Serbian Orthodox Church Holds Memorial Service for Bratunac and Srebrenica Victims

OCP News Service – 07/07/2024

Belgrade-Serbia: Thousands gathered in Bratunac this week for a memorial service commemorating the victims of the Srebrenica massacre, held 32 years ago. The service was led by Serbian Patriarch Porfirije, who delivered a powerful address to the crowd. On July 6th, 2024, Patriarch Porfirije presided over a Holy Liturgy and memorial service specifically for Serbs who died in the Birč and Srednje Podrinje regions during the conflict. This area is considered one of the worst affected by violence against Serbs.

The event, traditionally known as “Da se ne zaboravi” (So We Don’t Forget), is a church-people’s assembly held annually at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bratunac. This year, it drew a large crowd of religious leaders, government officials, and citizens from across Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Patriarch Porfirije spoke of the “true martyrs” among the Serbs who died, emphasizing their suffering as a “repeated sacrifice and crucifixion of Christ.” He stressed the importance of remembering all innocent victims, regardless of religion or ethnicity.

Here are some specific excerpts from HH’s address:

  • On the Suffering of Serbs: “There are few peoples in the world who throughout their history have survived such sufferings and genocides as the Serbian people survived, and especially the great cross and the feat of martyrdom were carried by our compatriots in Birch and Srednji Podrinje more than three decades ago.”
  • Comparing the Sacrifice to Saint Prince Lazar: “The villain’s hand most often touched them… precisely on major church holidays… The area of Srednje Podrinje and Birče is equal to the greatest killing grounds of the Serbian people, who here repeated the vow of Saint Prince Lazar that the earthly is for a small empire, and the heavenly is always and forever.”
  • Need for Accountability: “The truth about the suffering of innocent victims must not be ignored nor manipulated.”

The Municipality of Bratunac published a report detailing the “suffering of Serbs in Podrinje and Birč” which is available at This report highlights the brutality of the violence against the Orthodox population in the region.

While the memorial service specifically focused on Serbs killed in Birč and Srednje Podrinje, Patriarch Porfirije previously emphasized the importance of remembering all innocent victims of the conflict, regardless of religion or ethnicity.


OCP News Services

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