Тhe new Diocesan Internet Web-site is available at: http://www.eparhija-prizren.com


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bishops Atanasije and Teodosije receive the head of UNMIK and the KFOR commander in Gračanica Monastery

Today (March 2), at 11 o'clock in Gračanica Monastery Bishop Atanasije, the administrator of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren, and Vicar Bishop Teodosije received Lamberto Zannier, the head of UNMIK, who was accompanied by Mrs. Elizabeth Orlando and Mr. Dmitry Shlapachenko. Mr. Zannier wished Bishop Atanasije luck in his work and expressed the hope that cooperation between UNMIK and the Serbian Orthodox Church will continue to be successful, as it has been with regard to the restoration of holy shrines destroyed in March 2004. Since the mandate of the Commission for Reconstruction, in which UNMIK officially represents Kosovo provisional institutions, expires at the end of this year, Mr. Zannier expressed readiness to assist in finding a model for continued restoration of churches, including those destroyed before March 2004, which would be acceptable to all interested parties. Bishop Atanasije thanked the guest for his understanding and cooperation so far, expressing readiness for further cooperation by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Diocese of Raška and Prizren, although he noted that he is only a temporary administrator until the meeting of the (Holy Assembly of Bishops).

Talking with KFOR Commander General Markus Bentler

Today at 2:30 p.m. in Gračanica Monastery Bishop Atanasije, the administrator of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren, and Vicar Bishop Teodosije received the KFOR commander German general Marcus Bentler and the commander of Zone “Center” Finnish general Seppo Toivonen. General Bentler stressed that KFOR remains committed to the protection of the monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, adding that KFOR will not stay in Kosovo forever and that it is therefore necessary to gradually prepare the ground for the inclusion of other types of protection for the monasteries, referring to the Kosovo Police.

Bishops Atanasije and Teodosije emphasized that there is still no confidence in the Kosovo Police by the SOC because of bad experiences in the very recent past, and that the eventual withdrawal of soldiers from those monasteries that are in Serbian regions, e.g. Gračanica, could have not only security but also political consequences that are very negative and discouraging for the entire Serbian community. The situation in the entire region and particularly in Kosovo is still unstable, said Bishop Atanasije. In the end it was concluded that all the moves related to the safety of monasteries must be coordinated between KFOR and the Serbian Orthodox Church and that, as General Bentler put it, "there cannot and will not be any surprises” in this regard nor rush in implementation. Bishop Atanasije stressed that his service as administrator is only temporary and that his mandate cannot extend to such questions, that for this reason haste would certainly be a bad thing, and that situation should remain the same as before.

This was followed by a discussion regarding the enthronement of His Beatitude Patriarch Irinej in Peć, in which KFOR is interested in order to ensure full security. It was stressed that this ceremony has been delayed until the autumn in order to carry out all necessary preparations and give guests, especially high dignitaries of the Church, the opportunity to plan their visits in a timely manner. The bishops emphasized that this event will have a primarily religious character, in order to serve the peaceful coexistence of all who live in Kosovo and Metohija. The general pledged the full support of KFOR for our Church in this regard.

Bishops Atanasije and Teodosije served the Liturgy in Velika Hoča (Sunday 28.Feb)

The administrator of the Diocese of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija Bishop Atanasije today (Feb 28) served the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the church of St. Stephen the Protomartyr in Velika Hoča with the concelebration of Vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan and a number of priests of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren. Bishop Atanasije delivered his homily to the gathered faithful, monks and nuns of the feast day of St. Gregory Palamas on the meaning of Christian life, Communion and liturgical community within the Church of Christ. The church was crowded and a lot of the children took communion.

After Holy Liturgy Bishop Atanasije distributed candy and copies of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s magazine for children, Svetosavsko Zvonce, to the children, jesting and talking with them. He then visited the Dečani wine cellar and learned about wine production in the Hoča region. Bishop Atanasije, as the newly appointed administrator of the Diocese, also met with the priests who were present.

Bishop Atanasije also visited the monastery of St. John together with Bishop Teodosije. The monastery administrator, protosingel Miron, and the brotherhood welcomed the bishops.



Monday, March 1, 2010

Bishop Teodosije receives high delegation of the Italian Parliament

His Grace Vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan received today (Mar 1) in Visoki Dečani Monastery a high delegation of the Italian parliament. Mr. Stefano Stefani, chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, led the delegation.

During discussion with the Italian parliamentarians Bishop Teodosije spoke about the problems faced by Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, especially in the realization of general human rights and property rights. Bishop Teodosije mentioned that many Serbian families, especially in Metohija, still could not recover their confiscated or usurped land, which is a form of pressure on the Serbs to sell their land. Later discussion concerned the need to protect the identity and property of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija.

The high delegation of the Italian Parliament is presently visiting Kosovo and Metohija, where it also visited the Italian forces within KFOR.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Communique of the Serbian Orthodox Church (Feb 27, 2010)

A great deal of our media published these days news that no more no less than seventeen bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church asked for calling of a extraordinary Assembly so as to discuss there about events in the Diocese of Raska and Prizren.

Actually it is a rough misinformation - one of many within this theme - which was launched by someone unkown, and everyone else started repeating it, uncritically, not even checking the news at the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church or the services of the Holy Synod. No bishop has formally asked for the convocation of extraordinary Assembly, but many, virtually all, were interested - and they are still interested in - for the development of the situation because everyone, without exception, in the first place care about peace and love , good order and unity in our Church.
The whole thing has been brought to the absurd. How and why the Assembly would discuss it before the Synod, upon the church Constitution as the first instance for resolving differences and problems of this kind, generally examine available facts and supplement them by new facts and, taking its position, present it to the Assembly? Hence,  the Assembly, in any way, is the final instance, as His Grace Bishop Artemije  rightly stressed in his statement yesterday for the KIM Radio. Does the Supreme Court, for example, engage in some court case immediately or only after it passes through all the previous court instances?

Disagreements are nothing new in the course of the history of the Church, as our local St. Sava's , as well as the Ecumenical. They are overcome conciliar and synodical, and in obedience towards the Church when it says its last word. Who chooses disobedience and self-will, he excommmunicates himself from the church community, but also from the spiritual union with His Grace Bishop Artemije. Disinformation and insinuations, no matter from who originate, cause only general damages.

February 27, 2010
in Novi Sad
Bishop of Backa
Dr. Irinej

Bishop Grigorije: Stop hurting Bishop Artemije’s case

Gračanica Monastery was visited today by Bishop Grigorije, a member of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the Minister for Religions in the Serbian Government, Bogoljub Šijaković. In a statement for KIM Radio Bishop Gregory said he is happy to be in Gračanica and by the fact he was able to talk with the bishops about everything.

"I am happy to be in Gračanica, I am happy that the bishop received us so we could talk together about everything, but I am happiest of all because of what Bishop Artemije said. I believe that this impression will be shared by many of the faithful, by Orthodox Serbs across the globe, especially our Patriarch for whom it is very difficult that his patriarchal service began with such a difficult problem. You heard what Bishop Artemije said today: he called for peace and respect for the decisions of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It would be good if all those who love him stopped hurting his case in the way they have been doing but instead helped him by peacefully and serenely praying to God for him and for our church," said Bishop Grigorije.

When asked whether he came as an intermediary or to provide support to Bishop Artemije, Bishop Grigorije said that he had primarily came to visit Kosovo and Metohija. "I came here to visit Bishop Artemije and Bishop Atanasije and Bishop Teodosije but primarily Kosovo and Metohija. Because, as our children sing, Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. If we are Serbs, then Kosovo is our heart, too," said Bishop Grigorije.

