Sunday, 19 April 2020

Serb Orthodox Dignitaries Hold Easter Service in Zagreb

ZAGREB, April 19, 2020 - During his sermon in Zagreb on Sunday on the occasion of Easter observed in line with the Julian calendar, the Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana Porfirije called on the faithful to cease being afraid, as Jesus Christ defeated death.

The dignitary also called on human beings, who, he said, have alienated themselves from God, to come back to Him.

The Easter service was held in a chapel in the Serb Orthodox Church spiritual centre. For the first time in the history of the Serb Orthodox community in the city, the service was not held in the Serb Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration in downtown Zagreb which was severely damaged in the 22 March earthquake.

Also, apart from Porfirije and two more priests, there were no worshippers to attend the Mass due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

In his sermon, Porfirije also underlined that "today we are aware that we are not created to hate but to love."

He went on to say that fears felt by human beings are a consequence of the fear of death, however "our Lord defeated death and the fear of death."

During the religious service, the Easter message of the patriarch of the Serb Orthodox Church Irinej was read out.

In that message, Patriarch Irinej called on the faithful to pray to God to save humankind from the current COVID-19 epidemic and other troubles.

He called on believers to think about their Serb Orthodox brethren in Kosovo and Montenegro, who, he said, are exposed to suffering and injustice.

More Easter news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Officials Extend Easter Greetings to Orthodox Believers

ZAGREB, April 18, 2020 - With the traditional greeting "Khristos voskrese!", President Zoran Milanović on Saturday extended best wishes to citizens who celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar.

"The holiday of Easter teaches that, despite all setbacks and hardships, there are always hope and solutions for a better tomorrow if its significance is accepted genuinely and with full faith. May the significance of this, the biggest Christian holiday be an incentive to seek new strength for personal growth and to us all an incentive to better cooperation, mutual understanding and tolerance," the president said.

Recalling the responsibility of all citizens for the creation of a functioning society which respects dialogue and diversity, he wished that believers who celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar spend it merrily and peacefully with their dearest ones.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Saturday extended Easter greetings to believers who celebrate it according to the Julian calendar on his and the government's behalf, wishing them plenty of peace, faith, hope and unity.

"In the spirit of the biggest Christian holiday, which encourages us before all life's challenges, I wish you and your families an abundance of peace, hope and unity. May you spend this Easter time in an atmosphere of solidarity, patience and responsibility," the prime minister wrote in his note, wishing everyone a happy and blessed Easter.

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković also extended Easter greetings to Orthodox believers in Croatia on his and parliament's behalf, wishing that the Easter light give them strength, faith, hope, interior peace, health and joy of living.

"The resurrection of Jesus is the basis of the Christian faith and spirituality. It symbolises the victory of life over death, light over darkness, good over evil," he wrote in his note.

At a time when we are faced with a big crisis which has put our way of life to the test and which requires many sacrifices of us so that we can preserve first and foremost our own health and safety, as well as those of our nearer and wider community, the resurrection of Jesus should give us additional life encouragement, Jandroković wrote.

"Therefore, I wish for the Easter light to give you strength, faith, hope, interior peace, health and the joy of living. May it especially encourage you to closeness, solidarity and everyday care for the members of your family, neighbour and all weak and needy persons in our society. Only in that way can we overcome all the current challenges together."

More religion news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Serb Orthodox Believers in Croatia Celebrate Christmas Eve

ZAGREB, January 6, 2020 - Orthodox believers of ethnic Serb origin on Monday held their traditional celebrations in Croatian towns to observe Christmas Eve according to the Julian calendar, and for instance, in Vukovar, their local leader, Srđan Milaković, organised the distribution of about 500 fried fish to the faithful.

The tradition of delivery of fish for fasting on Christmas Eve, observed by the Orthodox faithful on 6 January, started four years ago in this eastern Croatian town.

During today's event, Milaković, who is a deputy mayor of Vukovar and the leader of the ethnic Serb DSS party, said that upon the election of Zoran Milanović for the fifth Croatian president, he expected the "normalisation of relations in many segments of Croatian society."

Local dignitaries of the Orthodox Church handed out about 1,500 meals for the fast at the port of Rijeka on the northern Adriatic coast.

Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel attended the ceremony held in Koblerov Trg Square. He extended his best wishes to local believers for Christmas in line with the Julian calendar.

