Decani Monastery Relief Fund Appeal - Help School Children in Kosovo During the Winter

Letter by +Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
President of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA

Beloved in Christ our Lord,

May the peace of God that passeth understanding be with you always!

Once again I must appeal to you on behalf of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA and for the sake of our struggling brothers and sisters in Kosovo/Metohija.

The children of the region are freezing when they are at school. Indeed, the children are now cold all the time, since only some of the classrooms even have wood stoves. There is no high tech central heating system for them as we are accustomed to having in the schools our American children attend.

Back in late January and early February of last year (2006), I visited the region in my role as president of the Decani Fund. Some of the schools I visited were in unheated buildings! In one school I visited with Bishop Teodosije, we met together with the teachers in one of the classrooms. During that meeting, the room was intensely cold; we all felt we were freezing!

Elsewhere, in a classroom that was heated, the only source was a wood stove. When the children went outside for recess, they were each asked to bring in a log to add to the stove. When the supply of firewood was exhausted, that classroom too would go unheated. The schools are allotted some firewood by the Kosovo Coordination Center (run by the Republic of Serbia). When this is used up, the children must return to attending to their studies in icy cold classrooms.

This situation is so common that these children have grown accustomed to being cold. One must wonder, though, what effect such conditions have on their ability to learn and on their teachers� ability to teach.

We cannot even imagine such conditions in our own children's schools!

But the situation for Kosovo's Serbian children is even worse than a lack of heat in the schools they attend. Some of these schools do not have electricity either. The children must arrive late and leave early-- they can have classes only during the daylight hours.

When the Decani Monastery fathers learned that there won�t be enough firewood available to supply the region's schools for the entire winter, they�ve rushed to assist the schools by procuring additional supplies of wood through the Decani Monastery Relief Fund. Because of past years' experience with this ongoing situation, they now keep in contact with these schools, anticipating that they will have to assist them when they run out of firewood or encounter other problems.

At this hour, beloved in Christ our Lord, let us act together to keep the children warm in their classrooms. With Christian love, let us assist them to have both heat and electric lighting in their schools so that the time they spend there will be productive and conducive to real learning.

The schools, like many of the families in the area, cannot afford sufficient firewood or electric power. Children return to unheated homes from unheated schools, to homes where the only illumination comes from candles or lanterns. Life in Kosovo/Metohija has regressed to a primitive level for many of the remaining Serbian citizens. Even worse conditions would ensue if it were not for the armed guards and tank patrols that surround the schools and give some measure of safety to the children at least while they are there.

Please remember, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that for Christians, charitable works are not an option, they are a mandate. We live to be servants of our Lord and we serve Him by serving each other and all others. Christ Himself commands us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to take care of the poor and needy among us. In Christ we are one body, one family. As one family, all the children are our children, all the people are our brothers and sisters.

The Decani Monastery Relief Fund exists to carry out that mandate in Kosovo/Metohija. Let us also rise to the call and help them provide assistance to alleviate the bitter cold and darkness these young children must face in their schools and in their homes. Let us warm them, our children, with both our charity and with our ceaseless prayers.

Please send your donation, designated to be used to provide Firewood for Schools in Kosovo to:

Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA
C/O Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
2618 West Bannock Street
Boise, Idaho 83702
USA

Your tax deductible donation will be wired immediately from the Fund�s account in Boise, Idaho to the Decani Monastery Relief Fund�s account in Belgrade, Serbia where the good fathers can draw on it to purchase additional firewood and pay utility bills for the schools in their district as needed throughout this winter. May God abundantly bless you for your Christian stewardship and for your human kindness!

Peace to your soul!

+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
President of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA
January 2007

Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men!

US Flag

Traditional Serbian flag

 

Decani Monastery Relief Fund
Bringing Christians from the United States and Serbia together

Bishop Teodosije expresses gratitude to DMRF Donors

Having received the Financial report by the DMRF Treasury for the period from June 9, 2006 to January 19, 2007 Bishop Teodosje would like to express his most sincere gratitude to all DMRF donors, known and unknown, who have been keeping suffering Christians in Kosovo and Metohija in their hearts and minds.

Extending our prayers to the Lord of Mercy we feel obliged to mention the names of our donors in this period asking the Lord to grant them every good for their love and solidarity and abundantly bless their families and dear ones.

Some of DMRF donors specifically asked their names not to be mentioned but nevertheless their names are known to the God who knows the hearts of all.

The names of our donors are listed in chronological order from June 2006 to Jan 2007. Some of the listed donors have made donations to DMRF two or three times during the year.

Decani Monastery brotherhood expresses particular gratitude to Fr. Nektarios Serfes, for all his dedication, love and efforts to provide funds for the needy in Kosovo and Metohija. The brotherhood is also grateful to Lois Fletcher, the DMRF Secretary and Mrs. Gioia Maria Frahm the DMRF Treasurer.
 

Fr. Konstantine Eleftherakis
John & Holly Kluits
David & Kathy Linke
George & Fotini Sideris
Mile Klasnic
Kri N. Zaroyiannis
Lois K Fletcher
Christopher and Lori Michas
Luba Fabrycky
Christopher and Lori Michas
Luba Fabrycky
Paul & Phyllis Martinsen
Dino & Sofia Vlahakis
Presvytera Ruth Uhl
Dragon & Marie Stefanovic
Bobby or Evelyn Vucenovic
Kevin & Amy Hoger
Marie Eliades
Diana G. Theodore-Galetsa
George & Stella Jatras
Tammy K. Cremeens
Elizabeth T. Packer
Darlene Gakovich
Mirjana & Rade Petrovic
Dmitri Younes
Kathleen Djordjevich
Ray & Effie Kaufman
Ladies Philoptochos Society, Boise, ID
Michael J. Redmond
Norman & Miroslava J. Ness
Metropolitan Herman, St. Tikhon�s Seminary & Monastery, South Canaan, PA
Daughters of Penelope Mentes
Anthony P. Barajas
John & Jennie Billo
St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Church
Kenneth & Maria Worth
Rev. Bratislav B. Krsic
Rev. Milan Zobenica
Robert A Rither
Stevan Pirocanac
Serbian Lodge Rodoljub, George Martich
Branko Dobric & Stoianka Yonkova
Ralph & Charmaine Masterjohn
Connie Angelos
Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Parish, Novato, Ca
Fr. Thomas & Presbytera  Deborah Tomasi
The Smith Family, Smymour TN
Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Sherry
Troy, Dmitri, Alexander, & Tatiana
Leo & Angela Bournias
Branko & F. Caroline Nikolich
W. Degrado
Kingsley C. Smith
Charles & Nancy Warren
Slavisa Mededovic
Mary Bouras
Rev. Anthony & Presbytera Tomaras
Philip & Helen Anast
Mary Kiousis
Ralph & Charmaine Masterjohn
Ivan Knezevic
Thomas Kurdonik
Yasmina Spector
Charles & Nancy Warren
Robert & Margita Vunovich
Mark & Angela McGuire
Robert & Christine Yannes
John & Barbara Reeder
John & Elaine Poulos
Natalie O. Strintzis
Pavel & Christine Pirocanac
Walter & Mila Nolan
Stevan Pirocanac
Anthony & Maria Leovaris
Justin & Annemarie Bosl
Kingsely C. Smith
Donna Moore
Peter & Sarah Raketic
LTC Steven & Gisela Oluic
Ivan & Radmila Gorup
Mileta & Judith Solujich
Stephan & Kay Pappas
Katherine Vaporis Herron
Robert & Elizabeth Fitzgerald
John & Milica Vukasovich
Dragan & Marie Stefanovic
Aaron & Christine Blooding
Sara V. Ingenito
Donna Ingenito
John & Christine Heuer
Vera S. Wasaca
George Zarglis
Robert & Margita Vunovich
G. Arnold & Patricia Powell
Circle of Serbian Sisters and Church Sunday school Milwaukie, OR
Harry & Joan Black
Paul & Angela Papich
Michael J. Redmond
Allan B. Haberman
Stefanie N. Niketic
Zoran Smaic
Nikola Grulovic
Branko & Stoianka Yonkova
Brian & Carrie Bullard
Olja Meyer
Megan Sadler
Nick & Maria Demos
Fr. Deacon K. Michael Shelby
Melissa T. Panopoulas
Peter Fotes

In the course of 2006 DMRF has provided c. 50.000 USD for the needy in Kosovo and Metohija.

