In the CRYPT of the Temple of Saint Sava in Vracar, a hierarch’s liturgy and a memorial service were held this morning on the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of the 45th head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Irinej, and Patriarch Porfirio announced that the Serbian Orthodox Church is launching an annual scholarship for the best students from Belgrade.
– In memory of Patriarch Irinej, I am announcing an annual scholarship for the best students from the founding faculty of BU, which are: Faculty of Law, Philosophy, Technical, Medical and Theological, said the patriarch after the liturgy, which was attended by Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic and Russian ambassadors. Cyprus, Romania, Belarus and others.
Patriarch Porphyry pointed out that the blessed Patriarch Irinej was known for his commitment to education, as well as for establishing the scholarship to continue the Church’s heritage, which has always taken care of education and founded theological and secular schools throughout history.
“Praying for the peace of the soul of Patriarch Irinej, we also pray that God educates our people in the image of Christ, but also in all the knowledge acquired in schools, as our blessed Patriarch Irinej wanted,” said Porphyry.
He said that a memorial service was held today for the first head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, whose earthly remains were laid in the crypt of the Temple.
Serbian Patriarch Irinej passed away on November 20, 2020, at the Kavidurma military hospital in Belgrade.
Porphyry said that since Saint Sava, there has never been a real division between the church and the people, and that Patriarch Irinej did the same according to the principle of unity – one man, one people and one Church.
Porphyry emphasized that Patriarch Irinej was deeply rooted in the Church and Christ and that he treated faith without much human philosophizing.
– He was a simple man, which may not be the most popular today. Only he who grows up in Christ can develop all the complications in order to understand who man is and what eternity is, Porphyry stated.
He added that everyone who was in contact with Patriarch Irinej could see in him that simplicity, immediacy, spontaneity and wide heart, as well as that he treated those who run the country in the same way, as well as ordinary people.
– It is love, as an expression of faith and obedience that people love each other, the Serbian patriarch Porphyry emphasized.
Also, he points out, Irinej showed that what people need the most is possible, and that is more understanding, openness and readiness to forgive each other, to accept each other into our hearts.
If we act like that, then nothing is complicated, Porphyry said.
He added that the establishment of an annual scholarship in memory of Irinej for the best student from the founding faculty of BU is the beginning of scholarships for students from those faculties, but also later others.
The Patriarch of Porphyry reminded that the church has so far provided scholarships to young people through some other funds.
After the liturgy, Patriarch Porphyry also served a memorial service on the tomb of the blessed memory of Patriarch Irinej in the crypt of the Temple.
Patriarch Irinej is the first head of the Serbian Orthodox Church to be buried in the crypt of the Temple of Saint Sava.
In addition to the tomb in which Irinej rests, there are several other grave sites, because in the future, the leaders of the Serbian Orthodox Church will be buried in the crypt of the Temple, unless they express a different wish.
The part of the crypt where the patriarchs will be buried – the ambulatory is very rare in Orthodox churches and only a few Orthodox churches in the world have this space.
The outpatient clinic in the Temple of Saint Sava in Vracar was built on the model of Saint Sophia of Constantinople.
Serbian Patriarch Irinej (Miroslav Gavrilović) was born on August 27, 1930 in the village of Vidova near Čačak.
He finished elementary school in his native village, and after high school in Čačak and the seminary in Prizren. Then he graduated from the Faculty of Theology in Belgrade.
After completing his military service, he was appointed deputy (professor) of the Prizren seminary. Before taking office as a professor in October 1959, he received the monastic rank in the monastery of Rakovica from the Serbian patriarch German, receiving the monastic name Irinej.
On the day of Holy Friday of the same year, he was ordained a hieromonk in the church of Ružica on Kalemegdan.
While serving as a professor at the Prizren seminary, he was sent to postgraduate studies in Athens. He was appointed the director of the Monastic School in the Ostrog monastery in 1969, from where he returned to Prizren to the position of rector of the famous seminary.
In 1974, he was elected vicar of the Serbian Patriarch with the title of Bishop of Moravica. He was elected Bishop of Nis in 1975.
On January 22, 2010, at the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, he was elected Archbishop of Peja, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovac and Patriarch of Serbia.
The part of the crypt in which Patriarch Irinej is buried stretches between the foundations of the Temple of Saint Sava and has pillars with a maximum height of 6.20 meters. The depth of the Temple is about seven meters.
The ceiling is painted in the Byzantine style, and the frescoes were made by our icon painters. The completion of the crypt and its painting was blessed by Patriarch Pavle in 2001.
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