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.
Humbly we greet you with the peace and love of our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ. We would like to thank the many kind souls who made donations to the Decani Monastery Relief Fund during the months of June-December, 2003. What a blessing!
Your loving donations to this fund are truly a blessing because they enable the fathers of the Decani Monastery to continue assisting those living in the regions of Kosovo and Metohija whose needs are great. These needs include food, firewood, and assistance with housing, medical care, and other basics. Sadly, we still have thousands of people who lack adequate shelter, enough food to provide regular meals for their families, or heating fuels for their homes. The elderly who are trying to live on meager, fixed incomes are often particularly needy. And of course, we cannot forget the children who lack sufficient clothing and who in other ways are suffering in families struggling just to obtain minimal, everyday necessities.
The situation among Serbian Orthodox Christians in Kosovo and Metohija has not improved. Churches and Monasteries are still being damaged and destroyed. It is now estimated that over one hundred and twelve churches and monasteries have been destroyed or significantly damaged. At least ten Serbian Orthodox cemeteries have also been destroyed or severely damaged.
The Serbian population is in great turmoil. Many families have been separated since the beginning of the war in 1999. The life of anyone who is Serbian, and especially of anyone known to be a Serbian Orthodox Christian, is in great danger. Itís no longer easy to travel from place to place: just walking down the street is not a safe activity for a Serbian Orthodox Christian! Children have little protection coming from or going to school, so parents keep their children home to keep them safe.
Even the simple act of visiting an Orthodox cemetery has become dangerous. Persons visiting the graves of loved ones have been subjected to having rocks thrown at them, being yelled at, or cursed. This has even happened to Serbian Orthodox priests and monks while they performed the funeral service at local cemeteries. Those who want to attend church have been prevented from doing so; when a family tries to visit their parish church, they may find it has been destroyed.
Many thousands of Serbians, upon returning to their homes, are finding their homes have been destroyed. Even people who leave their home for only a brief period of time may find, upon their return, that it has been burned to the ground.
The Serbian flag itself is frequently burned. Under a barrage of such constant harassment and persecution, the Serbian population is dwindling day by day. This of course pleases the enemies of the Serbian people whose intention remains to make Kosovo and Metohija an independent country, contrary to the will of the Serbian population which wants to remain part of Serbia. Often we hear this too from citizens of the former Yugoslavia, who remain faithful to that nationís values of freedom, peace and good will among all men.
Some reports of Serbians being wounded are still reaching the free world, but rarely do we hear that those responsible have been brought to justice; more often, we hear the enemies of the Serbian people denying their culpability. Several children were killed this past summer, yet we have not heard one word about who shot them as they were innocently swimming!
Reports about the situation in Serbia have largely disappeared from the news. But this is hardly because everything is fine and people there are living in harmony. Rather, it is because the media has shifted its focus to other geographic regions and ethnic groups, and has lost interest in the concerns of the Serbian people and in what is happening to them on a daily basis.
So we hear nothing about those who destroyed one hundred and twelve Serbian Orthodox Churches and Monasteries, and more then ten Serbian Orthodox cemeteries! Even worse, there has also been no word about the many children still missing in the regions of Kosovo and Metohija. These missing children remain dear to their parents who continue to weep inconsolably for their loss. So much silence when it comes to evil and hatred!
But we are not interested in evil; we want brotherhood, peace, and good will among all men. As Christians we forgive, but we also must insist that the sanctity of life and peopleís right to live in accordance with their faith be respected. We believe all faiths must be respected and all people must be accorded the right to follow the faith of their choice and to live their lives in peace and dignity. Orthodoxy has ancient roots in Kosovo and Metohija. The churches and monasteries destroyed there were very old buildings with historic and cultural significance; within them echoed centuries of prayer. The destroyed cemeteries held the graves of generations of loved ones.
Those who are freezing and those who are hungry are now our responsibility. As civilized human beings, we are obligated to assist our brothers and sisters who are suffering; as Christians, we must do so in the love of God. Please support the Decani Monastery Relief Fund. We beg you, please do not forget those who need your help. Hear the cries of the mothers, the grandmothers, and the children who await your Christian love and your material aid before itís too late. Help us to keep them warm and fed. And for this, may you be greatly blessed!
The fathers of the Decani Monastery will rush with great love to help those in need. Please, let us assist these good fathers in their efforts. In return, they will remember you in their Christ-loving prayers.
I now submit from our Treasurer-Secretary, Veljko Sikirica, the latest report for the Decani Monastery Relief Fund. For June-December, 2003:
Decani Monastery Relief
Contributions for June 2003 - December 2003
Dragoslav & Nikloina Curcin
Rafik & Cecile Khalifa
Gary & Carol McFarland
Gary & Carol McFarland (made a second donation)
Annonymous Serbain Orthodox Christian
Gary & Carol McFarland (made a third donation)
Edward & Judy Hillhouse
Brent & Darla Buhler
Ralph and Charmaine Masterjohn
Alexander & Katherine Bizakis
Hand & Ella Moravec
Stefan & Kay Pappas
Eddie & Nancy Manthos
Gary & Carol McFarland (made fourth donation)
Joel & Esther Cloeter
John Colby Cowherd
St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church
Gary & Carol McFarland (made fifth donation)
Richard & Gladys Sanderson
Gary & Carol McFarland (made sixth donation)
Orthodox Beneveolent Fund (ROCOR)
Mark & Catherine Seidi
Aaron & Christina Blooding
St. Symeon Orthodox Church
Olivera Stefanovic (made second donation)
Gary & Carol McFarland (made seventh donation)
Victria & Costa Panos
Michael & Susan Malloy
Donald & Sandra Fletcher
St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church
Bradley & Susan Anderson
Total for June - December 2003
Previous balance up to May 31, 2003
Grand Total as of December 31, 2003 :
Humbly submitted by
We humbly thank each of you for your very thoughtful donation to the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, and we also assure your names are at the Decani Monastery, and are being remembered in daily prayer.
For those who would like to make a donation to the fund, please send it to the following address to assure your donations do reach the Decani Monastery:
Decani Monastery Relief Fund
c/o Veljko Sikirica
5600 Beam Ct.
Bethesda, MD 20817
Your donation is tax deductible. If you would also like to have a tax deductible report for your donation, please indicate this when you send in your donation. When you make your donation, please make your check or money order out to the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, NOT to the name of any individual.
May our Lord God bless you and make His Face to shine upon you!
Thank you kindly!
God love and bless you!
Your Venerable Brothers In Christ Our Lord,
++Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes, President
+Abbot Archimandrite Teodosije, First Vice President
+Hieromonk (Father) Sava, Second Vice President
Veljko Sikirica, Secretary-Treasure
Who all remember you in Christ-loving prayer.
Holy Saint Sava,
Pray Unto God For Us!
Holy New Martyrs Of Serbia,
Pray To God For Us!
GLORY BE TO GOD FOR ALL THINGS!
Content written/compiled by firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c)2004 Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes