The message of the Serbian Patriarch kyr Porfirije

Published On: 12/02/2023

Introduction to the 2023 Church Calendar

Our dear spiritual children!

The time between the two Feasts of the Nativity of the God-Child Christ was filled with many stormy and tragic events throughout the world: wars, conflicts, unrest, rocking, anxiety, and fears not only for the bare human existence, but also for the survival of the entire planet, i.e. the humankind, which appears to be going the path of self-destruction.

Nowadays waves of migration and migrants brought to our streets refugees and our closest sisters and brothers from Ukraine and Russia, along with members of Asian and African nations. We should meet them today by offering fraternal help and compassion, not letting anyone, God forbid, abuse them for their own material gain in the trouble that befell them.

And the life of our Orthodox people is exposed to trials, not only those that we cannot prevent alone, such as the constant threats and insecurity of our people on Kosovo and Metohija, but also those whose suppression, even if we are not culprits all by ourselves, depends on every one of us individually and all of us together – social and health services, the police, the school system, the brethren parish priests, and especially the media, but also our people as a whole. Here I am primarily referring to the unprecedented increase in violent behavior and violence, especially among young people, by young people, but also domestic violence, especially against women.

Our Orthodox people, living for decades under the pressure of such trials, demonstrate and live with a healthy Christian optimism based on trust in the words of Christ: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Hence, the life of our Orthodox Serbian people was also filled with beautiful and joyful events in the past year both on a personal, but also on a family, parish and wider social level. I feel the obligation to, summarizing the year which is coming to an end, highlight in one place several important events that will remain recorded in the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

First of all, I thank the Lord, Saint Sava and my holy predecessors, that on the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos the solemn act of enthronement of our humbleness on the most holy throne of the Archbishops of Peć and Serbian Patriarchs was performed in the Stauropegial Lavra – the Patriarchate of Peć.

At the top of the year’s events in terms of importance certainly is the healing of the decades-long schism in the body of our Church, i.e. universal Orthodoxy, manifested through the granting of autocephaly to the Macedonian Orthodox Church –Archdiocese of Ohrid, in the year when the very issue of autocephaly produced perhaps the greatest crisis in the history of Orthodoxy, but nevertheless brought our two Churches closer and united more than ever. With the joint effort of the Bishops of our Church in the Motherland and in the United States of America, with the participation of the faithful people and the clergy, the serious problems of the ecclesiastical-legal and legal status of the Dioceses in that country were permanently resolved in accordance with the Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church and the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Montenegro concluded the Fundamental Agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church, and in this way, the decade-long legal inequity of the Serbian Orthodox Church, to which the largest number of believers in Montenegro belongs, was eliminated. I believe that a good foundation has been laid for the realization of the rights of our Church, and especially of Orthodox believers, after decades of terror and discrimination by the communist regime and their ideological successors. We have always emphasized, and we will continue to do so, that we do not seek our rights at the expense of others.

The Church, together with the faithful people, but also the intellectual elite, most strongly opposed the endeavors that the deviant gender ideology and the resulting politics and practice, become the so-called “the new normal” here as well. The Orthodox mind of our people, in the name of defending the sanctity of marriage and family, harmony and peace in our nation, brought tens and tens of thousands of people to the streets of Belgrade, Podgorica and other cities of ours, who peacefully and with dignity stood up in defense of the Orthodox faith and morals, family and Christian way of life.

We regret noting that the status of Religious Education, a subject whose goal is to form an ethically healthy, moral personality open towards others, after more than twenty years since returning to the school system of the Republic of Serbia, is far worse than it was at the beginning. Unlike the Republic of Srpska and the Republic of Croatia, I see this as a joint failure of both the Church and the State of Serbia, which should be overcome as soon as possible, on the civilizational and democratic foundations established two decades ago. This is our common debt and obligation not only to Orthodox students but also to children from other traditional Churches and religious communities.

Finally, I wish that the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ – the newborn God-Child, be in our minds and on our lips as often as possible, because its meaning is Savior, that is, God is the Savior!

Peace of God – Christ is born! We pray to the Savior to grant us and the whole world years of peace and prosperity. Let us also sing the angelic hymn: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Your intercessor before the Bethlehem cradle of the God-Child Christ,


Archbishop of Peć

Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and

Serbian Patriarch

+ Porfirije