ORTHODOXY

Orthodoxy in the World ConstantinopleThe Patriarchate of Constantinople again, at least nominally, became independent after World War I and the rise of modern, secular Turkey, although greatly reduced in size. At present the Patriarch's jurisdiction includes Turkey, the island of Crete and other islands in the Aegean, the Greeks and certain other national groups in the Dispersion (the Diaspora) in Europe, America, Australia, etc. as well as the monastic republic of Mt. Athos and the autonomous Church of Finland. The present position of the Patriarchate in Turkey is precarious, persecution still exists there, and only a few thousand Greek Orthodox still remain in Turkey. (a) Mt. AthosLocated on a small peninsula jutting out into the Aegean Sea from the Greek mainland near Thessalonica, Mt. Athos is a monastic republic consisting of twenty ruling monasteries, the oldest (Great Lavra) dating to the beginning of the 11th Century, as well as numerous other settlements sketes, kellia, hermitages, etc. Of the twenty ruling monasteries, seventeen are Greek, one Russian, one Serbian, and one Bulgarian. (One, Iveron, was originally founded as a Georgian monastery, but now is Greek.) Perhaps 1,500 Monks are presently on the Mountain, a dramatic decline from the turn of the Century when, in 1903, for example, there were over 7,000 Monks there. This is due, in great part, to the halt of vocations from the Communist countries, as well as to a general decline in monastic vocations worldwide. However, there appears to be a revival of monastic life there, particularly at the monasteries of Simonopetra, Dionysiou, Grigoriou, Stavronikita, and Philotheou, and two Monks have shone as spiritual lights there in this Century - the Elder Silouan ( 1938) of St. Panteleimon's Russian Monastery and the Elder Joseph ( 1959) of the New Skete. (b) Finland The Orthodox Church of Finland, an autonomous Church (self-governing, except that the primate is confirmed by the Patriarch of the Mother Church, in this case Constantinople) was originally the fruit of the Monks of Valaam Monastery on Lake Ladoga, who spread Orthodoxy among the Finnish Karelian tribes in the 14th Century. Until 1917, the Finnish Church was part of the Russian Orthodox Church, but with the independence of Finland in 1917 and the unsettled situation in Russia after the Revolution, since 1923 it has been under the spiritual care of Constantinople. There are, today, approximately 66,000 Orthodox faithful in the Finnish Orthodox Church. Alexandria

History of Serbian Orthodox Church

<p>The Serbs were converted to Christianity not long after their arrival in the Balkans, before the Great Schism split the Christian Church into rival Latin-speaking (Roman Catholic) and Greek-speaking (Eastern Orthodox) Churches. During the early Middle Ages, the religious allegiance of the Serbs was divided between the two churches. In the ninth and tenth centuries, Orthodoxy made great inroads into Eastern Europe. This work was made possible by the work of the Byzantine saints Cyril and Methodius.Some of the disciples, namely Saint Clement of Ohrid, and Saint Naum In a short time the disciples of Cyril and Methodius managed to prepare and instruct the future Slav clergy into the Glagolitic alphabet and the biblical texts and in AD 893, The work of the Thessaloniki brothers Cyril and Methodius and their disciples had a major impact to Serbs as well. However, they accepted Orthodoxy collectively by families and by tribes (in the process between the 7th and the 9th century). In commemoration of their baptisms, each Serbian family or tribe began to celebrate an exclusively Serbian custom called Slava in a special way to honor the Saint on whose day they received the sacrament of Holy Baptism. It is the most solemn day of the year for all Serbs of the Orthodox faith and has played a role of vital importance in the history of the Serbian people. Slava is actually the celebration of the spiritual birthday of the Serbian people which the Church blessed and proclaimed it a Church institution.

ORGANIZATION

The Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Orthodox communion, located primarily in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Since many Serbs have emigrated to foreign countries, now there are now many Serbian Orthodox communities on all continents.Soon after their arrrival to Balkans the Serbian tribes were successively baptised by Christian missionaries and became Orthodox Christians. The consecration of St. Sava as autocephalous Archbishop of Serbia in 1219, even more strengthened various Serbian principalities in their ecclesia- stical allegiance to Constantinople and Christian East.