Patriarch Irinej of Serbia and President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic respectively were awarded the Order of Saint Sava of the first grade by the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Serbian Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik was awarded the Order of Saint Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher.
On the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s autocephaly in Belgrade’s Center “Sava,” a solemn academy entitled “Saint Sava’s Testament” was held. Patriarch Irinej and President Aleksandar Vucic were respectively awarded the Order of Saint Sava of the first grade.
Aleksandar Vucic said that the Order made him to fight for Kosovo and Metohija and to support our people west of the Drina and the Danube rivers, in Montenegro and wherever they live. “After all, I hope that Serbdom and Serbs will become one and that the truth will defeat lies,” said the President of Serbia at the festive academy in Belgrade.
By the decision of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, was awarded the Order of Saint Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher. Milorad Dodik pointed out that it was “the Order for the Serbian people in the Republic of Srpska.” While thanking for such a high award, he added that the Order showed their love and affection for the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The Order of Saint Sava of the first grade is the highest distinction of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which is awarded to the distinguished spiritual and secular persons for their special merits to the Church in spiritual, educational and humanitarian fields.
The Order was presented to the Patriarch by Metropolitan Hrizostom of Dabar-Bosnia, who emphasized that Patriarch Irinej was awarded the Order for “many years of committed patriarchal ministry, wisdom and responsibility shown on the throne of primates of the Serbian Orthodox Church.”
Patriarch: Church and State are two hands of one body, just as in the time of Nemanjic family reign
The Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, said that the Serbian Orthodox Church was joyous to celebrate the great jubilee, eight centuries of its autocephaly, and that the Church and the State again represented “two hands,” as during the famous period of the reign of the Nemanjic family. “We are grateful to God that we have seen that Church and State represent two hands of one body, where the Church performs its mission, the Gospel mission, and the State its secular duties. That was the situation in the period of rule of the Nemanjic family and, thank God, we are witnessing to this situation in our time as well” Patriarch Irinej said at the end of the solemn academy.
The Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church emphasized that the State was the patron of the observation of this significant jubilee of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which the Church immensely appreciated.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the Bishop Arsenije of Nis read the Epistle of Patriarch Irinej and the hierarchs of the Serbian Church issued on the 800th anniversary of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s autocephaly.
At the festive academy under the title “Saint Sava’s Testament” important events related to obtaining of autocephaly and the very life of Saint Sava were presented in church hymns, paintings, dramas. Finally, together with the RTS choir, a choir of 800 children sang the Saint Sava’s Anthem.
SOURCE: Serbian Orthodox Church