A great man is one who collects knowledge the way a bee collects honey and uses it to help people overcome the difficulties they endure - hunger, ignorance and disease!
- Nikola Tesla

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
- Franklin Roosevelt

While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken.
- Woodrow Wilson

Why should we go at the Council in Crete?

by Bishop Maxim of Western American Diocese

At this year’s May session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church held in Belgrade, it was clearly and unambiguously expressed that the will of the Bishops assembled is to support the convening of the upcoming Holy and Great Council, as well as confirming the participation of the Serbian Orthodox Churches, and by so doing affirm the Council, which will, God-Willing, be held in the Orthodox Academy of Crete on Pentecost from 17 to 26 June 2016.

“The message” of our Holy Assembly of Bishops to other Churches, which was read during the final session of our Assembly, and in no way included any conditions to our requests to the Holy and Great Council. We simply offered our views on some of the current issues raised, and by no means implied anything else. Specifically, our message stated that it is about “principled position on all the key issues on which will be discussed and decided upon by the Great Council.” It is important to point out, however, that the decision for the participation of our church was not made merely “in principle,” nor was it left for any further consideration or requirements to be made by anyone, including our Synod with the Patriarch at its head. We need not mention here that for decades now, the entire Orthodox Church in conciliarity and through various preconciliar commissions, has been preparing for this Council, and that the Primates recently confirmed and signed the decision for convening of the Holy and Great Council in the year 2016 (in Constantinople, or now in Crete). Additionally, members of the delegations from the local Churches signed not only the decision for the convening of the Council, but also the documents that will be considered by the Council, as well as the rules of procedure for the Council, and by so doing agreed to the agenda that was drafted for the Council. For these reasons, the efforts made in recent days to imply that the Serbian Church after all of its Hierarchical Assembly decisions would now ignore the will of its Assembly and the position of its delegation in the preparation for the Great Council which they themselves confirmed with their signature, is simply dishonest.

Therefore, we will be going to this Holy and Great Council, with the desire that it establish and guarantee the unity between the local Church within the one Church “in the ecumene,” and by so doing, pour forth the hope for our salvation from death. The Serbian Church does not sympathize with those of little faith which one might see in some who would in advance decide that the Great and Holy Council will not be the way they thought it should be. The bishops of our Church are conceding to the blessing of the Great and Holy Council, which is, as history testifies, in and of itself a “miracle” and an “event,” by which the Eucharist heals all wounds, those seen and those unseen.

We also wish to point out that in comparison with some of the negative attitudes, for the Serbian Church, above all else is the universal mission of Orthodoxy. Some individuals, and it occurs repeatedly, are expressing a wavering weak willingness acting as if to renounce courage and the active collaboration with the Grace of God. Our Church is aware that the eventual failure to convene the Great and Holy Council can easily contribute to the fact that in the future no Council whatsoever is possible to convene, and the relationships between Churches essentially be violated.

Also, the Holy and Great Council in Crete cannot be revised to be a “Preconciliar Inter-Orthodox Consultation,” because never and nowhere in history is there a record of a great assembly of Orthodox hierarchs, which was not at the same time a gathering of a Great and Holy (not necessarily and ecumenical) Council.

It is therefore our hope that the Great and Holy Council, by its work, and especially with the Divine Liturgy which will be celebrated on the island of Crete, will finally provide the possibility to express the reality of Pentecost and the icon of the world to come, which overcomes deathly fragmentation, thanks to unity in Christ and His Body, in spite of some differing views.

There is no possibility whatsoever that the representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church will not participate in the Holy and Great Council, for it would then violate the will of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of our Church and betray the expectation of Universal Orthodoxy. We do not want to be remembered in history as someone who undermined the reality and institution of conciliarity which governs the relationship of all local Orthodox Churches.

With the help of the Most Holy Trinity, as with the patient and mutual trust of all, through dialogue, in clear conscience, and with proper reasoning, we hope to overcome the temptations in the domain of inter-Orthodox relations and responsibly participate in the Holy and Great Council which will, God-Willing, be held at the Orthodox Academy of Crete on Pentecost from 17 to 26 June 2016. I consider participation in this Council to be the only correct response before God, before the Universal Church, and before the Assembly of our local Church, and before history itself. In this “world,” ruled by divisive forces, the Church of Christ through its Council and Conciliar events, calls upon all to make a joint effort for a dynamic preservation of our unity and common witness of love in Christ. Notwithstanding some unresolved or painful issues, the upcoming Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church offers hope in that Christ-like unity and Communion of the Holy Spirit.


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Awarded as Serbia's "Brand Personality of the Year" for 2010, Stefan Milenkovich is a unique artist with an extraordinary productive longevity, professionalism and creativity. His musical philosophy as well as lifestyle are a true definition of eclectic, exploring general human and musical heritage and experience in order to connect directly with the audiences and provide fun, engaging and energetic performances.

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Knowing the Purpose of Creation through the Resurrection

Proceedings of the Symposium on St. Maximus the Confessor

The present volume is a collection of presentations delivered at the St Maximus the Confessor International Symposium held in Belgrade at the University of Belgrade from 18 to 21 October 2012. The Belgrade Symposium brought together the following speakers: Demetrios Bathrellos, Grigory Benevitch, Calinic Berger, Paul Blowers, David Bradshaw, Adam Cooper, Brian Daley, Paul Gavrilyuk, Atanasije Jevtić, Joshua Lollar, Andrew Louth, John Panteleimon Manoussakis, Maximos of Simonopetra, Ignatije Midić, Pascal Mueller-Jourdan, Alexei Nesteruk, Aristotle Papanikolaou, George Parsenios, Philipp Gabriel Renczes, Nino Sakvarelidze, Torstein Tollefsen, George Varvatsoulias, Maxim Vasiljević, Christos Yannaras, and John Zizioulas. The papers and discussions in this volume of the proceedings of the Belgrade Symposium amply attest to the reputation of Saint Maximus the Confessor as the most universal spirit of the seventh century, and perhaps the greatest thinker of the Church. Twenty eight studies have been gathered in the present volume, which is organized into eight chapters, each of them corresponding to the proceedings of the Symposium, all of which are of intense interest and importance. Chapter One brings to light new evidence regarding the sources, influences, and appropriations of St Maximus’ teaching. His mediatorial role as one of the few genuinely ecumenical theologians of the patristic era is acknowledged and affirmed. Chapter Two offers some crucial clarifications on the relationship between person, nature, and freedom. In Chapter Three we find substantial discussion on body, pathos, love, eros, etc. New interpretive paradigms and insights are proposed in Chapter Four, while the next chapter presents the Confessor’s cosmological perspective in light of modern scientific discoveries. Some important ontological and ecclesiological issues are discussed in Chapter Six, while in Chapter Seven we are able to see what contemporary synthesis is possible through St Maximus’ thought. Chapter Eight offers further readings by engaging younger scholars who did not present their papers at the conference but whose studies were accepted by the organizers. In the final paper we find an important overview of the Symposium with a description of the conference’s flow. In an age of plurality and division, it is particularly important to know what our Tradition—shaped by the Fathers—can teach us. In any such endeavor, Saint Maximus the Confessor stands out as the most important theologian of the so-called Byzantine period. Yet his theology, assimilated and incorporated by Tradition, has relevance beyond any single historical period; in fact, the Confessor’s efforts to mediate between East and West distinguish his work as vital for contemporary theological discourse.