Saturday, October 15, 2022

Serbian Patriarch Porfirije enthroned

(Serbian Church) - On 14 October 2022, on the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije has been enthroned to the most holy Throne of the Archbishops of Peć and Patriarchs of Serbia.

His Holiness Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije presided over the Holy Liturgy in the ancient monastery of the Patriarchate of Peć. At the end of the solemn service, according to the traditional akolouthia, His Holiness kyr Porfirije will be ceremonially enthroned on the most holy Throne of the Archbishops of Peć and Patriarchs of Serbia.

On 14 October 2022, on the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, on the occasion of his enthronement, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije offered a sermon:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Brethren Hierarchs, presbyters, monks and nuns, faithful people of God. It is due to multiple reasons that we have gathered today in this centuries-old See of Serbian Archbishops and Patriarchs, the stomping ground of theologians, writers, artists and the brightest-minded Serbs of the past.

There are many motives and reasons, but there is only one that is the most important, one and only, without which any other would neither exist, nor would be possible. And the main reason is that the Most Holy Mother of God has gathered us here on the Feast of Her Protection, a Feast in which we commemorate not an event from Her life, as we usually do on other Feasts of the Theotokos, but an event from our life, the life of our Church, the event of Her miraculous apparition in Constantinople in 911, when She covered the gathered faithful with Her honorable protection, appearing immensely beautiful to them in Her splendor, in the beauty of the heavenly existence to which She leads us and for which She prays to God. That beautiful protection of miraculous weaving is a comfort and joy for Christians and all people of good will throughout the centuries and a testifying sign of the care of the Mother of God for those who invoke Her in prayer.

The celebration of the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos makes us, Orthodox Serbs as well as all other Christians, happy over and over again simply because we understand and remind ourselves again and again that we are the People of God, that we belong to God and that we have His blessing of salvation; that we are in communion with all the Saints, that we have the Home of the Father – our Church, but at the same time that we belong to the family, to our nation and society, but also to the community of all the peoples of the world.

That is how the Most Holy Mother of God – the Beauty of Peć, as the people of these parts call Her after the wonderful and magnificent miracle-working icon before which we pray in this church dedicated to Her – made our today’s gathering a holy Liturgy that we served for the salvation of the world, for the salvation of all creation, for the salvation of man, for the salvation of the entire humankind. Therefore, the Holy Liturgy, which is both an icon and the presence of the Kingdom of God among us, is the main reason why we are here today, it is the main reason why the Serbian Patriarch is here today: to pray together with you for all people, for the community of love, peace and good that Christ the Lord and His Most Holy Mother desire.

All of you gathered here, but also all who are with us in spirit, wherever they are, I invite from this holy place to pray for all people – both for our compatriots and also for everyone with whom we live here, including above all the brothers Albanians – in order for us to build peace together. We are building peace together, as Serbian families built it jointly with Albanian families, who safeguarded this holy place of Peć and the holy Monastery of Dečani in good and bad times alike. Those were virtuous Albanians, regardless of the fact that they were Muslims, or precisely because they were Muslims, sincerely believing people, who knew the power of prayer, who knew that in the Orthodox shrines prayers were being offered for them and their children as well, and that God does not choose sides.

I wanted to stress this right at the beginning, to underline it, to emphasize it strongly so that everyone knows, that no one subsequently attributes something else to the Serbian Church: the program of this Patriarch, the program of the Serbian Orthodox Church – while many want to impose unrest on the whole world, when the danger of the most disastrous general war and world cataclysm is increasing – is peace and only peace. That means first of all reconciliation, forgiveness and peace with the one who is in our closest vicinity, with our first neighbor – peace as the only possibility for the survival of both our children and theirs. And it should be clear to all of us in the Balkans that our children are the most important to us who live here, and that we rather than all others have the chance to enable them to live in peace. No one else can give our children such an opportunity, nor is he interested in giving it to them as we are. That is why today, from this holy place, we say to Serbs and Albanians and to all those who are living in this region – let us find strength in ourselves, let us recognize God and look after each other, because the desire for peace complies with the basic tenets of our faith, and the peace is a part of God’s providence for the humanity and the entire created world. The peace that comes as a gift from God is stable and unshakable. It is at the same time the inner peace with oneself and outer peace with all people and all creatures.

