We do not claim that all Christians are saints. They want to be. We do not claim that Christians are flawless and deprived of malice. They are trying to surpass them. These things are not done by some other enemies of the Church. We do not claim that there are no scandals in the Church. But don’t they happen everywhere? Don’t they happen in politics? Don’t they happen in corporations? Don’t they happen in football clubs? In other words, this phenomenon characterizes every society and human behaviour.
What we claim is that mass media, newspaper and television present only atrocious news about the Church. Very often, that is product of pure nonsense. What is the main goal of such wicked information? Why do they create completely false impression about Church?
There are Elders whose voice can naturally be heard in every part of the world, without television, press or other mass media.
Many people from America, Australia, Germany and other countries visit these blessed Elders and ask for their help and prayers. Furthermore, there are people who witness miracles and speak about these saints with great reverence.
We claim that these Elders can not be found elsewhere. Conspiracy of silence about Orthodoxy and its saints has been cast off by all-powerful God’s grace. Truly, many wars were led against the Church, either in secrecy or in public. Two thousand years have passed since then.
That is how Divine Providence and the God-Man Jesus Christ sustain the Church in its existence through ages: And on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Mat. 16:18)
Imperfect people are everywhere around us, even in the Church. But, there are good people, as well. There are good people in politics, in religious communities, in fake religions and teachings. Good people can be found everywhere. It is very important to know this, because they console and help their neighbours and entire society they live in. But, saints can be found only in Orthodoxy.
Translated by Sisterhood of the Most Holy Theotokos Tricherusa, Sibenik
ORTHODOX SEMMINARIANS ATTACKED IN KISTANJE
On Sunday, March 17th 2013, Orthodox semminarians of the Serbian Orthodox Semminary in monastery Krka were attacked on their way to Kistanje by the larger group of Janjevci. Eight semminarians were injuried and they had to be provided by medical care in Knin and Šibenik. The police has been informed about this case and the investigation is ongoing.
This attack is motivated by national and religious hatred and was done by people whose aim is to undermine international peace and european integrations of Republic of Croatia.
Ustashi formations of Ante Pavelic revived in Zadar
A few days ago occurred something the most pessimistic among us did not expect. Namely, after the ustashi organization "Croatian Orthodox Community" (COC) was registered several years ago, the web site of this association has recently announced the so-called Declaration of COC. Through this Declaration public is informed of the "enthronement" of Aleksandar Ivanov (Bulgarian) for "Croatian Orthodox priest."
It is well known that in 1942, the Ustashi war criminal Ante Pavelic founded the Croatian Orthodox Church in order to destroy the Serbian Orthodox Church and eradicate Serbs from the territory of the Independet State of Craoatia (NDH). However, this was done because the previous methods of forcible conversion and mass killings in the camps in the country did not bring satisfying results.
We take this opportunity also to inform all members of the Serbian Orthodox Church and all Orthodox Serbs in Dalmatia to remain faithful to the Serbian Orthodox Church, our language and our culture, and to beware of these false shepherds, "who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves "(Matt. 7, 15).
We also appeal to institutions in Croatia to protect our faithful people and our church buildings from possible proselytism and attacks of this militant organization. We do emphasize this because this association in its program openly supports the Ustashi, fascist and genocidal ideas that are contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, as well as all the positive achievements of European democracy.
"BLACK BIBLE" FROM TURKEY
In this period of Great Lent when, according to Gospel, temptations are strengthened (Mt 4:1-11), we are witnessing occurrence of so called "Black Bible" from Turkey. Much like all the fabricated manuscripts appearing throughout history of Christianity, the aim of this "Black Bible", too, besides sensation-seeking, is "to lead astray, if possible, the elect" (Mk 13:22).
"Black Bible" from Turkey was announced in a thundering voice as the apocrypha, so called "Gospel of Barnabas" which is completely unknown in the history of New Testament Apocrypha.
As for the content of the "Black Bible", we shall respond shortly to its satanic lies and blasphemy with the Truth of the Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who said that one of the signs of his Second Coming and apocalypse is occurrence of many false prophets: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Mt 7:15).
Not to render black and gloomy everything that is related to "Black Bible" from Turkey, somebody once said: "perhaps the "Black Bible" is Turkish quest for the Truth"? May God grant so!
Diocese of Dalmatia Press service.
PAVELIC ANTE PORTAS?
Several days ago a Decree about registration of ”Croatian orthodox community” appeared on the web site of this association. Therefore, as representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church and preachers of the God’s Word, our obligation is to say a few words on this issue.
