Orthodox America

  Letter from Serbia

The following letter, dated 2 (15) November 1995, was addressed to Abbot Peter Lukianov of Holy Trinity Monastery, from Bishop Lukian of Slovenia. In spite of everything that has happened in my Slovenia, I  am alive and well, thanks be to God.

As far as my rational flock is concerned-some have managed to reach Serbia, some have gone abroad, while many others have gone as martyrs to the Lord. I myself, by force of circumstance and the decision of the Synod of Bishops, am now in America.

And what is left of Slovenia, which the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius enlightened in the 9th century? Thanks to the Croatian aggressors-destroyed Serbian churches, burned Serbian villages, and countless Serbian graves of those whose funerals have never been sung. In this hell of arson and destruction, only three nuns are left (in the convent of St. Anna, near the city of Daruvar), the last witnesses, as it were, of the flowering of Orthodoxy that existed before the war. There is Abbess Barbara (who remembers you when you were a student in Belgrade; at that time she was at the convent of the Entry of the Theotokos), Sister Magdalena, and Sister Ioanna. During this war, the Croats have twice led Abbess Barbara out to be shot, but both times her life was spared thanks to the intervention of the UN.

Since 1991 the sisters have not had Liturgy, nor any other service; they perform only their rule. They have neither Nativity nor Pascha services, nor any other feast. They fast (God knows what they eat), but are unable to receive the Holy Mysteries.

After consulting with Patriarch Pavel, I was able to send the Holy Gifts to the abbess through a private party, and in this way she was able to commune the sick, the sisters and herself. One Roman Catholic priest, (Croatian, of course) is constantly trying to persuade them to convert to Roman Catholicism, saying that then they would have some protection.  As it is, day and night, armed and drunk Croatians break into the monastery, fire off their guns, shout obscenities, harass and frighten the nuns and accuse them of being "chetniki." The poor nuns, if they notice that the Croats are approaching, they run into the nearby woods where they hide, waiting until the Croats leave.  All this takes place in the UN "protected zone." While I was still in the free part of our diocese, I tried to help these sisters, but now this is possible only through the Patriarchate. Your donation [a collection taken at Holy Trinity Monastery] will be of great help to the sisters. . .

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