A pious Patriarch

Slobodan Georgijev takes the measure of the man:

Patriarch Pavle of Serbia

Patriarch Pavle of Serbia

… Pavle was a man with an untainted biography, devoted to the work of the church. As Patriarch, he would travel to work on public transport shunning the luxury trappings and expensive cars that formerly came with the office. “If they drive around in such expensive cars having made a pledge to modesty,” Pavle is reported to have said, “what would have they done had they not made the pledge.”

He was criticized in Liberal circles for not being more resolute in holding back the Church from interference in state affairs, although in the church system he was just the first among equals, and many decisions were made passed by the bishops, without his approval.

A pious man, he was nevertheless always willing to talk to anyone without feeling the need to impose his religious views. His message has been summed up in a sentence: it is better to live for just one day as men, than a whole lifetime as a monster.

Many will remember him for a statement he made in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the war: “Budimo ljudi iako smo Srbi”. Loosely, this translates into English as “It’s more important to be a man than a Serb.”

Read Patriarch Pavle, The Man and the Serb on BalkanInsight.com


  1. The New Serbian Orthodox Patriarch will be elected on January 22 by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the church’s website said on Friday.

    The election will take place 40 days after the November 15 death of Patriarch Pavle.

    Patriarch Pavle, elected to head the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1990, died at the age of 95 of a cardiac arrest during his sleep after being treated for two years in the Belgrade Military Medical Academy.

    Serbia declared a period of national mourning and hundreds of thousands of people came to bid farewell to the patriarch as the country’s Orthodox Church leader was buried in a Belgrade suburb.

    MOSCOW, November 27 (RIA Novosti)

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