Porfirije - a new patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church PHOTO / VIDEO

Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church have chosen a patriarch in the Memorial Church of Saint Sava in Vracar.

Source: Tanjug
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Foto/Milos Rafailovic / e-stock
Foto/Milos Rafailovic / e-stock

Metropolitan of Zagreb-Ljubljana Porfirije has been elected the new patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Who is the new patriarch?

Screenshot/ TV B92
Screenshot/ TV B92

His Eminence Metropolitan of Zagreb-Ljubljana Dr Porfirije (Perić) is the fourth Metropolitan of the Diocese of Zagreb and Ljubljana.

He was born on July 22, 1961, in Becej. He is the first from the three children of Radivoje and Radojka Perić, who, after the Second World War, moved to Vojvodina from the village of Osinje near Derventa in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At his baptism, he was named Prvoslav. He received his primary school education in Curug, and finished high school "Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj" in Novi Sad in 1980.

He attended the study of archeology at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. He soon began studying at the Faculty of Theology of the Serbian Orthodox Church, where he graduated in 1987.

He was ordained a monk on St. Thomas Sunday, on April 11, 1986, by his spiritual father, then hieromonk Dr Irinej (Bulović), the current Bishop of Bačka. In the same year, the Bishop of Raska and Prizren, Pavle (Stojčević), the later Serbian patriarch, ordained the monk Porfirije to the rank of hierodeacon in the monastery of the Holy Trinity in Musutište on June 23, 1986.

He attended postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Theology of the NKUA - National and Kapodistrian University in Athens (1987-1990). He obtained the title of Doctor of Science (2004) at the same university. He was ordained a hieromonk on Arandjelovdan, November 21, 1990, in the monastery of the Holy Archangels in Kovilj. He was then appointed abbot of that holy family. He was elected Bishop of Jegar, Vicar of the Diocese of Bačka, at the session of the Holy Synod of Bishops on May 14, 1999. He was ordained by Patriarch Pavle (Stojčević) in the Novi Sad Cathedral on June 13, 1999. He was elected Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana at the session of the Holy Synod of Bishops on May 26, 2014. On June 13 of the same year, Patriarch Irinej (Gavrilović) introduced him to the metropolitan throne in the Church of the Transfiguration in Zagreb, where Metropolitan Porfirije succeeded the blessed Metropolitan Jovan (Pavlović).

He is an associate professor at the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the University of Belgrade. He is fluent in Greek and English, and speaks Russian, as well.

Abbot

At the invitation of the Bishop of Bačka, Dr Irinej, Hierodeacon Porfirije temporarily suspended his postgraduate studies in theology in Athens in 1990 and accepted the duties of abbot of the Holy Archangel Family in Kovilj, where he remained until 2014. With his appointment as abbot, the revival of the monastery began.

The old lodgings were renovated and new ones were built, a chapel was built and the fresco painting of the monastery temple began. The abbot of Porfirije made sure that the life of the monks and the liturgical type of Kovilj were organized in the image of the authentic monastic spirituality and the liturgical experience of the communities of Mount Athos. The monastery became recognizable for nurturing Byzantine church chanting, but also for its openness to the social community.

At the initiative of Bishop Porfirije, four therapeutic communities for the treatment of addiction were formed, called the Land of the Living. Since the founding of the first community in 2005, until the beginning of 2021, almost 4.000 protégés have passed through these unique spas in which the knowledge and skills of medical sciences are intertwined with centuries of Orthodox spiritual experience.

The brotherhood of the monastery was multiplied many times over, so that at the time of the departure of Metropolitan Porfirije from the position of abbot, it had 25 monks.

