"Patriarch accepted invitation to visit Vatican"
Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej has accepted an invitation to visit Catholic Pope Francis in the Vatican, says Catholic Bishop of Zrenjanin Ladislav Nemet.Source: Dnevnik, Tanjug
"All present members of the Holy Synod, and the delegation of the Holy See were in agreement that this visit should certainly occur," he told the Novi Sad-based daily Dnevnik, and added:
"Now diplomatic negotiations are ongoing regarding the manner of organizing the visit, which is not the easiest, knowing the schedule of Pope Francis, and also of his holiness, Patriarch Irinej."
Commenting on the fact there is no agreement in the Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church about the pope's possible visit to Serbia, which is advocated by the government, the bishop added that Irinej's trip to the Vatican "would certainly be a huge step forward in every respect."
According to Nemet, "such a meeting would certainly offer the possibility to discuss also the painful issues, that concern more Serbia and Croatia and less the Catholic Church, such as the Second World War and the events after it."
Tanjug has quoted a spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Belgrade, Milutin Novaković, as saying that the decision to invite the pope to Serbia would not be made by the patriarch and the Holy Synod, but by the Holy Assembly of Bishops.
"Among them are many who look at the pope's visit favorably, and those who hold that the time is not right," he says.