Obersnel recalled that the first ceremony of distributing meals for fasting on Christmas Eve to Orthodox faithful was held ten years ago in this coastal Croatian city.

Religious rites were also held today and are scheduled for tomorrow during Christmas according to the Julian calendar.

More religion news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Officials Extend Orthodox Christmas Greetings

ZAGREB, January 6, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday extended greetings to all believers who celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar.

"Merry Christmas to all Orthodox believers. May these days of celebration bring peace, health and happiness to your homes and your families," he said in a note.

Christmastime ennobles and strengthens the spirit so that we can continue to promote dignity, social justice and moral values for the benefit of our country, he said.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Monday extended greetings to believers who celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar.

"To all the Christian worshippers who celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar with the greeting Mir Božji, Hristos se rodi (Peace of God, Christ is born), I send Christmas wishes of joy and peace on the occasion of Christ’s birthday. With the gift of life, in hope and optimism, let us find the strength to promote understanding and trust among each other and nurture positive values in our society, the president said in her note.

"To all Orthodox believers who celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar, my sincerest wishes on behalf of the members of the Croatian parliament and myself. May the merriest Christian holiday of Christmas give you peace, love, strength, hope and spiritual well-being which will empower you on your life journey," Jandroković said in his note.

"I also wish that this Christmastime bring us all the optimism, trust and determination needed so that we can build Croatia, in the spirit of dialogue, cooperation and tolerance, as a our common prosperous homeland," he added.

More religion news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Christian Orthodox Faithful Celebrate Easter

ZAGREB, April 28, 2019 - Christian believers in Croatia who observe the old, Julian calendar were celebrating Easter in their churches and homes across the country on Sunday. In his message to the faithful on the occasion of the greatest Christian holiday, the Serb Orthodox Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana, Porfirije Perić, called on them to forgive one another and thus start changing their lives.

"Brothers and sisters, endless waves of joy and love today wash our souls because the Son of God was raised to life, thus defeating death and bringing meaning to our lives... death was defeated and life triumphs," said Perić.

"We are faced on a daily basis with problems and challenges - terrorism, poverty... Let us embrace one another, forgive one another and thus start transforming our lives," the dignitary said in his message, among other things.

Senior Croatian state officials as well as representatives of the Roman Catholic Church have extended their best wishes to the Christian faithful who celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar.

More news about the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Officials Extend Best Wishes for Orthodox Easter

ZAGREB, April 27, 2019 - Senior Croatian state officials on Friday extended their best wishes to the Christian faithful who celebrate Easter according to the old, Julian calendar. The Orthodox Easter is celebrated this Sunday.

"I extend my best wishes to all Christian Orthodox believers for Easter, the greatest Christian holiday, with the hope that by strengthening the faith, unity and mercy we continue to build a society of understanding and solidarity in our beloved Homeland,” President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said in her message to the Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana, Porfirije Perić, and to all Serb Orthodox Church bishops, priests and believers in Croatia.

In his message, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković wrote: "May the celebration of Christ's resurrection further strengthen your faith, love, hope and joy of life, and may you spend this greatest of Christian holidays in the spirit of unity, devotion and sharing with your fellow men."

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković wrote: "Strengthened by the joy of Easter, we find the common strength and inspiration for living in justice, peace and mutual respect, with the hope of prosperity for all citizens of Croatia."

More Easter news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Serb National Council in Croatia Celebrates Christmas

ZAGREB, January 6, 2019 - The Serb National Council (SNV) gave a reception on Sunday on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas at which SNV president Milorad Pupovac said it was necessary to pull out of the quagmire of Serbian-Croatian historical topics and that they gathered today with one goal - the good of the Serb community in Croatia, the good of Croatia and for the best possible relations between Croatia and its neighbours.

"For the good of the Orthodox, Catholic and all faithful with whom we live in our country. Peace from God, Christ is born!"

Pupovac said 2018 was "a year of noise in the communication channels with our neighbouring countries" and that it was necessary to do more this year, not just in the exercise of Serbs' rights in Croatia, but also in the advancement of inter-ethnic relations and tolerance.

"We must also do everything in our power to take the relations between Croatia and Serbia, but also Bosnia and Herzegovina and our other neighbours, out of the period of bad decisions because they, it's clear to see, don't benefit anyone, while harming everyone. This year we will dedicate ourselves to that. Both we deputies and Serb institutions in Croatia. We believe that in our government and the governments of the neighbouring countries, we will encounter not just open interlocutors, but serious and committed partners," said Pupovac.