The sole registration of this kind of community would not have been so troublesome, unless they had not announced their main goal - to establish Croatian Orthodox Community, i.e. autonomous Croatian orthodox church in Republic of Croatia. The founders of this association organically identify themselves with the Ustashi regime from the time of Ante Pavelic and the Croatian orthodox church which operated during that period. Pavelic’s Croatian orthodox church had a genocidal programme of destruction and extermination of Serbs and Serbian Orthodox Church during the criminal and totalitarian NDH regime. Namely, the president of Croatian orthodox community in his speeches absolutely denies existence of Serbs in Croatia (you tube video, 21st, August 2010), and that draw clear similarities with Pavelic’s Croatian orthodox church. Besides, the results of Pavelic’s ideology are well-known - numerous concentration and extermination camps and pits.
There is one more evidence that COC was in the service of Pavelic’s Ustashi regime. However, the head of this church, Patriarch Germogen, was sentenced to death by Antifascist movement. One of the reasons for this penalty was that this Patriarch contributed to breaking the unity of Serbian people in Croatia and encouraging the fratricidal war.
Moreover, the fact that this Association usurps the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church is also extremely alarming. To be more precise, on their web page photos of monastery Gomirje (Gornjkarlovacka Diocese), as well as pictures of famous Serbs, such as Nikola Tesla colud be seen and are used as a part of their logo.
Hence, this Association could contribute to the revival of racism and religious intolerance, and threaten the security of Serbian people and SOC.
Therefore, we appeal to the state authorities and relevant ministries of the Republic Croatia to unable the registration and work of this Association, which brings us all back in the dark period of suffering and evil that prevailed at the time of Pavelic’s NDH and COC.
Šibenik, the 3rd of December 2010
Presbyter Milorad Đurđević
This letter was sent to all legal authorities and relevant ministries in Croatia, Serbia and Republika Srpska.
KOSOVO – THE FALL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
DIOCESE OF DALMATIA PRESS NOTICE
ON ESTABLISHING SO CALLED HPC
Yesterday on the 12 of March 2010 the news that in Zadar would be established the so-called "Croatian Orthodox Church" has caused anxiety for the clergy and Orthodox Serbs in Croatia. It is well known that the HPC was formed in 1942 during the fascist Ustashi regime of Ante Pavelic in the NDH. Pavelić regime committed genocide against the Serbian, Jewish and Roma people in the NDH, and the goal of phantom HPC was to destroy every trace of existence of Orthodoxy and Orthodox Serbs in this region.
Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian people subsist for centuries in the region of Dalmatia, and the best evidence for this claim are numeorus parish churches and monasteries, which were built throughout the XIII to XV century and represent a significant cultural heritage, which is under the protection of the competent institutions of Croatian government.
Namely, in the publication of the Association's website and its formation program of the "Croatian orthodox community" has become certain that this association organically identifies itself with the Ustashi regime from the time of Ante Pavelic and the HPC which operated in that period. They had a genocidal program of destruction and extermination of all non-Croats during the criminal regime of NDH. Thus, the formation of this association clearly causes reasonable fear of the possibility of re-living the mentioned program. There is no need to especially emphasize the fact that at the time of World War II there were numerous concentration and extermination camps and pits of which the notorious extermination camp Jasenovac was certainly the largest one.
We sincerely hope that this association, which is associated with the darkest period of the recent croatian history, because of its militant and pro-ustashi character would not be registered with the competent Croatia's authorities.
We also appeal to the state legal authorities and relevant ministries of the Republic Croatia to protect facilities and property of the Serbian Orthodox Church and our faithful people from possible harassment and attacks, as some of the leaders of this phantom association announced.
In pastoral care and accountability we recommend to our clergy and faithful people to reinforce their fasting and prayers to God, who is the only Lord and the righteous Judge of the world as well as the Guardian of our Church which has been for centuries martyred in the crucifying and crucified Dalmatia; so do not be afraid and do not accept these false pastors and preachers, who "come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Matthew 7:15), but to safeguard the Holy Orthodox Church and the faith of their ancestors.
Diocese of Dalmatia Press service
TO PRIME MINISTER MRS JADRANKA KOSOR
Several days before Christmas, feast that is called the feast of Peace and good will toward men, we were unpleasantly surprised and disturbed by the news about foundation of the Association of Citizens “Croatian Orthodox Organisation” in Ogulin.
