Dr. Janez Drnovšek passed away – On Saturday, the 23rd February, dr Janez Drnovšek, ex-president and longtime prime minister of the Republic of Slovenia passed away. The ex-president had been experiencing medical issues for a long time and he had appeared in public for the last time two months before handing over his presidential duties to his successor dr. Danilo Türk.
The entire Slovene and European political elite responded to the ex-president’s death, while letters of condolence arrived from abroad in great numbers as well. Slovene and international politicians were united on the issue that dr. Drnovšek had left an indelible mark in the country’s short history and that Slovenia had lost one of the fathers of Slovene statesmanship and one of the key figures, responsible for Slovenia’s acceptance into more and more important international organizations since its declaration of independence in 1991, as well as for becoming a member of the European Union on the 1st May 2004.
In the name of Slovenes all around the world, who expressed deep shock at the news of the death of ex-president and ex-Prime Minister, a fellow human being and friend of ordinary people, and in the name of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia’s Office for Slovenes Abroad, the state secretary Zorko Pelikan also expressed deep condolences to dr. Janez Drnovšek’s relatives.
A condolence book was opened in the presidential palace already on Saturday, the 23rd February, with the president Danilo Türk being the first to inscribe his name, and followed by the entire Slovene political elite, diplomats, high officials and other cizitens. Due to the fact that a large number of citizens wanted to pay their respects to the ex-president and longtime Prime Minister Drnovšek by signing their names in the condolence book, and since they had to wait for hours to be able to do so, three condolence books were opened the next day. It was also possible to inscribe in numerous communities around Slovenia as well as on the website of the President of the Republic of Slovenia.
The Government of the Republic of Slovenia announced the 25th February 2008 to be a mourning day. The same day the members of parliament and members of the Cabinet payed their respects to the memory of the deceased ex-president with a mourning meeting in the parliament.
Janez Drnovšek was buried on the 26th February in Zagorje, with around 1000 mourners joining his closest relatives and family members.
The last farewell of the retired archbishop of Belgrade, msrg. Franc Perko – on the 20th February in his clerical home at Lepa pot in Ljubljana the retired archbishop of Belgrade Franc Perko passed away at the age of 78. Believers were able to bid their farewells to him on Friday, the 22nd February while he lay in Ljubljana’s cathedral, and on Saturday, the 23rd February in a church at Žale. There at noon dr. Stanislav Hočevar, the archbishop of Belgrade and metropolitan as well as the successor of the deceased, celebrated the mass and led the funeral procedures.
Dr. Hočevar said of msgr. Perko, among other: »Sir archbishop Perko led the Belgrade archdiocese during critical historical times, which were extremey difficult by themselves and he marked this era with exceptional teological strenght of a witness and a courageous harbinger. He was able to unite all clergymen, friars and nuns into a community, which preached intelligence, loyalty, prophethood. He understood the current and future goings-on. He was always able to foretell well.«
As many as 650 meetings in Geneva during the presidency – Andrej Logar (born 1951) is an ambassador of the steady representative body of the Republic of Slovenia at the United Nations Office at Geneva, the Conference on Disarmament and the World Trade Organization. During his diplomatic career, which has lasted for more than 20 years, he served in Sweden, Denmark and Geneva, at the same time he was an ambassador in Norway, Iceland and Lithuania. During Slovenia’s presidency over the European Union, where Andrej Logar has been serving for the second time already, he is to play an especially important part, as it is expected from Slovenia to, at different levels, prepare and coordinate, conduct and perform 650 various meetings, which exceeds the number of meetings in New York, Strassbourg and Vienna.
»Slovenes in Paris continue to be active« – Jože Mevlja, the director of the Slovenian House in Paris has lived in France for 40 years. He meets other Slovenes (in Paris and its outskirts reside between 300 and 350 Slovene families) in Chatillon, in the southern part of Paris. Here are the Churh of Mother Teresa, the Slovenian House and the headquarters of the Association of Slovenes in Paris, which has existed for 47 years already. Last year a breath of fresh air breezed through their society. Namely, Sebastian Janež, who belongs to the second generation of Slovenes living here, took over the presidency. Ana Vičič, the vice-president of the society assists him with his work.