Friday, August 2, 2013

Mil. Clerics Begin Their Duties in Serbian Army; Meet Troops' Spiritual Needs, Advise Commanders

Eight Greek Orthodox priests, one Roman Catholic chaplain, and one Islamic imam were officially welcomed to their duties at a celebration at the Serbian Army's headquarters in Belgrade on July 31, the Balkan Insight website reports today (August 2, 2013).

Colonel Milan Aksic said that it would be the first time for seven decades that religious services would be performed at military bases, "guaranteeing the constitutional right of army members to have the freedom of confession."

Apart from when performing services, the military clerics will wear the Serbian army uniform with a symbol of their religion. They will not wear or use weapons, and will not be able to issue commands.

Besides tending to soldiers' and other army employees' spiritual needs, they will also serve as advisers to unit commanders, and will be their subordinates. Before this week, military priests had not been a part of the Serbian Army since the outset of World War II in 1939.

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