500.000 Trauergäste werden zu Abschied von orthodoxem Geistlichen Pavle erwartet

Serbian Patriarch Pavle Laid to Rest

Belgrade | 19 November 2009 | Bojana Barlovac


Hundreds thousands of people gathered for patriarch's funeral (FoNet)

Hundreds thousands of people gathered for patriarch’s funeral (FoNet)

The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Pavle, was laid to rest Thursday afternoon at the monastery in the Belgrade suburb of Rakovica. The funeral service at the monastery’s cemetery was served by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Concierge of the Throne of the Serbian Patriarch, Metropolitan Amfilohije.

Several thousands gathered outside the monastery yard as they could not enter the crowded monastery grounds. The funeral has passed without media coverage but in presence of top state and Church officials.

Patriarch Pavle passed away Sunday morning at the age of 95. His body was then carried and displayed in an open coffin at Belgrade’s Cathedral. The Serbian government proclaimed on Sunday three days of mourning during which a large number of people waited in long lines in front of the Belgrade’s church to pay their last respects to the patriarch.

Orthodox Christian believers started gathering to attend the funeral on Thursday morning in Belgrade after the Holy Liturgy had been served by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Belgrade’s Cathedral Church. A funeral procession then led to the St Sava Memorial-Church on Vracar where the funeral service was held at 11am.

„Patriarch Pavle judged no one, he only reasoned, respecting the freedom of everyone, and without yielding to his own, or other people’s passions and self-will. He was a burden to no one and all that he had, he gave away in a natural, modest manner, without asking for anything in return,“ Amfilohije said during the ceremony in St Sava Temple.

Patriarch Bartholomew said that Patriarch Pavle was a theologian with a wide knowledge, a compassionate, conciliatory man of open horizons, who felt in touch with contemporary reality.

„Serb people start crying, start bitterly lamenting and expressing your sorrow, as he deserves,“ he said.

The ceremonies were attended by: Serbian President Boris Tadic, Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and Parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic, former Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, Prime Minister of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik, Belgrade Mayor Dragan Djilas, the Karadjordjevic royal family, Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic and his Macedonian counterpart Gjorgje Ivanov, Greek Acting FM Dimitris Drucas and Bulgarian Deputy PM Cvetan Cvetanov, along with numerous religious and diplomatic representatives.

Massive crowd gathers for patriarch’s funeral
19 November 2009 | 09:26 -> 12:45 | Source: B92, FoNet, Beta
BELGRADE — Police say that more than 200,000 people are currently gathered in Belgrade this Thursday for the funeral ceremonies of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle.

The funeral procession in Belgrade today (Beta)

The spiritual leader of the Serb Orthodox Christians, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, will be buried today in Rakovica, near Belgrade.

The ceremonies started this morning when Holy Liturgy was served by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Belgrade, where the body of the patriarch has been lying in state since Sunday.

The liturgy was also served by all the archpriests of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) in the country and the diaspora.

A procession, which gathered numerous state and religious delegations, took the coffin of the late patriarch to Terazije Sq., and continued towards St. Sava’s Temple after a brief commemoration.

There, the funeral service started at 11:00 CET.

Metropolitan Amfilohije, who served along with Patriarch Bartholomew, said during the ceremony that Patriarch Pavle, „the holy old man“, awoke hidden goodness, love of fellow men and God in people, who during the past days recognized him in his death as their closest of kin.

„When a man is born, the whole world is rejoicing, and only he is crying, but one must live in such a way that when one passes away, the whole world cries, while only he rejoinces,“ the metropolitan reminded of the patriarch’s words.

„Patriarch Pavle judged no one, he only reasoned, respecting the freedom of everyone, and without yielding to his own, or other people’s passions and self-will. He was a burden to no one and all that he had, he gave away in a natural, modest manner, without asking for anything in return,“ Amfilohije said.

The body of the patriarch will be laid to rest at a monastery in the Belgrade suburb of Rakovica.


Serbischer Patriarch Pavle wird beigesetzt
19. November 2009, 08:24


500.000 Trauergäste werden zu Abschied von orthodoxem Geistlichen erwartet

Belgrad – Mit einer Seelenmesse hat am Donnerstag in der Belgrader Domkirche die Begräbniszeremonie für den am Sonntag im Alter von 95 Jahren verstorbenen serbisch-orthodoxen Patriarchen Pavle begonnen. An der Spitze der Trauergäste befindet sich der Ökumenische Patriarch Bartholomaios I., das Oberhaupt der Weltorthodoxie.

Top Story in Albania: Baze, Taci & ARMO

Baze, Taci & ARMO

Gary KokalariGary Kokalari, Stamboll 2006
Opinion by Gary Kokalari, opinion nga Gari Kokalari (English/anglisht)
Gary Kokalari
10 November 2009

Nga Gary Kokalari*

*Gary Kokalari është aktivist i diasporës shqiptare. Ndonëse opinioni i tij është në anglisht, duke iu kërkuar ndjesë atyre që nuk e flasin këtë gjuhë, ne po e botojmë këtë shkrim duke patur prasysh që ai përbënë një këndvështrim të veçantë si¸ësht¸e ai i një amerikano-shqiptari. Tribuna Shqipatre

The news of the savage attack on newspaper editor Mero Baze by Rezart Taci and his „bodyguards“ marked a sad day in the history of Albania’s democracy. This is because this heinous act was a direct assault on the most fundamental principal of democracy – freedom of speech. Although it’s a positive development that Taci has been arrested, it is easy to have doubts that he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law when one considers his ties to the Berisha family and Berisha’s past attempts to undermine other investigations, like those of his capos Lulzim Basha and Fatmir Mediu.

But there could be a silver lining to this cloud. With the arrest of Taci – which would not have occurred without the massive international pressure placed on Sali Berisha – the opportunity now exists for the prosecutor to re-open the book on the ARMO deal and Taci’s dealings with the Berisha family. However, if there is any hope of accomplishing this objective the US and EU must continue to apply pressure on the Albanian government to avoid any predictable attempts by Berisha to try to bury the whole affair under a rug. It is encouraging that Ambassador Withers* spoke in a highly critical manner about this vulgar act during his conference with Albanian journalists that included Mero Baze, but the Ambassador should know by now that in Albania issues like this often end up sinking into the sand unless there is continuing focus on the problem by American and European interests.

Below are several messages I distributed in 2008 about ARMO.  Patton Boggs, a well known Washington law firm, advised the Albanian government with respect to the ARMO privatization.   When the original tender process for ARMO was concluded, as many will recall, Jude Kearney, an attorney with Patton Boggs, appeared in an interview in Tirana that was televised on Voice of America in which he declared that the bidding for ARMO was transparent.  At that time Refinery Associates of Texas, a relatively obscure American company, was announced as the successful bidder.  Yet somehow, between the time of Mr. Kearney’s talk of transparency  and the closing of the deal, it appears ARMO ended up under the control of Rezart Taci.  Based on what just happened to Mero Baze, in my opinion, Taci looks to be just another Deligjorji type thug who takes orders from Sali Berisha. I find it more than an odd coincidence that Milhal Deligjori and Rezart Taci are both clients of Argita Berisha’s law firm.**


Taci’s attack on Baze now raises numerous questions.  Why hasn’t there been an outcry over ARMO landing in Taci’s hands?  How much was actually paid for ARMO and what was the source of financing?   In addition to the cost of the acquisition, the winning bidder was supposed to invest an additional $250 million to improve ARMO’s operations.  Has Taci made any of the required investments?  I asked many of these questions at the time the ARMO deal was done, but to my knowledge they remain unanswered.  In my opinion, the whole ARMO tender process should be investigated, and if there were any improprieties or if Taci has failed to live up to the terms of the agreement, then ARMO should be ripped from his hands and re-tendered.  But this time there should be a truly transparent tender process that avoids any possible conflicts of interest with Berisha family members or the Meta/Prifti mafia.  Speaking of Dritan Prifti, what is behind his efforts to get the tax collector off of Taci’s back?  Do Prifti and Ilir Meta expect anything from Taci for this „accommodation?“  How have Meta and Prifti financed their exorbitant lifestyles? As I have offered in the past, I would be more than happy to offer my services gratis to provide consultation on these matters.


The previous attempts by friends of Berisha to censor Mero Baze and other journalists, including one from The New York Times, were all designed to stop criticism of the Berisha government through various forms of intimidation.  Unfortunately, members of the media have complicity in this regard because many have remained silent in the face of these attempts to prevent open criticism of Berisha and his friends.   Hopefully, the attack on Mero will serve as a wake up call in Albania so that more journalists will be willing to stand up and express their true opinions without fear of retribution from the government.


If the Berisha government has allowed the likes of Rezart Taci to grab assets of the state, then helps him to avoid paying taxes and then attempts to physically silence any of his critics it has a closer resemblance to a mafia enterprise than a democratic government working for the people.  If the international community and the prosecutor’s office fail to give Taci’s actions the full scrutiny they deserve, then they will share responsibility for allowing Albania to take a disturbing step backward in time.


I remind everyone that Kosta Trebicka served as the whistle blower on the illegal AEY arms deal (as reported in a front page article in The New York Times  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/world/asia/27ammo.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=aey%20and%20trebicka&st=cse   ) that resulted in the conviction of three Americans by the Department of Justice for defrauding the U.S. government.   Kosta was killed in a suspicious „car accident“ on a remote road in Albania, and many, including this writer, believe he was silenced forever for speaking out against the Berisha government.   Given Taci’s aggression against Mero Baze, it’s easy for me to imagine that Taci-like thugs with ties to Sali Berisha know more about the fate of Kosta Trebicka than has been told.




*Ambassador Withers‘ remarks:  http://tirana.usembassy.gov/09pr_1106.html



** Note: Argita Berisha is the daughter of Sali Berisha.  Milhal Deligjorji operated the Gerdec plant that was demilitarizing ammunition when an explosion occurred that led to the tragic death of 26 people and he is now in jail pending trial for murder charges related to Gerdec.  Deligjorji was also the person who replaced Kosta Trebicka for the contract to repackage the AK-47 ammunition that was sold to the U.S. government by AEY.  According to claims Kosta Trebicka made to me and the recordings he made of comments by AEY’s President (who has since been convicted of fraud by the U.S. government), the Berisha government pressured AEY to fire Kosta and replace him with Deligjorji.  One of the workers form the Gerdec plant informed me that after the AK47 ammunition was removed from the original Chinese marked metal canisters at Rinas airport, he assisted in unloaded trucks that brought the empty canisters to Gerdec.   At the time of the Gerdec explosion, The New York Times was getting ready to publish the front page story about the AEY deal.  Kosta Trebicka died in a mysterious „car accident“ several months later on a remote road in Albania.  You can draw your own conclusions.


My August 26, 2008 message to Patton Boggs: