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Letter To Bishops
Letter To Bishops

Committee for Safeguarding
Free Serbian Churches

 

December 28, 2009
His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher
Central Church Council
The Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America
St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery
32377 N. Milwaukee Ave
PO Box 519
Libertyville, IL 60048

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL


Your Eminence:

We respectfully write to you to request that you convene a special session of the Central Church Council.  We as members of the Committee for Safeguarding Free Serbian Churches request to meet with all of the Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America to discuss ways of resolving the concerns that the Assembly of Churches has discussed.

On November 6, 2009, representatives of our committee met with His Grace Bishop Longin.  We had previously met with His Grace Bishop Mitrophan.  This was an important first step.  During the meetings we were able to present to His Grace our concerns.  Following the meetings, the committee convened a special session of the Assembly of Churches on December 12, 2009.    His Grace Bishop Longin telephoned Petar Svilar to inform us that The Central Counsel was discussing the issues that the committee discussed with him.

His Grace indicated that he would get back to us on the next day, but no later than Monday, December 13th, 2009.  We shared this during our Assembly of Churches meeting on December 12, 2009.  As we write this letter His Grace Bishop Longin has contacted Petar Svilar and informed that the our proposed meeting will have to wait until after all Bishops return from Serbia in January.

As we explained to His Grace during our meeting, our desire is to find a lasting resolution of the issues that have plagued our churches for the last five decades.  By way of background, there has been pressure from some of the delegates representing their respective churches, to move in a divisive manner immediately.  Some of the delegates are currently involved in litigation and are in a very difficult position as churches have closed and disputes have ended up in court.  We have been able to convince this block of delegates to allow us time to speak with your Eminence and the Central Church Council as a whole to work towards a common solution to this problem.   Our mandate was to seek a solution to the issues that confront us (see Mandate below). Our Assembly of Churches did reaffirm our mandate.  But we also recognize that if the committee does not deliver some progress, we will have problems proceeding with the mandate given to us.

We do not need to spell out the options that were being presented, that are contrary to our Mandate.  We are sure that your Eminence and Your Graces are well of aware of the problems facing the Serbian Church.  We urge you to work with us to find a resolution and to bring back the harmony, love and peace to our Churches so that we, together, can precede on the road to salvation in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior.

As such, we feel that it is imperative for us to work together to achieve our common goal of unity of the Serbian Churches in North & South America.  We are willing to meet with the Central Church Council at your convenience, where ever and when ever you can arrange for the meeting.

We understand that Your Eminence and Your Graces have a busy schedule.  We, however, need to meet prior to February 15, 2010.  Furthermore, we believe that the final resolution will take some time after this meeting, but we have to deliver on significant progress prior to our next Assembly of Churches meeting set for April 10, 2010.

Please get back to us as soon as possible. We thank you in advance for your consideration. 

Yours Truly
Committee for Safeguarding
Free Serbian Churches

cc.

 

His Grace Bishop Georgije 
Holy Transfiguration
Serbian Orthodox Monastery
7470 McNiven Rd RR #3
Campbellville, Ontario L0P 1B0

His Grace Bishop Longin 
Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos Monastery
35240 N. Grant St.
PO Box 371
Third Lake, IL 60046

His Grace Bishop Mitrophan 
138 Carriage Hill Drive
Mars, PA 16046

His Grace Bishop Maxim
2541 Crestline Terrace
Alhambra, CA 91803

 

 

December 12, 2009 Meeting

Assembly of Churches
Cleveland, Ohio 
December 12, 2009 


Meeting commenced with a joint prayer. 

This meeting was called by the Committee to discuss developments to date and to seek clarification of the Mandate and refresh committee membership.  

The meeting was called on short notice due to development and the need to meet before the winter sets in. Even with some terrible driving conditions, turnout was good. Committee chair reported that he has been approached by new churches, some have joined us others were not able to join us in person because they could not make it on such short notice. Of the new Churches, they were unaware of the August meeting, now that they have become aware they are happy to here and are in agreement with the Mandate. 