And for the sake of peace on earth and the Kingdom of Heaven, we serve the Holy Liturgy, because that is what Christ the Lord, the Prince of Peace, expects of us, that is what His Mother expects of us, but that is also the expectation of our predecessors, the holy Serbian Archbishops and Patriarchs, who have, ever since the consecration of Saint Arsenije of Srem – the successor of Saint Sava, established the sacred tradition of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian people: that the Serbian First Hierarch be enthroned and introduced to the holy Throne of the Serbian First Hierarchs in the Patriarchate of Peć.

From the 13th century, Serbian Archbishops and Patriarchs were being enthroned here; they sat on the Throne of Peć and bore a glorious and hallowed name. The Peć Throne is the closest throne to God that our nation has ever built, and that is why the Patriarchate of Peć is our most important and safest house.

Even when they were far from this Throne due to difficult historical circumstances, the souls and thoughts of the Patriarchs of Peć were always tied to this Throne – to Serbian Orthodox Jerusalem.

Hence the second name of our Local Church is the Patriarchate of Peć; hence, even when we are far from here, the verses that the Jews sang on the rivers of Babylon are literally valid for us: If I forget you, Peć, let my right hand forget me. Let my tongue stick to my throat if I do not mention you, Patriarchate of Peć…

Because from this place, God’s blessing of Saint Sava and the holy Archbishops: Arsenije, Nikodim, Danilo and the holy Patriarchs: Joanikije, Jefrem, Spiridon, Makarije, Pajsije, Arsenije, came and continues to come to the entire Serbian people. That blessing of God protects all our holy places in Kosovo and Metohija, which are numerous like stars in the summer sky; protects the Church of Christ, and protects the Serbian Orthodox people to persevere in their homes because Kosovo and Metohija is the home of the Serbian people. Here we were born for Christ, here in the Patriarchate of Peć, Dečani, Gračanica, Holy Archangels and other churches of Prizren, we saw true light, received the heavenly Spirit, found the true faith by bowing to the indivisible Trinity. And whenever we come to Kosovo, we return as a prodigal son returning to his father’s home from the foreign lands. Nobody today, we ought to know this, builds,preserves and keeps the Throne of Peć as virtuous nuns here in the Patriarchate of Peć do it, as well as numerous monks and nuns in our churches and monasteries on Kosovo and Metohija, but also you, brothers and sisters Orthodox Serbs who live here on Kosovo and Metohija. You are the ones who raise the Throne of Peć as high as it can be raised! Your life and faith are the part of general covenant with God and also with the Kosovo covenant. Our mutual support and our common prayers are a part of our inextricable community which is beyond any ideology.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, as the fifty-seventh Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, from this Throne of Saint Sava, to which I have been introduced today by the grace of God, I invite you to give thanks to the Most Holy Theotokos, who shields, safeguards and saves our cross-bearing people with Her holy protection and through Her prayers leads us towards the vision of the true light, which is Her beloved Son Himself, Christ our Lord and Savior, to walk in His footsteps on the Golgotha ​​road, on which we were crucified with Him many times throughout history, but over and over being resurrected because our holy ancestors planted in us the spirit of self-knowledge, repentance, love of God and philanthropy.

We also pray that through the intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos, Mother of God, Her Son and our Lord, may grant so-much-needed peace to everyone in our days as well: peace in our hearts, peace in our families, peace in our society, peace in our people, peace to our neighbors, peace in all the world and, above all, peace and stability of the holy Churches of God. Amen.

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