With the advent of Croatian participation in the war against Serbian settlements in Srpska Krajina and Slovena, a new stage of suffering has begun for our Serbian Orthodox brothers. The Most-Holy Patriarch Pavel of Serbia, in his appeal to the world community on the 7th of August of this year, writes that, since 1991, hundreds of thousands of Serbs have been murdered and expelled from the Croatian Republic.
For centuries under the Turkish Yoke, the Serbian people courageously held out against enemy attacks and defended Holy Orthodoxy. During the years of World War II, they gave a countless number of new martyrs, murdered, tortured and burned alive in Orthodox churches because of their refusal to accept the Latin faith imposed upon them by Croatian proteges of Hitler's regime. And now, in our days, they are again suffering through the fault of iniquitous leaders-revealing the ugly face of former communist misanthropes and theomachists.
In their appeals, the Serbian bishops have repeatedly pointed out that these contemporary events are the result, to a significant degree, of the ambitious and egotistical behavior of those in power in the new government structures which have formed in the territories of the former Yugoslavia. Churches, in which the predecessors of the present inhabitants prayed for centuries, are being destroyed. In Slovenia, the church in which the present Patriarch was baptized has been destroyed-most likely for that reason alone! There is no end to the sufferings and humiliations. During the first years of emigration, our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was extended hospitality and love from our brotherly Serbian Church. With gratitude we likewise recall the assistance shown to us later. This remembrance doubles our brotherly duty to spiritually support the Serbian people by praying for peace in that much-suffering country during this present difficult time. /. . ./
I personally request all of the spiritual children entrusted to me of the dioceses of Germany and Great Britain, to raise up fervent prayers for the suffering Serbian people, at the same time not forgetting, naturally, that together with the Serbs, other peoples dragged into this horrible war are also suffering.
I entreat all of our Orthodox flock, and especiallly our youth, to abstain from boisterous amusements during these terrible days, when hundreds of thousands of our Christian brothers are fighting for their very lives; when everything has been taken away from them-their beloved churches, their homes, even the hope of ever returning to their own land; when soldiers, like men gone mad, are shooting helpless old people, invalids and children. I ask you especially to fast on the days prescribed by the Church, when our brothers and sisters according to the faith, are wandering on roads and impassable places with neither food nor drink.
Possessing very limited material resources, we are not in any condition to provide organized support. But if any of our parishioners has the means to collect medical supplies, we will try to pass them on to the suffering refugees. Also, we entreat all of our faithful to give genuine assistance to refugees, who could possible end up in our midst. At the present moment these are our neighbors, who have fallen amidst thieves. Let us pity them, pouring upon their spiritual and bodily wounds the oil of our prayers and the wine of our material aid.
Through the prayers of Saint Sava of Serbia and the Holy New-Martyrs of Serbia, may the Lord reward you a hundred-fold.
Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany and Great Britain
Address of Archbishop Mark to the God-loving flock of the Dioceses of Germany and Great Britain.
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