At first glance, while searching the web site of this Association, we noticed the misuse of the photograph of the Serbian Orthodox monastery Gomirje. Namely,monastery Gomirje was founded in 1600 by the monks who came from monastery Krka. Since then, this monastery has been a spiritual centre of Orthodox Serbs from the region of Gorski Kotar.
Beside Gomirje, there is alsoa picture of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), one of the world’s greatest scientists. However,it is well-known that he was a son of Milutin Tesla, a Serbian Orthodox priest from Smiljane. Truly, one can hardly understand the reason why these photos became logo of the above mentioned Association, since their members call themselves OrthodoxCroats.
Furthermore, the name Orthodox this Association carries also appears to be of questionable nature. Our obligation is to emphasise that a person becomes Orthodox not by his or her biological birth, but through the Holy Sacrament of Baptism in one of the canonical Orthodox churches. Yet,we are not sure this is the case with members of this organisation.
The other fact that must be revealed is that this Association is closely related to the fascist and ustashi Independent State of Croatia. In 1942, notorious Ante Pavelić, the ruler of fascist Croatia, formed the so called «Croatian Orthodox Church»in order to finally exterminate Serbs in Croatia, as well as to annihilate the Serbian Orthodox Church. These are the main issues of thisdarkest period of the recent Croatian historywhich cause great agitation among Serbs in Croatia. Still, in the memory of the Serbian people live thescaffolds and pits of the poor wictims, such as Jadovno, Glina, and Jasenovac - the largest concentration and extermination camp in this part of Europe, called by historians “the dark secret of the Holocaust”. In these horrorcamps innocent people were killed simply for being of other faith or other nation, and the most numerous among them were Orthodox Serbs.
The most astonishing fact is that members of this Association build their identity and their existence on negation of people of other nation. To be more precise, they negate Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church, in spite of the fact that Serbs live in this region for ages, and that they made immense contribution in politics, philosophy, culture and science, which have brought the Republic of Croatia just before theentranceto the European Community of democratic countries.
When a person or organisation bases its existence on negation of everything and everyone who is different, then we can define it only as a “spiritual and cultural terrorism”, which is strictly forbidden in democratic Europe. Such organizations cannot be registered in European countries. As far as we know, that is the case in the Republic of Croatia as well.
As representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church and preachers of the God’s Word, we remind all people that the Christ’s Gospel is Gospel of love. In accordance with the Gospel, those people who say they believe in God, but hate their neighbour, are called fake Christians and their fate is fake (1.John, 4:20). Regardless of our confession, the truth of our faith is being tempted by our relationship with our neighbours and people in general. In other words, ifwe do not obey the commandment to love our neighbour, then we separate ourselves from God and His Body. Consequently, that way leads us not to salvation, but to tragedy and evil.
Dear Mrs Kosor, this letter is written with our best intentions. In our opinion, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia must be informed about this organisation, which reminds us of the darkest period of recent Croatian history.
Since you are the most important person in the Republic of Croatia, responsible for maintaining the peace, public order and democracy, we refer to you to protect Orthodox Serbs and Serbian Orthodox Church. Namely, the attack on their cultural and spiritual identity would probably bring into question the mere existence of Serbs in the Republic of Croatia.
His EminenceGerasim, Bishop of Gornjekarlovačka Diocese
His EminenceFotije, Bishop of Dalmatia
25th December 2009
HISTORY OF MONASTERY DRAGOVIC
Throughout its history monastery Dragović (1395) has been a spiritual centre of Orthodox Serbs from Cetinska krajina. Thus, their history and culture are interwoven with the life and development of this monastery.
Monastery Dragović was devastated during the Ottoman, as well as during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but it experienced its greatest tragedy in the 20th century. During the Yugoslav communist regime (1954), when the artificial lake for the hydroelectric power station Peruča had been made, the old monastery was deluged and the monastery was moved to today's location. Therefore, formely the richest monastery in Dalmatian Diocese had to be transformed into a skete and hermitage.
Many significant persons of Serbian culture and history are connected with this sanctuary. Beside many famous abbots of this monastery, we would like to mention Dalmatian Bishop Nikodim Milaš (1890-1911), who was tonsured in Dragović, and St. Makarije of Dragović, who lived in caves near the monastery.
We express our gratitude to our Lord that we managed to publish this Monograph and in that way to complete the «trilogy» of monographs of Dalmatian monasteries (besides Krka and Krupa). By publishing the monograph of Dragović monastery, we express our gratitude to this sanctuary, which was a witness of Orthodox Christianity, Serbian language and culture of Serbs from Cetinska krajina.
