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9327Serbian Church: a palace coup

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  • Nina_Dimas_42
    May 31, 2008

      MONITORING the media: Serbian Church: a palace coup. In the face of
      political instability the SOC was on the verge of schism


      In the face of political instability which once again engulfed Serbia
      after early parliamentary elections and the proclamation of
      independence for Kosovo, the official Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC)
      was on the verge of schism.

      The official Serbian Orthodox Church was on the verge of schism. The
      Bishops' Synod which was in session in Belgrade from May 15
      transferred the functions of the 93-year-old Patriarch Pavle to the
      Holy Synod, or more precisely to its chairman, Metropolitan
      Amphilohije of Montenegro (see photo).

      However, the Patriarch is elected for life, and some of the bishops
      left the Synod as a sign of protest against this "arbitrariness",
      while rallies began to take place near the Patriarchate. The
      ascetical Patriarch Pavle is very popular among the general

      Events in the SOC resemble a palace coup. On the opening day of the
      Synod, the Patriarch, who was in his hospital bed, had not given his
      blessing for the work of the Synod and the transfer of his powers to
      the presider. Moreover, he categorically refused to resign. Despite
      this, a statement appears on the Patriarchate's official website
      that "because of the prolonged illness of the Patriarch", the
      Patriarch's duties are assumed by the Synod -- more precisely, by its
      chairman-Amphilohije. This decision, however, contradicts the
      Statute of the SOC, according to which the Patriarch must be replaced
      by the senior bishop by consecration -- not the president of the
      Synod. The SOC's senior bishop by consecration is metropolitan John
      of Zagreb. Moreover, speaking against Amphilohije is Bishop Artemije,
      who heads the SOC diocese in Kosovo, and the "patriot"-hierarchs:
      they reproach the head of the Synod for being in contact with "Kosovo

      Meanwhile, optimistic reports on the Patriarch's health come from the
      hospital. According to the latest reports, "His Holiness' general
      state of health of is stabilized." Whether this will lead to the
      stabilization in the ranks of the Serbian clergy is a big issue.

      Alexander Soldatov
      "OGONYOK", May 26, 2008