Statements

Press release of the Holy Synod of Bishops

The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church strongly condemns the latest persecution of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro and last night's arrest of His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlye-Niksic and seven priests by the Montenegrin authorities, that  under the false pretext of fighting the coronavirus, have been using the opportunity to confront the Serbian Orthodox Church and her faithful people.

The Holy Synod of Bishops calls upon the authorities in Montenegro to stop persecuting the Church and to finally start behaving in accordance with the norms of civilization, according to which free confession of faith is one of the most important rights of every individual.

At the same time, the Holy Synod of Bishops expresses great concern over the aggravation of the situation in Montenegro and hopes that the Serbian people, as before, will act peacefully and will not respond to provocations by the then authorities that obviously want a conflict so as to accuse the Orthodox Church and her believers.

It is clear to anyone who is reasonable and well-meaning that sobriety and prudence should be preserved in these moments, and above all we should pray to God that peace prevails in Montenegro and that the innocent Bishop Joanikije and his priests be released from custody immediately.

The Holy Synod of Bishops
of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Press Release of the Episcopal Council of the Orthodox Church in Montenegro

Press Release of the Episcopal Council of the Orthodox Church in Montenegro

The Day of Miraculous Saint Basil of Ostrog – His glory and mercy! – is, for centuries now, a day of а great gathering of the people in Montenegro. During the previous decades, it was a celebration day of all religious kinds in the city of Nikšić gathering a large number of believers. In particular, there has always been a public mass (perhaps like nowhere else among Christian Orthodox) prayer procession, which has been led by the clergy on the streets of Niksic since 1996. On this year's Saint Basil Day people gathered as well, but this time spontaneously: first, in the Ostrog Monastery and then in city of Niksic with the blessing of St. Basil Himself, without the invitation of the bishop and the clergy.

Serbian Patriarch Irinej had a telephone conversation with President Vucic

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Aleksandar Vucic and His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej have had a telephone conversation. The joint statement of the two cabinets has been given below:

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Aleksandar Vucic and His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej have expressed great concern over the detention of His Grace Joanikije, Bishop of Budimlije and Niksic, and priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, hoping that our people will act peacefully and calmly in these moments when it would be unreasonable to get involved in any riots or conflicts.

Serbian Patriarch Irinej reminds that the culmination of the hostile attitude of the state authorities of Montenegro towards the Serbian Orthodox Church has begun with the adoption of the controversial Law on Freedom of Religion and flagrant ignoring of the requirements of the Serbian Orthodox Church for having equal position with all the other churches and religious communities and for enjoying the protection of rights that our Church has been having for centuries. The fact that the adopted law has made a great displeasure of our people at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, and that the Bishop and the priests have been arrested and detained now, is the very proof that the Serbian Orthodox Church is being persecuted by the Montenegrin state authorities.

President Vucic has given full support to the Serbian Patriarch Irinej and the bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro in their efforts to resolve all the problems they face through dialogue, peacefully, with full respect for the rights and freedoms of the Serbian Orthodox Church and expressed his hope that Bishop Joanikije and the arrested priests will be released in the shortest possible time.

Patriarchal Paschal Encyclical 2020

The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Pascha, 2020

+IRINEJ

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 Paschal greeting:

Christ is Risen!

This is the day of Resurrection; let us be illumined by the feast!
Let us embrace each other joyously! Let us say even to those
who hate us: Let us forgive all by the Resurrection;
and so let us cry: Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

[The Stichera of Pascha from Matins]

Here we are, dear brothers and sisters and dear spiritual children, in the festivity and joy of the great Feast Day: Pascha. Today is the Feast Day of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us rejoice and celebrate! Pascha is our greatest feast day, the feast of the victory of Life over death, God over Satan, Man, in Christ Jesus, over sin. Christ is risen from the dead! Let us say it to all and make glad all and everyone, even those who hate Him, the Resurrected God Man, and us, His inheritance here on earth, and those who do not believe and still doubt that He is the Redeemer and Savior of the world.

Telephone conversation between the Serbian President and the Serbian Patriarch

The President of the Republic, Aleksandar Vucic, had a telephone conversation with His Holiness Irinej, the Patriarch of Serbia. After the conversation, the joint statement of the two cabinets was issued:

President Vucic pointed out that he understood the need of the people and the Church to celebrate the greatest Christian feast-day, the Resurrection of Christ, for which the Holy Synod, with paternal care for their faithful, asked the state authorities. However, due to the current epidemiological situation in Serbia and consequent observing of the measures and instructions prescribed by the professionals, it is impossible to abolish the ban on movement during the curfew.