THE INTERNATIONAL BISHOPS' CONFERENCE OF SAINTS CYRIL AND METHODIUS
The International Episcopal Conference of Saints Cyril and Methodius (CEICEM) was formed on 22 December 2004. It inherited the Bishops’ Conference of Serbia and Montenegro – to which Macedonia was added – and since 1997, when it was established, up until 2003 it operated under the name the Bishops’ Conference of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. CEICEM is based in Belgrade, even though the Conference does not have its own premises.
The International Episcopal Conference of Saints Cyril and Methodius comprises three or rather four States, and for each State an Apostolic Nuncio has been appointed. While there is an Apostolic Nunciature in Serbia, with a resident Nuncio. Montenegro has been entrusted to the Nuncio in Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia to the Nuncio in Bulgaria, and the Nuncio in Slovenia is Apostolic Delegate to Kosovo.
In all these countries Catholics represent a denominational minority and, apart from Kosovo, belong to the ethnic minorities, who use their mother languages in the liturgy: Hungarian, Croatian, Albanian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Slovakian, German, Czech and Slovenian. There are two Archdioceses on CEICEM territory: Belgrade and Bar; five dioceses: Subotica, Zrenjanin, Srijem, Kotor and Skopje; two apostolic Exarchates for Eastern Rite faithful: one for Macedonia and one for Serbia; and one Apostolic Administration: Prizren.
Different state systems, the complex social and ecclesial situation throughout the CEICEM territory, very much determine its ability to act. Its particular role represents the search for unity between so many differences, for which the Church – in these areas of great separation and conflict – represents a sign of unity.
The Bishops, members of CEICEM, meet once a year for a Plenary Session, while in the course of the year the Permanent Council meets more often according to need. CEICEM’s working correspondence is managed and filed by the General Secretary from his episcopal see.