Communique of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of
the Serbian Orthodox Church held in Belgrade May 14-29, 2015
The regular meeting of the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church took place at the Serbian Patriarchate took place at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade from May 14 – 29, 2015 under the presidency of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej. Participating in the Assembly were all diocesan hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, with the exception of Metropolitan Nikolaj of Dabra Bosna. Also present at the Assembly for the first time since the 2011 meeting was His Beatitude Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skoplje Jovan, released a few months prior from the Skoplje Idrizovo prison in large part through the efforts of His Holiness Russian Patriarch Kirill and the Russian Orthodox Church, in cooperation with the Serbian Orthodox Church to the measure possible.
After the Ascension of Christ His disciples stayed in Jerusalem and in one room at the Zion frequently gathered and together they prayed the Lord awaiting impatiently the promised Comforter, The Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father. Matthias was voted in to replace Judas among the twelfe. On the Descent of the Holy Spirit they all were together, when bluster of wind fulfilled the house and tongues of fire appeared and fall upon the apostles. When they came out on the roof of the house, they talked and preached to the gathered people in languages they had not known before, hence all gathered, even the Jews and persons of other faith could understand them. Three thousand people believed on this day the preaching of the apostles and then baptized. This day is considered as the day when the Church of Christ was born.
In the Old Testament, Pentecost was the feast that occurred fifty days after Passover. As the Passover feast celebrated the exodus of the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, so Pentecost celebrated God's gift of the ten commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai.
In the new covenant of the Messiah, the Passover event takes on its new meaning as the celebration of Christ's death and resurrection, the "exodus" of men from this sinful world to the Kingdom of God. And in the New Testament as well, the Pentecostal feast is fulfilled and made new by the coming of the "new law," the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed as resting upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit ... (Acts 2:1–4).
The Supreme Court of New South Wales handed down its judgment today in legal proceedings commenced, with the knowledge and consent of the Holy Assembly of Bishops and the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, by His Grace Bishop Irinej and the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand against the Free Serbian Orthodox Diocese for Australia and New Zealand Property Trust Limited and its directors for breaches of a charitable trust relating to the St Sava Monastery New Kalenich located in Wallaroo, New South Wales.
By way of summary, the Court found as follows:
His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, received His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade yesterday, on 28 May 2015.
His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral and His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa attended the meeting. Cardinal Koch was accompanied by Apostolic Nuncio in Belgrade, Mons. Orlando Antonini, Archbishop of Belgrade Mr. Stanislav Hocevar, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity pater Hyacinthe Destivelle and Secretary of Apostolic Nunciature in Serbia pater Janusz Stanislaw Blachowiak.
Monastery Zica, the first see of the Serbian Archbishopric, celebrated its Church Slava, the Ascension of our Lord, on 21 May 2015 with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the ancient church, officiated by His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America.
Concelebrating were His Grace Bishop Justin of Zica and retired Bishop Atanasije of Hercegovina as well as Archimandrite Tikhon, abbot of Studenica Monastery, together with diocesan clergy and monastics. Many of the faithful gathered from throughout the diocese, as well as guests from monasteries: Chelije Piperske (Montenegro), Kovil near Ivanjica and Nikolje of Ovcar-Kablar, all of whom were joyfully welcomed by Abbess Jelena and the monastery sisterhood. During the liturgy Bishop Justin ordained Deacon Bojan Sujic from Raska to the rank of Priest.