Serbian Armed Forces pay their last respects to Patriarch Irinej
Members of the Serbian Armed Forces, together with their people, are paying their last respects to Serbian Patriarch Irinej who passed away yesterday at 7.07 a.m. at the military Covid hospital “Karaburma” as a result of the Covid-19 disease.
The Serbian Armed Forces’ guards carried the coffin with the earthly remains of Patriarch Irinej and formed honorary lines in front of the Cathedral of the Holy Archangel Michael where the Holy Liturgy was served and the Church of St. Sava where Patriarch Irinej will be buried. In that way, the traditional unity of the armed forces and the Serbian Orthodox Church as centuries-old and lasting pillars of the state of Serbia is symbolically confirmed.
President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić sent a telegram of condolences to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church following the passing of His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia which reads as follows:
“The Serbian people have had great patriarchs and people, and Patriarch Irinej was one of them. Such one that this time demanded and that our people wanted. That is why he, who was respected by his people, was becoming greater every day, closer and dearer to every Serbian host, every Serbian woman and man, no matter where they lived. Patriarch Irinej was a great man of the Serbian Church, Orthodox religion and the Serbian people”, reads President Vučić’s telegram.
Extending his condolences following the passing of Patriarch Irinej, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović, PhD, emphasized that “every person in our country was shaken by the sad news of the Serbian Patriarch’s passing” and that “his life and struggle for good are an inspiration to all of us and an encouragement to perform more selfless acts, and to remember the words he addressed to us, especially when there was no other consolation”.
In addition to numerous benefits that he brought to Serbia and the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej supported and was a strong advocate of the initiative to introduce religious service to the Serbian Armed Forces in 2011.
At the signing ceremony of the Agreement on the Introduction of Religious Service in the Serbian Armed Forces, Patriarch Irinej assessed that it was a historic act for both the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Armed Forces. The introduction of military priests brings an even greater presence of traditional culture and spirituality to our armed forces and military priests will ensure a greater quality of life and military service, as well as the spirit of patriotism and spirituality, said Patriarch Irinej, emphasizing the symbolism of signing the Agreement on Vidovdan - a national holiday of the Serbian people and church.
Patriarch Irinej often and gladly met with the members of the Serbian Armed Forces, especially on the occasion of important holidays and the consecration of places of worship in the Serbian Armed Forces’ commands, units and institutions.
The funeral of the 45th head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej will be held on Sunday, 22 November in the crypt of the Church of St. Sava. He will also be remembered as a patriarch whose time was marked by the greatest investment in the completion of the Church in Vračar, and he will be the first patriarch to be buried there.