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Decani Monastery Relief Fund Report for December 2000 - February 2001
by Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes,
Hieromonk (Priestmonk) Sava
Vice President,
Veljko Sikirica

The Decani Monastery Relief Fund is a non-profit organization. For more information please click here
This web site is dedicated to the God-loving Archpriest Victor Potapov - we humbly thank for his great Christian love and assistance.

The Decani Monastery Relief Fund Was Established in October 1998

Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes
(Boise, Idaho)
Vice President:
Hieromonk Sava (Decani Monastery, Kosovo)
Secretary & Treasurer:
Veljko Sikirica (Baltimore, Maryland)
Our Patron Saint is
St. Sava of Serbia!

With the humble blessings of

  • His Grace Bishop Artemije, of the Serbian Orthodox Church of Raska Prizren.
  • Hegumenos (Abbot) Theodosius of the Decani Monastery.
  • Hieromonk Sava of the Decani Monastery
  • 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 of Denver
  • The Friends Of Mt. Athos (in America): The Hon. Sir Steven Runciman, C.H.
  • His Grace Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia.
  • The Orthodox Peace Fellowship of the Protection of the Mother of God (Netherlands): Jim Forest, Secretary.
  • We can do much for one another in the open, but in secret much evil then happens, and so many then suffer from silence!

    Beloved Friends In Christ Our Lord,

    Holy Saint Sava, Pray Unto God For Us!

    Humbly with the peace and the love of our Gracious Lord God, I greet you and pray all are well!

    We would like to present to you most humbly an up-to-date report on the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, and at the same time ask you to please not forget this fund, as the needs are just as great for those who are still suffering and struggling in Kosovo. The hour of true peace and good will among men in Kosovo has not arrived yet!

    What is truly imperative for us all, is to please not forget the sufferings of the Serbian Orthodox Faithful, who also love God, love His Church, and every soul that lives in Kosovo. The Serbian people want peace and good will among all men, and desire that all citizens in the region live in peace!

    What is also important is that the Serbian Orthodox Christians in Kosovo, are only concerned to arm themselves with faith, not with earthly gun fire, as the weapon of faith is far greater than anything else on this earth! We have hope through faith that you will continue to help with this fund, as the needs continue in Kosovo. Every citizen now needs your love and help such as food, fire wood, assistance for living -proper shelter, and further medical assistance. Above all the Decani Monastery Relief Fund is interested in the assistance and restoration of the now more then 105 destroyed Serbian Orthodox Churches and Holy Monasteries throughout Kosovo! These numbers keep climbing by the month, and we are very sad to report this to you!

    We have horrific reports that even the Serbian Orthodox cemeteries in Kosovo are being destroyed again and again, and bodies are being pulled out of the graves! We are persecuted in life, and even in death.

    There is a constant fear of attacks towards the innocent Serbian Orthodox Nuns, as well as their Holy Convent in Pec. We have learned in the past week that the Patriarchate of His Holiness Patriarch Pavel is also threatened.

    The cry for protection by the peace keeping forces throughout Kosovo is unstable. At one minute, all is going well, and then the next minute the matter gets out of control. Hardly nothing is done to protect those who need protection! One day you could walk out your door and be all right, the next day you could be shot! We have those who are very much concerned with protecting all citizens in Kosovo, and even give their lives for all. God Bless those who love peace!

    One cannot just walk to one neighbors house and be assured of safety. If one can hardly go anywhere without fear for one's life, how can one ask the children and youth in Kosovo to go to school? How can the faithful Serbian Orthodox Christians attend their local Church or Monastery? How many more Serbian Orthodox Churches and Monasteries are left in Kosovo? At this hour it seems that every Church and every Monastery in Kosovo is being threatened with destruction! Please cry out for the protection of these Holy and Sacred places of prayer.

