Belgrade, April 17, 2018
The capital city of Serbia saw its 5th annual pro-life march on April 7. The march is traditionally held on the feast of the Annunciation, which this year also coincided with Holy Saturday, the day before holy Pascha. The procession was organized by the international For Life! movement, reports sobor.by.
The liberal media covered the march this year for the first time and spoke about the demographic risks associated with abortion, which led to a discussion in the Serbian information sphere.
The procession, organized by For Life! was held with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia. The march traditionally leaves after the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Annunciation from the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael and processes through the center of the city to the Serbian parliament building. The participants prayerfully circle the parliament building three times, and then continue to the Church of St. Sava, where they sing an Akathist to the Mother of God.
The “Beginning of Life” campaign was held on Annunciation, April 7, last year in several regions of Russia, in neighboring countries, and in Belgrade.
A law allowing abortion was passed in Yugoslavia under the dictator Josip Broz Tito, the consequences of which have led to Serbia annually losing enough children to make up the population of a provincial city.
Archpriest Stojadin Pavlovic, rector of the Church of St. Sava and director of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s television station, addressed the participants of the march:
I wish your mission to be fruitful, so that as many people as possible will hear about the initiative you are implementing… And that every woman who could become a mother would speak those words pronounced by the Most Holy Theotokos: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Lk. 1:38). And for those who do not support the birth of children, we desire that the Crucified Lord would pray for them on behalf of all children crucified before birth, and that He would say, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Lk. 23:34).
The initiator of the Belgrade procession against abortion, Radojko Ljubičić thanked the participants and the foreign partners of the international For Life! movement:
We hope that a ban on abortion will be adopted in Serbia, Russia, and Belarus in the nearest future, because we know that human life begins from the moment of conception. Because we know that human life begins at conception. It is already known that abortion was permitted under the Communists... that it had never happened before in our history, even in pre-Christian times. And now we want to remove this law, the law of Lenin in the Soviet Union, the law of Joseph Broz Tito in Yugoslavia, because a lot of children are suffering, because we don’t have enough people, because our main resource is people; we need to fight for human rights from the moment of conception, we need children! And it is now a civil, public battle, it takes place with the blessing of the Church. And we hope to win in order to respect the sanctity of life, the sanctity of every human being.
For Life! has campaigned against abortion in 450 cities in 103 regions of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus for the past 7 years, and Serbia has been involved since 2013.
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