Patriarch IRINEJ passes away.


Patriarch IRINEJ passes awayThe Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Irinej, passed away yesterday at the Belgrade Military Hospital in Karaburma, where he was hospitalized due to COVID-19 infection, as his health condition deteriorated. Recall that Patriarch Irinej has been hospitalized earlier on November 4th because of COVID-19 infection. Three days earlier, at the funeral of Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro at the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica, Patriarch Irinej celebrated the holy liturgy. In January on this year, the Serbian Orthodox Church marked the 60th anniversary of its monastic service, 45 years of episcopal service and 10 years in its heading position. On that occasion, Irinej had stated that “we live in a time when it is not easy to be in a high position, so it is not easy to be a patriarch”, but that he tried and did everything within his competencies to lead the Church on the right path. Patriarch Irinej (Gavrilović) was born in 1930 in the village of Vidovi near Çačak. He completed the primary school in his native village, and then the high school in the town of Cacak. After graduation from the Prizren seminary, he continued his studies at the Faculty of Theology in Belgrade, where he graduated. After completing his military service, he was appointed as deputy (professor) of the Prizren seminary. Before taking office as a professor inOctober 1959, at the Rakovica Monastery, he received the rank of Patriarch from the Serbian Patriarch German, taking the monastic name Irinej. On Holy Friday of the same year, he was ordained in the hiero-monarch in the church of Ružica in Kalemegdan.While serving as a professor at the Theological Seminary of Prizren, he continued his postgraduate studies in Athens. From there, he was appointed as director of the Monastic School at the Ostrog Monastery in 1969; he later returned to Prizren to the position of rector of the famous seminary. From that position, in 1974, he was elected vicar of the Serbian patriarch with the title of bishop of Moravica, while in 1975 was elected as the bishop of Nis.He ascended the throne of St. Sava in late January 2010, in the Belgrade Cathedral, as the 45th head of the Serbian Orthodox Church and he was later enthroned in the Patriarchate of Peja. Serbian Patriarch Irinej turned 90 in August of this year. On this occasion, he was congratulated by the head of the Russian, Romanian and Czech Orthodox Churches, by Pope Francis, as well as by the two presidents – of Serbia and Russia, and from the Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic.For us, the Serbian-Montenegrin community living in the centuries-old hearths in Shkodra, the visit he made, on May 31, 2014, will remain indelible in our memory. In 2014, for the first time in history, a Serbian patriarch visited the church of the “Holy Trinity” in Vraka nearShkodra. During this visit, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej was accompanied by the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Coast, Mr. Amfilohije and the Metropolitan of Berat, Mr. Ignatius of the Albanian Orthodox Church. Upon entering the temple, His Holiness the Patriarch of Serbia Mr. Irinej, was greeted by the Metropolitan of Berat, Mr. Ignatius, on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Albanian Orthodox Church and His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Tirana Mr. Anastas, who thanked the Serbian Patriarch for coming to Albania and for participating in the spiritual celebrations in Vraka and Tirana.After welcoming the believers, Patriarch Irinej said on this occasion that “This is a great gift and grace of God for me to visit this wonderful land, to visit this wonderful church, and you brothers and sisters belonging to the Holy Orthodox Church, a large Orthodox family. I comeon behalf of our Holy Serbian Orthodox Church to greet and convey the greetings of the Church and our people to you who live here in this area. We are a large, Christian Orthodox family, and no matter what countries we live in, we are a spiritual family and our goal is to draw closer to and unite with our Lord. When we are united with God, then we are close to each other. You live in this blessed country, Orthodox, Catholics and Muslim brothers live here, even though we belong to different religions, we are the people of God. God created us all and we are all obliged and called to praise God in the way faith teaches us. Keep the Holy Orthodox Faith. From the past until today, and we hope that in the future as well, our holy church will exist here, that it will proclaim the truth of the Holy Gospel and that it will teach us to pray to the Lord and to respect and honor one another – as God wills. I wish you all the goodness and blessings of the Lord, through this wonderful holy temple, to bestow upon yourfamilies and your children and upon all of you who approach the Lord in the holy temple with faith and love. May the blessing of God accompany you all the days of your life! Amen, God save us “, said His Holiness Patriarch Irinej in his sermon.After the death of Metropolitan Amfilohije, this is a great loss for the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian people and Christianity as a whole.

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