NEWS AND EVENTS - Saturday, February 6, 2016
From the 34th Diocesan Assembly of the Canadian Diocese of the
Serbian Orthodox Church
held at Holy Transfiguration Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Milton
February 5-6, 2016.
We, the clergy, monastics and laity - representatives and delegates of all diocesan parishes and church-school congregations, gathered at the Annual Assembly at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Milton, under the omophorion of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej, administrator of the Diocese of Canada, adopt the following
R E S O L U T I O N S
1. We greet and express our faithfulness, love and respect to the fullness of the Serbian Orthodox Church embodied in the hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the homeland and diaspora and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
2. Once again we express our faithfulness to the fullness and unity of our Mother Church, gathered, through God's providence and guidance of the wise and humble successor of the Archbishops of Pec, Metropolitans of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarchs - His Holiness Irinej.
3. With ever vigilant love and accountability, we address our brotherly and sisterly greetings to all Serbs of the Orthodox faith throughout our God-protected Diocese, who, through their faith, hope and love redeem the time, not on our but God's land. In anticipation of the preparatory Sundays of Great Lent, which prepare us for the unending joy of Pascha, we wish that all of our Orthodox compatriots approach the Church, to experience the Church and to treat the Church as they would the Body of Christ, and not as if an organization created by man. It is true that the Church also has its laws and regulations, necessary for its activity in the world and among men, but the primary law of the Church was always and will always be the law of love. Only in the Church can this love kindle us, the love of Christ which surpassses reason, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19). We pray to the Lord that the words of the Holy Apostle Paul, "all things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful" (1 Cor. 10:23), will give strength to retired Bishop Georgije and all of his followers in achieving peace, love, humility and all the virtues.
4. We keep to prayer that it might keep us on the sea of this all tumultous life. But after prayer, and before Confession and Communion, let us forgive one another! Forgive and help one another, and help the Church for which we are all accountable so tthat the Church might complete its mission. Let us not seek from the Church that it be that which She by her nature can never be. The Church is neither a place for politics, nor an irresponsible feeling of ethnic belonging, and least of all is the Church a place for entertainment!
5. We particularly appeal to the faithful people of our holy Church in Canada that they avoid cooperation or polemics with the schismatic group of Mark Radosavljevic, who excommunicated himself from the Church and has taken many down that path. Among them, our former brother in Christ, Protosindjel Stefan Ikonomovski. Their followers battle the waves in a small canoe, but beside it sails the great ship which battles the waves and is anchored in the Heavenly Kingdom and according to the Lord's words the gates of hades shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18).
6. Persistent in witnessing Christ and Svetosavlje on this continent of the Lord's land, we are encouraged by the support of the bishops, priests and faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America. We experienced during these last few months unity in action and brotherly love. We celebrated the canonization of St. Sebastian of Jackson in Alhambra and St. Mardarije of Canada and America in Libertyville, where clergy and laity from the Canadian Diocese were present in significant numbers. We thank the bishops of our holy Church for their love and hospitality, Bishops Longin and Mitrophan. They visited us and reminded us of the love, concern and care of our holy Church for their children, for they prayed with us for the salvation of the God protected Dicoese of Canada and its people, faithful to the Serbian Orthodox Church.
7. With a deep sense of Christian love, but also with admiration, we especially greet today our Serbian men and women and Serbian children in Kosovo and Metohija, whose refusal of human injustice, and trust in God's justice, remain on their path which is a daily Golgotha. This world knows, even when it refuses and is not permitted to recognize, that Kosovo is Serbia even today, for according to the words of the poet: if it is theirs, why do they seek from us to have it? We are unified in our support of our Serbian Patriarch that Kosovo and Metohija never and under no conditions cannot and must not be volutarily given.
The life of every Serbian man, woman and child in Kosovo and Metohija is today like the candle which shines with the light of Christ. With that same light which laid the foundation, and shines in the cupolas of the Patriarchate of Pec, Gracanica, Decani, Devic and all the Serbian monasteries in the land which our holy ancestors received through their prayers and tears of repentance. Our courageous monks and nuns in Kosovo and Metohija, our homeland, witness to that light.
8. If we Serbs from Canada think and feel that we cannot do anymore for our ancestors, let us not then create a greater wound so that we will only sing to them. Let us sing but also let us go to meet the witnesses of the faith and the Serbian name. Let us go towards their embrace that there, in God's land, then ours and theirs, give thanks for preserving that which is not only the most valuable Serbian word, but the living wound on the suffering body of our Savior who today is also crucified. This means that the Jasenovac word is also valuable. How many relics of our Saints rest there? How many of our heroes have been thrown in the pits of Hercegovina, without monuments or cemeteries where will anyone pray to them? Throughout the Serbian land? There are many graves where prayers have not been said, but a few monuments or memorial centers. We do not have the names of the victims, but we are angry when we're called criminals. Our crime is that our victims are forgotten.
9. Let us look, brother Serbs of Canada, let us listen to our history. What is the difference between the Kosovo heroes and the heroes of our day? The first were beheaded by the world, the others the world imprisoned. With the eyes of St. Nicholas, that's how the eyes of our leaders look at us, they look at us through their prison window, but they look at us, their successors, they see us and rejoice at us for thanks to them we are still free.
10. As Canadian citizens, we send our prayers to the all-merciful God that He comfort all of those who mourn the tragedies of this world. We pray for the repose of the souls of all of those who lost their lives only because of their name and Christian faith. Concerned by the conditions under which many of our brothers in the faith live, we call for the increase of prayers for peace in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine and throughout the world. Monasteries from the 4th century are being burned in the vicinity of Baghdad and their monks are crucified on crosses. And world is silent and does not react.
11. We greet the newly elected leadership of Canada, headed by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As descendents of imigrants, immigrants to Canada, with pride we emphasize that we are citizens of the best organized country in the world. Having in mind tolerance for a difference of opinion and perspectives on life, we cannot but address the repression of traditional Christian values in our society. We appeal that the Christian principles which are weaved in the foundation of this country be respected. We oppose the violation of the moral norms through the approval of the so-called medical suicides, abortions, legalization of marijuana and the unnecessary introduction of sexual perversions to minors in elementary schools.
12. We are grateful to our Creator and Almighty for all good things with which He visited us in the past year of His Mercy, praying to Him that in this year He not forget us, and that He give us strength that at each step we witness Him and that we are never ashamed of Him and His Saints and those least of brothers in the commotion of this world which attempts all the more to take us under itself, for the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God (1 Cor. 3:19). It is up to us to put the effort, to have faith and to have hope and with all humility and meekness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love. Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:2-3).