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Serbian Patriarch Irinej officially enthroned

04. October 2010. | 06:50 07:36

Source: Tanjug, Beta, Emg.rs

City: Peć

Author: Nikolaos D.A. Arvanites

Serbian Patriarch Irinej, the first Patriarch of the independent Serbia after the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, has been enthroned in the presence of several thousand guests and religious believers at the official ceremony in the Monastery of the Holy Apostles of the Patriarchate of Pec in Kosovo-Metohija on Sunday.

Serbian Patriarch Irinej, the first Patriarch of the independent Serbia after the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, has been enthroned in the presence of several thousand guests and religious believers at the official ceremony in the Monastery of the Holy Apostles of the Patriarchate of Pec in Kosovo-Metohija on Sunday.

He was ushered into the throne as the 45th head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) by Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral and Metropolitan Jovan of Zagreb and Ljubljana.

In an address after the enthronement ceremony, the patriarch said that Kosovo and Metohija had room enough for both Serbs and Albanians, and urged them to live in peace and amity.

"The Serbian people do not have a mediator state save Serbia, a part of which Kosovo and Metohija has been for centuries. There is ample living space here and room for the cohabitation of Serbs, Albanians and other peoples. These two peoples have lived together for centuries. Why can they not do the same today?" Patriarch Irinej said.

Serbian Patriarch Irinej delivered a sermon following the ceremony stating that traces of Serbian spirituality and historical roots are being erased in Kosovo-Metohija, calling upon the international community and Kosovo Albanians to ensure peace in the province.

From this holy place we plead to the powers of the world, in whose hands lies the fate of Kosovo-Metohija, not to commit sins against their souls by choosing a decision about the fate of the province which would deprive the Serbian people of their ancient right to their own land, to graves of their ancestors and their glorious holy sites, the Patriarch declared.

He also addressed the Albanian people in the province calling upon peace and unity based on the human and Lord’s justice.

Let us pray that peace, harmony and love may rule between the peoples and wounds inflicted by hatred and menace finally heal, the Patriarch stated.

The Patriarch remarked that he was elected and seated on the holy throne of Serbian patriarchs, which was established by the First Hierarch Saint Sava (c. 1174–1236).

He recalled that for seven and a half centuries the Patriarchate of Pec has guarded the throne where Saint Sava’s successors are seated, saying that he expects celestial assistance from holy archbishops and patriarchs, especially those whose holy remnants are resting in this sacred place.

I expect the spiritual and moral assistance from my brothers hierarchs, the clergy, the monks and believers, Patriarch added.

The present time is similar to the times and circumstances in which the Serbian Church went through some difficult days in its history, the Patriarch said, adding that the consequences of those hard times are still visible, that many temples have been burned down, razed to the ground and plundered.

The Patriarch observed that the Serbian people, who have lived here for centuries and left the traces of their existence, stressed that Kosovo lost thousands of its inhabitants who were banished, and that their traces and roots are being erased.

These people are waiting for the day when they will be able to return to their homes, even though they have been burned and destroyed, Patriarch Irinej said noting that only few of the bravest managed to return to their hearths.

The Serbian people have no other country but Serbia and Kosovo-Metohija has been a part of it for centuries, the Patriarch stated.

Following the ceremony Patriarch Irinej blessed the gathered believers, the entire Serbian people and everyone in the world.

The ceremony at the Pec Patriarchate ended peacefully, with Italian KFOR members guarding the building. Representatives of all Orthodox and other Christian churches attended the enthronement ceremony.

Serbian President Boris Tadic was also present at the ceremony. The enthronement of Patriarch Irinej is very important for the Serbian people, Serbian President Boris Tadic said, addressing church dignitaries in the Pec Patriarchate after the enthronement ceremony. He said it was very important that representatives of all the religious communities in Serbia had attended the enthronement.

The Kosovo authorities sent Serbian opposition leaders Tomislav Nikolic and Velimir Ilic back from the administrative line that divides Kosovo and Serbia, on the grounds that they lacked entry permits.

Belgrade Archbishop Stanislav Hocevar, Reis ul-Ulema of the Muslim community in Serbia Adem Zilkic and Serbian Mufti Muhamed Jusufspahic also attended the ceremony.

The Russian Orthodox Church was represented by Metropolitan Ilarion, the Jerusalem Patriarchate by Archbishop Theofilaktos, the Georgian Patriarchate by Metropolitan Gerasim, the Romanian Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Irinej and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Domentijan.

The Cypriot Orthodox Church was represented by Metropolitan Hrizostom, the Greek Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Theologos, the Albanian Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Ignatios and a representative from the Polish Orthodox Church.

Member of the Croatian Parliament Milorad Pupovac, Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic and Russian Ambassador Alexander Konuzin were also present.

Patriarch Irinej was elected Serbian Patriarch on January 22, 2010, and was ordained in the Cathedral Church of Belgrade on the next day.

Patriarch Irinej is Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci and current Bishop of Nis.

Patriarch Irinej (Miroslav Gavrilovic) was born in 1930 in the village of Vidovo near Cacak, where he finished primary school and gymnasium, after which he enrolled the Belgrade Theological Seminary.

He took vows as a monk in Rakovica Monastery in 1959 and received monastic name Irinej given by former Patriarch German.


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