NEWS AND EVENTS - Friday, June 20, 2014
SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA
DIOCESE OF NEW GRACANICA – MIDWESTERN AMERICA
We, the clergy, monastics and delegates of the church-school communitites of the Diocese of New Gracanica – Midwestern America, lead by our Diocesan Bishop – His Grace, Bishop of New Gracanica – Midwestern America, Longin, gathered at the Monastery of the Protection of the Theotokos – New Gracanica on the 13th and 14th of June 2014 at the regular annual diocesan assembly, deliver the following
1) First and foremost, we send our prayerful thanksgiving to the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit for all the gifts which He, through His wisdom, richly pours out upon our bishop, priests, monastics and all the Christ-loving descendants of Saint Sava, who are striving to not only remain but to also grow and strengthen in the faith of their ancestors.
2) We express out faithfulness to His Holiness Patriarch Irinej as well as to all of our bishops and to the fulness of the Serbian Orthodox Church, in homeland and diaspora.
3) As an unbreakable part of our Mother Church and Serbian National being, we express our prayerful unity with the suffering people in Kosovo and Metohija, especially with the clergy and monastics of the region who remain dedicated to the very end in Christ.
4) Finding ourselves close, timewise and emotionally, to the horrific consequences of the recent floods which occurred in Serbia, Bosnia and parts of Croatia, we pray to the Almighty God that He visit, by His Grace, all those who are suffering, and to deliver comfort and hope to all who lost their homes and everything else they had worked for for decades, in this unprecedented calamity. At the same time, we appeal to all the faithful of our diocese and to all the people of goodwill, our American friends and colleagues of all faiths, to alleviate as much as they can this great tragedy that has befallen our people in the old country. We especially allude to our faithful Serbian Orthodox People to never forget that “that which is there,” in the old country, still belongs not just to the love, but also care of all of us wherever we may be on this planet. Serbian Orthodox Church was always with her people, especially the suffering ones. May the Lord repay all those who have already made an effort to deliver, via our diocese, their assistance to the flood victims, but at the same time we also pray that He warm the hearts of those who have not done so yet so they may also give a hand of Christian charity to the known and unknow brothers and sisters, and to all our children.
5) In a fatherly, brotherly and sisterly manner we ask all of the Saint Sava's children on the territory of our God-preserved diocese not to estrange themselves from their Church, the only true mother of the Serbian nation, but to grow in the faith by living the Sacramental life, partaking of the Communion of the crucified and resurrected Christ who is the only One that can gather the scattered, make wise the unwise and give us the joy which this world cannot give us, but cannot take away from us either. We especially ask the Serbian spouses and parents to preserve the sanctity of marriage and family in this time of ubiquitous degradation of the marital and family morals. All of us, especially our children, living in the modern western world are exposed to tremendous trials presented by this society which has become materialistic, consumerist and hedonistic to an extreme, and which not only departs from Christ more and more every day, but is day by day more openly against Christ. The Orthodox worldview does indeed include that which is most needed in the life of a modern man – joy. But our joy always needs to be the joy of a pure heart and an honorable life. Alongside with joy, the Orthodox worldview also implies readiness to suffer for Love, Truth and Justice of Christ. Let us not abandon our children to the volatile and lethal traps and byways which they face today within the so-caled virtual reality. Let us reveal the reality and beauty of a life in Christ and the Saints to our children. This reality is always in love for God and neighbor, if necessary to the point of suffering. The Church always was and remains the Pillar and fortress of truth. To identify with the voice of the Church, the Church as the Body of Christ, is more necessary today than at any other time before.
6) Last but not least, we remind, ask and beseech all the faithful of our diocese not to neglect the stewardship program, both in regards to the needs of their local parishes and the diocese. Let us not forget that the bishop, as the presiding liturgist and the diocese which we are a part of, are the only guarantee of our unity with the entire Orthodox world.