CROATIA: 5 September 2023
Bishop Job of Stuttgart participates in the conciliar celebration of the Divine Liturgy at Jasenovac Monastery
In Jasenovac Monastery, Croatia, which belongs to the Serbian Orthodox Church, celebrations were held in honor of the New Martyrs of Jasenovac. On 5 September, 2023, the monastery hosted a Liturgy and the consecration of bread, wine and grain on a memorial mound located on the territory of the former Jasenovac death camp, where tens of thousands of Serbs were killed by Croatian fascists during World War II.
During the service, the surviving prisoners of Jasenovac and their descendants from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Slovenia prayed.
The service in memory of the new martyrs was led by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Hungary and Budapest of the Moscow Patriarchate. He arrived in Croatia at the invitation of the Serbian Church, according to the website of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations.
Greeting the audience, Metropolitan Hilarion conveyed to them the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. The hierarch stressed that the exact number of victims of Jasenovac is unlikely to ever become known, as well as the names of all those innocently tortured and killed. But with God, everyone is alive, and no one has been erased from the prayerful memory of the Church.
The Jasenovac martyrs died a terrible death, but the Church perceives their suffering as a spiritual feat. Therefore, the day of their memory is not a mourning event, but a church celebration.
Metropolitan Hilarion was joined by hierarchs of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church and by His Grace Bishop Job of Stuttgart of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The Primates of the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches were commemorated during the service.
Jasenovac was the site of a death camp operated by the Ustase (Croatian fascists) in August of 1941. It was located on the territory of the Independent Croatian State near the town of Jasenovac, 60 km from Zagreb. The camp was one of the biggest places of execution during World War II, where hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed from 1941-1945, mostly Serbs, Jews and Gypsies, including tens of thousands of children. An international commission established the truth of the Croatian system of concentration camps, estimating that over 700,000 Serbs, 80,000 Gypsies and 23,000 Jews were killed in Jasenovac and Donja-Grad.
The Jasenovac New Martyrs were Orthodox Christian prisoners who met their end in 1941-1944. During World War II, tens of thousands of Serbs died for their Orthodox Christian faith. The Council of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church canonized the Host of Jasenovac Martyrs, whose names are included in the list of saints of the Russian Orthodox Church, and their feast day is 31 August (13 September).