Visit to Australia of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle Concludes
In 1990, hearing of the election of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle
of Serbia, the now-retired Metropolitan Vitaly said: "He is
a man of great personal piety... We remember that the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia was born in Belgrade. At that time, Serbia
had been destroyed by World War I, the country was starving, but
it took us in and shared with us what it could." (Pravoslavnaya
Rus [Orthodox Russia], No. 5, 1991).
On October 27 of this year, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle--the 44th
Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which had gained autocephaly
in 1219, when her first patriarch was Saint Savva—stepped onto Australian
soil, where His Holiness was greeted by Bishop Milutin of Australia
and New Zealand, a multitude of clergymen and parishioners of the
Serbian Diocese in Australia. His Holiness was accompanied by Bishop
Jovan of Sumadija, Bishop George of Canada, Bishop Longin of Novogracanica
and deacons and subdeacons.
The Serbian people revere their Patriarch as a monk of spiritual
struggle and prayer, a beseecher of God for their Homeland. The
austere life of the present Patriarch and his chastity gained for
him good will from all who meet this righteous man. The following
example may serve to show why people love Patriarch Pavle so. All
the bishops of the Serbian Church have a car at their disposal,
which they use to visit the churches of their respective dioceses.
The only one who did not have a car was Bishop Pavle of Ras-Prizren,
the future Patriarch of Serbia. When asked why he did not purchase
a car, he replied: "Until every Albanian or Serb living in
Kosovo and Metochia has a car, I will not buy one for myself."
As is known, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle performes divine liturgy
every day in his stavropighial church in Belgrade. Even here, while
visiting the parishes of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Melbourne,
Canberra and Sydney, His Holiness performed liturgy daily, at which
clergymen of the Serbian Church and Russian Orthodox Church Outside
of Russia concelebrated with him.
During the first days of his visit, His Holiness officiated at services
at the Serbian churches of Melbroune, in which, by special invitation
of the local Serbian Diocese, several clergymen of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia participated. During liturgy in Canberra,
His Holiness was joined by Hieromonk Joachim (Ross) and Protodeacon
Basil Yakimov, and on November 8, on the day of St Dimitrius of
Thessaloniki, Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney and the Diocese of Australia
and New Zealand, Protopriest Michael Protopopoff, Protopriest Michael
Li, Hieromonk Joachim (Ross) and Deacon Vadim Gan concelebrated
with His Holiness, Bishop Jovan and other Serbian clergymen at a
solemn divine liturgy conducted in the Patriarchal rite, at St George's
Curch in Cabramatta, a suburb of Sydney.
On November 13, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle and the Serbian delegation
departed for their Homeland.
The late Archbishop Anthony of Western America and San Francisco
(+2000) wrote in his Nativity Epistle of 1992 on His Holiness Patriarch
Pavle and on the fraternal bonds between the Serbian Church and
the Russian Church Abroad:
with these greetings on the Nativity, I wish to share with you that
joy which was granted to us recently by the recent visit of His
Holiness Patriarch Pavle to our Cathedral and the crypt of Holy
Vladyka John of Shanghai. The Patriarch arrived in America, seeking
from this country, from its influential people and its organizations
an even-handed approach to the much-suffering Serbian people in
these days of great tragedy. He arrived also as a father to his
flock abroad, who have reunited through the mercy of God has, after
their former division. Recent events have urged them to return.
Every hour of his historic visit to America was scheduled. And still,
we had the honor of greeting this humbe, yet spiritually great successor
of St Savva of Serbia!
this was for the sake of our Vladyka John of blessed memory [glorified
by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 1994—ed.], who
is remembered and loved so touchingly by the Serbs, whom the Serbian
Chrysostom, Bishop Nikolaj of Zic', so honored.
fact that His Holiness Patriarch Pavle wishes to pray at the crypt
of Vladyka John was relayed to me even before his visit to America,
promising that this would happen at 12 o'clock, then they said,
closer to 4 in the afternoon. We knew that the Patriarch's schedule
was overfilled, but we awaited him with hope. He came to the Cathedral
at about 3:30 pm.
by the singing of our hastily-assembled choir members, he was vested
into his mantle, and the Patriarch proceeded into the altar, then
to the special place prepared for him on the right-hand kliros.
Holiness is an austere monk, humble and earnest in his attitude,
staunchly strong in spirit, uniting and accommodating within himself
his entire flock. He conducts divine liturgy every day, as we learned
from those who accompanied him.
greet the Patriarch in Serbian, I tell him of how in 1936, in Belgrade,
during the burial of Metropolitan Anthony of blessed memory, at
the last stop before the cemetery, where the Iveron Church is, Singel
Makarius, later Bishop of Sremsk, spoke a few words. He spoke of
the fatherly love and tenderness which the Metropolitan had towards
the Serbian seminarians in Sremsk-Karlovac, where he lived, and
ended his address with the following words: 'Ti nisi bio samo ruski
Vladyka, Ti si bio I srpski Vladyka!' ('Your were not only a Russian
Bishop, you were also a Serbian Bishop!')
is the feeling with which we greeted the Patriarch of Serbia, who
found in us sympathetic hearts. Here the Patriarch was presented
with two commemorative gold medals cast on the 1000th anniversary
of the Baptism of Russia (one made in the German Diocese, the other
in the Western American Diocese).
Holiness responded warmly and with feeling, speaking on the sufferings
of our fraternal peoples.
deacon intoned a litany and enthusiastically elevated prayers for
the long life of the Patriarch and the Serbian Council of Bishops.
Everyone approached His Holiness, kissing the cross and his hand.
Patriarch's mantle was removed, and, venerating the altar table,
he boldly and quickly (since he already knew the layout of the Cathedral)
descended towards the crypt of Holy Archbishop John (Maximovich,
+1966). He was joined by Their Eminences Metropolitan Christophor,
Metropolitan Irinej and Metropolitan Amphilochij and Bishop Stefan
and Bishop Irinej. The elderly Patriarch donned the epitrachelion
and served the litany himself for our reposed Vladyka. The wondrous
Serbian chant was sung by the bishops. And then "Eternal Memory"
rang out. When Metropolitan Amphilochij of Cernogorije-Primorije
(former Dean of the Theological Department in Belgrade), student
of the famous theologian and podvizhnik [struggler-in-Christ—ed.]
Archimandrite Justin (Popovic, +1979), began to sing the troparion,
joined by all the bishops and clergymen: "You are a guide of
Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world,
the God-inspired pride of bishops." And everyone sang this
troparion through to the end. That is how they sing to Archimandrite
Justin (Popovic) in Serbia. This Nativity gift was brought early
by the Serbian archpasotrs to the crypt of our Vladyka John [from
the Nativity Epistle of Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco and
Western America, 1992]."
Naturally, in associating with the clergymen of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia, the bishops of the Serbian Church remembered
our late Vladyka Anthony, successor of St John (Maximovich) upon
the Cathedra of San Francisco, and a friend of the Serbian Church,
calling him a great man of prayer at the Divine Throne for the fraternal
peoples of Russia and Serbia. The aforementioned Bishop Jovan participated
in the funerary services of Archbishop Anthony in 2000, and, as
Bishop of Western America, always came to San Francisco for the
celebrations in memory of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco.