On 22 September 2022, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije, accompanied by His Grace Bishop of Upper Karlovac kyr Gerasim, visited Banija villages that were struck by the earthquake last year.
Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije visited the village of Majske Poljane near Glina, where he was warmly welcomed by the Bajlović and Paspalj families in their new homes. The Patriarch also visited the new home of the Vranjanin family in Luščani near Petrinja.
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije and competent Hierarch His Grace Bishop kyr Gerasim, as well as several dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church, provided support and all the necessary aid to the suffering residents of Banja villages from the first day, and this was crowned by a large-scale action of reconstruction and building of their homes.
Patriarch Porfirije pointed out that the earthquake which hit Banija and the wider surrounding area left very serious consequences:
– At that moment, many lost their homes, i. e. many were left without a roof over their heads. Unfortunately, there were also several human casualties. From then until today, the Church has tried, in cooperation with other institutions from Croatia, but also with institutions from Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, primarily to participate in providing first aid to suffering people who lost their homes, but also in providing aid in the later stage. First of all, with the help of the City of Belgrade, we provided 120 containers as first aid, and then we committed ourselves – because it is not possible to live in containers for good – to collect funds, to the extent that it was possible, for the construction of wooden houses, which traditionally existed here. Today we visited several such houses in Majske Poljane and here, in Luščani, where ten houses, which can rightfully be depicted as comfortable, were built owing mostly to the effort and contribution of the Government of the Republic of Srpska.
– In addition to building houses, where families can now return and live normally, the next phase of care for people who suffered damage during the earthquake should be focused on their households. Namely, these are the regions where animal husbandry and agriculture were well developed. All of that is now questionable considering that the barns were also damaged, so it was not possible to keep the cattle in this region after the earthquake, so people sold what they had even if it was not much. Now comes that moment when it is necessary to help people who have moved into their new homes to start their households. At the same time, it should be emphasized that there are still families who need help for the completion of their homes, but also for the completion and development, as they say here, of the economy, i.e. households and properties. We as the Church are grateful to all those who participated in any way in helping the people living in Banija and we are grateful to those who are willing to do so in the future as well, Patriarch Porfirije said.