the Serbian Orthodox Church
BELGRADE CELEBRATES ITS PATRON SAINT’S DAY
On the feast of the Ascension of the Lord (Spasovdan) Holy Liturgy was served in the church of the Ascension in Belgrade. After Holy Liturgy, the slava cake was cut and the slava host was city architect Djordje Bobic on behalf of the Belgrade City Assembly.
The religious procession began at 11:30 a.m. by encircling the church of the Ascension. The first stop was behind the altar apsid, then proceeding along Admiral Geprata Street and Kneza Milosa Street to the London Hotel, and then via Kralja Milutina Street to Terazije fountain, the second stop. The procession passed down Kneza Mihajla Street and Kralja Petra Street to the Orthodox Cathedral (Saborna crkva), the third stop. The religious procession then took Sime Markovic Street, Pop Lukina Street and Brankova Street by way of Zeleni Venac, continuing along Kraljice Natalije Street, Dobrinjska Street and Admirala Geprata Street to the granite cross in the courtyard of the church of Ascension, where a memorial service was held for all who perished on April 6, 1941.
OPEN LETTER OF PROTOPRESBYTER GOJKO PEROVIC TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF MONTENEGRO
Rector of St. Petar Cetinjski Seminary and parish priest of Cetinje Presbyter Gojko Perovic has sent an open letter to Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.
Esteemed Mr. Prime Minister,
I am addressing you as a citizen of Montenegro who in the past several years has had his personal safety endangered and on certain occasions has been prevented from accessing his place of employment, [in incidents which] at the same time have often brought into question public law and order in places in Montenegro, all with the passive presence of members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Government which you head. Specifically, I am referring to physical attacks on locks and doors and unauthorized entry into five Orthodox churches in the Katun district by members of a specific non-governmental organization.
Why an open letter to the Prime Minister? In several of your most recent public appearances, you addressed this topic in detail and at length, communicating several views that do not lend hope for a valid and peaceful resolution of this problem. You said that insisting on literal adherence to the letter of (canonical) law is not recommended, and that the reality of a specific civil initiative should be taken into account, that we must not close our eyes before it, etc. (interview for TV B92). You said that with respect to the Church, the state would not ensure a “monopoly” for anyone nor engage state repression towards this end because the issue of the Church is separated from the state (press conference on May 22, 2006 in Podgorica).
A monopoly? Mr. Prime Minister, surely you of all people must be aware of what a positive and generally useful meaning this concept can have. A monopoly of truth. A monopoly of approved regulations.
The Church and the state are separated, and that is how it should be. The Church does not make decisions in the sphere of positive, civil regulations – except to respect them when they have been defined. The state should treat canonical legislation in the same manner. Just imagine the chaos that would ensue if it should occur to the local residents of some village not to honor the monopoly of your Government (i.e. if they should stop paying their bills and take control of their local school or police station) because they do not support your political program or find you personally antipathetic? You are the prime minister precisely because in the positive sense of the word “monopoly”, 50 percent plus 1 of the votes in the elections always means 100 percent of the power, and sometimes it also means 100 percent of the repression. It has taken centuries for political history and its theories to produce this imperfect but most just possible organization of society on earth.
Church regulations are even older. They state, for example, that a priest who has been defrocked by his bishop cannot go to another church territory and perform religious services (let alone become a metropolitan!) Such a transgressor, in an organized civil society, can consider himself a priest and try to convince other citizens of the same thing; however, the church belongs to the village (the citizens) to the same degree as the aforementioned school or a health center. Presumably villagers are not free to appoint teachers and physicians according to their own will instead of the relevant ministries? Consequently, what is “a civil initiative” doing in my place of employment? Initiatives, if they are civil and non-governmental, act through forums, flyers, publications, in public squares, culture halls and even in beer halls, not by breaking into official facilities, is that not so?
