Patriarchs of Russia and Serbia Discuss Unity Amid Challenges

Patriarchs of Russia and Serbia Discuss Unity Amid Challenges

DECR – OCP News Service – 16/03/2024

Moscow – Russia: On March 15, 2024, at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in the Danilov Monastery in Moscow, a meeting between His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’ and His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Porfirije took place.

His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Porfirije arrived in Moscow to participate in the funeral service and burial of the representative of the Patriarch of Serbia under the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’, rector of the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul at the Yauz Gate (metochion of the Serbian Orthodox Church), Bishop Anthony of Moravich, who reposed in the Lord on March 11, 2024.

On behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church, the meeting was attended by the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, and the adviser to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov; on the side of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Bishop Irinej of Bach.

Before the meeting, the Primates visited the house church of the Patriarchal residence.

Cordially welcoming the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’ noted that in the past, representatives of the two Churches invariably defended a common position: “We have always had the most reliable brethren in the representatives of the Serbian Church. And if, by the grace of God, we achieved some success, then our brothers from the Serbian Church always took part in this, so we remember our good interactions with gratitude.”

Despite the fact that the reason for visiting Moscow is not joyful, the Serbian Church is grateful to God for this visit, His Holiness Patriarch Porfiry said in turn: “For us Christians, there is no death – there is life. We know that life is a gift from God, and eternal life is not on earth – it is in the Kingdom of God.”

On March 13, 1976, the current His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’, then an archimandrite, was named bishop, and on March 14, his episcopal consecration took place, the head of the Serbian Church mentioned, wishing His Holiness many years of life and good health.

The late Bishop Anthony of Moravica was a symbol of the ties between two Churches and two fraternal peoples, the Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church testified. “Thank you for accepting him with love as a son, as your and our brother, that in his face the unity of the Russian and Serbian Churches, the Russian and Serbian Orthodox peoples was visible to the world,” he addressed Patriarch Kirill.

“According to the Russian proverb, brothers and friends are known in adversity: when everything is good, then you have many friends; when you are rich, it is generally impossible to fight off your “friends”, but if you become a little poorer, then they go somewhere. And if dangers arise, then “friends” disappear, and sometimes take the side of those who create threats,” recalled the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

According to him, the current situation in the world reveals this truth: “It is immediately clear: who is a friend, who is with you in joy and sorrow, and for whom good relations – including with the Russian Church and with Russia – were simply temporary and aimed at gaining some benefit, benefit for oneself.”

That is why the Russian Church values ​​bilateral relations between the two Churches so highly. “We know about the good relations of the Serbian people towards Russia, which does not disappear, does not mimic, but remains as we know from history. Bishop Irinej is a living witness of our joint works; he represented the Serbian Church from the best side, including on inter-Orthodox platforms, when we were often the only ones who had an alternative point of view. But this has always testified to deep interaction and sincere fraternal relations between our Churches,” said Patriarch Kirill.

“Vladyka Anthony, your representative, did a lot of good and as a shepherd, people here loved him. We will pray for the repose of the soul of our deceased brother, Bishop Anthony, and we believe that the Lord will accept him into His Heavenly abodes,” His Holiness said in conclusion.

During the subsequent fraternal communication between the two Primates, a wide range of issues of inter-church interaction and joint witness to Holy Orthodoxy, as well as the current situation in the Orthodox world, were discussed in a spirit of love and mutual understanding.

Then His Holiness Patriarch Kirill greeted all members of the delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church, including Bishops Gerasim of Gorno-Karlovac, Hesychius of Valevsky, Stefan of Remezjansky, Nektariy of Egar, Toplitsky Peter, as well as Bishop Anthony of Moravić, who arrived for the funeral on behalf of the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic as his personal representative of the Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Policy of Serbia Nikola Selakovic.

In memory of the meeting, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presented His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Porfirije with two panagias and a cross, the accompanying bishops with panagias, the head of the office of the Patriarch of Serbia, Archpriest Djordja Stojsavljevic, with a pectoral cross, and the rest of the delegation members with memorable gifts.

Serbian Patriarch Porfirije donated a tee (two panagias and a cross) to the head of the Russian Church.

From the part of the Russian Orthodox Church, the reception was also attended by the manager of the affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Grigory and the head of the administrative secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop of Odintsovo and Krasnogorsk Foma, deputy chairman of the ATC, Nikolai Lischendi and Igor Yakimchuk, the head of the Assembly Service Igumen Feofan (Lukyanov) and an employee of the secretariat DECR for Inter-Orthodox Relations A.Yu. Khoshev.


OCP News Service and DECR

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