Hat tip to R.D. and others who found more information. (Picture: Reuters)
First the official news: The new patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church has been enthroned at a ceremony in Belgrade, pledging to back Serbia’s claims to Kosovo. Patriarch Irinej said the Church’s first duty was to help recover the breakaway province. The 80-year-old is considered a moderate who is open to modernisation.He has said he would not be opposed to Pope Benedict XVI visiting Serbia, suggesting a possible rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church. (BBC)
This in the first 100 words?
Radio Netherlands reports the following disturbing information: Patriarch Gavrilovic is seen as a reformer of the church, which has around 11 million followers inside and outside Serbia. He is believed to want closer ties with the Roman Catholic Church and to want to scrap the Julian calendar according to which Orthodox holy days are celebrated. (RNW)
Times of Malta reported, in even more creepy detail: “This choice is good news” for the Church, its believers and society in Serbia in general, sociologist and religious expert Mirko Djordjevic said, adding that Bishop Irinej was “a moderate person with a strong personality… and a tolerant one”. He has a chance to take a step that we have lacked so far, towards Catholics,” Mr Djordjevic told B92 television…. “A moderate man has won, open to other religions, who is a realist and who is, although 80 years old, in good health,” religious expert Zivica Tucic said. The bishop has long maintained links with the Catholic Church, taking part in both official and unofficial meetings. He has suggested that Serbia might welcome a visit by the Pope in 2013, during ceremonies to mark the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, when Roman emperor Constantine established religious tolerance for Christianity in the Roman empire…. “That would be a step forward in contacts between the Orthodox and Western Churches and no harm can come of it, only benefits,” Irinej told Tanjug news agency at the time. The new patriarch is also known to support Church reform including ending the use of the outdated Julian calendar, which now means Serbian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated two weeks after other denominations mark the birth of Jesus Christ. “We Serbs are neither the only Orthodox believers nor the only Christians, we have to turn towards modern times, analyst Djordjevic said, adding that Irinej “has the inclination for that.” (Times of Malta)
Since when did a full out ecumenist who wants to scrap the Orthodox Calendar– it would be a first for Serbia if they did– define the word “moderate”? To us, it seems like the ecumenists are finally getting their troops in line, from Russia to Serbia– right in time for the joyous moment of the “eighth ecumenical council”. NFTU