His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovac
His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, and the Synod
of Bishops of the Patriarchate
His Eminence, Metropolitan Isaiah, Presiding Hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Diocese
The Friends Of Mt. Athos (in America): The Hon. Sir Steven Runciman, C.H.
His Grace Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia.
Dear Friends In Christ Our Lord,
May the great peace and love of our New-born Savior Jesus Christ be with you all always!
May we humbly share with you the words of our Holy Father St. Basil the Great: "What keeps you from giving now? Isn't the poor man there? Aren't your own warehouses full? Isn't the reward promised? The command is clear: the hungry man is dying now, the naked man is freezing now, the man in debt is beaten now -and you want to wait until tomorrow?" Good friends in Christ our Lord we cannot wait until tomorrow, we need your great love and kindness, would you help the Decani Monastery Relief Fund.
With your Christ-loving donation and great kindness, we can assist the much suffering and struggling souls in Kosovo, and Metohija, we can as well help the Children's Fund, and an abundance of needs such as assistance for food, wood, shelter, and follow-up medical assistance to so many people that need our assistance. Truly what a blessed hour it shall be as so many people will be helped all because of your great kindness and donation. May our Lord God reward you for your help!
The matter of suffering continues onward for all Serbian Orthodox Christians, and since our last report to you two Serbian Orthodox Churches where destroyed on the same day, we wept in prayer, but at the same time pray to see the hour when these churches will be restored, and that good will and peace prevail within these regions.
Many and we must tell thousands upon thousands of Serbian citizens still remain without proper shelter and even proper fire wood to keep warm, and so the loving Fathers of the Decani Monastery under guard rush to help those freezing, those who are hungry, and those in need of food, as well as care for the children and the elderly. The assistance does reach the people, and a smile on their faces, and humbly offer thanks to God for those who still care about their difficulties day in and day out. It's freezing now in the regions of Kosovo and Metohija, and now because of your great kindness more families will be warmed by your Christian love. The children find hope through your donations, and the elderly are comforted.
In the meantime we have addressed the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) that the Orthodox hierarchs in America and Canada would make an appeal to help in the needs of the situation of the Serbian Orthodox Christians and other religions. We are humbly pleased to share this resolution with you:
Resolution of SCOBA on the Destruction of Spiritual and Cultural Property in Kosovo and Metohija
Whereas the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) is committed to religious freedom, filial love, tolerance, and respect for the religious and cultural heritage and property of all faiths and peoples;
Whereas SCOBA represents over 6 million Orthodox Christians of diverse ethnic backgrounds in the United States of America and Canada;
Whereas SCOBA is grieved by the growing incidence of violence throughout the world against holy sites sacred to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other faiths;
Whereas the protection of religious shrines and cultural heritage property against acts of violence, intolerance and eradication is the responsibility of every civilized society, as confirmed by U.N. Resolutions A/RES/56/157 and E/CN4/RES2002/40, et al.
Whereas the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, affirm the right of everyone to manifest their religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance;
Whereas the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, in force since 1956, prohibits theft, pillage, vandalism, or reprisals against cultural property during periods of armed conflict, and requires governing authorities to take measures to protect such property;
Whereas UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor on May 5, 1999 called for those involved in the Kosovo conflict to “respect the museums, archives, libraries, religious and educational institutions, as well as monuments and sites that are evidence of the civilization and history of the region”;
Whereas SCOBA and all Orthodox Christian faithful throughout the world are deeply grieved over the continuation of acts of vandalism, pillage and violent destruction that have damaged or destroyed over 120 Orthodox Christian churches, monasteries, and shrines, as well as the desecration of numerous Orthodox Christian graves, since the war in Kosovo ended in June 1999;
Whereas the leadership of the World Council of Churches and of the Conference of European Churches on August 16, 2002 expressed “profound concern at the continued violence facing members of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its cultural and spiritual property in Kosovo”, and;
Whereas Reno Harnish, Chief of Mission of the US Office in Pristina condemned the recent violence in Kosovo on November 18, 2002, stating: “Any attacks on religious sites of any faith are attacks on the very heart and soul of society and should be denounced in the strongest possible terms by all political and religious leaders.”
Therefore, be it resolved that the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA):
1. Deeply deplores the most recent violent attacks on the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren in Kosovo and Metohija on November 16 and 17, 2002, which caused extensive damage to the Church of Serbian Saints in Djurakovac and totally destroyed the Church of Saint Basil of Ostrog the Miracle Worker in Ljubovo;
2. Condemns all acts of vandalism, pillage and violent destruction of religious and cultural heritage sites sacred to Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Jews or any other religious group in Kosovo;
3. Joins with the United Nations, the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches, the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the international community in calling for respect, tolerance and reconciliation among all religious and ethnic communities in Kosovo;
4. Urgently requests the United Nations authorities and NATO peacekeeping forces in Kosovo to strengthen measures to protect all vulnerable religious property and shrines in Kosovo, and not only those of historical importance, and;
5. Urges the international community, in consultation with the affected religious communities, to support the restoration and reconstruction of all religious and cultural heritage property in Kosovo deliberately vandalized, pillaged, damaged or destroyed by acts of violence.
December 17, 2002 South Bound Brook, New Jersey
+Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
+Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
+Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada
+Metropolitan HERMAN Orthodox Church in America
+Metropolitan CONSTANTINE Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA
+Metropolitan JOSEPH Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
+Archbishop NICOLAE Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada
+Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA
+Bishop ILIA of Philomelion Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America
Please kindly note during these months that a particular person made three donations to the fund, and then again another family made two donations. What a great kindness!
Thank you humbly for your gracious donations, as every kind loving soul is remembered in prayer, as these names and the amount of your donation is sent to the Decani Monastery.
We ask for your loving prayers, and it's our prayer that our Gracious Lord God will bless you with His Right Hand. If you would like to help the Decani Monastery Relief Fund with a donation of your choice please send it to the following address:
Decani Monastery Relief Fund
c/o Veljko Sikirica
4 West Hill Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
If you would also like to have a tax deductible report
for your donation, please indicate this when you send in your donation.