We hope that the mission of monastery Dragović will continue and that the reconstruction of this sanctuary will motivate exiled people to return to their century-long hearths.
Bishop of Dalmatia
THE EPOCH OF ORTHODOXY - an interview with Abbot Ephraim of Vatopedi -
On the 19th of May this year, a meeting occurred between students of Moscow theological schools and Abbot of Athonite monastery Vatopedi, Archimandrite Ephraim. The Vice Dean for Education, Abbot Bassian (Zmejev) received and greeted this respected guest.
This was not the first meeting of this kind, since Abbot Ephraim had already noticed immense interest of Russian people for Athonite spiritual experience.
THE EPOCH OF ORTHODOXY
Today we live in really hard times; man is trying to exist in extremely boisterous atmosphere – in obscure and meaningless atmosphere. Modern Europe has nothing much to do with Christianity, since European people received fake Christianity. The Europeans refuse to believe in God preached by their parents, and their souls find no rest. They are trying to find something deeper. In other words, they are trying to find Orthodoxy. They can learn Orthodoxy from those who properly worship God. The main task of semminaries and theological academies is to witness Orthodoxy that people are searching for. Studying theological schools, we have to express gratitude to our Lord, because He made us worth of finding the school with rich spiritual Tradition; He made us worth of living in Orthodox milieu; He made us worth of having joy in outer freedom, and what is even more important – in inner freedom, i.e. freedom of the heart.
APPEAL FOR HELP TO RECONSTRUCT
THE CHURCH OF REMOVAL OF THE RELICS OF
SAINT NICHOLAS IN VRBNIK
Dear brothers and sisters,
We appeal to all those people of good will to help the reconstruction of the church dedicated to Removal of the Relics of Saint Nicholas in Vrbnik. The church was built in the 17th century, between 1669 and 1682.
Namely, this church has been badly devastated and needs an urgent repair. Moreover, valuable and richly ornamented iconostasis needs complete restauration.
We hope that by God's help and your fraternal care and love, we will manage to reconstruct this Dalmatian sanctuary.
You may send your financial support on the following account:
ERSTE&STEIERMARKISCHE BANK d.d.
SPCO KNIN 7030-01470833
(for the reconstruction of the church of Removal of the Relics of Saint Nicholas in Vrbnik)
For every donor we wish the God’s blessing and prayerful protection of the Most Holy Theotokos and All Saints.
President Mesić visited monastery Krupa
On the 18th of March 2009 president of the Republic of Coratia Mr. Stjepan Mesić visited monastery Krupa. The president was welcomed by His Grace Bishop of Dalmatia Fotije and monastery abbot Gavrilo Stevanović as well as by the members of local authorities.
On this occasion, president Mesić visited monastery church and the treasury. Afterwards, all the official guests were regaled with the lunch.
The Patron Saint feast of the Holy Three Hierarchs Seminary in monastery Krka
On the 12 th of February 2009 the Holy Three Hierarchs seminary in monastery Krka celebrated its Patron Saint feast.
On the feast day of Holy Three Hierarchs, the Holy Liturgy served, His Eminence Bishop of Stobi David, His Eminence Bishop of Gornjokarlovačka diocese Gerasim and His Eminence Bishop of Dalmatia Fotije together with the assembly of clergy from many dioceses.
After the Holy Liturgy and the appropriate programme performed by the teachers and pupils of the Semminary, for numerous guests who came to share with us joyfullness of this great feast, Agape was prepared.
A TRUE VOICE ABOUT MONASTERY VATOPED
Editorial Board of Blic
After reading the text Vatoped Affair, published in your newspaper on the 28th of December this year, our moral obligation is to express different opinion about the Athonite holy Vatoped monastery.
By coincidence, Diocese of Dalmatia received the text from this holy monastery that was addressed to all relevant state institutions in Greece. In the mentioned letter it is explained in detail that all transactions (concerning the contentious land) Vatoped monastery had undertaken were absolutely realized according to the corresponding laws and regulations.
Besides, our opinion is that this holy monastery, where more than 110 monks live, Serbian people must not so easily assault. Furthermore, this monastery daily welcomes more than 150 people from all parts of the world. All of them stay in Vatoped and are being treated according to typikon and Athonite regulations. Someone who has ever been there, had an opportunity to see that life in Vatoped monastery is life of unceasing prayer, and not of prodigal living full of wasteful pleasures. Our Saint Sava was a monk of this respected monastery, and it was exactly from Vatoped that he, together with his father, Saint Simeon, founded Hilandar monastery – the throne of Serbian Orthodox spirituality.