    We plead with you most humbly and we pray that you not forget the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, and the plight of the suffering, struggling Serbian Orthodox faithful in Kosovo. Forget not all the citizens in Kosovo, as there are indeed those who want peace and good will among men, and desire to live as true neighbors! Pray for Kosovo, and please help with your God loving donations to this fund.

    Pray for the Patriarch, pray for the Bishops, pray for the priest, pray for the monks, pray for the nuns, and pray for all citizens in Kosovo, pray for peace and good will among all men!

    We are pleased to report to you that His Grace Bishop Aretemije was in America very recently to plead with the State Department about the current plight of the situation in Kosovo. Most specifically about the struggles and sufferings of all the citizens in the region; and as the Bishop came as a peace maker, to bring further awareness that peace and good will among all men in the general region is needed. Many people who had met Bishop Aretemije were very moved with his love and concern for all citizens in Kosovo. This peace mission by the bishop was indeed successful!

    Before we present to you the list of donations, let us humbly share this report with you: "Black And White Photo Study of Decani", by Dragan S. Tanasijevic. He has over the last four years completed a photo monograph on the Decani Monastery, which sadly reports to us that the monks at the monastery cannot even fetch water without a KFOR escort. The situation is becoming most deplorable!


    Guardians of imperial treasure
    It took Dragan S. Tanasijevic four years to complete a photo monograph on our renowned monastery whose monks today cannot even fetch water without a KFOR escort

    Seeking the path of spiritual growth and peace, master photographer Dragan S. Tanasijevic arrived by way of Sri Lanka and portraits of contemporaries to Hilandar, High Decani and monks' obediences and silences, thus arriving at his goal. Perhaps because only after two decades did he discover a spiritual direction and roots as an artist,, the photo monograph on High Decani has attracted exceptional attention and praise. More than four years in the making because, according to Tanasijevic, the monks did not withdraw into the world of silence and prayer in order answer requests regarding trite matters by the curious, the photo monograph or black and white photo study of High Decani was published with the blessing of His Eminence the Episcope of Raska-Prizren, the Rt. Reverend Artemije.

    Generally sparse in his praise, especially of books which seek to peer into the soul of the monastery and its monks, Bishop Artemije said of the book which Dragan S. Tanasijevic entitled "Guardians of Sacred Treasure" that it is equally needed both by today's generations of Serbs and by generations yet to be born.

    Witness through the centuries
    Because, the bishop wrote, "this book is another lit candle needed first of all by us, the Serbs of the twenty-first century, so we can find a way out of this hopeless situation into which we have been led, and then also a guiding candle for our dear ones and future successors which by its eternal light will help them to understand, experience and correctly assess the time of our people at the very end of the second millennium of the age of Christianity. This book will be a irrefutable witness that the continuity of God's Spirit has lasted through the centuries among our people and borne fruits "at the right time", fruits worthy of inclusion in the treasury of the eternal omniscience of God".

    What would qualify this book's inclusion in the treasury of eternal values? The fact that the author of the Decani black and white photo study, or study of light upon darkness, has saved from obscurity this moment in time when Decani, an imperial treasure, both is and is not what it was before. It is because even now the endowment of Emperor Stefan of Decani still gathers monks within its walls, the guardians of these ancient holy artifacts and its artistic and spiritual treasures. But it also is not because the monastery, a holy site for all the local peoples, Serbs and others, the Orthodox and the Muslim, now cannot be reached freely but only with a special permit and with an armed KFOR escort. The holy site is under constant guard.

    Into the world by Internet
    "The monks of Decani cannot even fetch water without the escort of five armed Italian troops belonging to the peacekeeping forces armed to the teeth; without guards Holy Liturgy cannot be held nor can a church procession go around the church," says the author of "Guardians of Holy Treasure" Dragan S. Tanasijevic, who is amazed at the peace with which the Decani monks accept this. "They have not," says Tanasijevic, "abandoned their everyday obediences; they are happy to receive guests, now increasingly few; they work in the icon painting workshop, tend to the wine cellar, take care of the bee hives and pray with sincerity and devotion for the salvation of this suffering people."

