Patriarch of Serbia: Why I kissed Pope’s hand

In other languages: GRBG

by Mladen Aleksic

On Sunday of Orthodoxy, in the crypt of the St. Sava Cathedral, Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia celebrated the Holy Liturgy, together with Bishop Nikodim of Dalmatia and Vicar-Bishop Stefan.

During the Liturgy, Patriarch Porfirije spoke about the Great Lent and the freedom in Orthodoxy.

“Freedom is not doing what we want, is creating the truth,” he said. About fasting, he added that fasting is the restrictions of our egoism, our self-love and anarchy in ourselves, the restriction of our actions by which we restrict the freedom of our neighbor.

Also, he referred to the meaning of the Sunday of Orthodoxy and the significance of the icons in Orthodox Christianity. “We can establish communion with God and therefore we can paint Him because, before that, He was painted in our hearts.”

Patriarch Porfirije compared two life models: people who believe that the end justifies the means and people who love their neighbors. The first one is not the true life. The second model constitutes one new life-model, build a new man.

Also, about true faith, he added the true faith is not a set of attitudes.

“And when they ask us what is the attitude of the church, what is your and my attitude, personal attitude, we could say “It is a wrong question, we have nothing to answer. We have faith, not attitudes.”

In the meantime, in his first TV interview for Croatian media during the weekend, the Patriarch spoke about his meeting with Pope Francis.

He said that he had met with the Pope three times, personally. On one occasion, as the Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana, he had kissed the Pope’s hand (in Assisi in 2016), which was disapproved by many faithful in SOC.

“People told me that I’m a traitor of the Orthodox Church, but I had my own, personal reason why I kissed his hand. I do not consider that I have betrayed anyone or anything by that act. And I think I acted in the spirit of the Gospel.”

During this TV interview, Patriarch Porfirije spoke about the current relations between Serbian and Croatia, Jasenovac, Stepinac, and about the possibility of a Pope’s visit to Serbia.

“When it comes to that (arrival of the Pope in Serbia), as well as all important things in our church, the decision will be that of the Assembly of the Bishops.

In that sense, on such a topic, I cannot, I will not and I do not want to decide alone. It depends on the attitude and assessment of the Assembly, but also on the mutual talks between us and the Vatican.”



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