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Today’s Serbs in Croatia

Around 30,000 Serbs on Croatian territory were converted to Catholicism, since the end of the war until today, said Milojko Budimir from the Association of Refugee Associations of Serbs from Croatia, reported Blic.

According to him, about 30,000 Orthodox Serbs in Croatia were converted to Catholicism since the operation “Storm” in 1995 until today, and the fact that a large number of those who marked Orthodox Easter no longer declare themselves as Serbs, but as Croats of Orthodox religion, is especially troubling. “It is of special concern that during the last census, of 200,000 people, 40,000 declared themselves as Serbs of the Orthodox religion, and 160,000 only that they are of the Orthodox religion. This means that after so-called Croatian Orthodox community was established, the goal was to present Serbs in Croatian Orthodox religion,” warns Budimir and adds that he believes that Croatian Orthodox community was established precisely to once again divide remaining Serbs in Croatia. Director of Documentation and Information Center “Veritas”, Savo Strbac, believes that Budimir does not exaggerate the estimates which are probably based on the data from Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), the daily writes. “Older Serbs in large urban areas, such as Zagreb, Rijeka, Zadar, convert to Croatians, while mostly children and the elderly who live in the villages are converted to Catholicism. A priest from Zagreb, who returned after “Storm” told me that for a long time his only job was to issue Serbian children of Orthodox religion certificates that they have been baptised in the Orthodox Church. With the certificate and the consent of one parent, they could only go through the ritual in the Catholic and the ritual of the sacred chrism and convert to Catholicism without re-baptism,” said Strbac. The main reason for this, Strbac told Blic, is that people did not want their children to experience trauma at school, where they were bullied by other children because they are Serbs. “The hardest thing are children’s tears. This is why I do not blame those Serbs that have renounced their religion and nation. They did not do this under any legal compulsion, they did it so that their children would not experience trauma,” said Strbac.


Statement on the One-Year Anniversary of the Bishops Abducted in Syria

1. We, the Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, representing millions of Orthodox Christians, express our grave concern over the escalation of unrest and ongoing violence in countries throughout the Middle East, especially in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.
2. Our Assembly denounces any and all attacks—whether by means of violence, kidnapping, torture or killing—on all fellow human beings, irrespective of their race, ethnic origin, and religion. Moreover, we deplore the destruction of all places of worship or their forced conversion from their original intent.
3. We are especially disheartened at the inexcusable indifference and unjustifiable inaction of local and national governments, which have failed to protect the Christian population in these regions. We are also gravely troubled that representatives of the ancient Christian communities in Syria are not included in the peace and reconciliation process. Christians in Iraq, Egypt, and Syria have peacefully coexisted with people of all faiths in the region for two thousand years. As such, they must be respected and included in all decisions toward social and political justice.
4. One year ago, on April 22, 2013, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi (brother of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch) and the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim, both of Aleppo, Syria were kidnapped by Islamist extremists during a joint philanthropic mission in the region. With sorrowful hearts we recognize a growing lack of interest on the part of civil authorities to assist in the recovery of the two Christian leaders. We encourage all people of good conscience to communicate with their elected officials and ask
them to assist in the effort to find and retrieve the two bishops. We implore the Holy Great-Martyr Saint George, the patron of Christians of
the Middle East and upon the eve of whose Feast the Hierarchs were kidnapped, to intercede for their salvation and safe return.
Moreover, we appeal to the world’s 2.2 billion Christians, as well as to all people of faith and good will, and ask them to keep the two bishops in their daily thoughts and prayers. We also ask the Orthodox Christian faithful of our Assembly’s region to offer a special petition during the Great Litany of all divine services during this 40-day Season of Pascha. Before the petition commemorating the Most Holy
Mother of God, we ask that the following petition be included:
For the safety of Metropolitan Paul and Archbishop John and for their return to their communities, let us pray to the Lord.
The Members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America

Jubilee in Cudahy, WI

On Saturday, May 10th, 2014, His Grace Bishop Longin, accompanied by several priests, served a Hierarchal Liturgy thus on the 50th anniversary of Saint Nikola Parish in Cudahy, WI. At the same time, this was the 50th anniversary of Fr. Marko Todorovic’s priestly service in the same parish. Protojerej-stavrofor Marko Todorovic is also the hierarchal deputy for the Diocese of New Gracanica – Midwestern America.
This was a unique jubilee. Parish board, headed by the reverend celebrant, Prota Marko, organized the celebration splendidly. Everything was prayerful and dignified, as it is due to such an important anniversary.


Diocesan Days 2014



Please meet our speaker for the Diocesan Days and the Diocesan Assembly

To be held between June 12 and 15, 2014

Fr. Michael Oyer is an archpriest of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia – Bulgarian Patriarchate. He and his wife, Christina, are American converts and Fr. Michael has served as the Rector of Holy Dormition Orthodox Church in Santa Rosa, CA over the past 24 years. He received his Master’s Degree in Patristic Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.  Fr. Michael is a co-founder of St. Paisius Missionary School which has provided yearly Orthodox conferences, seminars and retreats since 1995, one of which is the August annual Spiritual Retreat at New Graçanica Monastery.

