Moscow, May 29, 2017
The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church recently finished a session at the Patriarchate of Peć and Belgrade, held on May 14 to 24 under the chairmanship of Patriarch Irinej. The bishops discussed many issues concerning, first of all, the Church’s mission in modern society, and the problems of the spiritual revival of the nation, reports Sedmitza.
The most important of the Synod’s decisions was to canonize several saints and add five new dates to the liturgical calendar:
1. Patriarch Paisy (Yanevts) of Peć, who will be celebrated on October 2/15;
2. Archimandrite Stefan Jovanovic, who will be added to the calendar as Venerable Stefan Tronoshsky and celebrated on September 4/17;
3. The martyrs Metropolitan Vikenty of Skopje (Krdzhicha) and Igumen Vladimir (Protich), killed at the hands of Bulgarian occupants in Surdulica, who will be celebrated on May 16/25;
4. The brutally murdered martyrs of Piva, who will be celebrated on May 25/June 7, and the martyrs of Velić and Gornepolima, who will be celebrated on July 15/28;
5. The monk Jacob (Dr. Radoe Arsović in the world), who will be added to the calendar as Venerable Jacob of New Tumansk, who will be celebrated on August 8/21.
The synod also joined the primates of other Local Churches in standing against the recently proposed anti-Orthodox draft laws in Ukraine. The council of bishops sent a letter of support and prayerful solidarity to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow concerning the discrimination and hardships faced by the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of the largest and only canonical Church in Ukraine—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
In the letter, draft bills #4128 and #4511 are referred to as “unprecedented discrimination against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church” and “open persecution against the majority of Ukrainian citizens, or the denial of their freedom of conscience and their right to belong (or not belong) to the church or religious community to which they want to belong (or not belong).”
Thus, the Serbian faithful will increase their prayers for the suffering brethren in Ukraine, and “as a sign of fraternal solidarity with the great martyric holy Russian Orthodox Church,” Patriarch Irinej and the Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church stated that they will send messages concerning the situation to religious, cultural, political, and public figures, and international organizations.
It was also decided to establish a department for supporting the sanctity of marriage and family, a department for bioethics, and a department for monitoring the activities of heretical organizations, sects, and non-canonical groups. The bishops also supported the construction of a memorial center in the Staro Sajmište district of Belgrade, where a WW2 concentration camp was located, dedicated to Serbian victims of the 20th century, including Jews, Gypsies, and all peoples who suffered.
The bishops also rejoiced to hear a report on the recent discovery of the incorrupt relics of St. Mardarije at St. Sava’s Monastery in Libertyville, IL. It was decided that the centenary of his arrival to America would be officially celebrated July 14 and 15.