The Kiss of Judas? By Wm. Dorich

by William Dorich on September 20, 2014

in Bosnia, Croatia, Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholic Church, Serbia, William Dorich (team member)

The Kiss of Judas?

Serbian Patriarch Irinej said today, “There are more people that bring us together and unite with the Roman Catholic Church, than those that divide us.“ Is this another “Kiss of Judas”? Will the disciples of the Orthodox church convince us that betrayal of a thousand years of dedication and commitment taught to us for generations be cast aside? Like Tito’s so-called “Brotherhood and Unity” are the Serbian people again being asked to give up their faith to accommodate a brutal Catholic Brotherhood and the murderous Franciscan order?

Like Judas, the words of the Patriarch strike at the heart of everything Serbian Christians believe in. This stampede into the arms of the Roman clergy that created the Great Schism in 1054 by naming the first Pope…is suddenly acceptable? Now our Patriarch is convincing us that we worship that Pope or worse, to take Holy Communion from the unclean hands of hundreds of homosexual priests who may have had a sexual encounter with an altar boy hours earlier.

Serbian Christians suffered through 400 years of Ottoman slavery, tormented by the Muslim motto of “Convert or Die.” Millions were put to death just like ISIS is doing today, but dedicated Serbs resisted the embrace of these Muslim fanatics and managed to maintain their church and their faith … now we are being asked to ignore that history and to look past the recent century in which Serbia fought 5 wars for her freedom and lost over 52% of her adult male population to now find they are being betrayed by their own Patriarch? “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone” (John 8:7). It appears obvious now why this Patriarch was driven out of Chicago a few decades ago when he was a bishop.

In 1995 during “Operation Storm” when 230,000 Serbs were ethnically cleansed from Croatia, the last 5 relatives of my name were too old and too sick to flee. A month later the Red Cross notified me that they were found with their throats slit. Now my Patriarch expects others and me to join hands with Catholics and sing Kumbaya? … WHEN PIGS FLY!

The Jasenovac Concentration Camp in Croatia was nicknamed the “Auschwitz of the Balkans” in which most historians agree that about 700,000 Serbs, 40,000 Jews and 60,000 Roma were put to death by Croatian Catholics and their Nazi priesthood in some of the most grotesque war crimes of the 20th century. Over 970 Catholic priests who killed Serbs, Jews and Roma with their own hands fled to Argentina through the “Vatican Ratline” where they escaped justice. Serbian Christians being convinced to join with those who just 70 years ago tried to liquidate them is truly insulting.

To expect Serbs to worship with priests and unrepentant Catholics who have not offered a single apology or a Dinar of compensation will drive others and me to create a split in the Serbian church like the one that took place in the United States during the 1960s and the one taking place currently in Australia look like a fire drill. I am confident that 280 million Orthodox Christians of other ethnicities will also not blindly obey. Or are we pretending that thousands of Russian Orthodox churches and thousands of Russian priests were not tortured and murdered by Hitler, a Roman Catholic?

“We’ve always been close, and lately it has improved and we want to shelter those moments that keep us apart,” the patriarch told reporters at the opening of the exhibition “Naissus – The median” of the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments of Niš, Serbia. Yet the elephant in the room at that event was the fact that no one spoke about the 98 Serbian churches that were destroyed in Croatia in 1991, the 230 destroyed in Bosnia in 1993-95 and in 390 destroyed in Kosovo—not during the war but were destroyed in the past 10 years after the Serbs signed the peace agreement with Albanian terrorists who then amputated sovereign Serbian territory to declare their illegal independence. The Patriarch seems to treat his flock as though we all have amnesia.

According to the Patriarch, “There must be unity, and it can be achieved at that level that befits Christians and people who read the gospel.” I wonder how many of our Catholic neighbors read that gospel and how many of their hands are covered in the blood of their Serbian victims? How may of those bible-reading Catholics made damned sure that 300,000 Serbs were ethnically cleansed from Croatia? And how many of those Catholics will allow the return of 300,000 Serbian refugees and to help finance the rebuilding of those 98 destroyed churches?

The Patriarch told the press, “The anniversary celebration of the Edict of Milan is an opportunity to go back to the past and have a peek at the contents of the edict to see how much he needs us now.”

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The persecution of Christians ended in 313 when Constantine of the West and Licinius of the East proclaimed The Edict of Milan, which established a policy of religious freedom for all. This is an English translation of the edict.

When I, Constantine Augustus, as well as I, Licinius Augustus, fortunately met near Mediolanurn (Milan), and were considering everything that pertained to the public welfare and security, we thought, among other things which we saw would be for the good of many, those regulations pertaining to the reverence of the Divinity ought certainly to be made first, so that we might grant to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred; whence any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens may be propitious and kindly disposed to us and all who are placed under our rule. And thus by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the observance of the Christian religion, of that religion which he should think best for himself, so that the Supreme Deity, to whose worship we freely yield our hearts) may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence.

Therefore, your Worship should know that it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever, which were in the rescripts formerly given to you officially, concerning the Christians and now any one of these who wishes to observe Christian religion may do so freely and openly, without molestation.

We thought it fit to commend these things most fully to your care that you may know that we have given to those Christians free and unrestricted opportunity of religious worship. When you see that this has been granted to them by us, your Worship will know that we have also conceded to other religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases; this regulation is made we that we may not seem to detract from any dignity or any religion.

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Archbishop of Belgrade Stanislav Hocevar said, “The anniversary of the Edict is an opportunity to discover the history dating back to the church and this enables us to meet the same roots, the same content, and the same future.”

Archbishop also said “The Catholic Church in Nis, from September will be considered a pilgrimage and that it contains particles of the Holy Cross and the relics of the holy Empress Helena.”“It’s an opportunity for many Roman Catholics to come to Nis and see the intertwining of East and West. Hocevar has announced that it will be a restored Catholic church that was consecrated on September 14.”

It therefore strikes me as odd that every aspect of this renewed union between the eastern and western churches is like a shotgun marriage. What can we expect next from the Serbian Patriarch who seems eager to rush into the arms of those Roman Catholics that sided with Austria in WWI, with Hitler in WWII and the Vatican … the first to recognize the new nation of Croatian in 1991?

We have clergy in the Serbian church that scoffed at those who call Kosovo the “Serbian Jerusalem,” discounting the history that Serbians built 1,350 churches in an area of 10,000 square km—this is hardly insignificant history that Serbs spilled their blood over. The Patriarch now expects us to turn the other cheek? … we have run out of cheeks!

As a dedicate Serbian Orthodox Christian I am confident that a great many Serbians will refuse to follow any Patriarch, bishops and priests that expect us to blindly obey church edict, or worse, treat us like sheep being led to the slaughter.

This is not Kosovo, 1389—and a Roman Catholic army has not defeating us. Serbian Orthodox followers deserve respect, not treated as though Tito is still running the Belgrade Patriarchate.

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The writer is the author of 9 book, 6 on Balkan history. His newest books are…Serbia: Faces & Places and Memoirs of a Serbian-American Dissident. Mr. Dorich is the recipient of The Order of St. Sava, the highest recognition bestowed on a layperson by the Holy Synod of Serbian Orthodox Bishops. His articles have appeared in the International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and The American Srbobran among others.

 

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