. The Serbian Orthodox church parish of Zagreb has been working for almost two years on plans for the opening of this school.

His Eminence Metropolitan Jovan of Zagreb and Ljubljana first began negotiations with the most senior officials in the Republic of Croatia, and when the right political climate was created, work on the realization of this ambitious project began. It is expected that the school will begin the 2005/06 school year with one class according to the so-called “A model” (instruction in Serbian language and script). This school will function according to the program for General Secondary School as a public institution. Upon completion of schooling graduates will have the right of registration at any faculty. The school is equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment for instructional purposes. The teaching staff has been selected after a long and careful process and the majority of instructors have taught at the university level, while instructors of languages are native speakers. All future students in the next school year will be provided with free lodging, meals and textbooks. On top of this the Serbian Orthodox church parish of Zagreb is ready to provide scholarships for talented students. The long tradition of church education within this church parish has again been revived. Talented Serbian children from throughout the Republic of Croatia will have the opportunity within the framework of this school to be educated according to the most modern pedagogical models based on the spirit of the Orthodox faith and national tradition. At the same time, future students will develop their sense of tolerance, multiethnicity and all that will assist the integration of young people into modern European society.

Father Milan Topic
Parish priest of Zagreb


The Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral has filed a report with the Cetinje Security Department that on May 14, 2005 at approximately 2:00 p.m. persons defrocked and anathemized by the Orthodox Church forced their way into St. John the Baptist Church in Bajice.

“Led by Miras Dedeic, Milutin Cvijic, Nedjeljko Furtula and numerous unknown persons who are not from Cetinje broke into the church in Bajice. There, they attempted to perform acts they are not authorized to perform and on this occasion they forcibly disturbed the internal arrangement and money that was in church. We ask that you prepare an on the scene investigative report and turn the case over to judicial authorities for the further prosecution,” it is stated in the Metropolitanate’s report.

Source: Svetigora Press


On Saturday, May 14, 2005 in the amphitheater of the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the University of Belgrade a St. Sava’s Academy was held on the occasion of the celebration of the patron saint’s day of St. Sava Seminary in Belgrade. The formal academy was attended by Bishop Konstantin of Central Europe and Bishop Atanasije of Hvosno, Protopresbyter Predrag Puzovic, Dean of the Theological Faculty of St. Basil of Ostrog in Srbinje, Protopresbyter Radomir Popovic, Dean of the Serbian Orthodox Church Academy of Art (Painting), Conservation and Restoration, Mr. Manojlo Vukotic, director of Kompanija Novosti AD, and other eminent guests of this church and educational institute. After his welcoming remarks, Protopresbyter Dragan Protic, Dean of the Seminary, presented achievement awards to the outstanding students of the previous school year.

The St. Sava’s homily was delivered this year by Professor Sreten Micic. Participants in the cultural part of the program included the choirs of the Seminary, the Serbia-Montenegro Army, and Rastko of St. Sava Cathedral. There was also an exhibition of copies of the icons of Visoki Decani Monastery painted by the students of the icon painting section of St. Sava Seminary on this occasion.


With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia a new monastery has been founded in the Diocese of Dalmatia dedicated to St. Basil of Ostrog and located in the village of Crnogorci near Imotski. This is the fifth monastery in the Diocese of Dalmatia and it will be the spiritual center of the Imotski region.


On the patron saint’s day of the church, on May 12 of this year, to the joy of all residents of Backo Dobro Polje, the foundation of the church of St. Basil of Ostrog the Wonder-worker were consecrated. This is the first foundation of an Orthodox church in the area where today there is a settlement and hence this year’s celebration has not only a holiday but a historic significance. Six decades after its migration to this region primarily from Montenegro and Bosnia, the Serbian people have begun to build a church which, God willing, will soon be completely finished and consecrated. Only a few years ago the first religious services began to be held in a church that the faithful prepared with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Irinej for their spiritual and prayer needs. Not long afterward, due to an increase in the number of the faithful, the need appeared for a larger church, and Bishop Irinej of Backa blessed the beginning of the construction of a new and larger Holy church. Hence this year’s celebration and prayerful mention of St. Basil of Ostrog the Wonder-worker has a double significance, and just as the consecration of the foundation is the necessary precondition for blessed construction, so is the intent of the faithful to build a Holy church that is a unique cornerstone of comprehensive spiritual renewal and rebirth of the present as well as future generations.

