Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

President Medvedev Sent His Condolences in Connection with the Death of Patriarch Pavle of Serbia

Patriarch Pavle Stojčević of Serbia (1914-2009)

President Dmitri Medvedev expressed his condolences to President Boris Tadić of Serbia in connection with the death of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia Pavle, the Kremlin press service said on Monday. “His podvig of service as First Hierarch was an excellent example of noble and selfless service to the Church and his motherland, as shown in his care for the aspirations and interests of his people. The period of Patriarch Pavle’s rule in the ancient Patriarchate of Peć was full of major trials endured by his countrymen”, President Medvedev’s telegram of condolences read.

Patriarch Pavle headed the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) since 1990. Mr Medvedev noted that Serbs found a moral foundation in the Orthodox Church and obtain the spiritual strength necessary for the development of their society and the strengthening of their statehood from it. The President also sent condolences to Metropolitan Amfilohije Radović of Montenegro and Primorsky, who is the Patriarchal Locum Tenens of the SOC.

“The long and laborious path in life of the late First Hierarch of the SOC was closely linked with the fate of his flock. The hardships that befell your people and the country’s trials allowed the high moral qualities and true vocation of Patriarch Pavle to fully open up. He made every effort to strengthen the spirit of his countrymen”, the text of the condolence telegram noted. Mr Medvedev is confident that the Christian humility and unwavering belief shown by His Holiness remains in the memory of the Orthodox world.

Upon the death of Patriarch Pavle, the Holy Synod elected Metropolitan Amfilohije Radović of Montenegro and Primorsky Patriarchal Locum Tenens of the SOC. Due to the serious illness of the patriarch, for the past year-and-a-half Metropolitan Amfilohije actually conducted the business of the SOC, being the effectual head of the Holy Synod. On Monday, the press-service of the MP reported that the official website of the SOC announced that the Holy Synod elected Metropolitan Amfilohije Patriarchal Locum Tenens at an emergency meeting on the day of the death of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle on Sunday night. An election for a new patriarch of the SOC cannot take place sooner than 40 days after the death of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle.

16 November 2009




Patriarch Kirill Believes that the Dialogue with the Lutheran World Federation will Bear Fruit

Pastor Martin Junge (1961- ), the new General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)

Patriarch of Kirill of Moscow and all the Russias believes that cooperation between the MP and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) will continue, despite conflicts generated by “theological and moral liberalism”. The LWF elected Pastor Martin Junge General Secretary in late October and he will take office in 2010. “You start your path as Secretary-General in a difficult era of reassessment of the opportunities and prospects for Christian cooperation, as theological and moral liberalism breeds conflict within the Protestant world, resulting in difficult relations with the Orthodox Churches. In these circumstances, achieving a common understanding of biblical and moral values becomes a priority in inter-Christian fellowship”, the First Hierarch said in his congratulatory message, released on Tuesday by the press service of the patriarch. Patriarch Kirill is confident that the excellent cooperation that exists between the MP and the LWF will continue. “Your forthcoming ministry and responsibility is fraught with complex problems, as you try to strengthen and enrich the Lutheran community, and continue and develop your inter-Christian relations”, he said.

According to Vladyki Kirill, the traditional good relations between the MP and Lutherans around the world have a long history. “We have many years of proven experience of successful cooperation with the LWF, a theological dialogue which has continued for more than a quarter-century”, the First Hierarch stressed. The patriarch wished spiritual vigour and good health to Pastor Junge, so that he could succeed in his new position as head of the LWF. Martin Junge became the eighth secretary general in the history of the LWF since its establishment in 1948, and the first South American in this position. Pastor Junge is from Chile, a graduate of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, and shall be the General Secretary of the LWF for the usual seven-year term. He will succeed Pastor Ishmael Noko as LWF General Secretary. Pastor Noko was the first African to serve as LWF head. The LWF , with its headquarters in Geneva, brings together the majority of Lutherans worldwide. Today, there are 140 the local Lutheran Churches in 79 countries around the world uniting 68.5 million believers.

17 November 2009

Yelena Gutkina



Editor’s Note:

It looks as though KMG is attempting a divide et impera move, as far as the Lutherans are concerned. He is cooing towards the LWF, and showing the club to the EKD. Hmm… KMG is being his usual wily self… the old fox is keepin’ ‘em off balance for sure! They don’t know if they’re coming or going! You’d best get up VERY early if you’d wish to bell this cat.

Now, this is an example of harmless “ecumenism”. There are no idiotic papers being read, there are no theologians wasting the money of the faithful in idle and fruitless conferences and “workshops”… it is one high church official giving his good wishes to another on his promotion. Anyone who thinks that is wrong needs a headshrinker. It’s like inviting the local papist bishop to Jordanville for the consecration of the monastery church. God willing, he enjoyed our hospitality, and, no doubt, he reciprocated in due course.

That’s as it should be. It’s not JP and Hatfield inking a syncretistic concordat with a TEC seminary. It’s not JP and Hatfield deliberately lying about the nature of their interlocutor…. Nashotah house is an intuition of the TEC… a fact that they try to obfuscate and hide. Rather, what all people of good will should be doing is sending good wishes on someone’s accession or retirement, sending sincere birthday, anniversary, or holiday greetings, or calling on someone in person to deliver one’s condolences (that’s something never done with impersonal media).

Good sense from Moscow… shall we heed it?


Patriarch Pavle Laid Down His Burden

Patriarch Pavle Stojčević of Serbia (1914-2009) celebrating liturgy.

On Sunday, Patriarch Pavle Stojčević, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC), died in Belgrade. He headed the SOC in one of the most difficult periods in its history, when the collapse of the Yugoslavian state saw Serbs scattered over several new states. Patriarch Pavle took pains to follow a policy of non-interference in politics, but, in the mid-90s, he stood at the head of a column of demonstrating students demanding the resignation of Slobodan Milošević. A few years later, His Holiness said that Milošević was “solely responsible for the catastrophe” of the Serbian people.

Sources close to the SOC told our Kommersant correspondent that Patriarch Pavle died in his sleep on Sunday at 10.45 am in his suite at the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade. In September, he was 95-years-old. “There are people who by the very fact of their life bond entire nations. Patriarch Pavle was such a man”, President Boris Tadić said yesterday. Most Serbs agree with President Tadić’s statement.

Even during his lifetime, many Serbs called their spiritual leader a living saint. Although he received privileges from the state because of his rank, Patriarch Pavle consistently refused to take advantage of his state-supplied car and driver; he preferred to use public transport or walked when he was in Belgrade. He ate only Lenten food; he mended his own clothes and shoes, and he lived in a room that was like a monk’s cell. They say that, leaving the Patriarchate, he saw several posh limos parked nearby, and he asked whose cars they were. “They’re the cars of the bishops who came to the cathedral”, said his assistant, who was walking by his side. “Just look at those cars! Why… bishops have vows of poverty… don’t they?” Patriarch Pavle said with a puckish grin.

Patriarch Pavle, its 44th First hierarch, led the SOC for 19 years, as the SOC Archpastoral Council elected him Patriarch in November 1990. Patriarch Pavle became head of the SOC shortly before the collapse of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). During his time as First Hierarch of the SOC, the constituent republics of the SFRY went their separate ways, a bloody Balkan civil war erupted, NATO aircraft bombed Yugoslavia, and, finally, Kosovo proclaimed itself an independent state. As a result, Serbs were scattered across several new states. Many consider that the past two decades are one of the most tragic periods in Serbian history. Therefore, the role of the spiritual leader of the Serbs in this period was particularly significant.