The committee presented the various developments to date which include the following: Cleveland members met with Bishop Dr Mitrofan, representing the Cleveland 

Church Committee – met in September in Niagara Falls 

Website has been launch for communication purposes Information has been posted on the website, site getting a lot of hits, word is getting out 

Committee met with Bishop Longin, concerns were discussed and he was informed that the committee represents the moderates, who are willing to work to reach a negotiated resolution to the Constitutional problem. 

Contact made with a number of new Churches that were previously not aware of our efforts, and have agreed to joint us. 

Bishop Longin, contacted committee to advise that the Central Counsel is meeting and that they will be discussing our concerns & that he will get back to us. 

Prior to 12/12 Assembly meeting, the committee met again to review further developments, prepare for the meeting. Mandate reviewed and confirmed by committee. Agreed to review the Mandate and supplement the committee membership at the end of the 12/12 meeting. 

It was clear form the outset that the delegates do not accept the “Constitution” since the New Gracanica Metropolitanate, in accordance with the transitional rules, did not APPROVE it. 

Affidavits- Need for these was explained in more detail & draft will be added to website. It was urged that these get prepared by anyone with the specific knowledge of events to support the fact that the New Gracanica Metropolitanate did not APPROVE the “Constitution”. 

During the 12/12 meeting all churches were provided an opportunity to present their state of affairs of in their local Church. The following summarises the points raised: 

New priest appointed, he is exerting new pressures on Church members & it is coming from the Bishop 

Bishop has dictated that the membership fee be increased to $365/year 

Demands made in accordance with “Constitution” for submission of slate of candidates for pre-approval prior to election, fees to be submitted on monthly basis, including Priest pension funds 

Financial statements to be submitted allow access for a review to be conducted by diocese of financial affairs

Pressured to impose stewardship 

Not willing to accept corporate structure 

Continued closure of Niagara Church, (word came out that Diocese will be changed and service to be restored by Dec 20th/09), Bishop working to split congregation by forming a 3rd Church where unity had been achieved by the 2 Churches 

Threat to withdraw priest unless, Church comply and accept the new Bishop 

Reports about churches that have agreed to go under new Bishop, have suffered from territorial realignment with service to be provided by a new Parish priest. 

One church reported that after months of no service, they have released the priests for none-service & have found a new priest, now operating outside of control of local Bishop 

Church meeting having difficulty electing Church Board, only managed to elect President when meeting fell apart, somehow slate was filled, but list that came back approved from Bishop was not the same 

Church members do not want to fight, made mistake & invited Bishop & were then lectured by Bishop. One Church has been dissolved by the Bishop, they were initially forbidden from attending, now they are here. 

Some churches have newly elected Church Boards, and as a result they did not send delegates this time on such short notice, but members attended & stated that there are problems in their Church. 

On question of what should the Churches do in response to the letters from the local Bishop? Response – do nothing. Do not send in slate of candidates. Continue, as you have to date. If you hold election, send to Bishop Longin. Do not send in funds, not even for pension fund. Option – give your priest the pension funds, so he can fund the plan or deposit the funds into a private pension fund for the priest. 

Noticeable pressure was raised that we should not negotiate with the Bishops. 

Mandate 
Mandate was read at the start of the meeting & was revisited at the end of the meeting. It was confirmed with out changes, at this time. Request to be made to meet with the Central Counsel (5 – Bishops together) no later that February 15, 2010. 

Committee membership 
It was explained that we need commitment for the next 3-6 months. If for any reason they cannot commit, be it person reasons or for non-support of the Mandate, irrespective of the reason & no explanation was requested of them, they can excuse themselves. On that note, one member was replaces. 

Next meeting - April 10, 2010 in Niagara Falls, Canada. Further details will be provided. 

 Invitation will be posted on the website & invitations will be send to distant delegation that wish to attend. 

Meeting was concluded with a prayer and hope that we will be able to reach a resolution to the problems that plaques our Serbian Orthodox Church in North & South America.