The consecration ceremony was carried out by His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa with the concelebration of the clerics of the Novi Sad officiate and with the prayerful participation of a large number of residents of Backo Dobro Polje. Upon completing the ceremony, Bishop Irinej addressed those present, expressing his joy that this settlement has begun construction of a Holy church. In his sermon His Grace expressed his prayerful wishes for the speedy completion of the church to be built in dedication to St. Basil of Ostrog, pointing out the strong ties between present-day builders with their native heritage from which rocks were brought which were placed, together with the cornerstone, in the new foundation. Emphasizing the communal nature and universal respect for St. Sava among the Serbian people, and even among the heterodox, the Bishop pointed out a far stronger link than one originating in this world, which is the link of spirituality attained in the Church.

After the consecration ceremony Bishop Irinej presented hierarchal grammata and recognitions to all institutions and individuals who assisted in the building of the foundation thus attesting to their unselfish love and philanthropy. On the foundation of the church the Bishop blessed the slava cake and wheat prepared by the slava hosts, the family of Stevan Vrekic of Backo Dobro Polje. The new slava host next year will be Mr. Goran Grubisic.

Presbyter Petar Trivunovic


The church and village patron saint’s day of a newly formed parish whose patron and protector is St. Basil of Ostrog the Wonder-worker was celebrated with Holy Liturgy in the village of Petrova Slatina near Osijek.

In the presence of numerous faithful village locals Holy Liturgy was served by Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Dusan Kolundzic, and Protopresbyters Branko Rogan and Rajko Cabunac.

Respect for the God-pleasing St. Basil among the Serbs is reflected in building numerous churches in his honor. This thanks is also present among the Serbs of Slavonija, where Milanka and Branko Budalic of Petrova Slatina donated the land of their parents to the holy Church and permitted the building and founding of a new church and parish dedicated to St. Basil.

The parish of Petrova Slatina was founded with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Lukijan by Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Dobrivoj Filipovic, parish priest of Markusica, who invested great effort in organizing church life in this village.

Upon completion of holy religious services the slava cake was cut and the slava wheat was blessed in today’s festive atmosphere.

The much suffering faithful of eastern Slavonija expect the blessed assistance offered by St. Basil as they present their gift, this holy shrine, together with their tears and suffering and universal repentance.


St. Sava Seminary from Belgrade took part with the blessing of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the first Cultural Olympics in Palilula municipality (Belgrade) held from May 3-13, 2005. Third year student Nemanja Cosic, a member of the icon-painting section headed by Goran Janicevic, won third place in the discipline of painting and drawing at the Cultural Olympics.


The citizens’ association Srpski Sabor Dveri is organizing a promotion of the disk “The Prince’s Covenant”, according to the text of St. Nikolaj, “The Kosovo Covenant of Holy Prince Lazarus”. The event will take place on Thursday, May 19, 2005 in the large amphitheater of the Faculty of Machine Engineering in Belgrade. Participants will include Protopresbyter Aleksandar Sredojevic, writer Predrag Dragic Kijuk, poet Ranko Djinovic, musical artist Svetlana Stevic, chanter Pavle Aksentijevic, and thespian Danilo Lazovic.


On May 10, 2005 the monastery of St. Sava in Libertyville celebrated its patron saint’s day. His Eminence Metropolitan Hristofor ordained Deacon Zoran Savic to the priesthood. to the chanting of the Theological Faculty student choir and with the concelebration of seven priests and two deacons from the Chicago area.

Deacon Damjan S. Bozic

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