Over a hundred thousand people gathered around the reliquary of Saint Bishop Nikolaj of Serbia, filled the central streets of the Serbian capital during the Savior’s Day procession, which was led by His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije.
On 25 May 2023, on the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord – the Savior’s Day, His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije led the Savior’s Day procession, with the relics of Saint Bishop Nikolaj of Serbia, through the streets of Belgrade. Due to the suffering and loss of lives of our young people in the municipalities of Vračar and Mladenovac, and due to the pain and sorrow of the entire nation for the innocent victims, this year’s Patron Feast Day of the capital city of Belgrade – the Ascension of the Lord, and the traditional Savior’s Day procession were marked by the words of Saint Bishop Nikolaj of Žiča and Ohrid: “Through prayer, let us beseech for blessed peace among people!”
At the head of the procession, carrying the large Cross of the Lord in their hands, were the Patriarch’s scholarship beneficiaries: Ms. Sara Dimitrijević from Niš – a second-year student at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, and Mr. Milan Bogosavljević from Užice – a graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade.
Along with His Holiness the Patriarch, who walked beneath the canopy (baldachin) carried by members of the Serbian Armed Forces Guard, there were Their Eminences and Their Graces the Hierarchs from the homeland, bearing witness to the unity and fullness of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Among them were Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral kyr Joanikije, and Bishops: kyr Jovan of Šumadija, kyr Irinej of Eastern America, kyr Grigorije of Düsseldorf and Germany, kyr David of Kruševac, kyr Heruvim of Osečko Polje and Baranja, kyr Isihije of Valjevo, kyr Justin of Western Europe, the retired Bishop of Canada kyr Georgije; as well as Vicar Bishops: kyr Stefan of Remeziana, kyr Sava of Marča, kyr Ilarion of Novo Brdo, kyr Dositej of Lipljan and the Military Bishop, and kyr Petar of Toplica.
In the procession of devout people of the capital, which seemed endless, there were also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Mr. Miloš Vučević, the Mayor of Belgrade Mr. Aleksandar Šapić, the Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Mr. Nikola Selaković, the Minister of Health Ms. Danica Grujičić, the Director of the Office for Cooperation with Churches and Religious Communities Mr. Vladimir Roganović, the Archbishop of Belgrade Msgr. Ladislav Nemet, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Defense Mr. Nikola Starović, the Members of Parliament Ms. Sanja Lakić and Mr. Boško Obradović.
In an orderly arrangement, there were hundreds of priests, hieromonks, deacons, readers, church choirs, members of the Serbian Army and Police, hundreds of religious education students with their teachers, and over a hundred thousand citizens of Belgrade who reached the intersection of King Milan and King Milutin Streets. There, His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije served a memorial service for the repose of the souls of innocent children: Ana, Sofija, Andrijana, Katarina, Ema, Mara, Andrija and Angelina, and the servants of God Dragan, Nemanja, Lazar, Marko, Aleksandar, Nikola, Dalibor, Milan and Kristina, as well as all women victims of domestic violence. In the poignant moments of prayer, rain began to fall, indicating that both nature and all of God’s creation were joining in the sorrow of the parents of the afflicted and the entire Serbia.
The procession, led by the reliquary containing the relics of Saint Nikolaj of Serbia, passed through Slavija Square and Liberation Boulevard until it reached the Memorial Church of Saint Sava. In front of the Church, His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije served a supplication service and addressed the faithful people.