Jasenovac, Croatia, September 15, 2021
The faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia, together with visiting hierarchs, celebrated a solemn event on Monday, with the opening and blessing of a monument to the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the opening of the camp.
In 1941, the Croatian Nazi Ustašas established Jasenovac, one of the 10 largest camps in Europe. 700,000 people were killed there, including half a million Orthodox Serbs, many of whom died for their faith. The New Martyrs of Jasenovac were canonized by the Serbian Orthodox Church in 2012.
This Holiness Patriarch Porfirije (then Metropolitan of Zagreb) consecrated the first church in honor of the Jasenovac Martyrs at the site last year.
This year, the Patriarch celebrated the Divine Liturgy together with His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Qatar (Jerusalem Patriarchate), His Eminence Metropolitan Isidore of Smolensk and Dorogobuzh (Moscow Patriarchate), the newly-enthroned Metropolitan Joanikije of Montenegro, and several other hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, reports the official Church site.
Watch a video of the Liturgy:
In his homily, His Holiness emphasized that while the most horrible and incomprehensible crimes were carried out there, “the logic of God is different from the logic of man,” and thus, “where there is great suffering, there is great grace.” And where the innocent suffer, the Lord makes that place a holy place of prayer, he added.
In this regard, the Serbian Church intends to develop a fully-functioning convent dedicated to St. John the Baptist at the site of the former camp, the Patriarch noted.
Following the Liturgy, a monument to all the victims of the camp was blessed by the Serbian Patriarch.