 

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR CHILDREN IN KOSOVO

The Miracle of the Shoes for Kosovo

On behalf of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA
By Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes, President

Beloved In Christ Our Lord,
Christ is Born!  A blessed New Year!

May the great peace and joy of our Lord God always be with you!


Shoes for children in Kosovo
Bishop Teodosije with children in Prekovce village

As many of you know, I visited Kosovo in September 2006 in my role as president of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA. Together with Bishop Teodosije and Father Andrej, I visited many homes and schools in the mountainous region outside Pristina. I found at that time that the shoes I had brought with me from America needed to be replaced and so, as I was leaving Kosovo, I asked the Bishop where I could purchase a pair of new shoes. When we stopped at a shoemaker's shop in one of the nearby towns, the kind owner of the shop gave me the shoes as a gift, asking only that I would remember their newly departed son, Dushan, in my prayers. Of course I assured the family of my prayers for their son who had recently been killed in an automobile accident.

While I was in the shoe store, the owner also asked what he and his workers might do to help the Decani Monastery Relief Fund.  When I mentioned that many of the children whose homes and schools we had recently visited in the region lacked shoes, the owner and employees of the shop were eager to provide these children with appropriate shoes for the coming winter.

The Bishop then proceeded to obtain the shoe sizes of the children in two different school districts in the region so the shoe maker's employees could make shoes for them.  Sizes were obtained for over 200 children.  The shop's employees stayed an additional two hours every evening for the next couple of weeks, making the children�s new shoes. The Bishop was assured the cost of materials would be low and the employees' time and labor was being donated at no cost, on behalf of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund.

So "the miracle of the shoes" was that over 200 children whose families would not have been able to afford to purchase new shoes for them were able to obtain the appropriate winter shoes they needed.  For this great blessing we would like to express our deepest thanks to everyone who freely donated their time and labor to make the shoes as well as to all who have donated to the Decani Monastery Relief Fund so that we could purchase the materials used in making the shoes!

The children of both school districts ecstatically greeted Bishop Teodosije when he arrived with their new shoes!  Pictures of the children are included here so you can see their happy faces as they receive their new shoes.  The schools are in the villages of Bostane and Prekovci, both located in the mountainous rural region of Kosovo.

Providing much needed assistance to the desperately struggling people and families of Kosovo and Metohija is what the Decani Monastery Relief Fund is all about. By reaching out and caring for these oppressed souls, by materially supporting them in their efforts just to survive, we demonstrate our Christian love and also support them spiritually.

But the struggle to survive continues in Kosovo and Metohija.  Many people are still homeless; many still lack sufficient food; many cannot afford fuel to heat their homes during the winter months; many have inadequate clothing; many lack access to health services and cannot purchase needed medications.  Their needs remain great; the Fund is their only source of assistance and support. 

The Decani Monastery Relief Fund is now attempting to make it possible for the Soup Kitchen in Prekovci to purchase a much needed second-hand truck that would enable them to expand delivery of food to the homeless and desperately impoverished people living throughout the immediate area and beyond� to families living in the mountains outside the town.  These people often completely lack food or money with which to purchase enough to feed their families.  The terrain is not easy to negotiate in an ordinary car: only a small 4-wheel drive can get the food to them, especially in the winter months when weather conditions cause the access roads to become slippery from snow and mud.  The used truck available for purchase will cost $15,000.  Any donation you can make toward this purchase would be a great blessing for these many souls who so badly need assistance with obtaining even the most basic food for themselves and their children.

Please send whatever donation you can, designated "for the Truck Fund" at the homeless shelter in Prehovci, Kosovo to:

Decani Monastery Relief Fund
C/O Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
2618 West Bannock Street
Boise, Idaho 83702
USA

P.S.  I am greatly pleased to report that our fund recently received a most generous donation totaling $3,000 to be used to enable the homeless shelter in Prekovci to purchase a new commercial restaurant oven. Truly this is a great blessing for the shelter which previously had only a small, old and altogether inadequate oven in which to prepare enough meals to meet the growing demand from the destitute people of the community.

I am also very pleased to report that late last week the Decani Monastery Relief Fund sent $10,000.00 to His Grace, Bishop Teodosije, to help with the needs of the people in the region of Kosovo and Metohija.  During this Nativity season, the Good Bishop is traveling about the region offering further assistance to many men, women, and children in desperate need.

My humble thanks to each of you who have helped our Fund.  May our Lord God always bless you!

You may be assured of my prayers for you always!

Thank you.
Peace to your soul!
Humbly in Christ our Lord,

+Very Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
President of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA

PHOTO GALLERY
Distribution of shoes for children in Kosovo

 

Bishop Teodosije and Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes distribute aid to Serbs in Novo Brdo

Vicar Bishop Teodosije (Sibalic) of Lipljan, accompanied by Archimandrite Nektarios (Serfes) president of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund from the U.S.A., Protopresbyter Bogomir Stevic and Presbytera Svetlana Stevic, president of the NGO Majka Devet Jugovica (Mother of the Nine Jugovices), visited the Serbs in Novo Brdo municipality on Thursday with the blessing of Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren to distribute collected financial aid to the most at risk families

 
Bishop Teodosije and Fr. Nektarios with the Savic family, which includes seven children
(click on photo to enlarge)

KIM Info-Service
Decani, September 22, 2006
 
Vicar Bishop Teodosije (Sibalic) of Lipljan, accompanied by Archimandrite Nektarios (Serfes) president of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund from the U.S.A., Protopresbyter Bogomir Stevic and Presbytera Svetlana Stevic, president of the NGO Majka Devet Jugovica (Mother of the Nine Jugovices), visited the Serbs in Novo Brdo municipality on Thursday with the blessing of Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren to distribute collected financial aid to the most at risk families.
 
The NGO Majka Devet Jugovica has been taking care of these Serbs for the past four years, ensuring the regular activity of the soup kitchen in the village of Prekovci which was founded by the blessing of Bishop Artemije. Visoki Decani Monastery, through the Decani Monastery Relief Fund and other donors, regularly assists the work of this kitchen, and the visit of Archimandrite Nektarios to Kosovo and Metohija represented another opportunity to visit these Serbs who are surviving under very difficult social conditions and who are almost completely dependent on the help of the Church and the people of good will who assist them.
 
 
Bishop Teodosije, Fr. Nektarios, Fr. Bogomir, Presbytera Svetlana Stevic and Edward Tawill
with Serbs from Novo Brdo who use the services of the public kitchen in Prekovci
(click on photo to enlarge)
 
The soup kitchen in Prekovci prepares meals for 300 people a day, including 85 children. Some of the people come to the kitchen themselves while others have food delivered to them by car. A large number of the users are elderly people who have no other possibility for obtaining food. In addition to running the public kitchen in Prekovci Presbytera Svetlana Stevic and the NGO Majka Devet Jugovica help numerous other Serbs, including handicapped children throughout Kosovo and Metohija.
 
Bishop Teodosije and Archimandrite Nektarios took advantage of this opportunity to distribute monetary aid to the forty or so children they managed to see yesterday, which was collected by Orthodox faithful in the U.S.A. through the Decani Monastery Relief Fund. Funds were also distributed to the elderly and the poorest families. Fr. Nektarios also undertook the responsibility of providing funds for regular schooling for the poorest children, as well as a part of the money provided to heal the sick and to purchase the most basic household appliances and other necessities.
 
 
Bishop Teodosije distributes monetary contributions collected by the Orthodox in the U.S.A.
(click on photo to enlarge)
 
VOICE AGAINST IMPRISONMENT OF ARCHBISHOP JOVAN OF OCHRID
 
Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes arrived three days ago from the FYR of Macedonia where he visited Bishops Marko and Joakim and the newly elected Bishop David of the Archdiocese of Ochrid. In a number of public statements for Macedonian media Archimandrite Nektarios issued a strong protest against the unjust imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid, who is serving a second sentence in Idrizovo Prison in Skoplje. In addition to assistance for Kosovo and Metohija, Archimandrite Serfes, a cleric of the Greek Orthodox Church in the U.S.A., heads a special fund to collect aid for the faithful and the clergy of the martyred Archdiocese of Ochrid, which continues to suffer persecution by the Skoplje authorities and the unrecognized, so-called Macedonian Orthodox Church.
 
 
Presbytera Svetlana (left) and Fr. Nektarios in front of the vehicle used to transport food
daily from the public kitchen in Prekovci to needy Serbs (click on photo to enlarge)
 
Bishop Teodosije serves liturgy in Koncul Monastery near Raska
 
KIM Info-Service
Koncul, September 21, 2006
 
Yesterday, on the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, Bishop Teodosije and Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes, with the blessing of Bishop Artemije who is presently visiting the U.S.A., served holy hierarchal liturgy in Koncul Monastery near Raska with the assistance of the clergy and monks of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren.
 
Mother Katarina (Vujasin), the abbess of the monastery, and her sisterhood have restored monastic life there in recent years and made this holy shrine, located almost on the very administrative line of Raska and northern Kosovo, one of the strongest centers of monastic life on the territory of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren.
 
 
Archimandrite Nektarios with Serbs from Novo Brdo (click on photo to enlarge)
 
Decani Monastery Relief Fund Board of Directors and addresses for sending donations

The Decani Monastery Relief Fund was founded in 1998 with the blessing of Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren and Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver. The Fund is supported by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and has received the special blessing of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

Decani Monastery Relief Fund Board of Directors:

1. Very Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Metropolitanate of Denver), President
2. His Grace Bishop Teodosije (Sibalic) of Lipljan, abbot of Visoki Decani Monastery, First Vice-President
3. Protosyngel Sava (Janjic), monk of Visoki Decani Monastery, Second Vice-President
4. Mrs. Gioia Maria Frahm, Treasurer
5. Louis Fletcher, Secretary and Legal Representative (attorney)

Mailing address for sending checks - new address as of June 2006

 

Decani Monastery Relief Fund Inc. USA
c/o Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
2618 West Bannock Street
Boise, Idaho 83702 USA

 

The Decani Monastery Relief Fund is a non-profit, humanitarian organization registered in Idaho, U.S.A. All donations from contributors are transferred from a local bank in Boise, Idaho to the account of Visoki Decani Monastery. The Decani brotherhood distributes monetary donations and provides documentation of distributed donations to the President and other members of the Board of Directors. All donations are tax deductible and donors on their request may receive a tax deductible report from the DMRF.

Since the summer of 1998 to June 2006 a total of 363,632.94 U.S. dollars have been distributed to the poor and to monastic brotherhoods and sisterhoods in Kosovo and Metohija through the Decani Monastery Relief Fund. Documentation regarding donated amounts and donors are regularly updated on the website of Archimandrite Nektarios, the President of the Fund, at www.serfes.org

The latest report on donations from January to June 2006 is available at

In order to provide assistance for the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija, in addition to the help it receives from the Decani Monastery Relief Fund Visoki, Decani Monastery also maintains active cooperation in implementing humanitarian projects with International Orthodox Christian Charities based in Baltimore, U.S.A., as well as the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Belgrade. In a number of smaller projects for Serb returnees, tractors, harvesters and other agricultural machines have been purchased that are necessary for the everyday life and work of returnees to Metohija.

The Board of Directors of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund and the administration of Visoki Decani Monastery would like to take this opportunity to once again express their sincere thanks to all donors and philanthropists with the prayer that God the Philanthropist reward their kindness with kindness.

 
Bishop Teodosije and Fr. Nektarios distributing aid to at risk Serbs
(click on photo to enlarge)
 
 
Visit to the Savic family whose house was rebuilt three years ago by the Coordinating Center
(click on photo to enlarge)
 
 
Canisters with food that is delivered by car daily to the most remote families
(click on photo to enlarge)
 
 
HELP FOR SERBS FROM KLINA
 
 
Bishop Teodosije, Monk Petar (Rojevic) and UNMIK representative Louis Perez
with Serbs in Klina who receive regular assistance from Decani Monastery
(click on photo to enlarge)
.

BACK TO DECANI MONASTERY PAGE