Patriarch Pavle pointedly steered clear of any political activity. He did not even vote in any election, whether it was local, parliamentary, or presidential. However, he could not completely withdraw from politics… it was impossible. He met not only with the leaders of the Serbian government, but, also, with the opposition, and, in 1993, he wrote a letter to Serbian President Slobodan Milošević asking for the release from prison of opposition leader Vuk Drašković.

In late 1996, the patriarch made some even more unambiguous political choices, when student demonstrations broke out in Serbia against the ruling régime. When the Belgrade students reached the police checkpoints, the cops prepared to fire at the students, but, the patriarch stood up at the head of the student columns…  the police stepped aside. In the summer of 2000, Patriarch Pavle clearly stated that Slobodan Milošević and his régime were “solely responsible for the catastrophe” of the Serbian people.

Liberals often criticised Patriarch Pavle for his contact with Radovan Karadžić, whom the Hague tribunal accused of genocide. However, the patriarch talked with him as the leader of a part of the Serbian people. He did not spurn Karadžić, when, in 1995, Slobodan Milošević, in order to present himself as a peacemaker in the eyes of the West, imposed a blockade of the Republic of Srpska Bosna. Indeed, it seemed as though Milošević abandoned to their fate those who were carrying out the “sacred struggle for the Serbian land”. Speaking in the spring of 1996 with a correspondent of Kommersant, Patriarch Pavle did not openly condemn the actions of the President of Serbia, but, said only that there was a need of “unity with the Serbs across the Drina River” (the Serbian-Bosnian border).

Serbia declared three days of public mourning for the patriarch. This Thursday is the scheduled day of Patriarch Pavle’s funeral. Yesterday, Serbian media reported that Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias would attend. However, highly-placed sources in the MP Department for External Church Relations told Kommersant yesterday, “This is not yet definite”. The head of the Press Service of the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias, Fr Vladimir Vigilyansky, told Kommersant, “Patriarch Pavle was a great friend of the Russian Orthodox Church. In Russia, he was very well-loved and revered. All the MP mourns along with the SOC”. Yesterday, President Dmitri Medvedev sent condolences on the death of Patriarch Pavle to Belgrade.

By tradition, the burial place of deceased Serbian patriarchs is supposed to be the Peć Patriarchate, which is located in the breakaway Kosovo region. However, Patriarch Paul’s burial shall be at Rakovica monastery, on the outskirts of Greater Belgrade, in accordance with his will. During his life, he said, “I would not wish to trouble anyone on account of this”.

17 November 2009

Gennady Sysoev

Pavel Koroboev

Kommersant (The Businessman)

As quoted in Interfax-Religion


Patriarch Kirill Believed That the Late Patriarch Pavle of Serbia Was a Symbol of Steadfastness In The Face Of Trials

Patriarch Pavle Stojčević of Serbia (1914-2009)

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias called the late First Hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church a symbol of steadfastness in the face of the tragic events of recent years. “One of the oldest First Hierarchs of our universal Orthodox family has gone off to his eternal abode. His name and image have become for millions of believers worldwide a symbol of the unity of the Holy Serbian Orthodox Church and its steadfastness in the face of trials”, according to a message of condolences from Patriarch Kirill, published on the official website of the MP. The late Patriarch Pavle was “a strict ascetic and man of prayer, but, he was also a merciful father of the people of God, and to the end of days he humbly bore his burden. The late First Hierarch’s gentleness and love melted the hearts of his people, the podvig and sacrificial service of his patriarchal service led to deep and genuine popular veneration. The late Patriarch Pavle enjoyed great prestige in the MP, so, we are joining our Serbian brothers and sisters in fervent prayer for the repose of the soul of the newly-reposed servant of God”, Patriarch Kirill wrote. Addressing Metropolitan Amfilohije Radović of Montenegro and Primorsky, the patriarchal locum tenens of the Serbian Orthodox Church, he asked him to convey his condolences to all of the Serbian people. Patriarch Pavle died last Sunday in a Belgrade hospital in the 96th year of his life.

17 November 2009



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