ENCYCLICAL OF THE HOLY AND GREAT COUNCIL OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
With a hymn of thanksgiving, we praise and worship God in Trinity, who has enabled us to gather together during the days of the feast of Pentecost here on the island of Crete, which has been sanctified by St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, and his disciple Titus, his “true son in the common faith” (Tit 1.4), and, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to conclude the sessions of this Holy and Great Council of our Orthodox Church – convened by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, by the common will of Their Beatitudes the Primates of the most holy Orthodox Churches – for the glory of His most holy Name and for the great blessing of His people and of the whole world, confessing with the divine Paul: “Let people then regard us thus: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor 4.1).
On the occasion of the tragic events in Istanbul, during which dozens of innocent victims suffered, His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, sent sincere condolences to His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey.
Telegram of condolences to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew:
On the occasion of the tragedy at the airport in Istanbul, that took many lives, please accept Our sincere condolences.
Serbian Patriarch Irinej
THE HOLY SYNOD OF BISHOPS OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
Syn. No. 840
15th June 2016
C O M M U N I Q U E
In brotherly love, while with responsibility and hopes preparing for the participation in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, which, God willing, is to be held at the Orthodox Academy at Crete around the Pentecost, from 17 until 26 June 2016, the Holy Synod of Bishops in its broader composition at its session held at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade, on June 15, 2016, regarding the situation created after the ordinary convocation of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, passes the following decision:
First of all, having in mind the importance and significance of the Council, our Church wants, in a spirit of ecclesial upbuilding, to contribute in the way that also this Holy and Great Council fulfills criteria and the measure of true Councils in the history of the Orthodox Church and justifies its title.
On the other hand, our Church requests that problems and matters not only of the Serbian Orthodox Church, but also of the other most Holy Churches that cancelled their participation in the Council, be considered at that Council.
With this aim in mind, the Holy and Great Council should last as long as these questions have not been considered, and it cannot be a hostage of in advance layed out and accepted rules. Exclusively with the full consensus the Council can be considered as Holy and Great Council.
At last, our Church insists that the gathering on the island of Crete be a beginning of a Conciliar process, that the matters in question should be solved during its working process, but in the spirit of synodic tradition of the Church of Christ.
In case that the Churches present at the Council, with the Ecumenical Patriarchate at head, persist in the position that the absent Churches without a real reason boycott the work of the Council, and in case that the already present Churches reject to take into consideration all the matters in question, problems and disagreements, the representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the Council will be, regretfully, forced to leave the sessions of that Council and in that way join the Churches that are already absent.
This is by no means a threat or ransom, but a consequent implementation of the position and decisions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church held in May 2016.
In the spirit of our ecclesial and pastoral responsibility, we present these positions hoping in the illuminating action of the All-Holy Spirit.
Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade - Karlovci
and Serbian Patriarch
President of the Holy Assembly of Bishops
sign. I R I N E J
The regular meeting of the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church began at the Patriarchate of Pec monastery with the joint serving of the holy hierarchical Divine Liturgy and the invocation of the Holy Spirit and continued in Prizren with the rite of consecration of the renovated Prizren Seminary. Afterward, all regular meetings, under the presidency of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej, were held in Belgrade. Participating in the Assembly were all diocesan hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church with the exception of Bishop Lavrentije of Sabac who, out of justifiable reasons, was not able to attend.
The most important theme of this year’s Assembly was preparation of the Serbian Orthodox Church to take part in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, to meet this June in Crete. Regarding this forthcoming pan Orthodox Council, the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, adopted a document expressing their principle position on all major issues to be discussed and decided upon at the Great Council.
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.
The Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava in New York City, an architectural treasure listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a New York City landmark, was tragically destroyed by a fire on Sunday, May 1, 2016, on Easter, the holiest day for Eastern Orthodox Christians.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Designed by noted architect Richard Upjohn and begun in 1842, the church was consecrated in 1855 as Trinity Chapel until it was sold to the Serbian community in 1943. Celebrated author Edith Wharton was married in this church, and Nikola Tesla, world-renowned scientist and inventor, was memorialized with a bronze bust, which miraculously sustained no damage. To date, the Orthodox community has spent over $4.5 million dollars to restore and improve the complex, which had continued to serve the needs of its parishioners and community through war and peace, tragedy and joy.