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

First Virtual Camino Krk Pilgrimage to Be Held on 21-26 April

ZAGREB, April 18, 2020 - The Camino Krk project, developed by the City of Krk Tourism Board and the Croatian Confraternity of St. James which is the member of the archconfraternity of Santiago de Compostela, will be held virtually on 21-26 April, due to the lockdown imposed because of COVID-19.

Last October, the first edition of the Camino week on the Croatian island of Krk was held.

The second edition of the pilgrimage along the 107-kilometre-long route was scheduled for 21-26 April this year.

However, following confinement measures imposed due to the coronavirus infection, local authorities are calling on pilgrims to go on virtual pilgrimage and the itinerary includes the following towns as destinations throughout this northern Adriatic island: Krk, Porat, Omišalj, Dobrinj, Vrbnik, Baška and Kornić.

Following the tradition of Croatian Confraternities of St. James that have been helping pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela since 1203, the Croatian Confraternity of St. James has started with the revitalization of medieval pilgrimage routes leading to Santiago de Compostela, according to the information available on the project's website.

"The island of Krk has been chosen as the first section of the Croatian Camino route to be officially marked with yellow arrows (customized with a Croatian traditional symbols)," it was also stated.

During the pilgrimage, participants can enjoy "spectacular natural scenery, forests, hills with amazing view, old castles and churches, abandoned villages, small medieval town, gorgeous beaches" and "each day offers a unique opportunity to find inner peace, a chance to reflect, to discover that special kind of 'Camino experience'."

More Krk 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.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

State Officials Offer Best Wishes to Faithful for Easter

ZAGREB, April 11, 2020 - President Zoran Milanović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Saturday issued messages offering their best wishes to believers who celebrate Easter according to the Gregorian calendar.

"To Christian believers the holiday of Easter has always been a time of facing one's own decisions and reconsidering one's own actions, with hope and faith in a new beginning and a better future," Milanović says in his message.

"We are faced with major challenges of today's world and threats that hang over the entire humankind so this is also a time to remind ourselves of the most important religious as well as secular principles of goodness, true love for one's fellow men and respect. Let us recognise and accept those principles as a general message so that we can act in concert to find solutions to the challenges we are all faced with today, and as a lasting inspiration for life in dignity, solidarity and readiness to help our fellow men," Milanović says in his message.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković called in his message on Croatians not to forget about basic human values, be there for one another and continue showing care and understanding for those in need of help.

"We are celebrating Easter in new, special circumstances that have significantly changed our previous way of life. May the spirit of the greatest Christian holiday additionally encourage solidarity, unity and responsibility in overcoming these challenging times. I believe that we will overcome them and by doing so become even stronger and more united," Plenković said in his message.

Offering his best wishes to the faithful for Easter, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković particularly expressed gratitude to medical workers, civil protection staff, police officers, soldiers, firefighters, teachers, shop assistants, transport workers, volunteers and all others who make normal life possible in the current situation, caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are celebrating this Easter in new circumstances, caused by the pandemic as well as the strong quake that struct our capital city and its residents. These challenging times instil in many a feeling of vulnerability, loneliness, fear and anxiety. That is why we need, now more than ever, to remind ourselves of the meaning of Easter, which is that by enduring and sacrificing ourselves we reach hope and light that are stronger than threats and unrest," Jandroković said in his message.

More Easter news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Muslim World League Leader Pleased with Croatia's Religious Communities Living Together

ZAGREB, February 4, 2020 - The Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Issa, said at a conference in Zagreb on inter-religious relations that he was pleased that Croatia had decided to promote living together and not some abstract coexistence.

The leadership of the Islamic community in Croatia and the Muslim World League in cooperation with the Croatian Conference of Bishops have organised the international conference focusing on the topic of human fraternity for world peace and living together, which was opened on Tuesday by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the League's Secretary General Muhammad bin Abdul.

