The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Christmas, 2013
By the Grace of God Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Christmas greeting:
Peace from God! Christ is Born!
“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord”
(St. Luke 2:10-11)
With these words, dear brothers and sisters, our dear spiritual children, the angel of the Lord appears to shepherds in Bethlehem and delivers to them the great joy that Christ the Lord and Savior is born. Despite the great fear they felt because of the angel’s appearance among them, they were illuminated by the glory of the Lord. The angel also announces this same great joy of the all-joyous Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ to us who are gathered in the holy churches, in our homes, in the hospitals and other establishments, those who are on the roads and work places. Knowing this, instead of fear and wonder, let us rejoice and be glad, together with all the heavenly powers, and let us submit ourselves to the glory of the Lord! May it fill and completely overtake us all as once it did the shepherds in Bethlehem of Judea!
The World Council of Churches (WCC ) has expressed deep concern over the issue of respect for the rights of Orthodox believers in Kosovo and also the FYR Macedonia. During the General Assembly the Council issued a public Statement about the politicization of religion and the rights of religious minorities, stating:
"The Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia categorically denied the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric the right to register as a religious community. The government’s involvement in the legal system of the country resulted in the unlawful confinement of the head of this Church. Lately, Kosovo has been faced with the systematic destruction of over 100 Orthodox Christian holy shrines, as well as reviewing the history in terms of their cultural background, which endangers the existence of the Orthodox Serbs."
WCC urged governments of all countries to strengthen mechanisms that would ensure the survival and protection of the rights of religious minorities. Furthermore, states are encouraged to implement anti-discrimination laws to protect individuals and communities who are persecuted for professing their faith.
Legal proceedings for the return of The St. Sava Monastery
The Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church (Metropolitanate) has made several attempts to resolve the litigation against the Free Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese for Australia and New Zealand Property Trust and its management over the St Sava Monastery in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
The official regular session of the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) to be held between 4-11 September 2013 in Novi Sad
Hosted by the Serbian Orthodox Church, this significant convention which summons more than 30 notable dignitaries, professors and theologians from both Churches is being held in a congress hall of the hotel Centar in Novi Sad, being organized by the Diocese of Backa. The topic of this year’s theological dialogue, as well as during former regular conventions of the International Commission, is the issue of identity and meaning of human being in Jesus Christ including also the relation of the Christian anthropology towards burning questions of the modern age such as, for instance, questions of bioethics, genetic engineering, sex identity, euthanasia, ecology or issues related to social-political sphere and human rights, and the issues of hunger, inequality, slavery, wars between peoples, nations and countries, changes in psychological structures of individuals and families exposed to marginalization, loneliness, violence, drugs, and other media propaganda.
The Conference of European Churches urges Prime Minister Gruevski for immediate release of Archbishop Jovan!9. July 2013 - 16:20
The Conference of European Churches, which from 3rd to 8th July held its 14th General Assembly in Budapest, at the end of its work issued an announcement in regard to the arresting and the imprisonment of His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, by the authorities of R. Macedonia.
The announcement states:
The Assembly of CEC has learned with great concern about the arrest and detention of Archbishop Jovan in R. Macedonia. It is believed that his detention is a result of him exercising his human right of religious freedom. Reaffirming that freedom of religion and belief is a fundamental right guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human rights and the European Convention on Human Rights to which R. Macedonia is a party.
14th General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) started its work in Budapest on 3 July 2013. On this Assembly are present 470 participants of which 220 are delegates with the right to vote and who represent 120 registered Churches and religious communities: Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants and Old-Catholic. Roman Catholic Church is not an official member of CEC, but actively participate in the work of CEC through the Council of the Bishop’s Conference of Europe.