By Efi Efthimiou
Although he was recently elected as the Prelate of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Porfirije begins to show his intentions for the stance that he will take during his tenure.
The official website of the Serbian Patriarchate, in a lengthy announcement, stated its thanks to all those who sent their wishes to the new Patriarch.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, as well as the names of almost all the Primates who wished Patriarch Porfirije (Patriarch Elias of Georgia sent his wishes today) are mentioned in the announcement.
Apart from the Prelates, thanks are due to several Metropolitans who sent their wishes to the new Patriarch, such as Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk and Archbishop Sotirios of Canada, as well as to other Metropolitans of various churches, representatives of other doctrines, politicians, and diplomats.
The name of Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, who was among the first to congratulate the new Patriarch of Serbia, was not mentioned in this lengthy announcement, while the name of Metropolitan Onufriy was included.
It might be early, but this move clearly marks the intentions of the new head of the Serbian Church.
Carrying the legacy of his apprenticeship next to Bishop Irinej of Backa as his “spiritual child”, Patriarch Porfirije was elected with the profile of a pacifist Bishop.
In fact, in his first statements after his enthronement, Patriarch Porfirije stressed that “the mission of the Church is to build peace”, as well as that his program “will not contain elements of modern alienation and partial involvement in politics”.
However, the expectations of many regarding the observance of a more “neutral” position on the Ukrainian issue by Patriarch Porfirije, may be refuted relatively quickly, if the new Patriarch does not manage to escape the influence of Bishop of Backa and the Russian positions, especially on the Ukrainian issue.
Today’s statements by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk are also characteristic, who in an interview wished “the relations between the two churches (Russian and Serbian) to remain equally fraternal and productive”, adding that “we really need each other’s support”.