    All this is recorded and preserved for the ages in a photo monograph whose text is published in Serbian and in six world languages (Greek, Russian, Italian, German, French and English). The 106 black and white photographs which bear witness to the past and the present open the path to the future. Because, as Dusan Milovanovic writes in the introduction to this beautiful and practical book, in Decani more than in other monasteries there is a successful and harmonious joining of monks' tradition with the achievements of modern technology: Father Sava sent more information into the world on Kosovo and Metohija by Internet than all of Serbia. "That is why these Decani monks, the majority of whom entered the monastery with a university degree, are not only monks who pray to God for the absolution of sin of the sinning and humiliated Serbian people and not only guardians of this magnificent and noble monastery and its defenders from every form of evil, but also true heroes of these present times," wrote Dusan Milovanovic.

    Mirjana Kuburovic

    Translated by S. Lazovic (Feb. 16, 2001)

    Now let us humbly give you our up to date donation report for the fund, and say to every God loving soul thank you most humbly, and may you indeed be richly rewarded for your great love and kindness!

    List of donors for December 2000, January and February 2001 from our Secretary-Treasurer Veljko Sikirica:

    Decani Monastery Relief Contributions for
    December 2000 - February 2001

    Contributor Name

    332. St. Nicholas Orthodox, Monastery, Beacon, N.Y.
    333. Michael C. Alberty
    334. Carolyn A. Silva
    335. Steven & Katheleen Sturgeon
    336. Ivan Tasic
    337. Rev. Father Theodor Shevzov
    338. Mark & Catherine Seidel
    339. SR Zivic
    340. Sophia Zivic
    341. Maria & Angela Tsakiris
    342. Anonymous from San Francisco, Ca.
    343. Nicholas P. Nitis
    344. Karen & George Solomon
    345. Stephen & Danielle Turcola
    346. Taras V. Molibog
    347. Margaret Stephens
    348. Richard B. Martens
    349. Leo I. Unger & Eve Unger - Sobel
    350. Mirjana & Rade Petrovic
    351. Ronald & Virginia Rome
    352. Samuel V. Glass
    353. St. Athanasius Orthodox Church
    354. The Lynn Group, HLF. Inc.
    355. R. H. Prestridge
    356. Various donors for the holy icon of the New Martyrs of Serbia
    357. Kingsley C. Smith
    358. Eleanor & Robert Alexander Fecanin
    359. Margaret Stephens
    360. Sophia Pinakidou, Thessaloniki, Greece
    361. Eva & Basil Kingsley C. Smith
    Total for December 2000 - February 2001   $6,548.80
    Previous balance as of December 1st 2000 $72,267.59
    Grand Total as of March 1st 2001 : $78,816.39

    With love in Christ,

    Veljko Sikirica

    Please highly consider that these funds are quickly depleted because so many need our help!

    We humbly thank each of you for kind donations!

    If you would like to help the Decani Monastery Relief Fund please send your loving donations to:

    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 click here.

    May our Gracious Lord God Bless each of you! And may the loving peace of Christ Our Lord be with you always!

    Peace be unto your God loving souls!

    Your Faithful Friends In Christ Our Lord,

    +Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes
    President of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund,
    +Hieromonk Sava
    Vice President,
    Veljko Sikirica
    Secretary Treasurer

    If you have any questions about the Decani Monastery Relief Fund please call Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes in Boise, Idaho: 208-345-6147. Please consider to call during the day time hours, and or if no answer please leave a message.

    For further information about the Decani Monastery in Kosovo please visit http://www.decani.yunet.com

    Holy Saint Sava,
    Pray Unto God For Us!

    Holy New Martyrs of Serbia,
    Pray Unto God For Us!


    Content written/compiled by Father Demetrios Serfes.
    (c)2001 Father Demetrios Serfes