Mos˝ow, November 20, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church remembers Serbian Patriarch Irinej as their good friend and an amazing person, who was great and simple simultaneously.
"Elder-patriarch was a surprisingly well-rounded person, he always remained himself, he manifested true greatness in his meek simplicity and wisdom. He was a good friend and he always loved the Russian Church and Russia," Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, deputy head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, told Interfax on Friday.
Patriarch Irinej kept the unity of the Serbian church and "the world Orthodox family", grieved about the differences that arose in it and remained strictly committed to the traditions of the Church and the canonical church system, he said.
Father Nikolay said the Serbian patriarch was "not talkative and very precise in his judgements, which were full of deep priestly and life experiences," he was always "a person of prayer, which was a source of internal force in him."
"May his memory live forever!" the priest said, adding that he had personally known the late patriarch since 2001, when he visited him in Nis.
Serbian Patriarch Irinej died at the age of 90 of complications caused by the coronavirus infection, the Serbian television and radio channel RTS has reported.
He had been receiving treatment in the specialized hospital Karaburma since November 4, when he tested positive for coronavirus during a routine test.
It was reported on Thursday that his health had deteriorated. He was put on a ventilator.
Patriarch Irinej (Gavrilovic) of Serbia was born in the village of Vidova on August 28, 1930. He was christened as Miroslav. In 1951, he graduated from a theological seminary in Prizren. He later graduated from the Faculty of Orthodox Theology at the University of Belgrade and completed a graduate program at the Department of Theology at the University of Athens. He served in the army after graduating from the university.
He became a monk in October 1959. In May 1974, he was elected Vicar Bishop of the then Patriarch of Serbia.
He was elected patriarch in Belgrade on January 22, 2010, on the first working day of the Council of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.