THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH TO HER SPIRITUAL CHILDREN AT PASCHA, 2014
I R I N E J
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, MONASTICSS, 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 PASCHAL GREETING:
CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!
Today is the Spring-time of our souls,
For coming forth from the tomb,
Christ shines like the sun, Dispelling the gloom of our sins!
We will sing out to Him, for gloriously has He been glorified!
(Paschal service hymn)
When an early spring arrives after a long and cold winter, all of nature and God's creation rejoices in the sun and its warm rays and energy which illuminates and warms everything and all things without exception. Everything then glorifies the Lord, the Giver of sun and spring. So do we, dear brothers and sisters and our dear spiritual children, after a cold and terrible winter of sin, especially after the killing of the God-Man Jesus Christ on Holy Friday on Golgotha, seeing today the Resurrected Christ, do we joyfully exclaim and sing: Today is the Spring-time of our souls! Christ – the Sun of life from the East – has risen and shone from the tomb. He has expelled a dark storm of our sins! Him let us magnify for He has been glorified! That is why we are joyful today, that is why together with the angels in heaven and with all people of this world do we gloriously sing: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.
Message of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches
(Phanar, March 6-9, 2014)
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Through the grace of God, the Primates of the Most Holy Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, to the Orthodox faithful throughout the world, all of our Christian brothers and sisters as well as every person of goodwill: we extend God’s blessing and our greeting of love and peace.
“We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 1.2-3)
by the Grace of God
Bishop of the Metropolitanate of
Australia and New Zealand
The Serbian Orthodox Church
A joyous and blessed all Serbian Feast Day!
That all Serbian hearts
May be united with you,
That the Sun of peace, love –
May shine upon us all...
(Hymn to Saint Sava)
Our much beloved Clergy and Monastics, Sons and Daughters, Our dear Children of Saint Sava,
The Way of Saint Sava for us, beloved, constitutes that unique dimension of Orthodoxy amongst the Serbian people, wherein we follow the path of Saint Sava. Walking in his footsteps, he presents us with the possibility of both preserving our own identity and accepting new circumstances in life, as he unites us together in Christ and for Christ, and through Christ for the life of the world. This path is the Christlike way, the only real, true path, the path of true freedom, as we sing in the troparion of St. Sava, "the path that leads to life"!
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.