Analysis of Doder v. Radojkovic

This was a lawsuit in Canada that resulted from the Bishop Giorgije of Canada removing the elected board of directors of a newly incorporated church corporation. The Church executives decided that it was a prudent decision to set up a corporation to hold the newly acquired property and future sight of the St Sava Church on Dixie Road in Mississauga, Ontario Canada.  The Corporation was incorporated under the Corporations Act of Ontario.  As such it is subject to the Corporations Act. Before the corporation could even establish its by-laws, Bishop Giorgije had a disagreement with the elected Directors of the Corporation.  He removed them and appointed Interim Council of Trustees. The lawsuit ensued with the former Director, Mr Radojkovic as defendant and Father Dodor as the plaintiff. The case spells out in great detail the facts.  In the end The Interim Council of Trustees was ruled invalid and a court ordered election was ordered.  The plaintiff was ordered to pay the defendant’s costs.
 
The corporation now is charged with carrying on the business of the Church. The corporation must act in accordance with the law of Ontario and, in particular, with the provisions of the Corporations Act.

The Interim Board was actually appointed by the Diocesan Council not by the Bishop but, in my opinion, the Diocesan Council had no power to purport to dismiss the properly elected directors and appoint its own choice of directors as the Board of Directors of the corporation Section 287 (1) of the Corporations Act provides that the directors shall be elected by the members in a general meeting and the election shall be by ballot or in such other manner as the by-laws of the corporation prescribe.

Section 287 (4) provides that if an election of directors is not held at the proper time, the directors continue in office until their successors are elected.

An issue was the corporate by-laws had to be written. The court ruled on the subject as follows:

It is hoped that the new Board of Directors will take on the task of drafting an organizational by-law which will incorporate as much of the Church Constitution of the U.S.A. and Canada as is appropriate and is not in conflict with federal or provincial law. The by-law could then be presented to a special assembly of the Church members for approval.


Based on this bolded comment above, it implies that the federal and provincial laws MUST be adhered to.

To read the whole case of Doder v. Radojkovic
look at the following links:

To read the Doder v. Radojkovic Supreme Court Judgement
in PDF format CLICK HERE

To read the Lawyers Weekly Article
in PDF format CLICK HERE

December 12, 2009 Meeting Invitation

Новембар 21, 2009
ПОЗИВ НА ЦРКВЕНУ СКУПШТИНУ

November 21, 2009

INVITATION TO CHURCH ASSEMBLY

Date: December 12, 2009
Time: 9:30 AM  (Sharp)
Place: Free Sv. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church School   
1151 West Wallings Rd,
Broadview Heights, Ohio 44147

Dear Brothers & Sisters--

At the first meeting held on August 15, 2009, the nineteen churches represented by delegates elected a committee to work on the safeguarding our free Serbian Churches in North America.

The committee has implemented a number of initiatives as follows:

• Following the general Assembly of Churches meeting, the newly elected committee met to deliberate a few key points and select a committee name.
• With committee established a website and secured a domain name to assist in the decimation of information.  Please see http://oossc.com/  
• Bishop Dr. Mitrophan invited the Cleveland church to a meeting, which was attended by the committee Chairman, Petar Svilar as delegate from Sv Sava Cleveland’s position was made clear to the Bishop.   No agreement was reached on Cleveland’s status under Bishop Dr. Mitrophan. According to Bishop Dr Mitrophan, Bishop Longin accepted the constitution on behalf of New Gracanica.
• The committee held it’s meeting in Niagara Falls. Critical point was that discussed on the need to meet with Bishop Longin.
• One of our committee members found out about the Orthodox Unity meeting being hosted by Orthodox Christian Laity in on October 28-29, 2009 
at Anthiocian Village in Ligonier PA. During this session he met up with Nick Katich and engage him on a number of points.  Mr Katich confirmed that the Constitution was NOT approved on April 24, 1998 as Article 34 states. (See our website for details and linkages to search an obtain additional details.)
• Meeting held with Bishop Longin on November 6th, 2009. Bishop Longin agreed that we have concerns and agreed to talk to the other Bishops.
• Committee has requested a write-up from our Sister Churches in Canada, so that we can provide their experience under the New Constitution.  This will be enlightening for the USA churches to see how this Constitution is being imposed and the potential problem to be encountered.
• We have drafted an Affidavit, that will be posted on our website shortly.  Requests go out to those who have first hand knowledge of the Constitution decision to please take the draft and modify it to properly reflect their personal knowledge of the events.

