On Friday and Saturday, April 19th & 20th of this year, Regular Annual Assembly of the Diocese of New Gracanica – Midwestern America was held at the New Gracanica Monastery, Third Lake, IL, USA. This significant session was preceded by a seminar of the priests of our Diocese.
Assembly was attended by priests, monks and laity from 46 parishes and monasteries. Aside from the regular issues concerning the spiritual, financial and material wellbeing of the Diocese, a considerable amount of time was spent on the topic of education and upbringing of the youth of our parochial Sunday schools. The Assembly opened with an inspired greeting of His Grace Bishop Longin, and it concluded with his meaningful message and invitation to all to keep working on spiritual development. The Assembly passed a Resolution in the form of a pastoral message.
The Holy Synod of Bishops at its session on 22 April 2013 decided to accept the resignation of Bishop Vasilije of Zvornik-Tuzla to the service of an active Diocesan bishop, submitted due to health reasons on 6 November 2012, and to release him from further management of the Diocese of Zvornik-Tuzla. With this, the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops from 6 November 2012 is changed, because then his resignation was provisionally accepted but he was asked to remain on duty until the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops in May 2013, in order to finish ongoing projects. Bishop Jefrem of Banjaluka is appointed an administrator of the Diocese of Zvornik-Tuzla.
From the Office of the Holy Synod
Submitted by: Bishop Irinej of Backa
Addressing the state of Serbia and the Serbian people regarding the signing of the agreement in Brussels.
Text of an agreement was signed in Brussels "on principles which regulate normalization of relations "between "Belgrade" and "Pristina", which is, of course, an euphemism in place of "Serbia and Kosovo", or between the Prime Minister of Serbia and "the Prime Minister of Kosovo," i.e. an individual from the wanted list issued by Serbia. Undeniable is impression that it represents a complete withdrawal of Serbia's institutions from the territory of its southern province and setting up limited autonomy of the Serbian community in the area to the north of the Ibar Bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica within Taci's establishment, therefore, an indirect and silent but still practical recognition of the government system in Kosovo and Metohija which is independent of Serbia's government structures. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the Serbian government agreed to an uninterrupted “European integration” process for Taci's Kosovo (without mentioning Metohija, which sounds too Orthodox and Serbian, and there is no mention of Serbia in this context), and there is no doubt that after such a prohibitive price for the famous “date on the start of accession talks”, and the talks with an unknown number of new conditions and uncertain outcome, the price of EU accession itself would probably be embodied in the formal recognition of “an independent Kosovo” by Serbia and its obligation not to interrupt “Kosovo” in getting the UN membership.
President of the Republic of Srpska Mr. Milorad Dodik met with His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch on 20 April 2013 in Banjaluka. President of the Republic of Srpska emphasized that cooperation of the institutions of the Republic of Srpska and the Serbian Orthodox Church was very good, and there were ways to extend further this cooperation. One way is with joint forces of the states and the Church, more attention to focus on the construction of schools, kindergartens and geriatric centers.
His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, served on 19 April 2013 the Divine Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts in the church of Saint Basil of Ostrog on Bezanijska Kosa. The occasion of this liturgical gathering was the confession and a brotherly meeting of the clergy of Diocesan Deanery of Belgrade-Posavina