The two-day conference will present some 30 lectures of various aspects related to peace and security.

All the speakers underscore that the conference is being held during Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union hence Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is certain that it will enhance Croatia's activities during its chairmanship recalling that the promotion of open and transparent inter-religious dialogue is a constituent part of European Union Treaty.

The grand mufti of Croatia's Islamic community, Mufti Aziz Hasanović, said that there was no alternative to religious dialogue, as evident in the systematic dialogue between the Islamic community and Catholic Church, which confirms that in Croatia they are living together and not just existing side by side.

President Grabar-Kitarović said that "at the moment, Croatia is the heart of Europe," underscoring that this valuable initiative is an opportunity for Croatia to present itself as a country that promotes the highest standards of religious rights and dialogue.

The conference - Human Fraternity as the Foundation of Peace and Security in the World - is being held under the auspices of Croatia's President, Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker.

More news about religion can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 20 January 2020

European Bishops Underline EU's Importance in Protecting Religious Freedom

ZAGREB, January 20, 2020 - European bishops met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in Zagreb on Monday, underscoring the importance of the European Union in promoting and protecting the right to religious freedom, the government said in a press release.

Croatia is currently presiding over the Council of the European Union and in that context, Prime Minister Plenković met with representatives of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, headed by the Archbishop of Luxembourg, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, and representatives of the Conference of European Churches, headed by pastor Christian Krieger.

After they were informed of the priorities of Croatia's EU presidency, the bishops underlined the significance and role of the European Union in promoting and protecting the right to religious freedom and confession within their borders as well as in relations with third countries.

As reported in the press release, the interlocutors discussed various topics about Europe, from demography and digitisation to migration and ecology.

The importance of inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue was especially highlighted as was cooperation with religious communities.

Considering that half of EU's member states, including Croatia, have a negative population growth, Plenković spoke about Croatia's efforts to strengthen demographic revival and the status of the family at the European level during its presidency, and recalled that demography was included in the EU's strategic programme for the next five years at Croatia's insistence.

The meeting between the prime minister and the religious dignitaries was also attended by the President of the Conference of Croatian Bishops, Zadar Archbishop Želimir Puljić, Zagreb Archbishop Cardinal Josip Bozanić and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković.

More news about religion 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.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Greek Catholic Diocese of Križevci Receives Donations Worth 606,000 Euro

ZAGREB, December 16, 2019 - The Greek Catholic Eparchy of Križevci, a diocese of the Catholic Church for Eastern Catholics of Byzantine Rite in the northern Croatia, was received on Monday the decision on the donation in goods, worth 4.5 million kuna, provided by the Croatian Caritas charitable organisation.

The decision on donating mainly food products from the Croatian commodity reserves was handed to Reverend Milan Stipić by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at a ceremony in the town of Križevci.

This diocese has 40 parishes, mainly in the northern part of Croatia, and some are located in Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Greek Catholic Church is a Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See.

More news about religion in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Foundation for Promotion of Secularism Established

ZAGREB, December 9, 2019 - The newly-established foundation "Josip Sruk-Sekularist", named after its initiator and donor, lawyer Josip Sruk, was launched in Zagreb on Monday. The foundation's mission is to acknowledge physical and legal persons for life-long contribution and outstanding achievements in the promotion of secularism in Croatia and to support the work of associations and initiatives which protect the rights of irreligious persons, it was said at the launch.

"The motive for establishing the foundation is the fact that nowhere in the world has any democracy functioned successfully and never have human freedoms been sufficiently protected or progress ensured without secularism," said Josip Sruk.

"It is my wish for secularism to grow stronger in Croatia and for people's mindset to change in a positive way with the awareness that the Church's influence on state politics and public affairs is not useful for anyone," he added.

The foundation "Josip Sruk-Sekularist" was co-founded by the associations Protagora, the Centre for Civic Courage and Liberos, and its director is Zdravko Jambrović.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

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