"God willing, Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia will be one"

BANJA LUKA -- SPC Patriarch Irinej says the Drina River - which runs between Serbia and Bosnia - is "no border" for the Serb nation.

Patriarch Irinej (FoNet)
Patriarch Irinej (FoNet)

The leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church said that the river is rather "a bridge" between Serbia and Serbs in Bosnia, uniting them on their "path of St. Sava".

"The Drina River is not a border but a bridge that connects us. Although, in a way, we are one even today, God willing, we will soon really be one," Irinej told Banja Luka's Fokus magazine.

For now, continued the patriarch, "it is enough that we are one as a nation, as the Orthodox Church, and that we are on the same path of St. Sava and Christ".

He saluted the Serb people of Banja Luka - the Bosnian Serb entity (RS) largest town - and said they were fighting to preserve their faith and name.

"(They fight) to preserve the Serb name. Although this is not at all an easy task, they are succeeding."

Irinej praised his predecessor, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, on the anniversary of his death, and described as being "in many ways unique", both as patriarch and monk.

"He pressed forward all the time, never looking back. All that crowned one holy life, a wonderful evangelical example in our time. All that was felt by the nation during his funeral," said Irinej.