Communique of the 2011 Diocesan Assembly

SERBIAN ORTHODOX DIOCESE

OF NEW GRACANICA AND MIDWESTERN AMERICA

Communique of the Diocesan Assembly

Held April 8-9, 2011

The clergy and delegates gathered at the Annual Assembly of the Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America on April 8-9, 2011, under the spiritual leadership and chairmanship of our Diocesan Bishop, His Grace Longin, alongside the regular tasks in the sqhere of work of the Annual Assembly, foreseen by the Constitution of Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, and with care for the good of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the faithful people of God, especially in the Dicoese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America, which encompasses thirteen American States in the Midwest, in its allegiance to our Holy Serbian Orthodox Church, stating the following resolutions:

1. We convey our allegiance and faithfulness to the fullness of the Serbian Orthodox Church, with thanksgiving to God and His holy blessing and mercy, which is poured on the sinful Serbian nation and protects us from spiritual destruction and from all of the temptations of this world.

2. We are thankful to our spiritual father, our Diocesan Bishop Longin for his fatherly care and efforts shown to the clergy and flock of the God-protected Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America that were given to him.

3. We owe immense gratitude to Metropolitan Christopher of blessed memory, for his great contribution towards the realization of administrative unity in the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.

4. In order to fully create complete church-administrative unity in the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, the clergy and delegates of the Annual Assembly of the Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America convey their hope that remainder of unfinished unity on the territory of the Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America will be positively decided at the next meeting of the Holy Assembly of Bishops, provided that the reorganization of the current Metropolitanate of Libertyville and Chicago and of the Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America will be completed, so that the entire territory of Midwestern America will find itself under the jurisdiction of one bishop (metropolitan). The clergy and delegates of this years meeting unifiedly agree that for the Church on this continent, there is not a better decision. Any prolonging of this decision of the resulting situation would make for the unneccessary extension of division, which would surely damage the Church. Being conscious of our oath, which dictates that we put the interest of the Church above all, we, the present participants of the Diocesan Assembly, feel that Bishop Longin, a Hierarch worthy of all praise, has done the most for the realization of church unity on this continent, and we express our hope that the most-esteemed Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church will find it beneficial to grant him the title of Metropolitan of New Gracanica and Midwestern America.

5. Consicous of the fact that in some church circles there is discussion about eventually changing the name of our Diocese, we, the participants of the Diocesan Assembly, request that our Hierarch, in accordance with the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America (Article 8, Paragraph 2), suggests that the name of our Diocese remains the same without change. We do this while respecting the fact that this Diocese was created from parishes of the former Metropolitanate of New Gracanica and the former Metropolitanate of Midwestern America, given that the changing of the name at this time would not be justified pastorally.

6. With sadness, the clergy and delegates affirm that there are still Serbs on the territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America who do not accept the church order that has already been acchieved, but instead, are requesting that the American civil courts make decisions regarding church matters. This practice is judged harshly, and those that are using these non-orthodox and non-Serbian methods are called to stop making this display of the Church for the sake of their souls and the souls of their family, but especially for the sake of the general interest of the Church and the Serbian People, since this is an unnecessary waste of funds and cause of suffering.