His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, awarded the Sretensky Stauropegic monastery from Moscow with the Order of Saint Sava of the Second Degree on 18 May 2016.
The high award of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the hands of His Holiness was received by hieromonk Ignatiy Shestakov, co-brother of the Sretensky monastery (Meeting of Jesus in the Temple). Namely, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, upon the suggestion of His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren, awarded the Sretensky Monastery from Moscow with the order of Saint Sava for the love towards the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian people expressed in granting unselfish aid during the restoration of the Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Prizren. The ceremony at the Patriarchate Court in Belgrade was attended by Hierarchs summoned at the regular convocation of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The monastic brotherhood of Dechany led by its abbot, Very Venerable Archimandrite Sava, welcomed His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej and Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, on the occasion of the beginning of the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, on the afternoon on 14 May 2016.
On the next day, on the Sunday of the 15th of May 2016, hierarchs officiated the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral church of Saint Great Martyr George in Prizren, and performed the rite of consecration of the renovated buildings of the Theological Seminary of Sts Cyril and Methodius in Prizren.
The working sessions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops will commence at the Patriarchate Palace in Belgrade on May 16, 2016.
His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, officiated the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy with the conciliar concelebration of the hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the Patriarchate of Pec on 14 May 2016. They all gathered on the occasion of the beginning of the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Following the Holy Liturgy the rite of the Invocation of the Holy Spirit was performed for the blessed and successful work of the Assembly. His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije held a speech, after which he served on the monastery's cemetary a commemoration for abbesses and nuns of blessed repose of the Great Laura of the Patriarchate of Pec.
His Holiness and bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church were welcomed by the clergy and monks of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, led by Bishop Teodosije. His Holiness will officiate the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy with the rite of the Invocation of the Holy Spirit in the church of Holy Apostles at the Great Laura of the Patriarchate of Pec, when this year's regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops will begin.
Saint Basil, Bishop of Zakholmsk, was born of pious parents in the sixteenth century in the Popov district of Herzegovina. At the age of maturity he left his parental home and settled in the Trebinsk monastery in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, and became a monk.
For his virtuous life the saint was elevated to be Bishop of Zakholm and Skenderia. He occupied the bishop’s cathedra in the second half of the sixteenth century, a successor to Bishop Paul and predecessor of Bishop Nicodemus. St Basil was a good pastor of the flock of Christ, and the Lord strengthened his discourse with various miracles. For the sanctifying of soul with the wisdom of holy ascetic fathers, the saint journeyed to Athos. St Basil died peacefully and was buried in the city of Ostrog in Chernogoria on the border with Herzegovina.
To all Diocesan Clergy, Church-School Congregation Boards and Faithful
Dear Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy and our dear Serbian Orthodox faithful,
Christ is Risen!
As you certainly all know, our entire Diocese, and indeed our entire Serbian Orthodox Church, suffered a terrible and tragic loss on the very day of the Holy Pascha of our Lord with the destruction of our cathedral church of St. Sava in New York City. While the church building is a total loss, we rejoice and thank God that there were no serious injuries or loss of life. The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the New York Fire Department, and we await their findings.
Nonetheless, our Serbian Orthodox brothers and sisters in the New York area have lost their spiritual home, the heart of their religious and national life. Their loss is personal for them, deeply emotional and truly tragic. Yet, even as the embers of the temple still smoldered, the community expressed its determination to continue its church life there. The building is gone, but the living church remains, and its members need our prayers and our support, both spiritual and financial.