The committee has concluded that:
• We need to meet with the remaining Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North and South America.
• An All Church assembly meeting needs to be held to disseminate information, receive direct input and chart a direction for continued action by this committee.
Committee membership needs to be evaluated;
--Do we have what we need?
--Can we add some new delegates?
--Holding a meeting will also permit the committee to work with delegates in order to increase the collection of the Affidavits.

As such the committee has decided to call for an all-Church general meeting.  We ask that each church, send either their president of the Church School congregation or the President of their Church Corporation (as appropriate) and up to two additional delegates.

Please sign up on the website  http://oossc.com/

This will assist the committee in setting up for the meeting and also will provide an indication of the quantity of food to be prepared for the lent lunch.

We the committee, appeal to you for assistance in sharing the information about this powerful new website developed for the dissemination of information.

Please send an e-mails to our brother and sisters who might be interested in developments to access the above noted website and encourage them to sign up so that we can increase the rate of information dissemination.  This support will also ensure that all the Serbian Orthodox Church laity is notified of the developments and this invitation.  Time is of the essence.

Brothers and sisters, please remember our Serbian slogan--
ONLY UNITY SAVES SERBIANS.


God willing we shall meet in Cleveland in under a month’s time.

RSVP to http://oossc.com/

9:00-9:30 Delegate registration; all
9:30 Opening of session with Lords Prayer; all
9:35 Opening session-- Introduction of the committee members & rolls so far on the committee; Committee members
9:45 Report of developments to date, Committee members
10:45 Coffee / health break
11:00 Question from the floor on developments to date; all
11:30 Round table – developments in your Church (max 3 minutes), 1 delegate per church
12:30 Lunch
1:30 General input – latest concerns that need to be addressed in the next 3-6 months; all
2:30 Review of Committee membership and confirmation of commitment to the process for next 6 months What are our needs, who can we count on?
3:00 Coffee / health break; all
3:30 Revised Committee to summarize there revised Mandate to be approved by delegates
4:00 Closing remarks; Committee Chair & members



Новембар 21, 2009
ПОЗИВ НА ЦРКВЕНУ СКУПШТИНУ


Датум: 12. децембар 2009 

Време: 9:30 АМ (тачно) 
Место                            
Слободна црквено-школска општина цркве Св. Сава 
1151 West Wallings Rd, 
Broadview Heights, Ohio 44147


Драга браћо и сестре 


На првом састанку одржаном 15. августа 2009, делегати деветнаест цркава који су присуствовали састанку  изабрали су Одбор за рад на заштити наше слободне српске цркве у Северној Америци.

Одбор је покренуо неколико иницијатива које су следеће:
• После црквене скупштине Одбор се састао да одлучи о неколико кључних тачака као и  о имену Одбора.
• Одбор је основао web site како би брже и ефикасније обавештавао о свом раду и другим важним обавештењима. Погледајте  http://oossc.com/
• Епископ Др Митрофан позвао је на састанак цркву у  Кливленду којем је присуствовао Председник Одбора Петар Свилар, као делегат цркве Св Саве. Позиција Кливленда  је владики јасно презентирана. Никав споразум није постигнут по питању статуса Кливланда под јурисдикцијом владике Др. Митрофана.  Према владики др Митрофану, владика Лонгин је прихватио Устав у име Нове Грачанице.
• Одржан је састанак Одбора у Нијагари.Истакнуто је да је врло важно да се одржи састанак са владиком Лонгином.
• Један од наших чланова одбора сазнао за састанак  Јединства православних у 28-29, 2009 септембра чији су  домаћини били  православни лаици у антиохијском селу у Ligonier у Пенсилванији. Током састанка  срео се са Николом Катићем и са њим дискутовао одређене теме. Господин Катић је  потврдио да Устав није био одобрен 24. априла 1998 као што тврди тачка 34. (Погледајте наш сајт за детаље. линкове и додатна обавешетња.) 
• Одржан је састанак са владиком Лонгином 6. новембра, 2009. Владика Лонгин се сложио да имамо проблеме и да треба да разговарамо и са другим владикама.
• Одбор је затражио да наше црквено школске општине у Канади пишу о њиховим проблемима са новим Уставом.То ће указати црквама у Америци на проблеме које ће и они имати под новим Уставом.. 
• Написан је Афидевит  које ће ускоро бити објављене на нашем сајту. Захтева се од оних  који знају о одлукама о Уставу  да забележе своје лично знање  о догађајима  које ће помоћи Одбору за једну континуирану акцију. 