Consequentely, we may claim that everything written in the text titled Vatoped Affair is not true, but is based on information from the wide path of malevolent media. However, we must not forget that by keeping dignity of the holy Vatoped monastery, we undoubtedly keep dignity of our Orthodox faith and sanctuaries, that in very near future may also be the target of somebody’s assaults, may God please forbid.
the 28th of December, 2008
Bishop of Dalmatia
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Unity of the Church Is Unbreakably Related With Her Mission
It is at once humbling and inspiring to be graciously invited by Your Holiness to address the XII Ordinary General Assembly of this auspicious Synod of Bishops, an historical meeting of Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church from throughout the world, gathered in one place to meditate on “the Word of God” and deliberate on the experience and expression of this Word “in the Life and Mission of the Church.”
This gracious invitation of Your Holiness to our Modesty is a gesture full of meaning and significance -- we dare say an historic event in itself. For it is the first time in history that an Ecumenical Patriarch is offered the opportunity to address a Synod of the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, and thus be part of the life of this sister Church at such a high level. We regard this as a manifestation of the work of the Holy Spirit leading our Churches to a closer and deeper relationship with each other, an important step towards the restoration of our full communion.
It is well known that the Orthodox Church attaches to the Synodical system fundamental ecclesiogical importance. Together with primacy synodality constitutes the backbone of the Church’s government and organisation. As our Joint International Commission on the Theological Dialogue between our Churches expressed it in the Ravenna document, this interdependence between synodality and primacy runs through all the levels of the Church’s life: local, regional and universal. Therefore, in having today the privilege to address Your Synod our hopes are raised that the day will come when our two Churches will fully converge on the role of primacy and synodality in the Church’s life, to which our common Theological Commission is devoting its study at the present time.
THE WORD OF GOD IN THE LIFE
AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH
Allow me to begin my short exposition on the Holy Scripture with the words of great Church father – St. John Chrysostom, great and spirit-bearing interpreter of the Holy Scripture, who commented and interpreted almost all Books of the Old, as well as of the New Testament. He says: “Holy Scripture is a way and who gets off it, he goes astray.” Furthermore, trying to reach its deeper meaning and to extend the previous statement, he says: “The Prophets and Divine Law were nothing but fairy tales and dummy stories for the rich man (Lk. 16, 19), but when he moved down to hell, he realized everything.” Through these statements, St. John emphasises that the way to salvation is being revealed in the Holy Scripture, because the Law and Old Testament Prophets, as well as New Testament Gospels, bring us to the Incarnated Word and Logos Jesus Christ (Jn. 1, 1). On the other hand, the story about unreasonable rich man (Lk. 16, 19) clearly shows that academic understanding of the Holy Scripture does not bring salvation. The Holy Scripture saves only “those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk. 11, 28).
Swastika and U on Doors of Serbian Orthodox Church
The fascist orientated vandals drew a swastika and Ustasha letter on the doors of Sibenik’s Serbian Orthodox church.
Somebody drew a swastika and an Ustasha letter “U” on the doors of Sibenik’s Serbian Orthodox church, reports the Dalmatian Orthodox eparchy on their website, who reported the incident to the police.
That object is often the target of local vandals who every so often write graffiti slogans on the doors and gate, most often based on fascism.
The Serbian Orthodox Church considers the frequent appearance of the graffiti, is a sign that the “state of justice” starts working as well as the adequate punishment for those incidents, that harm the freedom and spread religious and national intolerance.
The incident was preceded by a similar event from the end of last month when a group of vandals, still unknown to the police, disturbed the peace in front of the church during the night between September 27 and 28.
They sang insulting songs against Serbs and shouted, which the church called a new case of insults against Orthodox Serbs in Sibenik.
“That case shows that there still is not freedom for all citizens of Sibenik, and wider looking all over Dalmatia, and that the responsible institutions should stop such appearances that threaten throughout Croatia, which are if nothing else, a great obstacle to Croatia entering the European Union” according to the Dalmatian eparchy. Sibenik’s police say that they are working on both cases and that they hope they will discover the vandals
Medvedev: Special Relations with
Orthodox Church will be Maintained
Special relations between the state and the Russian Orthodox Church will be kept and further developed, President Dmitry Medvedev has said.
After conducting a prayer "For the Beginning of the Lofty Endeavor" in the Kremlin's Cathedral of the Annunciation, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia conveyed good wishes to the newly sworn-in head of state.
"The Church is ready to continue cooperating [with the state], since we have one Fatherland, one history and one future," Alexy II said.
Medvedev assured the Patriarch that "the special, trustful relations with the Russian Orthodox Church will be kept and further developed to the benefit of the Fatherland."
"Russia's history in the 20th century was dramatic indeed - a history of deaths and shattered hopes," the Russian president said. "But at the end of the 20th century Russia stepped on a new path. The state, supported by the Russian Orthodox Church and all sound forces, got together and began to develop," Medvedev said.
"Everything possible must be done now to consolidate the positive tendencies that have made themselves felt," he said.
Hopefully, Alexy II said, the new president will continue the course started by ex-President Vladimir Putin. "I hope, together you will manage to do a lot for society's development in the years to come," the Patriarch said.
"Care for the individual will be the main priority [in the president's work], but the head of state is also due to strengthen Russia's international stature," the Patriarch said.
ORTHODOX CHURCH COMMUNITY
IN BENKOVAC ATTACKED
On the 21st of March 2008 unknown vandals demolished the church property of the Dalmatian Diocese.
According to the Diocesan notice, vandals attacked the Church community in Benkovac. Namely, they intruded into the church yard and completely demolished the car of the priest Ljubomir Crnokrak.
Church community of Benkovac has informed police about this vandalic attack and the investigation is ongoing.
The latest attack on the Church community in Benkovac and its Orthodox priest renders that Serbs and Serbian Orthodox Church in Dalmatia are not safe even on the great Roman-Catholic holidays.
Christian consciousness appeal for Kosovo and Metohija
Bishop of Dalmatia Fotije appeals to
President of the Republic of Croatia Stjepan Mesić
and to the Prime Minister Ivo Sanader
Dear Mr President,
On behalf of the Diocese of Dalmatia, our clergy, monastics and laity, we send you our Christian consciousness Appeal for Kosovo and Metohija in which we plead before the living God and people to reconsider, while there is still time, your possible decision to recognise independence of Kosovo and Metohija – the cradle of Serbian spirituality and history.
This Appeal is indeed «the voice of one crying in the wilderness» and a cry for preservation of international order, the Charter of the United Nations and Security Council Resolution 1244 according to which Kosovo and Metohija has been and must remain an integral part of Serbia.
We as members of Serbian Orthodox Church in the Diocese of Dalmatia highly appreciate your struggle for peace and democracy, but out of the deepest human and christian motives, we must indicate that recognising of the self-willing and illegal independence of Kosovo and Metohija would be as «taking out the heart from the being of Serbian people», which concerns every Serb in this world, because we, as well as every other nation comprise uniquely collective self.
All other European peoples have their sanctuaries, their culture and the history they respect and cherish, thus we believe that Serbian people has the same right, crying for Kosvo and Metohija as for «Betlehem cave» of its national being. What would Holy Land be without Jerusalem or Egypt without Sinai?
We also might ask a question: what would Serbia be without Kosovo and Metohija? This holy part of Serbian land on which since 1389 and famous Kosovo battle, Serbian orthodox people defend not only itself but the whole christian Europe, that numerous historical documents and literature affirm. These historical facts are also acknowledged by the gretatest European intelectuals, who as «mankind’s consciousness» rise their voice in defence of Kosovo and Metohija as well as legal world order.
In Šibenik, on the 7th of March 2008
THREATENING NEO-NAZI AND USTASHI GRAFFITI ON THE EPISCOPAL RESIDENCE IN ŠIBENIK
Today on the 25th of February 2008 in the late afternoon hours, it has been discovered that the wall in front of the Episcopal residence in Šibenik is full of neo-nazi and ustashi garfitti, such as: «Serbs to be butchered!», together with ustashi simbol of capital letter U with a sign of cross above it, «Vukovar».
Besides the attack on the Episcopal residence in September 2005, and a letter full of national hatred addressed to the Orthodox church community in Split in January this year, these newest threats witness of unsustainable hatred towards Serbian people and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Dalmatia.
The police has been informed about this case and the investigation is ongoing.
The Patron Saint feast of the Holy Three Hierarchs Seminary in monastery Krka
Once more the Holy Three Hierarchs seminary in monastery Krka celebrated its Patron Saint feast. The celebration strated on the 11th of Feburary with the festal vespers which served Archimandrite Danilo of Žitomislić monastery.
