MSNG. STANISLAV HOČEVAR, THE ARCHBISHOP AND METROPOLITAN OF BELGRADE
Mons. Stanislav Hočevar was born on 12 November 1945 in the village of Jelendol, parish and municipality of Škocjan near Novo Mesto, the Diocese of Novo Mesto, Slovenia. After completing primary school in Škocjan, in 1960 he joined the Salesians of Don Bosco. He attended high school in Križevci and Rijeka, and then entered the novitiate of the Salesians. He served in the Army from 1966 to 1967 in Skopje. Then he was an educator in the novitiate in Želimlje near Ljubljana. He studied theology at the Theological Faculty in Ljubljana. He was ordained a priest on 29 June 1973.
He obtained his Master’s degree from the Theological Faculty in Ljubljana in 1979 with a thesis in theology: Personal sin in today’s hamartiology. Since the year 1973 was the trainer in a small seminary in Želimlje, and a trustee of this Salesian institution since 1979.
Two years (1982-1984) he was deputy Salesian Provincial in Slovenia. Then four years he was the manager of the dormitory for high school students – Modestov home in Klagenfurt, Austria. In 1988 he was elected Provincial of the Salesians in Slovenia for the first time, and from 1994 to 2000 he was entrusted with his second term in the same department. He took part in four Salesian General Chapters in Rome. He was the President of the Conference of Major Superiors of Slovenia in two terms, and then he was the Secretary General of the same conference for two years.
Even with these responsibilities and duties, he found the time to write. In 1978 his booklet Peter the Polish in 1983 was published. Open Your Heart, was published in 1983 and in 1988 for May devotion The Great Sign, and in 1998 he was editor of the book The years the great maturation about all violent death victims of the Second World War in the local parish near Škocjan near Novo Mesto.
In the year 1999 during the bombing of Yugoslavia he started the initiative “Peace to you, Balkan” and in the same year he started the successful foundation to help families with multiple children under the name of Anna’s Fund. On the feast of the Annunciation on 25 March 2000 Pope John Paul II appointed him the Coadjutor of the Archbishop of Belgrade. He received Episcopal ordination on 24 May 2000 in the church of Our Lady Help of Christians in Rakovnik in Ljubljana. He came to Belgrade on Pentecost 2000.
At the plenary session of the Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia in the autumn of 2000 he takes charge of the catechesis and youth, of the religious life, and became the president of the Bishops’ Commission for Caritas.
On 31March 2001 Holy Father John Paul II accepted the request for the dismissal of the former Archbishop of Belgrade Dr. Franc Perko, and with this Msgr. Stanislav Hočevar takes the service of the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Belgrade.
On 16 May 2001 he was elected President of the Bishops ‘Conference of Yugoslavia, later renamed the International Bishops’ Conference of St. Cyril and Methodius, where he also performed other functions, and on 7 July 2006 the XVI Plenum in Petrovaradin entrusted him with another five-year term.
In 2002 he became a member of the Pontifical Council for the Advancement unity of Christians. At the bishop’s coat of arms of Msgr. Stanislav Hočevar a star and a harp are presented. The star indicates the transcendent dimension of human life, and therefore marks the Church and the Virgin; the harp is an instrument that speaks of harmonious unity, a symbolic number of seven sacraments of the Church. These symbols indicate the light and the hope which Christianity brings. The colors on the background of the coat of arms are typical Slovenian colors.
The motto of his Episcopal ministry is: Servite Domino in laetitia (meaning: Serve the Lord with joy).