Therefore, this is a job for you. We are not asking for a theocratic state but a civil state based on law. If we want all citizens of this republic to wear a priest’s robe (for whatever reason), you as the Government, [need to] differentiate and sanction the right of use of specific official facilities. The Church does not have, and never needs to have, its own police and courts which sanction the lives of citizens but at the same time the state needs to respect church decisions and the sanctioning of certain internal church manifestations because of the state’s concern for the public safety of everyone. Through legitimate and democratic repression, ensure a monopoly, not for the Serbian or Montenegrin side in the conflict but for international canonical law. Everything else, proposals, movements or initiatives, is free to exist on the free “intellectual and spiritual marketplace” of ideas in Montenegro, where views will not be adopted by surprise attack and [the use of] force but through the free choice of the individual.
Your well-wisher before the Lord
Father Gojko Perovic,
parish priest of Cetinje and
rector of the Cetinje Seminary
DECANI CELEBRATES CHURCH PATRONAL FEAST
The Ascension of the Lord Christ - Spasovdan, the patronal feast of the Visoki Decani Monastery church, was formally celebrated on Thursday. In the presence of several hundred faithful from various parts of Kosovo and Metohija and elsewhere in Serbia His Grace Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy with the concelebration of his vicar, Bishop Teodosije, and the priests and priest-monks of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren and other dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
METROPOLITAN AMFILOHIJE SERVES IN PIPERI
His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral and his clergy served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy on the occasion of the feast of the Ascension of the Lord (Spasovdan) and performed the consecration of the church of the Ascension of the Lord in Gornje Mrke near Podgorica.
If the person only perfected himself within the limits of his nature, then the last word on human nature would be these graves behind us. Everything that a person does and creates here on earth ends in the grave, said Metropolitan Amfilohije in his homily to the gathered faithful.
The emperor and the beggar, the rich and the poor, the learned and the uneducated, all are equal underneath the grave cover.
“If everything here on earth ends with the grave and death then the person is caught like a mouse in a mousetrap. This world then resembles a mousetrap, or a spider web that catches mice and spiders, ants and maggots, and people. The mousetrap or the spider web would be the last word on this human life. That is the reason why God descended from the heavens to show that the measure of human perfection is measureless, that the person is not condemned to death, that he is not a slave to death but that within him he bears the yeast of immortality, eternity, intransigence. Human perfection does not end with what he does here on earth but with what God has recorded and determined for him in his eternal, divine providence,” said Metropolitan Amfilohije.
The person is born, grows and acquires knowledge until death but real, true knowledge is that which conquers death, said Metropolitan Amfilohije.
“The person was not created on earth in order to remain there just as birds are not meant to remain in their interwoven nests longer than it takes their wings to grow so they can fly toward the heavens. This earth is the nest God has created for us humans that while in it we may acquire heavenly, divine wings, wisdom, knowledge and the force of eternity and immortality, that on those wings we may fly to the heavens and to the other side of the heavens, that we may rise when our moment comes along the same path that the Lord rose, that we too may rise after him and with him to the heavens and that those great and Holy Mysteries may be revealed to us that are hidden from our physical eyes which we received here on earth, hidden from our physical knowledge which we acquired through earthly science,” said Metropolitan Amfilohije. He emphasized that the Ascension is a great Holy day, the fullness of all earthly days and the fullness of God’s glory.
After Holy Divine Service Metropolitan Amfilohije presented hierarchal gramata to Dragoljub and Miladin Novakovic and Sasa Acimic in recognition of their efforts toward the restoration of the church in Gornje Mrke.
The host (kum) of the patronal feast for next year is to be Bozo Novakovic.
Source: Svetigora Press - S.Z./ S.K.
CELEBRATION OF CHURCH AND CITY PATRONAL FEAST IN CACAK
Yesterday His Grace Bishop Hrizostom of Zica served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the church of the Ascension of the Lord in Cacak with the concelebration of his priests and deacons. He then led a religious procession through the main streets of the city, thus formally celebrating the church’s and the city’s patronal feast.
