|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Missionary Support|
By Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
President of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA
A Note from the President : Very Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Beloved Friends in Christ our Lord,
Humbly we greet you and we pray that our Lord God will bless you!
Simultaneously we would like to offer our thanks to all those who have made a donation to the Decani Monastery Relief Fund (DMRF).
On behalf of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, I would like to humbly apologize for the delay in presenting to you the updates of our reports. I myself had been ill, and have recovered thanks to your prayers.
At the same time our Secretary-Treasure Veljko Sikirica has indicated to our fund that due to his heavy load of work and travels that some changes would be made on behalf of the fund. Without a doubt we owe our deepest thanks to the many years of the dedicated work and help Veljko has offered to our fund, and he continues to offer his support for the fund. We thank Veljko humbly and we pray that our Lord God will always bless him for his great and dedicated time to our fund. Thank you humbly Veljko!
Therefore because of this new development for our fund all donations are now sent to my address at my parish church in Boise, Idaho -please note a change of address at the end of this report. My local parish of Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Boise, Idaho has been willing to assist our fund and a special committee meeting will take place before the end of June 2006. In the meantime we ask that you continue your Christ-loving support for the Decani Monastery Relief Fund.
We also would like to inform you that Gioia-Maria Frahm has been appointed Treasure of our fund. Gioia-Maria is a member of our parish church in Boise, Idaho. We welcome her to our fund! Our Fund also has another new addition as Secretary Lois Fletcher, Attorney At Law. Lois is a parish member of St. Seraphim of Sarov Russian Orthodox Church in Boise, Idaho. We welcome both Gioia-Maria and Lois to our fund!
In the meantime what also has developed on behalf of our fund is that direct wiring of all donations will take place from a local bank in Boise, Idaho to a bank account for the Decani Monastery in Belgrade, Serbia -which is technically easier for the fund.
All donations made to the DMRF are forwarded as quickly as possible to volunteers in Serbia who, on behalf of the Decani Monastery, immediately use this cash resource to distribute financial and/ or material aid to persons in need of assistance throughout the providence of Kosovo-Metohija. No portion of any donated money is used for administrative or overhead costs: 100% of every donation is dispersed to aid recipients. Volunteers in both Serbia and USA donate their own funds, as well as their time, to assure that your donations are used in their entirety to address the needs the DMRF exists to alleviate.
The DMRF targets aid to individuals and families who continue to need food, fuel, shelter, and medical attention. The Fund also supports monks and nuns serving in Serbian Orthodox monasteries and churches throughout the Providence of Kosovo-Metohija as they struggle to provide food and other emergency assistance to the displaced and homeless in their communities.
As many of you know, I was in Kosovo-Metohija during the last week in January through the first week in February 2006. During that time I traveled throughout the region with His Grace, Bishop Teodosije and the monks of the Decani Monastery on behalf of our fund, we offered assistance to those in desperate need. Bishop Teodosije and I meet with His Grace, Bishop Artemije to discuss how we could continue to assist his diocese through the DMRF. My reception by Bishop Artemije as well as by the nuns at the Gracanica Monastery was for me most gracious. I feel my trip on behalf of the fund was entirely successful.
Upon my return to America, His Grace, Bishop Artemije sent my diocesan Metropolitan Isaiah (Holy Metropolis of Denver) a thank-you letter on my behalf, expressing his gratitude for the Metropolitan's having allowed and blessed my recent pilgrimage to Kosovo, and for a job well done. In response, His Eminence, Metropolitan Isaiah also thanked Bishop Artemije and expressed his hope that the DMRF would continue to receive gifts and contributions so this work can go onward.
So many people within the region of Kosovo-Metohija have been blessed because of your kind and loving support of the DMRF! I personally saw smiles on the faces of the children, the elderly, and those who continue to live in great hardship when we offered them aid provided by the DMRF. I was also pleased that additional assistance could be offered to the homeless shelters sponsored by the diocese of His Grace, Bishop Artemije (Diocesan bishop of the diocese of Raska and Prizren) and His Grace, Bishop Teodosije (Abbot of the Decani Monastery, and Auxiliary bishop).
To view pictures from my recent pilgrimage to Kosovo-Metohija and to read about how our continued support of the DMRF is needed, click here.
I am also very happy to report that this past Holy Pascha (Easter), on behalf of our fund, His Grace, Bishop Teodosije was able to help many children, as well as many families which brought them much joy and deep thanks.
The situation throughout Kosovo-Metohija continues to cause Serbian Orthodox Christians much hardship and necessitates ongoing vigilance to protect the region's remaining Orthodox monasteries and churches. The Decani Monastery recently received new threats from the surrounding Albanian population. Thanks to God there has also been an additional six-month extension of its military protection by UN Peace-Keeping troops. We continue to be gravely concerned regarding the likely long-term need to protect Decani and the other Serbian Orthodox monasteries and churches throughout the regions of Kosovo-Metohija.
We also have concerns about securing the homes and farms of Serbian Orthodox Christians and the schools their children attend. Some Serbian families are attempting to return to the region. But their safety is far from certain because the majority Albanians still do not recognize the concept of basic human rights; nor is there a willingness on the part of Kosovo's leadership to enforce such rights equally for all citizens, regardless of religion or ethnicity. It was reported on June 19th by the Serbian Foreign Minister, Mr. Vuk Draskovic at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva: "In the last 7 years 220,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been forced to leave Kosovo. More than a thousand Serbs have been killed, many of them children. 40,000 Serbian homes have been looted and destroyed, or occupied by illegal tenants. Centuries old Serbian Orthodox churches and monastery, 150 of them, have been destroyed in various ways. This is Kosovo-Metohija today, in Europe, in the 21st century. have learned that since the war has ended in Kosovo-Metohija that more then 40,000 Serbian families have lost their homes and apartments, and have been unable most cases to return back home."
At this hour more Serbian Orthodox Churches are being damaged and vandalized one took place in the last two days in Obilic and today in Podujevo. Also as June 19th a Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Staro Gracko near Lipljan desecrated.
Under the present conditions, continued protection for Bishop Artemije and Bishop Teodosije must remain a top priority for the UN Peace-Keeping troops. No Serbian Orthodox bishop, monk, nun, or priest can travel freely in the Providence of Kosovo-Metohija; all must travel under guard. In the past few months, there have been threats made directly against Bishop Artemije as he travels throughout the region attempting to bring aid and encouragement to Serbian families.
We therefore will continue to offer our support through the DMRF and we humbly ask you, please, continue your financial donations to our efforts to assist the still struggling Serbian Christians in Kosovo-Metohija. Their ongoing need is great. And we ask you also to pray for the success of our efforts, as we pray for you, that God may bless you for your caring and generosity.
The following report was submitted to the DMRF from Veljko Sikirica
Content written/compiled by email@example.com.
(c) Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes