Enthronement of Bishop John (Culibrk) of Slavonia

Bishop John will be enthroned by His Holiness Irenaeus, Serbian Patriarch at the solemn Hierarchal Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity in Pakrac, Slavonia, Croatia, on Saturday, September 13, 2014.  Many Hierarchs of the Serbian Church will concelebrate, as well as some high clergymen from other Local Orthodox Churches. In addition to it, attendance of high Church personalities from the Catholic Church and other Churches and religious communities as well as politicians from Croatia, Serbia, Republic of Srpska, Montenegro, cultural and scientific eminent people, and representatives of some world organizations is expected.

Biography of Bishop Electus John of Slavonia

New Elected Bishop John (Culibrk) was born on April 16, 1965 in Zenica. He finished a high school and the grammar school in (Bosanska) Gradiska. He studied South-Slavic languages and literatures  at the universities in Banja Luka and Zagreb, where he graduated at the  Department for stylestics  with a work on Milos Crnjanski for which he received the Branko Award of Matica Srpska in 1991 (today this work is within the book Black Sun, and a circle around it - Stvaranje, Podgorica, 2001 - it is being used at posdgraduate studies). 

He studied theology at Faculties of Orthodox Theology in Belgrade and Srbinje, where he graduated with a work on Nikon the Jerusalemite.  He  attended postgraduate  studies on Jewish culture at the Yad Vashem Memorial and at the Jewish University in Jerusalem; he was the winner of the 2004 Golda Meir Award.  He defended his master thesis at Dr David Bankier, the chief of the International Institute for holocaust research at Yad Vashem. He is preparing now a PhD thesis on the same subject together with Dr Yoav Gelber. He speaks English, Russian and Hebrew, also knows German, Greek and several Slavic languages.

As a novice he was at Savina Monastery, and in 1992 he went to Cetinje monastery, where he became a monk on the Eve of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist in 1993. He was ordained a hierodeacon by His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral on St. Luke the Apostle and Peter of Cetinje on October 31, 195, and he was ordained a hieromonk on Whit Monday on June 16, 1997 in Stanjevicи Monastery. He was ordained a protosyngellos on St. Peter's Day in 2007 in Cetinje. Since 1997 he was the head of Moracnik monastery, the endowment of Balsa III, and with a blessing of Metropolitan Amphilochios he has been in charge of the supervision of the restoration of churches and monasteries on the Skadar Lake, so he was in Italy in 2001 (a cooperation with Italian institutions on the protection of the cultural heritage of the SOC). In  2002 he was in Italy and he established the cooperation with the Italian parachute brigade "Folgore" , and the crown of this cooperation was an Order of St. Sava which was given to this brigade in 2004 and the participation at the conference on Kosovo in the Italian parliament in 2008. In Israel, he participated in a preparation and implementation of the conference on the Kosovo issue at the BESA Center for Strategic Research in 2007 , and at the Willy Brandt Centre in Jerusalem in 2008 he held a lecture on Kosovo: Europeanism in court. He visited Israel also as a member of the state delegation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in January 2001 and he wittnessed about Kosovo and Metohija there, and about the Yugoslavia breakdown and consequences on interethnic relations he spoke at the International conference in Jeruselem,organized by Vidal Sassoon Centre in 2006.

In the 80s of the 20th century archimandrite John published a few works on contemporary music and culture, and about theory and practice of the  contemporary media and the question of post- and supramodernism in  professional magazines and journals. In 2001 he edited CD where songs of St. Nicholas of Zica and Ohrid (Songs beyond East and West) were recorded. Similar results he had while working at Radio Svetigora, which broadcasts from  series Children of apocalypse - children of Revelation has been emitting and re-emitting since 1998.

He organized an website of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, and he was an editor for liturgical literature at the Project Rastko - Library of the Serbian heritage on internet.

From 1993 until 2003 he gave lectures on literature, Serbian and Slovene, general history and was Secretary of the Seminary of Sts. Peter of Cetinje in Cetinje. He participated in a creation of Radio Svetigora in 1998, the first church radio station in the SOC, whose associate is still today, and he was a chief editor of the Svetigora magazine from 2002-2003. Since the summer of 2003 he enjoyed the hospitality of Mother Church of Jerusalem, where he served in 2005 at St. George of Hosevite Monastery, and then periodically also served Sarandari Monastery - Forty-day Mountain and other sanctities of the Holy Land.

Intertestamental studies

He is the member of the Commission of the Holy Synod of Bishops for the translation of the Old Testament. He participated on behalf of the SOC at the Sixth academic encounter between Orthodoxy and Judaism at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem in 2007. He is an associate member of the the Theological fraternity  in Holy Land, which deals with the relationship of Christianity and Judaism, for which he gave several lectures. He published works on the theme of scriptures of the Dead Sea, and at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade in 2009 he gave two lectures at the postgraduate workshop on Jewish history and culture.

Kosovo and Metohia

Since June 1999 with a blessing of Patriarch Pavle of blessed repose he was at the Pec Patriarchate and was in charge of the cooperation with KFOR and UNMIK. He worked there on protection of the sanctities and the people, saving the refugees and the rest of the people in Metohija, enumeration of killed, wounded, missing, exiled and refugees, on documenting the suffering and the return of Serbs in Metohija. He is the member of the Committee for Kosovo and Metohia of the HAB of the SOC. 

In the nineties of the 20th century on behalf of the Seminary of St. Peter in cooperation with professors of the Faculty of Philosophy in Niksic he participated in  founding of Theological and philosophical symposium in the days of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. In this way he edited first two collections from that symposium - Lamb of God and a beast from the abyss - Philosophy of War (with protodeacon Rados M. Mladenovic) and Holliness and responsability (Svetigora, Cetinje, 1996 and 1998). He prepared the Collected Works of Russian mathematician Igor Shafarevich in Serbian, as well as an anthology Nikon the Jerusalemite in Serbian : Personality-time-work (Svetigora, Cetinje, 2004) from the internation symposium of the same name held  on Skadar Lake in 2000. With works on Nikon the Jerusalemite he participated at scientific gatherings on Gregory Palama in Srbinje (Nikon the Jerusalemite and hesychastic tradition), in Minsk on the Fourth Ecumenical Assembly (Влияние догматов Четвертого вселенского собора на Никона Иерусалимского) and at Prevlaka on ancient Christian and Saint Sava heritage in Montenegro (Prophet of uncreated light: the little-known feature of the second impact of the Holy Land).

Committee for Jasenovac

In 2002 he took part at the Third International Conference of Jasenovac in Jeruselem, with the work the SOC and Jasenovac. He is the coordinator of the Committee for Jasenovac of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the SOC, in which Committee he has been since its founding in 2003. The Committee developed a wide activity, influencing significally on homeland's, regional and international level of awareness on suffering of the Serbian people and the Church in the Second World War and celebrating New Martyrs of Jasenovac. Since its foundation, thirty associates were educated in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and participated together with Archimandrite John at international conferences about education on the holocaust in 2004,2006,2008 and 2010. The associates of the Committee made a multimedia CD Jasenovac-Donja Gradina - Industry of death 2005, they maintain the website of the Committee and work on the issue of Jasenovac in media, education, science, museology etc.  Through the efforts of the Committee, in  seminaries of the SOC a compulsory education on Jasenovac and the pilgrimage trip to Jasenovac were introduced. The Committee also holds regular seminars for teachers of the seminaries. The Committee for Jasenovac during years was consulted by a great number of local and foreign institutions on the issue of suffering in the Second World War in Yugoslavia, and very frequently it participated between our and foreign institutions on this field, owing to that work the Committee for Jasenovac of the SOC has the determined international position and significant voice on the issue it deals with. There is a special weight in the cooperation with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in finding and prosecuting still live Nazi war criminals. Archimandrite John have participated on many conferences, symposiums and memorial events connected to this theme in Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Jerusalem, Belgrade, Novi Sad, New York etc. 


In October 2002  Archimandrite John  was introduced to the reserve 63rd Airborne Brigade, where he had a parachute training and in the regular army way came over to the ranck of non-commissioned officer. In Israel he studied as a part of his studies military-civil relations at Professor Ben Ari and cooperated with envoys of the Defence of Serbia in Israel,  referring to the question of spiritual services in local conditions, such as participating in 2008 as a representative of the Ministry of Defence of Serbia at the international gathering of parachutists. He is the member of the editorial staff of the magazine of the special forces of the Army of Serbia Padobranac (Paratrooper), an associate in a publishing program Media Centre Defence and the Faculty of Security Studies, and for a need of the Ministry of Defence of Serbia he coordinate now a cooperation between the Military Archive of Serbia and the Archive of Yad Vashem.

At its regular meeting in May 2011 the Holy Assembly of Bishops elected protosyncellos John to act as Vicar Bishop of the Serbian Patriarch at the Patriarchate of Pec, Metochia, with the title: Bishop of Lipljan (Lat. Ulpiana). The Serbian Patriarch together with sixteen bishops performed consecration of Bishop John of Lipljan at the Holy Liturgy at the Patriarchate of Pec on 4 September 2011.

During his two-year ministry at the Patriarchate of Pec Bishop John made efforts to strengthen  liturgical cult of the saints who rest in the Pec Patriarchate, and he renewed at the Pec Patriarchate functioning of the Office for Kosovo and Metochia of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the SOC, and within it he created a library and an archive. In 2012  this Office was the holder of the centennial celebration of the liberation of Kosovo and Metochia in the First Balkan War, during which an international scientific conference entitled The Balkans and the Middle East: do they reflect each other? was held at the Pec Patriarchate.

Since 2013 Bishop John of Lipljan served as Vicar Bishop of the Serbian Patriarch in Belgrade, where he managed religious education at state schools, ensuring in particular the training of religious teachers. He paid particular attention to the first chapels which were established by the Ministry of Defence within the Serbian Armed Forces in the territory of the Archdiocese of Belgrade-Karlovci. From November 2012, after Bishop Sava of Slavonia requested the Holy Synod of Bishops to withdraw, Bishop John, on behalf of His Holiness as administrator of the Diocese of Slavonia, used to pay canonical visits to this Diocese, held liturgical services there and cared about its shrines. Hence, on Easter Tuesday, 22 April, on the day of uprising of the Jasenovac inmates, the Serbian Patriarch marked with the Holy Liturgy the beginning of the restoration of the church in Mlaka, on the very place where one of the Jasenovac camps used to exist.

As Vicar Bishop, Bishop electus John of Slavonia participated in many international conferences, predominantly relating  to sufferings in the World War Two – as well as to those where he represented the Serbian Church: in Rome (OSCE Conference on persecution of Christians), Baku, Istanbul, etc…At the Truman Institute of the Jewish University in Jerusalem he held in 2012 a lecture Is Kosovo a religious conflict? The Serbian magazine "Vreme" elected Bishop John for the Personality of the Year in 2013.

He has published in several professional journals: Dapim, Dialogue, South Slav Journal, and his works have been published in Russian, Hebrew, English and several other languages​​. He is the President of the Board of the Museum of Genocide Victims in Belgrade, the only institution in the former Yugoslavia which deals exclusively with undertaking a research into sufferings of people, and as such it enjoys international credibility.

The Holy Assembly of Bishops at its regular meeting in May 2014 elected Bishop John of Lipljan, the then Vicar Bishop of Serbian Patriarch, as Bishop of the vacant Diocese of Slavonia with the residence in Pakrac.