Spruce Island, known as the “New Valaam”, is where St. Herman lived from 1808-1818 in a life of prayer and strict asceticism. Although the original house he lived in no longer remains, a new house and church were built on the site of his repose. A miraculous, healing freshwater spring flows nearby. The island is also home to the monks of the St. Michael Skete, under the jurisdiction of His Grace, Bishop Maxim. Three monks are currently living in the monastery, celebrating the daily cycle of services and farming and fishing for sustinence. The monks boast an impressive vegetable garden and preserve whatever fish they catch for the cold winter months. The monastery does not have running water or refrigeration. Heating is obtained by burning the wood they must chop themselves and store in a small shed for the winter. It should be noted that the hard physical work is amplified by the very steep island terrain which is wet and rocky in the warm season, and covered by thick snow and slippery ice in the cold season.
On 28 August 2016, according to news agencies, the Albanians, mostly residents of Musutiste, blocked the road that leads to a ruined church of the Mother of God Hodigetria, on which foundations the displaced Serbs wanted to attend the Liturgy on the occasion of the feast day of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos that morning.
Protesters carried Albanian flags and shouted slogans “UÇK, UÇK” (KLA). The Albanians from Musutiste through social networks previous days had called upon their compatriots from Suva Reka and nearby villages to prevent the arrival of the Serbs to Musutiste. About 150 displaced Serbs, among whom there were also children, were in three buses and waited for safe conditions to continue their trip to Musutiste.
The Church of the Holy Transfiguration located in Novo (New) Sarajevo was attacked over the weekend. RTRS, the public broadcaster of the Serb Republic (RS), reported that the suspect will be handed over to the Sarajevo Canton Prosecution. A part of the church was set on fire when flammable material was throw inside through a window. The storage room of the temple then caught on fire, causing material damage, but no injuries. The church was previously the target of robbers, with thieves stealing icons on two occasions this year.
The faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America are busily preparing to welcome their new Archpastor, His Grace Bishop Irinej (Dobrijevic).
His Grace, who was elected in May by the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church to head the Eastern American Diocese, will be enthroned at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 1.
The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will begin at 9:30 AM, with the welcoming of the hierarchs by the clergy and faithful. It is anticipated that numerous hierarchs and other guests will be in attendance. Leading the list of dignitaries will be Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, who made adjustments to their busy schedule to be present.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy His Grace Bishop Irinej will be led to the cathedra, or throne of the Bishops of the Eastern American Diocese by His Grace Bishop Longin of New Gracanica-Midwest America as the senior Serbian Orthodox hierarch in North America. There Bishop Irinej will take his place as the fifth Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Eastern America, and deliver his first archpastoral message to his new flock. Following the services all will be welcomed for a short reception at the Cathedral.
During the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy officiated in the Cathedral of Holy Archangel Michael in Belgrade by Serbian Patriarch Irinej and concelebrating Hierarchs, the new Serbian Bishop of Australia-New Zealand Siluan (Mrakic) was consecrated Bishop.
The Primate of the Church concelebrated with 21 Hierarchs, a large number of priests and deacons. The responses were sung by the First Belgrade Singing Society. This ecclesial event was attended, amongst other prominent personalities, by the director of the Office for Relations with Churches and Religious Communities of the Serbian Government, Dr. Mileta Radojevic, as well as by Their Excellencies Mrs Julia Feeney, Australian Ambassador to Serbia, and Mr. Miroljub Petrovic, Serbian Ambassador to Australia.