Belgrade, November 23, 2020
His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia reposed in the Lord on Friday at the age of 90, after being hospitalized since November 4.
Over the weekend, a number of memorial services were held and the Serbian faithful came out to bid farewell to their beloved archpastor, who labored as a hierarch for 46 years, including nearly 11 years as Patriarch. Condolences came in from ecclesiastical and civil authorities from around the world, and 3-day mourning period was declared in Serbia.
The same day as his repose, the Serbian Holy Synod met, choosing the senior-most hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostom of Dabar-Bosnia as the locum tenens until the election of a new Patriarch. Met. Chrysostom also served a panikhida for the repose of Pat. Irinej’s soul that day at the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael in Belgrade.
On Saturday, the body of the departed Patriarch was transferred from the Patriarchal Palace to the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, where the Divine Liturgy and another panikhida were served by Met. Chrysostom and several other hierarchs of the Serbian Church.
The faithful also came throughout the night to bid farewell to their beloved Patriarch as his body lay in repose in the cathedral.
On Sunday, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in St. Sava’s Cathedral in Belgrade, followed by the funeral service for Pat. Irinej.
The services were celebrated by Met. Chrysostom together with 13 hierarchs of the Serbian Church, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and clergy from the Serbian and other Churches.
The funeral was attended by Serbian President Aleksandr Vučić and other members of the governments of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and North Macedonia, as well as representatives of the highest cultural, academic, and public institutions, and members of the diplomatic corps.
The Divine Liturgy was followed immediately by the Patriarch’s funeral, during which speeches were delivered by Met. Chrysostom of Dabar-Bosnia, Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev); Fr. Petar Lukic, the rector of the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, President Vučić, and the Serbian member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Milorad Dodik.
The Patriarch’s body was then buried in the crypt of St. Sava’s Cathedral.
May his memory be eternal!