Minister and Patriarch sign agreement on introducing religious service in VS

by OCP on June 29, 2011

in Featured News, News

Tanjug, Infobiro.tv
29/6/2011

Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac and Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej signed in the southern Serbian city of Nis Tuesday the Agreement on introducing religious service and performing religious rites in the Serbian Armed Forces (VS).

Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac and Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej signed in the southern Serbian city of Nis Tuesday the Agreement on introducing religious service and performing religious rites in the Serbian Armed Forces (VS).

Sutanovac and Patriarch Irinej said the agreement would regulate the relations of the Defense Ministry and the Serbian Church with respect to the newly introduced religious service in the VS. The minister said that the document introducing chaplaincy was in line with the Serbian tradition and the experience of modern armies.

Sutanovac recalled that the SPC already had chaplains in the armies of other countries – the Netherlands, the United States and Great Britain. Patriarch Irinej said that the signing of the agreement was of a “historical significance” not only to the SPC, but to the VS as well.

Serbian Patriarch Irinej said the chaplains would bring a fresh quality of life into the military service, as well as the spirit of love for one’s country. Patriarch Irinej also pointed to the symbolism of the fact that the agreement was signed on Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day) – a national holiday.

On March 24, the Serbian government passed a Decree on the introduction of religious services in the VS, thus reintroducing chaplaincy in the Serbian Army after more than seven decades. Following the agreement with the SPC, the government plans to conclude and sign similar agreements with other traditional churches and religious communities registered in the Ministry of Religion.

Sutanovac said he would sign similar agreements with representatives of six other traditional churches and religious communities over the following few months. The chaplains in the VS will not carry arms, and will strictly protect the secrecy of confessions of members of the defense system.

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