A four-day visit of the Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarchy Pavle to Moscow finished on January 23. The Yugoslavian delegation consisted of Montenegrin Metropolitan Amphiloch (Radovic) and several Serbian clergymen. Patriarchy Alexy II awarded the Metropolitan with an annual prize of the Unity of Orthodox People Fund. The previous meeting of the two hierarchs took place in May’1999 in Belgrade during Alexy’s visit to Yugoslavia for support the Yugoslavian people during NATO bombardment.
The Kosovo Patriarchy Pavle has been the ruling bishop for 34 years. The problems of Kosovo were certainly discussed during the meetings with Russia’s religious people and journalists. Patriarchy Pavle said, the ethnic cleansing drastically reduced the Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohija. Unlike the Albanians, who are happy to get back home, the Serbs ousted from Kosovo have no chance for a return. The Serbian Patriarchy thinks, all participants of the dramatic events in the Balkans are to come to their senses and confess. Patriarchy Alexy II highly appreciates Pavle’s service during Serbia’s hardest times, when he was a spiritual support for the people.
The Serbian Orthodox Church thinks, the Pope’s visit to Yugoslavia would be unfavorable. The Pope has encouraged splits in the Orthodox church several times already.
The two patriarchs are extremely concerned about the attempts of creating a schism in Macedonia and Montenegro, and in Ukraine as well. In most cases schismatics are supported by the authorities, like in Montenegro, for example. The patriarchs also negatively treat the activity of Rumania’s Patriarchy, that aims at creation of a schism jurisdiction on the canonical territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The same has been done in Moldavia already. Besides, there are several problems connected with the EU legislation: the legislation encourages a schism in the church.
A workgroup consisting of representatives of both churches will be created for the schism overcoming. A subdivision of the Serbian Orthodox Church will be opened in the St.Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Moscow to make the links between the two churches stronger. Patriarchy Pavle recited the liturgy in the cathedral on January 21 and appointed Celibate Priest Antony (Pantelic) prior of the subdivision.
Patriarch Pavle told once: “The Earth can not be turned into the Eden, we are to prevent it from turning into the Hades.”
Translated by Maria Gousseva
In the photo: Patriarchy Pavle
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/23/35922.html