On Sunday, December 14th, 2014, when our Holy Church celebrated prophet Nahum and Saint Philaret the Merciful, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irenaeus officiated the Hierarchal Liturgy with the concelebration of His Grace Bishop John of Shumadia, as well as of the clergy of the Archbishopric of Belgrade-Karlovac and the Diocese of Shumadia, at the church of Great Martyr Demetrius in Lazarevac, some 70 Km south of Belgrade.
This church preserves remains of thousands of Serbian as well as of the Austria-Hungarian officers and soldiers who lost their lives in the battle launched here hundred years ago.
Hundreds of the faithful from the Kolubara-Posavina region along with their first hierarch Bishop John welcomed His Holiness in front of their Parish house and in a solemn procession accompanied him to the church of Saint Demetrius. The occasion for this liturgical gathering was a great jubilee – the centennial of the Battle of the Kolubara.
The Divine Liturgy was attended by Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevich, Princess Katherine, and Director of the Bureau for Cooperation with Churches and Religious Communities Dr. Mileta Radojevich.
It was that after almost fifty years Serbian Patriarch served again in Lazarevac.
Following the Holy Liturgy, His Holiness Patriarch Irineaeus consecrated the premises of the new Parish house in Lazarevac. On behalf of the Diocese of Shumadia His Holiness presented distinctions to the meritorious for the construction of the Parish house. At the proposal of the Church-school congregation of Lazarevac, Mr. Dragan Tomich and Mr. Vladan Jovanovich were awarded with the order of Saint Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher.
Patriarch Irenaeus and Bishop John then served the commemoration rite for officers and soldiers killed in the Battle of the Kolubara, in presence of the President of Republic of Serbia Mr. Tomislav Nikolich as well as of the President of the Republic of Srpska Mr. Milorad Dodik. According to the state protocol, the presidents laid wreaths in the crypt of the memorial church.
The sad ceremony was attended by ambassadors from many countries. His Grace Bishop John of Shumadia awarded Mr. Milorad Grchich, Director of the Mining Basin “Kolubara”, and Mr. Dragan Alimpijevich, President of the Municipality of Lazarevac, with the Order of Saint Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher, as a sign of gratitude for the love they had shown to their Church.
Within the Memorial ossuary of Saint Demetrius in Lazarevac, the centenary of the Battle at the Kolubara river, the most significant battle between the armies of the Kingdom of Serbia and Austro-Hungary in the First World War was marked with military and state honors.
Serbian President Nikolich delivered an address indicating, among other things, that it was impossible to talk about the first year of this Great War, which engaged almost all the world a century ago, and not to mention two victories of the Serbian army which decisively contributed to the final victory of the Allies.
“The Serbs cannot be defeated unless someone divides them. That is the message of our great ancestors from Kosovo, from the Kolubara river and the Suvobor mountain, from Kaymakchalan hill and Thessaloniki. At that time the Serbs did not weaken their strong men, because one knows that by weakening the strong individuals you weaken your own people in the eyes of the enemy”, Nikolich said.
Wreaths and flowers were laid by: President of Serbia, Government Ministers Aleksandar Vulin and Bratislav Gashich, Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Serbia Ljubisha Dikovich, descendants of Field Marshal Zivojin Mishic, representatives of diplomatic corps, associations of war veterans who foster the tradition of the liberation wars of Serbia.