“We swear you by Almighty God that in no way should you detract from the worth, greatness and importance of our reconciliation. Let not one empty and unverified word pass over your mouths. Let our reconciliation be an example for all the other Serbs, wherever they may live. Do not allow any one of us by our actions to hinder this common sanctity. Our reconciliation has just begun. We have planted a young seedling which we need to nurture and cherish as the apple of the eye that it may grow to the pride of all” (Metropolitan Iriney of New Gracanica – 19 February 1993).
During the past few weeks there appear a multitude of unverified, inaccurate and often malicious articles published on the internet related to the litigation in which the Serbian Orthodox Church is attempting to return to her fold the now usurped New Kalenich Monastery in Canberra.
In light of the same, the Metropolitan Executive Board of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church desires to emphasise the following:
1. Management of the Property Trust of the New Kalenich Monastery claim to act in the name of the so-called “Free Serbian Orthodox Church”, but have absolutely nothing to do with the original Free Serbian Orthodox Church, which existed a few decades ago as a temporary result of misfortunate times and an even more misfortunate schism which had befallen the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The schism was liturgically overcome on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, 15 February 1992, when the Liturgy of Reconciliation was concelebrated by Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Metropolitan Iriney of New Gracanica, both now of blessed repose. In so doing, the New Gracanica Metropolitanate was established in place of the Free Serbian Orthodox Church and returned to the fold of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
2. The Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church is the successor to the former Diocese for Australia and New Zealand of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate and the former Diocese of Australia and New Zealand. By decision of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church of 10th May 2011, the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand was established in place of the former two parallel Dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
3. The management of the Property Trust has usurped the New Kalenich Monastery and attempted to sever it from the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian faithful and cede it to the jurisdiction of a canonically unrecognised, so-called “True Orthodox Church of Greece”, into a myriad of internally rivalled factions known as the “Synod in Opposition” and the “Cyprianites”.
This “church” was created in 1984 in Greece, when a certain group of schismatics broke away from another schismatic group known as the “Auxentianites” and established the “Synod in Opposition”, as they continue to formally present themselves in public domain. This body is not in communion with the Orthodox Church.
4. Management of the Property Trust, under the aegis of that “True Orthodox Church of Greece” or, the “Synod in Opposition”, or the “Cyprianites”, have recently announced that they intend, in the New Kalenich Monastery Church of St Sava, on the very feast of Saint Sava, to enthrone as their “bishop” a certain Englishman, Ambrose Baird, a convert to “Orthodoxy” from London.
The Metropolitanate Executive Board once again underscores that the Church has brought forth this litigation with a heavy heart after management of the Property Trust refused to acknowledge that they had any obligation to hold the New Kalenich Monastery Church of St Sava for the Serbian Orthodox faithful. The Metropolitanate Executive Board reiterates that last year’s Assembly of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand issued an open invitation to this entire group to return with repentance to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which will gladly welcome and receive them.
The Metropolitanate requested the parties attend mediation in an effort to resolve the litigation. The management of the Property Trust resisted this initiative. The Court accepted the submission of the Metropolitanate and ordered the parties to attend mediation. The Metropolitanate participated in the mediation with the directors of the Property Trust in an effort to resolve the dispute and conclude the litigation.
Unfortunately, not only have all of our invitations to repentance, return and reconciliation with the Church been ignored or rejected; but now with the announced “enthronement” of Mr Baird as “bishop”, instead of their canonical Serbian Bishop, they have conclusively and publicly exposed their intention to permanently estrange the New Kalenich Monastery from the Serbian people and the Serbian Orthodox Church.
We continue to remain hopeful that the planners and organisers of this intended blasphemous gathering will, in the interim, return to their senses and give up on their intentions and further desecration of the New Kalenich Monastery, as well as return to the Orthodox Faith and the Serbian Orthodox Church. However, we remain equally resolved to defend and preserve with all our might the Serbian Orthodox Church and to fight for the right to the Monastery, which was built by Orthodox Serbs, to remain sacred to Orthodox Serbs.
7 December 2012