For a whole decade, Bishop Porfirije was one of the regular participants in the show entitled "Bukvar pravoslavlja", which was broadcast on Novi Sad television. Also, from the beginning of the broadcast of the television show "Agape" by the author and host Aleksandar Gajšek (2005), until the election for the Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana (2014), he was its frequent guest along with the deceased academician Dr Vladeta Jerotić and other prominent thinkers. As a representative of the traditional Churches and religious communities in Serbia, Bishop Porfirije was first a member (2005-2008), and then the President of the Council of the Republic Broadcasting Agency (2008-2014). He was the first hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church to be entrusted with the care of the organization of religious life in the Serbian Army (2010-2011).

Since 2002, Bishop Porfirije has been the President of the Board of Directors of the Serbian Business Association "Privrednik" in Novi Sad, where he has been especially engaged in raising funds for scholarships for gifted Serbian pupils and students.

Metropolitan

The program of his pastoral work was presented by Metropolitan Porfirije in his inaugural sermon at the enthronement in June 2014, saying:

"I will always be ready to participate in building bridges between people and nations, fully aware that there will be those who will throw stones at bridge builders from both shores. But the Lord Himself obliges me to do that, bridging the gap in his Only Begotten Son, between God and man".

On his identity and the fundamental values ​​on which he bases his mission, the Metropolitan said on that occasion: "I am a Serb, but above all a Christian, and that is a universal value and that is why I will preach and bear witness to Christ. I love my people, but I love and will love and all other nations, every man, every icon of God". The Metropolitan Porfirije nurtures friendly and cooperative relations with numerous representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and other religious communities, as well as with many scientific and cultural leaders in Zagreb.

He hosted the Eighth Meeting of the All-Orthodox Network for the Study of Religions and Destructive Cults, which was held in September 2015 in Ljubljana, under the auspices of the Diocese of Zagreb-Ljubljana. He completed the renovation of the Monastery of the Mother of God in Lepavina, near Koprivnica, one of the oldest spiritual centers of the Orthodox people in Croatia. He is the winner of the award of the Theological Academy of St. Ignatius in Stockholm (Sweden) for 2016. This recognition was awarded to him "for his contribution to the reconciliation of the people in the Balkans and his dedicated work on promoting unity among Christians".

On the occasion of receiving the award, Metropolitan Porfirije gave a lecture on freedom and human rights in Stockholm. Speaking about the fact that freedom and human dignity have their source in the Church of Christ, he said that "freedom of choice, freedom of conscience, free flow of people and ideas and material security of each individual are what Christianity as an authentic personalism brings with it" and pointed out that "it does not mean that Christianity stands for transient human values, but that it affirms the eternal values ​​in which man and his salvation are at stake".

The recognition of the Association for Religious Freedom in the Republic of Croatia for 2019 was awarded to Metropolitan Porfirije for his peaceful contribution to the promotion of the culture of dialogue and religious freedoms.

Professor

Bishop Porfirije defended his doctoral thesis "The Possibility of Knowing God with the Apostle Paul according to the interpretation of St. John Chrysostom" at the Faculty of Theology of the National and Kapodistrian University in Athens in 2004. In the same year, he became an Assistant Professor at the Department of Catechetic and Pastoral Theology at the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the University of Belgrade. At that department, he succeeded academician Vladeta Jerotic, with whom he worked closely in many fields for many years.

As an Associate Professor at the Orthodox Theological Faculty, since 2015, he has been teaching basic studies in Pastoral Theology with Psychology and New Testament Theology, as well as in other subjects at the master's and doctoral level. He participated in the initiation and promotion of the Bible Institute at the Faculty of Theology.

He is the author of the books "Face to Face - Biblical-Pastoral Reflections on God, Man and the World" (Belgrade - Zagreb, 2015) and "Wisdom in the Secret Hidden - Essays on the Theology of the Apostle Paul" (Belgrade, 2020), along with about thirty scientific, professional and popular papers published in domestic and international journals. The collection of interviews and addresses, which he gave during the first two years since his appointment as Metropolitan (2014-2016), was published in 2016 under the title "Zagreb and I love each other publicly".

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