On the feast day of Holy Three Hierarchs, the Holy Liturgy was served on which His Eminence Bishop of Žiča Hrizostom presided and His Eminences, Bishop of Dalmatia Fotije and Bishop of Gornjokarlovačka diocese Gerasim together with the assembly of clergy from the dioceses of Žiča, Zahumlje and Hercegovina, Šumadija, Srem and Dalmatia assisted in the service. The feast joy found its deepest meaning in the Holy Liturgy and Lifegiving Chalice from which all pupils received Holy communion. After the Holy Liturgy, the teachers and pupils of the Semminary performed appropriate programme, which was ended with concert of Asim Sarvan's group.
Afterwards, for numerous guests who came to share with us joyfullness of this great feast, Agape was prepared.
FOKUS: Your Grace you were enthroned as Bishop of Dalmatia in 1999. What was the situation like then; and how are things going now in Diocese of Dalmatia?
Bishop FOTIJE: When I came here as a Bishop of Dalmatia the situation was in every sense difficult. There were no priests nor monks – togehther with the people they were all banished from the Diocese, and most of the churches and church buildings were completely devastated and ruined. This was the reason we had to start from the very bottom – and that was, of course, not an easy task. But, with God's help, new priesthood was ordained, and our monasteries Krka, Krupa and Dragovic (14 th century), spiritual centres of Dalmatian Serbs, have been reconstructed so the Diocese is gradually coming to life again.
Special contribution to the renewal of our Diocese represents the reopening of the thelogical seminary Holy Three Hierarchs in monastery Krka in 2001. About 50 students, who are for the most part from Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina, attend this school.
Up to now, a lot of work has been done on the reconstruction of devastated and ruined churches and auxiliary buildings. However, there is still a great deal to be done on that field as well as on edifying and establishing Orthodox faith in our people.
FOKUS:You are also Rector of the ancient seminary Holy Three Hierarchs which is situated in monastery Krka. Yet, in the last civil war this theological school went through a great suffering as well as the people from that region.
Bishop FOTIJE: The theological seminary Holy Three Hierarchs in monastery Krka was founded in 1615; and it is one of the seven seminaries of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Thorughout the history beside monastery Krka it had its residences in Dalmatian towns of Zadar and Šibenik, where Serbian Orthodox population was very numoreus then. After The Second World War, the seminary was again situated in monastery Krka, and it worked until 1995 – the year of great persecution of Serbs from this region, when the school also had to stop with its work.
Holy Three Hierarchs seminary is hope and future of our Diocese, because future priests and spiritual leaders of the Serbian Orthodox Church are being educated there. It is a school where basics of Orthodox theology, Holy Scripture, church services as well as classical languages such as Old Greek and Church-slavonic are being studied.
Although the war tragedy which recently occured in Croatia had unfortunately strucked our seminary too, with God's grace it has been reopened and it continues with its educational and cultural mission. We already have our high-school graduates at the Universities in Moscow, Petersburg, Thessaloniki and Athens; yet most of them are at the Universities in Belgrade and Srbinje. These young men are already witnesses of our duration and existence; and in the future they are to be shepards and teachers of our people.
FOKUS: Diocese of Dalmatia has become well-known for its publishing activities. Besides precious books on theological studies, there are two magazines that are also being published - ,,Istina” and ,,Krka”. Please, tell us something more about books you are planning to publish.
Bishop FOTIJE:Well, our publishing project is one of very important activities in the Diocese. There are two periodicals that are being published - theological magazine ,,Istina”, and diocesan journal ,,Krka”, which cover the most important events in the Diocese.
Apart from that, we began publishing books on Liturgics and New Testament Theology. Some of them are supposed to be course books and additional literature for our theology students and seminary pupils. Hence, we are strongly convinced that these books will be of great help for their theological education.
We have also launched a new edition named ,,Patristic Theology”, which will comprise works of Holy Fathers such as: St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Gregory Palamas and St. Gregory of Nyssa.
Namely, all of our publications are presented on the official diocesan web site. Since we live in the era of modern communication, Internet appears to be one of the possible ways in which information can be conveyed to all parts of the world in a very short period of time. That is the reason we are trying to make immensely rich Orthodox Tradition – whether through written form, icons or its music - more accessible to the modern man.
FOKUS: Is it possible for the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian people in Croatia to expect a lighter future?
Bishop FOTIJE:This really is a very interesting question. Its answer depends on what a lighter future means for us – Orthodox Christians. We experience a lighter future in the Holy Liturgy of our Church and other services, because through them we participate in the Heavenly Kingdom and the Age that is to come. So we may say that as long as we serve the Holy Liturgy, we exist as Church and participate in the lighter future of our Faith.