Одбор је закључио да: 
• Ми треба да се састанемо са осталим владикама  Српске Православне Цркве у Северној Америци. 
• На свим скупштинама  црквено –школских општина  треба ширити информације, добити њихове примедбе које треба да послуже Одбору као смернице за даљи рад Одбора.
Чланови Одбора треба да се евалуирају (оцењује);
-- Да ли смо урадили оно што треба?
-- Можемо ли додати неколико нових делегата? 
-- За одржавање састанка. Одбор треба да сарађује са делегатима у циљу повећања Афидевита.

Одбор је одлучио да позове све делегате цркава на састанак. Тражимо да свака црква   пошаље Предсеника црквено школске опшиине или Председника Корпорације и по два делегата..
Молимо Вас да се пријавите на сајту  http://oossc.com/   

То ће помоћи Одбору да припреми састанак  као и храну за ручак за делегате. 

Ми као Одбор, апелујемо да нам помогнете у размени информација на нашем сајт-у који даље обавештава о нама... 
Молимо Вас да пошаљете е-маил  браћи и сестрама који би могли бити заинтересовани за наш сајт што ће проширити информација и омогућити већу обавештеност. То ће омогућити  да лаици  свих  српских  православних цркава буду обавештени о дешавањима и о овам позиву. Време је битна суштина. 
Браћо и сестре, запамтите наш српски слоган - Само слога Србина  спасава... 
Ако Бог да видећемо се у Кливленду за  месец дана. 



РСВП на  http://oossc.com/  

Предлог дневног реда 

9:00-9:30 Регистрација делегата; сви
9:30 Отварање седнице са молитвом; сви
9:35 Отварање седнице · Претстављање чланова одбора и њихова улога у Одбору; Чланове Одбора
9:45 Извештај о досадашњем раду Одбора; Чланове Одбора
10:45 Кафа /  пауза
11:00 Питање са  подијума  о  досадашњем раду; сви
11:30 Округли сто - збивања у Цркви (максимално 3 минута) 1 делегат по цркви
12:30 Ручак
1:30 Опште примедбе - најновији проблеми који се морају решити у наредних 3-6 месеци. сви

2:30 Ревизија чланова Одбора и њихова обавеза за наредних 6 месеци.  Шта су наше потребе?. На кога можемо рачунати?
3:00 кафа /  пауза; Сви
3:30 Ревидиран Одбор да сумира њихов преиспитан мандат одобрен од делегата,.
4:00 Завршне примедбе председника и  чланова Одбора. Председник и чланови Одбора

Anthiocian Village in Ligonier

The session on October 28-29
at Anthiocian Village in Ligonier PA


This meeting was very very important and informative of the direction the Orthodox "Churches" of North America are headed.  The direction was provided by the 4th Pre-Conciliar All-Orthodox Conference - referred to as "IV Chambesy".

This session was organized by the Orthodox Church Laity.

Details on the session can be found HERE

In the past their conferences were primarily Laity, with  very few Clergy in attendance. This conference was very different and had a significant presence from the Clergy with the Key note being Metropolitan Jonah of OCA.  However other notable presence was the Greek, Romanian and Anthiocian Church Bishops and clergy.

All the Mother Churches are present at Chambesy. Even the Serbian Church was clearly represented at this session.
There is a lot of history before this meeting took place, however nothing can be found through our Serbian Church Web sites in North America.

Information from SPC can be found HERE

The Communiqué was issued and can be accessed through a number of websites and be searched for using the search word "Chambesy".

Information from GOA, a Greek site, on Chambesy
can be found HERE
Information from GOA on Chambesy can be found HERE
Information from GOA on the Communique can be found HERE
Information from GOA on the Decision can be found HERE
Information from GOA on The Rules can be found HERE

SCOBA, of which Metropolitan Christopher is a member, has information which can be found HERE

The mother churches of the East (including Serbian) have issued a proclamation from the IV Chambesy. I used the SPC Website to search Chambesy and information was found to a variety of links.

To help one understand Chambesy, you can listed to the Ancient Fait Radio. They have a number of documentary interviews HERE

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