Today and for three days, Serbia will be in mourning over the death of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s Patriarch, His Holiness the Archbishop, Paul Pavle.
Metropolitan Amfilohije has said that “the Patriarch has surrendered his soul to the Lord” and that “his Christ-loving heart had stopped beating.”
Patriarch Pavle was 95 years old, and was treated in the Military Hospital for the past two years. It has been several years since he had stopped appearing in public due to failing health. He was the 44th head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, a fully independent Eastern Christian Church since 1219.
Pavle (Gojko Stojicevic) was chosen as the Serbian Patriarch in 1990. He had been well educated and very active in the SPC all his life, of which he had spent 33 years in Kosovo, Serbia’s sacred Province. He was decorated several times. In 2002, in Russia, he won two awards. In 2004, President of (the State Union of) Serbia and Montenegro Svetozar Marovic decorated the Patriarch with a medal. In 2005, the Serbian Government elected him as the Honorary President of the Fund for Kosovo and Metohija. In 2007, Crown Prince Alexander II, Serbia’s heir to the throne, awarded the Patriarch with a medal of the Serbian Royal House. In 2009, the Patriarch received another medal from Russia.
The most significant achievement of Patriarch Pavle was that he reunited the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1992, after almost 40 years of bitter divisions amongst the Serbian Orthodox Church in Communist Yugoslavia, and the Serbian Orthodox Church in the “free world.” The Patriarch had the misfortune to lead the SPC during the troubled times of the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, when many Serbian places of worship were damaged or destroyed in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Metohija, and other places of worship seized by the non-recognized so-called “Montenegrin Orthodox Church” and “Macedonian Orthodox Church”.
Patriarch Pavle was the author of two books and spoke Serbian, Greek, Russian and German. He was very revered, respected and loved by a great majority of Serbs and will be greatly missed.
MAY GOD GIVE YOU PEACE IN HEAVEN’S GARDEN, DEAR PATRIARCH.