Religions minister Bogoljub Šijaković said that he feels at home in Gračanica and that he will always here. "Kosovo is not only a symbolic part of our being but also a concrete part of the territory of the Republic of Serbia, and it will guard that integrity and never neglect it no matter what happens and no matter who makes whatever decisions. Whatever the solutions are, temporary or permanent, Kosovo is within us and it cannot go anywhere without us. As for our Church in Kosovo and Metohija, we all know how important and significant it is," said Šijaković.

Source: Radio KIM, February 26, 2010

In a statement for the daily "Politika," Bishop Grigorije of Zahumlje and Herzegovina, who visited Gračanica yesterday together with the religions minister Bogoljub Šijaković, explained that he had met with Bishop Artemije and learned from him that the Bishop of Raška and Prizren does not support the public turmoil that has ensued after the decision to temporarily relieve him of his duties.

“I spoke with the Bishop for two or three hours and told him that there was a lot of misinformation, a lot of wrong, false information in the media. He explained that he does not want to participate in this and that he does not want any sort of unrest. I also made the bishop aware that people who are supposedly protecting him and his interests are creating the impression in public that he was being kept prisoner here in the monastery. Bishop Artemije explained to me that his life in the monastery is quite normal, and that he respects the decisions of the Assembly and the Synod, after which I suggested to him that he say this publicly and that we send a single message of peace together, which he accepted,” said Bishop Grigorije.


Bishop Grigorije, who visited Gračanica yesterday to convey the full support of the Church for the work of the administrator, Bishop Atanasije, told "Blic" that Bishop Artemije has demonstrated that for him the unity of the Church is beyond question.

"This is great victory for our Patriarch Irinej, who has shown determination to solve problems but who made a great sacrifice, too. Now is the time for all of us to calm down during the fast, to guard the unity of our Church as St. Sava left it for us," said Bishop Grigorije.

He added that many falsehoods were made public, and that the subtlest is the one about the request of 17 bishops for an extraordinary meeting of the Holy Assembly.

"None of them signed, while four came to discuss matters and returned to their dioceses with the knowledge that the Patriarch and the Synod acted conscientiously and responsibly," said Bishop Grigorije.

Bishop Atanasije in Kosovo Pomoravlje (Saturday, Feb 27, 2010)

The Administrator of the Raška and Prizren, Kosovo and Metohija Diocese Bishop Atanasije has visited today the clergy and the faithful in Kosovo Pomoravlje (Eastern part of Kosovo Province). Bishop Atanasije served the Holy Liturgy with eight parish priests and three deacons of the Gnjilane region at St. Elias church in the village of Cernica. In the village he was given a warm welcome by protoprebyter Fr. Dragan Kojić.

After the reading of the Holy Gospel Bishop Atanasije gave a sermon on the Gospel as Word and Truth of the Eternal Life explaining that the Holy Gospel is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Despite the difficult war and post-war years the village of Cernica in which 40 Serbian families live is demonstrating a true Serbian and Kosovo spirit based on faith and hope in the Lord. The people of Cernica offered their Bishop a warm hospitality, particularly the children whom the Bishop visited in their school, talked to them, made jokes and taught them.

At the village school Bishop Atanasije held an unforgettable lesson of history, geography, religion and the Christian ethics at the same time. In his previous visits to Kosovo Bishop Atanasije has been a frequent visitor of Cernica which became a symbol of Serbian suffering in Kosovo and Metohija.


Cernica and Binač

After his visit to Cernica Bishop Atanasije visited the church of the Holy Trinity in Parteš and the church of St. Nicholas in Binač. In Binač the people with their children and their parish priest warmly Zvonko Kostić warmly welcomed their Bishop. Their parish church has recently been reconstructed thanks to the donations of the parishioners despite their poverty and hard life. The Bishop with his priests also visited the destroyed monastery near Binač which was torched in 1999. and which will soon, God willing, be reconstructed.

Visit to Parteš

At the end of his pastoral visit to Kosovo Pomoravlje, Bishop Atanasije visited the church of St. Parasceva in Vitina.