As for the lighter future in a context of a historical reality, the situation is somehow different and more complicated. There are many problems we are facing with, such as: the reconstruction of our churches and monasteries, supporting Serbian returnees, and some such. Furthermore, having in mind the latest threats to the Serbian people in Croatia, we have to say that it has been, it is and obviously will be our historical cross we have to bear.
However, as one of our national poets says: We are meant to bear the cross. Yet, it depends on us will it be Calvary cross, and will we bear it thankfully, elevatingourselves in love towards God and our neighbours. In that sense, our mission is getting christological character and reality, not only in the present but in the future as well - even more, we hope, in eternity.
Your Grace, thank you very much for your time.
27. 01. 2008.
THE NEW BOOK OF ST. SYMEON
In edition of the „Istina“, publishing agency of the Dalmatian Diocese recently published book St. Symeon the New Theologian:"Adam and new Adam".
- THE OFFICIAL NOTICE -
THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN SPLIT ATTACKED AGAIN
Just a couple of days after the letter with neo-nazi threats addressed to the Orthodox church community in Split, another violent attack occured this morning, on the 18th of January 2008, when it has been discovered that the doors and walls of the manse are full of neo-nazi and ustashi garfitti, such as: «Serbs to be butchered!» together with ustashi simbol of capital letter U with a sign of cross above it.
These disturbing events, which lately occur very frequently on the territory of the Dalmatian Diocese augur badly for the ominous time of the Second World War when a lot of people lost their lives only because of their nationality or faith.
However, it is of great concern, if there are such people, who so furiously attack Church, knowing that its mission is to preach Gospel and the values of evangelic love, which it does in the spirit od truth and peace.
If these vandals remain anonymous and unpanished, we are afraid that the whole situation might become more complicated and provoke even more sufferings.
Believers of the Serbian Orthodox Church are constantly praying to God to put an end to this present agony; and that our Lord may soften the hearts of those vandals and preclude their hate towards the Serbian Orthodox Christians, as well as towards the Jews - the nation from which Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Theotokos and all Holy Apostles originated.
Everyone who blasphems God and His sanctuaries is deprived of His blessings in this world as well as in the world that is to come. As for the matters of this world, Orthodox church community in Split, as well as, the Diocese appeal to state institutions in Croatia to protect their citizens – Orthodox Serbs, and citizens of other nationalities, so they might all live in peace and mutal understanding.
TO SERBS AND JEWS IN CROATIA
Today on the 15th of January 2008 in the late afternoon hours, church community in Split has received a letter full of national hatred and with neo-nazi threats in which it is claimed that Serbs and Jews in Croatia will and sholud be slaughtered and butchered.
In this appaling letter fascism and ustashi; Ante Pavelic and «holy» concentration camps of Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska are praised; it is also full of awful menaces such as «Serbs to be butchered», «Juden raus» and some such.
Besides, it is said in this petrifying note that Serbs in Croatia should be exterminated; and death theretas are even send to the president of Croatia Stjepan Mesic.
The police has been informed about this case and the investigation is ongoing.
HOLY LITURGY IN MONASTERY DRAGOVIĆ
On the feast of Circumcision of Our Lord and St. Basil the Great, (the 14th of January 2008) His Grace Bishop Fotije served Holy Liturgy and afterwards the office of thanksgiving at the New Year in monastery Dragović.
Namely, Monastery Dragović, an orthodox spiritual centre of Cetinska Krajina, was bulit in 1395 by the Serbs from Bosnia, who ran away from Turks. Throughout the history, this monastery was devastated and completely ruined many times, especially during the Turkish rule, but regrettably it was not spared even in this age of "democracy". After the Second World War, in 1959 monastery was sank and the artifical lake for the hydroelectric power station Peruča had been made. Besides, in the last civil war (1991-1995) the monastery was destroyed again and turned into sheepfold.
However, several years ago by the help of the Diocese, as well as by the donations of devout people intensive reconstruction of the monastery Dragović has started. At this moment the Cathedral church is being fresco painted, and this godpleasing work is led by Mr Zoran Grebenarović, academic painter from Belgrade.
Because of great significance of this sanctuary in Cetina Region, we appeal to all people of good will to help the further reconstruction of this monastery. In that way, monastery Dragović would continue its spiritual and cultural mission.
THE MONOGRAPH ABOUT THE MONASTERY KRKA
In edition of the „Istina“, publishing agency of the Dalmatian Diocese recently published monograph about the monastery Krka on Serbian and English language.