Serbian PATRIARCH Irinej (Gavrilovic), the 45th head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, fell asleep in an eternal dream exactly one year ago. After several weeks of fighting the consequences of the corona virus, in the same way he lived – quietly and peacefully – he closed his eyes in the military covid-hospital in Karaburma.
Patriarch Irinej spent a full decade at the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and he is remembered as a person of exceptional respect in the Christian world, a discreet reformer of the Church, but also a true advocate of preserving Kosovo and Metohija as part of Serbia.
The Holy Hierarch’s Liturgy will be served in the part of the late first hierarch in the Temple of Saint Sava in Vracar today at 9 am, after which an annual memorial service will be held on Irinej’s grave in the crypt of the Saint Sava shrine. The service and commemoration of God will be led by Patriarch Porphyry.
On the anniversary of his death, the clergy and believers of the Serbian Church will remember the wise old man who captivated with his calmness in his public appearances, but also with his uncompromising attitude when it comes to the spiritual unity of the Serbian people.
“His softness was his strength, and restraint was his wisdom,” it was said about Patriarch Irinej.
As well as: “The calm hand of Patriarch Irinej, without rhetoric and pomp, firmly held the helm of our church, making sure that he never forgets the Serbian state, nor that he ever renounces the Serbian people and our holy Kosovo and Metohija.”
Irinej Gavrilović is remembered as a conciliator of not always harmonious great Orthodox patriarchates, but also a man who announced a new era in relations with the Vatican and the Pope of Rome. In addition, he was a strong supporter of Serbian unity and protection of the national being in all countries where our people live.
Irinej was born as Miroslav Gavrilović in 1930 in the village of Vidova near Čačak. He graduated from the high school in Čačak, the seminary in Prizren, and was educated in Belgrade and Athens. He became a monk in 1959 in the monastery of Rakovica, and a bishop in 1974, when he was elected bishop of Moravica. He was the bishop of Nis for a full 35 years, and in 2010, after the death of Patriarch Pavle, he was elected the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
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