ПИСМО РОЈА РЕШЕФА ИЗ ТОРОНТА ПАТРИЈАРХУ СРПСКОМ,
АДМИНИСТРАТОРУ ЕПАРХИЈЕ КАНАДСКЕ
Toronto, June 24 (June 11), 2015
A letter to His Holiness Serbian Patriarch G. G. Irinej,
Administrator of the Diocese of Canada of SPC
My apologies for writing this in English, but my knowledge of the Serbian language is unfortunately insufficient to express myself. I belong, nevertheless, to the Diocese of Canada of SPC. I was actually baptized in one of the Diocese churches.
I would like to bring to your attention, as Administrator of our Diocese, a very disturbing pattern concerning the service of Holy Liturgy at the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Milton, Ontario.
The service times of Holy Liturgy in the Monastery have been established years ago. 9 AM on Saturdays, 10 AM on Sundays and red-letter holidays. These are stated on the official Diocese website: ”Свете Литургије се врше суботом са почетком у 9. часова као и на дане када се у календару прослављају српски светитељи. Осталим празницима када је црвено слово и недељом Свете Литургије се служе са почетком у 10. часова.  ”
Yet in the last two Sundays the service of Holy Liturgy has started, arbitrarily, each day on a different time. In both cases, earlier than the official time (10 AM). Without prior notice to the faithful, with the exception of a handful of these (some of whom were singing on the pevnica).
When we came for Holy Liturgy at 10AM on Sunday, June 14 (June 1), we have found to our amazement that the service in the church has already ended! Attended by exactly 7 faithful, who were notified of the change in time. There was no public announcement of the change in service time - official or unofficial (I was in the Monastery the day before as well). According to the time the service has ended, I assume it started some time between 8AM and 8:30AM.
Thank God that His Grace Episkop Georgije has found the konak door open, and could serve Holy Liturgy on the designated time (10 AM) in the Chapel of the Three Hierarchs inside. More than 100 people have attended this service, and more than 50 have taken Holy Communion.
The next Sunday, June 21 (June 8), when we came for Holy Liturgy in the church at 10 AM exactly we could see Protosinđel Vasilije (Gavriolvić) going out of the altar for Veliki Hod. That means the service has started some time between 9AM and 9:30AM. And again, on the pevnica there were some of the people who were there the week before.
We are now in the time of Apostles Lent. The faithful are preparing for Confession and Holy Communion. Part of this preparation is coming to the service early, so one can confess before it starts and not in a rush while the service is already proceeding. And attend the service fully and attentively.
This process of preparation for Holy Communion can unfortunately be disturbed by temptation. In some cases, such temptation can even prevent a layman from taking Holy Communion that day. Coming to service and finding it has already ended or is halfway through (even if Holy Communion is still “technically” available) can be among those.
The first change in service time (June 14) was probably meant to prevent Episkop Georgije from serving that day (I cannot think of any other reason), and the faithful were “collateral damage”. But by the time of the second change in service time (June 21), Your Holiness has already forbidden Episkop Georgije from serving in the Monastery at all. This change was meant directly at the faithful, in my opinion to signal to those who come to the Monastery in support of Episkop Georgije: “you are not welcome here”. This does not go hand-in-hand with Your Holiness’ words: “Nema govora o raskolu u crkvi! ”
I am sorry, but the Monastery church is not the private property of Protosinđel Vasilije, Protonamesnik Aleksandar or anyone else of the clergy. The services are open to the public, and have been served on well-defined and well-published times for years. Most faithful are coming to these services from far away, we do not live “in the neighbourhood” so we cannot rush to church when we hear the bells ringing. Some of us, who have to use first public transit in order to be picked up by other faithful for the service, have to leave their homes as early as 2:30 hours before the service starts.
Your Holiness, I do not know who has taken this decision to start Holy Liturgy every Sunday at a different time. Nor do I ask who it was. My only request from you, as Administrator of our Diocese, is to instruct Protosinđel Vasilije, and any other priest serving in the Monastery church, to stick to the well-known schedule. And if they have a valid reason to change the service times, it should be announced publicly and well in advance. Changing the service time, letting only a select group of people know and preventing the vast majority of the faithful from attending the service fully is disrespectful towards the faithful, and does not bring honour to the Church.
Хвала Вам пуно.
Свако добро од Господа.
Недостојни слуга Божији,