Deisis (Novogorod)

Part of Relics of St. Simeon the Godbearer handed over by the Archbishop of Zadar to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Zadar, Croatia - On October 7th 2010, during the Solemn Vespers of the Feast of St. Simeon the Godbearer, in the Sanctuary of St. Simeon in Zadar, Croatia, a particle of the relic of the Saint's preserved body was solemnly handed over to the representatives of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The mumified body of Simeon the Godbearer or the Righteous, the temple priest who held the Lord Jesus in his hands at His presentation in the Temple of Jerusalem (Luke 2, 25-35), has been kept and venerated in the city of Zadar for more than 800 years. It was first transfered from Jerusalem to Constantinople and then in the year 1273 from there it was destined to be taken to Venice. Apparently a storm in the Adriatic sea, in the surroundings of Zadar interrupted the transfer and the body remained in Zadar. It was first deposed in the church of St. Mary Major and later, in 1632, transfered to the Church of St. Stephen that until this day became the Sanctuary of St. Simeon the Godbearer. In 1380 the Hungarian-Croatian Queen Elisabeth Kotromanić comissioned a silver and golden chest to be made for the Saint's body. It is a masterpiece of medieval art under protection of UNESCO, over 350 kilograms of weight, ornated with carvings comemorating historical and biblical events. St. Simeon is one of the patrons of Zadar, toghether with St. Anastasia and St. Chrysogon, and his feast is solemly celebrated on October 8 every year.

The late Archbishop Ivan Prenđa of Zadar, during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2007, met with His Beatitude Theophilus III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, who informed the Archbishop that there is a monastery of St. Simeon the Godbearer in Jerusalem called „Katamon“ where the empty tomb of the Saint is venerated. They agreed that the Archdiocese of Zadar would hand over a piece of the body of the Saint to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to be kept and venerated in the Church of the Katamon Monastery of St. Simeon. Arrangements were made with the Congregation of Divine Worship and Cult of Saints in Rome and a piece of the Saint's body was removed (5 x 2,50 cm) and put in a small silver reliquiary to be handed over to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The reliquiary constains the inscription: Ex corporis Sancti Simeoni Iusti Zadar  7. octobris 2010. The handing over was preformed by Msgr. Prenđa's successor, the Archbishop of Zadar Msgr. Dr. Želimir Puljić, who handed over the relics to His Eminence Archbishop Theofylactus of Jordan and Archimandrite Macarios of Qatar, as representatives of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, during a solemn celebration of Vesper in the Saint's church in Zadar in the presence of the clergy and the faithfull of Zadar. The document of authenticity was read in Latin and Croatian and presented to be seen by all those present. During Vespers, the short reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews was chanted in Greek by Archimandrite Macarios and also the Troparion and Kondakion to St. Simeon. At the beginning a sign of peace was exchanged by the Archbishops Puljić and Theofylactus.

Archbishop Želimir Puljić emphasised in his homily the great ecumenic importance of this occasion. „The Ecumenical Treaty signed in Strasbourg in 2001 states that Christians and Christian Churches should go towards each other, to act and pray together. Ecumenism lives by this mutual walk. Evenso the painful fact that Christians still do not celebrate the Eucharist in communion remains,  nevertheless different ecumenical services, praises and prayers, especially the 'Our Father', are a great sign of our mutual connection... Christians should never get tired of spreading love, tollerance and forgiveness. This is especially the call of Catholics and Orthodox because they are bound together by the same holy books and traditions, kerygma and liturgy, and the magisterium of the first seven ecumenical councils“.

Archbishop Theofylactus, at the end of Vespers, expressed the joy and gratitude of the church of Jerusalem on this historical occasion. He said: „This is a great and significant occasion that will be inscripted in the history of the Church of Jerusalem with golden letters. You can only imagine the joy of the Christians of the Holy Land and all the pilgrims that visit the holy places from all over the world“, exclaiming – „Ispolla eti despota!“ (Many years, Archbishop!) to Archbishop Želimir at the end of his speech and then carried the reliquiary through the church. During his meeting with  Archbishop Puljić, Archbishop Theofylactus announced that the Holy Synod of the Patriarcharte of Jerusalem invested the Archbishop of Zadar with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre as a sign of gratitude for the hand over of the relics to the Monastery Church of St. Simeon in Jerusalem.

Press Release of the Archdiocese of Zadar

Livio Marijan

Office of the Archbishop of Zadar
00385-23-208-653

Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 ESV)

Prince of Peace

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing, confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica