Bishop Atanasije: Response to "religious analyst" Mirko Đorđević in the article "A Surplus of Saints"

A deficiency of intelligence and integrity, a surplus of petty pretentiousness and malice
Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church, 11 May 2010 – 13:20

Mirko Đorđević, self-proclaimed "religious analyst" (of the sort for whom only the code for semi-literate journalist applies), wrote a wretched, wicked article in Danas on 10 May 2010 (p. 6) entitled "A Surplus of Saints" in which he repeats yet again his vicious-stupid slandering of St. Nikolaj of Žiča, now also adding St. Justin the New of Ćelije, following his recent addition to the diptych of the saints, which was done at the recent convocation of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of our Church (not "his proclamation as a saint" by the "Synod of the SPC," as the unknowing know-it-all M.Đ. writes, in addition to a host of other lies and misinformation).

Đorđević's article is full of all kinds of sage commissarisms, such as the incoherent mention of St Cyprian of Carthage as "now certainly outdated" (according to whom? – who but the petty politician Mirko Đorđević?) And further on, Communist lies about Nikolaj's "support for the ideology of Ljotić" (the recently studied German UDBA file on Bishop Nikolaj says quite the opposite: Nikolaj was never a "Ljotić idealogue"); and that he was "a man of hate," which the great Nikolaj never was. This is followed by the slanderous claim that Justin was "the head of the so-called secret commission" of Nedić and his minister, Jonić, although we know that Justin was barely, because of opposition from the German occupier, and last returned to his faculty and that during that entire time he was suspect by the government during the occupation and after the occupation (the name of Dušan Glumac is cited by M.Đ. in a distorted light), like we also know that Justin's proposal on relations between the Church and state (which we have published) was not accepted at the Ravna Gora congress in the village of Ba, because Justin was always an advocate of freedom for the Church in opposition to any state. His next lie is how Nikolaj "fled from Yugoslavia", although we know that he was taken to the German concentration camp Dachau and subsequently proclaimed by Tito's communist regime as "public enemy number one "(his picture with this caption has been exhibited in the National Museum in Belgrade). This is followed by the ignorant assertion that "an Oxford University commission" rejected Justin's "doctoral thesis" on Dostoevsky, although Justin at that time was studying at a university extension seminary for Serbian refugee students, and that is why he went to Athens in 1921 to acquire his university degree, with which he could then write and defend his doctorate in Athens. Then we have the dilettante thesis that "no one yet has analyzed how much Justin as a dogmatist owes to Antonije Hrapovicki", clueless about the existence of the fundamental study of Dr. Bogdan Lubardić on the relationship between Justin and the Russian philosophical and theological tradition; furthermore, how Justin "gives the impression of being anti-historical and old-fashioned"! And an even more stupid claim – that Justin is regarded as "just an example of school theology" when quite the reverse is true, as attested by Justin's enormous influence throughout the Orthodox world precisely because of his neopatristic synthesis, the complete oppose of "school theology", which is actually represented, albeit in dilettante fashion, by the highly learned and all-knowing Mirko Đorđević because it is the only thing he knows.

The pretentiousness of this dilettante "religious analyst" when he proclaims judgments such as "a surplus of saints" or it is "an act of canonization of a purely political nature and has brought nothing good to either the Church nor the Serbian state"(!) – for only M. Đ. has been invited to assess and evaluate what is "good" for the Serbs and Serbia. We should also mention Đorđević's lethargy and backwardness in following the critical publications and translations into world languages of the collected works of Father Justin. If this was not the case, he would have looked, at least superficially, at the 20 volume collection of Justin's works, as well as the latest edition on Justin's "Notes on Ecumenism" where Justin – unlike the narrowly conservative Artemije – shows himself to be a theologian and prophet of theanthropic ecumenism, which encompasses everything related to logos, assembly, all-human, because according to him "ecumenism is the essence of the Church."

Đorđević has no idea how the Orthodox and Christian world has long accepted Father Justin as a saint and theologian of universal significance (soon there is to be an international symposium about him in Southern Italy), and the Serbian Church has already been celebrating him as such for several decades, that is, even before his addition by assembly in the diptych of saints (which is erroneously called "canonization").

To conclude in Đorđević's own words, placed in the right context: it is time, indeed, to have more intelligent and sensible "religious analysts" and not just self-proclaimed and self-inflated "petty political" commissars "for religious issues".

+ Bishop Atanasije (Jevtić)