LAST UPDATE 18:17
by Mladen Aleksic
Serbian Orthodox Church elected its new Patriarch, Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb-Ljubljana. After the Liturgy, the Electoral Assembly choose three names which were put it in Gospel. Archimandrite Matej picked the winning envelope. The grace of Holy Spirit, Serbian Orthodox Church elected the new Patriarch, Porfirije Peric.
Immediately after the election, a thanksgiving service was officiated and many years was chanted to the Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovac and Serbian Patriarch Porfirije. Bells at Saint Sava Cathedral in the Vracar District of Belgrade rang a few minutes before 16:00 indicating that the 46th Patriarch of Serbia was elected.
The new Patriarch, Porfirije, is famous for his dialogue with other Christians. Also, he is the youngest Serbian Patriarch since 1937.
Newly-elected Metropolitan Dr. Porfirije (Peric) of Zagreb-Ljubljana was born on 22 July 1961 in Becej, northern Serbia, and was baptized as Prvoslav. He finished primary school in Curug, and the “Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj” Grammar school in Novi Sad. He was ordained a monk according to the rite of small schime by his spiritual father, then hieromonk Dr. Irinej (Bulovic), at Decani Monastery in 1985.
He graduated from the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Belgrade in 1986, when the then Bishop of Raska-Prizren Diocese, future Serbian Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory, ordained him a hierodeacon at the monastery of Holy Trinity in Musutiste, Kosovo and Mectochia.
He attended postgraduate studies in Athens from 1986 until 1990. That year, upon the blessing of Bishop Dr. Irinej of Backa, he joined the monastery of Holy Archangels in Kovilj, near Novi Sad, where he was ordained as hieromonk and became its abbot.
Many young monks and novices came to the monastery following him. These were the years when the Kovilj Monastery became a spiritual center for many young people: intellectuals, artists, popular actors and rock musicians, especially from Novi Sad and Belgrade. Since then abbot Porfirije has particularly dealt with drug-addicted patients.
For this purpose he formed (in 2005) a therapeutic community called “The Land of the Living,” which is recognized as the most successful project for therapy of drug-addiction; under the leadership of Bishop Porfirije, it has more than hundred residents in camps throughout Serbia at the time being.
During the ordinary meeting of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the SOC in Belgrade on May 14, 1999, he was elected as Bishop of Jegar, Vicar of the Bishop of Backa.
He defended his PhD thesis Possibility of knowability of God in St. Paul’s understanding according to the interpretation of Saint John Chrysostom at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Athens in 2004.
He became a lecturer at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology – Department of Pastoral Psychology – succeeding famous psychiatrist, academician Dr. Vladeta Jerotic.
Bishop Porfirije has not been just president of the Steering Board for a decade, but a real spiritus movens of the Humanitarian Fund “Privrednik,” which has provided scholarships for a great number of gifted, but poor pupils and students, regardless of nationality or religious affiliation.
The Assembly of the Republic elected him as representative of all Churches and religious communities, to be a member of the Council of the Republic Broadcasting Agency, and in 2008 the RBA elected him its president.
The Holy Assembly of Bishops entrusted him to establish military chaplaincy in the Serbian Armed Forces in 2010.
His expert theological works Bishop Porfirije published in magazines both in Serbia and abroad. He participated in quite a number of scientific conferences and symposia throughout the world.
He speaks Greek, English, German and Russian.
He was enthroned on the throne of the Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana on July 13, 2014, in the Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Zagreb. The solemn Hierarchal Liturgy was served by Serbian Patriarch Irinej, accompanied by a large number of archbishops of the Serbian Church and other sisters Churches, as well as priests and monks, and pious people.
The Holy Assembly of Bishops elected His Eminence Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb-Ljubljana, PhD, as the new Serbian Patriarch, in its convocation in Memorial Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade on 18 February 2021. Immediately after the election, a thanksgiving service was officiated and many years was chanted to the Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovac and Serbian Patriarch Porfirije.
Late Serbian Patriarch Irinej reposed in the Lord of COVID-19 on November 20, 2020, as well as the bishop Milutin of Valjevo (March 30, 2020) and the Metropolitan of Montenegro, Amfilohije (October 30, 2020).
Soon, the Holy Synod decided that Metropolitan Hrizostom of Dabar-Bosnia became chairman of the Holy Synod and the Locum Tenens fo the Throne of Serbian Patriarchs, until the election of the new patriarch.
Also, Bishop Jovan of Sumadija became administrator of the Archbishopric of Belgrade and Karlovac.
By Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Holy Synod on December 24, 2020, announced that the Electoral Assembly of Bishops will meet on February 18, 2021, to choose new patriarch. One of the problems was the pandemic crisis, so Holy Synod decided that The Electoral Assembly would take place in the crypt of the Memorial Cathedral of Saint Sava in the Vracar, Belgrade instead of Serbian Patriarchate (Belgrade).
The evening before the election, the oldest bishop by ordination, Lavrentije of Sabac, hospitalized because of health conditions. So, the chairman of the Holy Assembly became bishop Vasilije of Srem, the 2nd oldest bishop by ordination.
On the day of the election, the election process begun with the Holy Liturgy officiated by Metropolitan Hrizostom of Dabar-Bosnia in St. Sava Cathedral. At the Liturgy, he said: “This Assembly is unique and historical because it is being held for the first time in the Cathedral of Saint Sava. “May Saint Sava inspire us with his prayers to act for the benefit of the unity and catholicity of our church.”