Serbian Church to enthrone new Patriarch in Pecka Patrijarsija
03. October 2010. | 06:07 06:19
Author: Nikos D. A. Arvanites
Serbian Patriarch Irinej will be enthroned as the 45th patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the monastery of the Pec Patriarchate, in Kosovo-Metohija, on October 3.
Irinej arrived in Pec on Saturday amid ongoing preparations for Sunday's ceremony, which has seen NATO peacekeepers increasing security in the ethnic Albanian-dominated town.
By tradition, the Serbian Patriarch - after the ceremony at the Belgrade Cathedral - is officially enthroned in Pec, the historical seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
According to tradition, the Patriarch is supposed to be enthroned in Pec as well since his official title is Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci. The Serbian Orthodox Church also got the status of autochepaly in Pec in the 14th century.
The ceremony will be identical to the one held in the Belgrade Orthodox Cathedral on January 23, a day after his appointment.
This will be the first time that such an important ceremony for Serbia will take place inside Kosovo after the unilateral declaration of independence on February 17, 2008 and many Orthodox Serbs are expected to attend.
Serbian President Boris Tadic will be attending the ceremony, along with more than 400 high officials and representatives of Orthodox and other churches from all over the world.
For all prominent politicians and public dignitaries from Serbia and the Republic of Srpska (representatives of the Assembly, ministers, leaders of parties, representatives of science and art), a formal reception regarding the enthronement of His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch will be held on October 4, 2010 at 17:00 hours at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade.
Thousands of Serbs, expected to travel through an Albanian-majority area for the ceremony, officials are on guard against trouble.
The Serbian Orthodox Church, said more than 150 of its religious sites were burned or desecrated after the war ended in 1999.
A reinforced number of Italian soldiers, part of a NATO mission, guard the walls of the frescoed Pec Patriarchate where Irinej will be enthroned.
About 10,000 believers are expected to attend the enthronement on October 3, with KFOR, NATO's Kosovo Force, and EULEX, the EU rule-of-law mission, providing security.
Bishop Porfirije told RTS broadcaster on Friday: "Everything is already prepared for this solemn act. "More than 50 buses are set to drive from parishes in Serbia to the enthronement. I don't know the number of those coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and FYRMacedonia."
The new patriarch will be guided to the throne by two of the Serbian Orthodox Church's oldest bishops - the Bishop of Zagreb and Ljubljana Jovan and Bishop of Montenegro and the Littoral Amfilohije, he said.
The throne of the 45th Serbian patriarch is handmade in wood and has a carved icon of the first Serbian Archbishop, St Sava. It was a gift from Abbess Nikodimija and the nuns at the Greek Orthodox Ormilje Nunnery.
In preparation for the formal act of enthronement of His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch on October 3, 2010 in the Stavropegial Laura of the Serbian patriarchs - the Patriarchate of Pec, the Holy Synod of Bishops reminds firstly all Orthodox believers, but also the whole public that "the enthronement is only a religious and a spiritual activity of the historical significance for our Church and the entire Serbian people, as well as any politicization of the event is undesirable and absolutely unacceptable".