Holy Resurrection Cathedral Hosts Inaugural Teen Overnight Retreat

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chicago, IL

On the eve of Lazarus Saturday/Vrbica the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Chicago, IL hosted its first annual teen overnight retreat. Six girls attended this event, which provided a good mix of religion, culture, and socialization with friends.

The evening started off with Presanctified Liturgy, served by Fr. Vasilije Vranic and Dcn. John Charest (Ukrainian Orthodox Church). Retreat participants read from the Old Testament during this service. After the service, a Lenten meal was provided and there was a general religious discussion. After dinner, Fr. Vasilije gave a presentation on his trip to the Holy Land during Holy Week 2013, which was well received and enjoyed by all in attendance. Other evening activities included a round of “Holy Resurrection Jeopardy” and a scavenger hunt inside our Cathedral.

The next morning started off with Divine Liturgy served by Fr. Darko Spasojevic and Fr. Vasilije Vranic. After Liturgy, a Lenten breakfast was served, followed by a presentation entitled “Lazarus and the Friendship of God” by Nenad Djordjevic.

Retreat attendee Anastasija Iglendza remarks:

I along with five other teenage girls attended the first annual teen retreat at the church hall. I enjoyed every aspect of it from the jeopardy game and scavenger hunt, to the guest speaker Nenad Djordjevic and the talk about Holy Land. Not only was it fun for us because it felt like camp all over again, but also we learned new things about our faith, church, and religion. I’m sure that all the teens that attended this awesome event can agree that we had such a great time, that we wish to see this happen again once again during this year. We also hope to see some more boys and girls next time this happens because you definitely won’t regret going! Thank you to all the people that helped organize this amazing retreat!”

This retreat concluded just as our Cathedral’s annual youth Vrbica retreat began. Most of our overnight retreat participants stayed to help with our second retreat of the day.

All in all, our inaugural teen overnight retreat was a success and we plan on another in the future. Many thanks given to Fr. Vasilije Vranic and Zora Voynovich for their efforts in this endeavor, in addition to all the volunteers who helped to make this retreat possible.

John Buffalini

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Holy Resurrection Cathedral Hosts 5th Annual Vrbica Retreat for Children

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chicago, IL

On Vrbica (Saturday, April 12), the Holy Resurrection Cathedral of Chicago hosted its 5th annual Vrbica children’s retreat. Around 90 children attended this event, which promoted both religion and fellowship among Serbian Orthodox youth.

The day started with a prayer, where all children beautifully recited Oce Nas from memory. Then, participants were separated into age groups and commenced the activities of the day. First, children received religious instruction by all three of our cathedral clergy. Their talks focused on the resurrection of Lazarus and the importance this lesson and why we celebrate Lazarus Saturday.

After religion, it was arts and crafts time, where participants created a rendition of Golgotha and the empty tomb of Christ. Wheat was planted, so that by the time of Pascha, it will grow and symbolize the new life that Christ brings to us.

The educational portion of the retreat concluded with a music lesson by Popadija Jelena Vranic. Popadija taught the children to sing responses for the Vespers service and also the troparion of Lazarus Saturday. Immediately after music class, the children proceeded to church for the Vrbica vespers and procession around the church. Children carried their palms and pussy willows around our Cathedral while ringing their bells and singing the troparion they had just learned. It was a beautiful sight and we are very blessed to have so many youth in our parish.

The retreat ended with a potluck dinner where parents and their children were able to continue the fellowship.

Special recognition is deserved by retreat leaders Popadija Jelena Vranic and Zora Voynovich, in addition to all the clergy, teachers, group leaders, and parents for their support with this wonderful project.

John Buffalini


IOCC Book Distribution to Schools in Need

IOCC Book Distribution to Schools in Need

On Tuesday, April 29, 2014 the Kroc Center in Chicago hosted the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and its guests at the blessing of books for schools and students in need. His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Church led the clergy and faithful in a joyful prayer, blessing the books that they may bring joy and the Glory of God to those who use them.

One of the schools to benefit from the IOCC’s generous work is St. Sava Academy in Chicago, IL. St. Sava Academy was represented by Reverend Vasilije Vranic, PhD who serves at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, the school’s sponsor Church, and Reverend Deacon John Charest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church who teaches grades 3, 4, and 5 at the academy. This is the second year that the IOCC has helped St. Sava Academy in the way of donating textbooks and library books.

Rev. Deacon John Charest


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Major David Harvey of the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center greeting representatives of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago during a reception to receive and bless books provided by IOCC on April 29, 2014.

Archbishop Nicolae blesses books provided by IOCC on behalf of Orthodox Christians to after school programs, tutoring and mentoring programs in Chicago on April 29, 2014.

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