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Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle dies

November 15, 2009

PD*32540223The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Pavle, has died in Belgrade, the Church has announced.

The patriarch, 95, became leader of the Church in 1990. He was admitted to the city’s military hospital two years ago.

Though he reportedly suffered from heart and lung conditions, the Church did not specify the cause of death.

Most of Serbia’s population of seven million people are Orthodox Christians. President Boris Tadic said this was “an irredeemable death” for the nation.

“There are people who bond entire nations and Pavle was such a person,” Mr Tadic said in a statement.

“His death is also my personal loss,” the president said.

Bishop Amfilohije, who has served as acting head of the church during most of Pavle’s illness, broke into tears as he held a prayer after announcing the death.

In pictures: Serbs mourn

Bells tolled from Serbian churches, as the government announced three days of mourning, beginning on Monday.

Another bishop, Lavrentije, said the patriarch’s death was no reason to be sad.

“The Serbian people now have someone to represent them before God better than anyone else,” Lavrentije said.

The Church’s highest body, the Holy Synod, may announce as early as Monday when a new patriarch will be chosen – usually after at least 40 days.

Serb interests

Pavle was a respected theologian and linguist, known for personal humility and modesty.

After the fall of communism and rise of Serb nationalism, the Church regained a leading role during his rule.

At the beginning of the Balkan wars that followed the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, Pavle said – according to Serbian state television: “It is our oath not to make a single child cry or sadden a single old woman because they are of another religion or nation.”

Source: BBC News

Read more: Machine Translation: Serbian Television-Radio

More about the Patriarch

Read his writings On Prayer:  part onetwo, and three.

Patriarch Pavle Walking

Patriarch Pavle walking the streets of Belgrade unaccompanied, when taxi drivers offered him a lift, he refused.

Patriarch Pavle on the Bus

What other Patriarch of such a large Church happily uses public transport, getting on the bus along with everyone else?

Patriarch Bartholomew: We repeat the timely words of the Serb poet M. Betskovic about the late Patriarch: “None in this noisy era spoke so softly and yet was heard so widely as he. None spoke less and yet said more. None in our delusional age confronted truth with such calmness as he.”

Full Statement Of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew On the Repose of Patriarch Pavle of Serbia (15/11/2009)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2009 9:30 pm

    Once the Patriarch was flying somewhere on a visit. While they were flying over the sea the airplane went into a zone of turbulence and began to shake. A young bishop who was sitting next to the Patriarch asked what he would think if the airplane were to fall. His Holiness, Pavle, replied calmly: “With regard to myself personally, I would take this as an act of justice: I’ve eaten so many fish in my life that it would be no surprise if they were to eat me now.”

  2. December 8, 2009 8:53 am

    In the days when Patrirach Pavle, though frail, was still in good health, one of the priests in Belgrade told me that parishes were sometimes hesitant to invite him to visit because there was no telling when he would arrive, except certainly not on time. He refused to have a car pick him up, insisting that he would come by bus “like anyone in Belgrade.”

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