"We will also be dedicated to pulling ourselves out of the quagmire of our Serbian-Croatian, and on this day, I will say Catholic-Orthodox, historical topics. We must not underestimate any one of them, nothing of that, nor look on them with contempt or run away from them, not those related to the experience of the joint state, not those related to World War II and NDH (Independent State of Croatia), not the issue of the tragic break-up of the joint state in war."

Pupovac said the danger to the future of "each of us, each of our peoples" should be underestimated even less "if we continue to interpret moving in the quicksand of our past as progress."

"Yes to re-examining the past, but no to renewing historical evil or celebrating it," he added.

The support which members of the Serb ethnic minority give the parliamentary majority and the government is no small thing considering Croatian-Serbian relations in the 20th century, and through this support they are genuine political and social stakeholders who take part in the regulation of all issues pertaining to minority rights, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Sunday at a Serb National Council reception for Orthodox Christmas.

Christmas "is an opportunity to strengthen faith in peace, solidarity and tolerance as well as unity in the resolution of issues that are important to all our fellow citizens," he said. "Faith in a better tomorrow unites our citizens regardless of ethnicity or religion, and Christmastime is another opportunity for strengthening cooperation and respect."

Understanding and tolerance are the foundations of Croatian society and the government's activity, Plenković said, adding that he was especially pleased that for the third year in a row the government had the support and confidence of all ethnic minority MPs, including Serbs, who "are directly participating in the adoption of public policies."

"That's no small thing because we all know well that the history of Croatian-Serbian relations in the 20st century was fraught and not simple," Plenković said, adding that those relations are directly affected by the quality of Zagreb-Belgrade relations. "Just as the lasting reconciliation between France and Germany didn't happen overnight, it will take more time for the still fresh wounds in the relations between Croatia and Serbia to heal."

He said the issue of persons gone missing in the 1990s war was especially painful and a burden to those relations. "Failure to resolve this issue is markedly slowing down the reconciliation process because it keeps us in the past and prevents us from turning to building a future."

Plenković said returns were another issue which should be completed in all directions. "There's also the question of truth, because without truth there's no dealing with the past, without truth there's no reconciliation, there's no building a common future," he said, adding that "Croatian society needs reconciliation, tolerance, mutual respect."

He said minorities should support the parliamentary majority and be a part of it because it was the only way they could help the government and the parliamentary majority regulate even better the legal, material, financial and institutional issues related to minority rights.

That's the path we will continue on and it's the path which can give Serbs in Croatia a good status, the exercise of their rights and their place in our society, which we should build together as a society and a state in which trust is built together, civil rights are respected and minorities' particularities and identity which make society richer are acknowledged, Plenković said.

Christmas should be the foundation of understanding and mutual respect of all Christian believers in Croatia, he added. "Because faith and hope in a better and more just tomorrow for our families and all of Croatian society are common to us all. So let this Christmas be an incentive to all Christian believers for dialogue, cooperation and the building of a society based on tolerance and trust."

More news on the Serbs in Croatia can be found in our Politics section.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Officials Wish Merry Christmas to Orthodox Christians

ZAGREB, January 6, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Saturday wished a merry Christmas to Orthodox Christians celebrating it under the Julian calendar, saying that diversity connects and enriches every community.

"Encouraged by the spirit of Christmas, let's remember that diversity connects and enriches every community. Love and tolerance instruct us to contribute, through mutual understanding, respect and joint action, to an inclusive and progressive society for the well-being of all citizens of our homeland," Plenković said in his note to Orthodox believers, calling Christmas a big Christian holiday of peace, hope and unity.

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Saturday wished a happy Christmas to all Orthodox believers who celebrate it according to the Julian calendar, on January 7, saying he wished for the Christmas atmosphere to give everyone more unity and determination as well as cooperation, dialogue and tolerance in society.

Jandroković said in a note that Christmas "celebrates faith, hope and life, giving all believers strength and optimism."

"May the atmosphere of Christmas gift us all more unity and determination so that, in the spirit of cooperation, dialogue and tolerance in society, we can continue to build our homeland as a prosperous country for all our citizens."

More news on the religion in Croatian can be found in our Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Orthodox Faithful Celebrate Christmas

Two weeks after Catholics, Orthodox Christians mark Christmas.