A day after the tragedy in which innocent children and a school guard were put to death in Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School in Belgrade and which left Serbia speechless, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije served a memorial service in the Church of Saint Sava in Belgrade. Metropolitan of Prespa and Pelagonia kyr Petar from the Macedonian Orthodox Church – Archdiocese of Ohrid and Vicar Bishop of Marča kyr Sava concelebrated with His Holiness. Minister of Education Mr. Branko Ružić, Director of the Administration for Cooperation with Churches and Religious Communities Dr. Vladimir Roganović, vicar Bishops of the Patriarch and officials of the Patriarchate, as well as a number of clerics and many faithful people prayerfully attended the memorial service.
At the end of the memorial service, Patriarch Porfirije addressed the gathered saying that at this moment we can only kneel down and beg the Lord to be merciful to all of us and to pray for the repose of the souls of the innocent victims. His Holiness emphasized the responsibility of all of us, placing himself in the forefront of that responsibility, thereby encouraging us to introspect ourselves before passing judgment on anyone: “We are all accountable. In the first place I am, because I certainly didn’t pray to God enough for my people, I certainly did not do a lot of what I should have done in order to be better and by doing so to be better to my people as well. So, this is about a deep problem, about the root on which everything should be built and from which everything should grow!”
After the memorial service in the Church of Saint Sava, Patriarch Porfirije, accompanied by the Vicar Bishop of Novo Brdo Ilarion, went to the school, the place of the tragic event, where he prayed for the repose of the souls of the victims and spoke with the principal of Vladislav Ribnikar Elementary School Mrs. Snežana Knežević, teachers, students and their parents.
By going to the place of the greatest sorrow of our people these days, the Patriarch once again expressed his sympathies for the innocent lives of the children and security guard Dragan, and expressed his faith and hope in the recovery of the wounded primary school children and their teacher Tatjana.