CELEBRATION OF ASCENSION DAY AT ROVCI
On Ascension Day (Spasovdan) His Eminence Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the newly built church of the Ascension of the Lord at Rovci near Berane. The church was consecrated on the eve of Spasovdan in the presence of a large number of priests and faithful.
Bishop Joanikije presented Dr. Miomir Dasic, the president of the church building committee with an archpastoral gramata for his demonstrated filial love and philanthropic zeal toward this Holy Church, and especially for his selfless efforts towards the construction of this memorial church. The Bishop consecrated the slava cake and wished the entire committee and all donors every true good and further success in their work.
As is the case everywhere in Montenegro today, during Liturgy a collective baptism took place and thirty newly christened took communion for the first time in their lives in their new village church. After the welcoming remarks, a large church-people’s assembly continued around the church at Rovci.
COLLECTIVE BAPTISMS AT LAKE SREBRO
NEAR LEDINCI UNDER FRUSKA GORA
For the fifth year in a row Father Blagoje Katic, the parish priest of Ledinci, together with other priests from Srem, has organized collective baptisms at Lake Srebro (Silver Lake) near Ledinci. Thrilled by the beauty of the lake he has joined a society fighting for the preservation of this environment, which Katic believes should also become a place of spiritual gathering.
“The environment is similar to that surrounding Ostrog Monastery because the lake is surrounded by cliffs on three sides. Thus, we decided to organize collective baptisms on the feast of St. Vasilije Ostroski, which also became the patronal feast of the village. The first year we had three people, the second about 15, and this year we baptized almost 150 people in the lake,” said Father Blagoje.
The lake in Ledinci is a unique environment and Katic says that it reminds the faithful of Lake Galilee and the baptism of Christ in the Jordan, when many from the crowd watching the baptism of the Lord themselves approached to receive the faith. “Religion teaches us that he who is not baptized by water and the Holy Spirit will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why baptism if the first and the basic Holy Mystery and without baptism there can be no salvation,” said the priest. Local residents are pleased by these baptisms, which also bring increasing numbers of people to their village and as the good news about Ledenci spreads, they are also making efforts to preserve their lake.
Prota P. Azap
EXHIBITION BY STUDENTS OF CETINJE SEMINARY’S SECTION FOR ARTS OPENS IN CETINJE
On May 31, 2006 His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral blessed and opened an exhibition of icons by students of the St. Petar Cetinjski Seminary’s section for arts in the printing house of the Cetinje Monastery.
Hieromonk Luka, the abbot of Cetinje Monastery and an art historian, spoke about the theological significance of the icon and the icons exhibited last night. Speaking about the significance of the icon Abbot Luka reflected that our age is the age of the anti-icon, the age of the deformed human image proposed as a model that should be followed.
He cited the words of a spiritual leader of our times, Father Sofronije, who says: “Two paths were before me – either to resign myself with my surroundings and thus condemn myself to the deformed, or to accept the terrible call of Christ, and when I chose the second I was reborn for living life in the living God.”
Abbot Luka emphasized that an icon is not just a painted object but also something that exists within us, which enters and leads us up with it. He said that a person who paints icons knows what he wants unlike other painters who by painting are still trying to see what they want.
At the conclusion of his homily Abbot Luka congratulated the exhibitors for demonstrating this conscious act of breaking the shackles of this world to those present at last night’s exhibition so that their eyes, too, could rest upon eternal forms and eternal calling.
In a statement for Radio Svetigora the rector of the Cetinje Seminary Protopresbyter Gojko Perovic said that the students exhibited their works prepared in the second semester. Approximately 15 icons were displayed, most of them depicting the images of the Saints with St. Petar Cetinjski and the early saints of the Christian church being the most frequent motifs.
Among the guests at the exhibition were graduates of the Prizren Seminary presently displaced in Nis who ended their regular graduation trip with yesterday’s visit to Ostrog Monastery and Cetinje.
Source: Svetigora Press - S.K.
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