Belgrade, November 16, 2023
His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church of thrice-blessed memory, who reposed in the Lord in 2009, was prayerfully commemorated at the site of his burial yesterday on the anniversary of his repose.
The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Ilarion of Novo Brdo at Rakovica Monastery in Belgrade, followed by a memorial service at the grave where the Patriarch’s holy relics lie in repose, reports the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Bp. Ilarion offered a reflection on the beloved Pat. Pavle:
There are God-pleasers who have acquired freedom before the Lord. He who has acquired freedom before the Lord can help others and be a source of comfort to others. Such saints, known and unknown, abound. We are witnesses to a miraculous event happening before our eyes and in our time in our Church—one such individual who throughout his life and after his blessed repose was revered as a saint.
I once visited the Holy Mountain, and a novice asked me, “Would you happen to have a picture of Patriarch Pavle?” He is spoken of and known as a Patriarch of holy life, perhaps the most respected Patriarch in the entire Orthodox world, who preserved the monastic orientation and monastic asceticism, especially after his repose and the miraculous event associated with his burial, which was a blessed event, a sign. When one remembers that event when our entire nation somehow fell silent, both those close to the Church and those who were not, everyone stood in respect during those days.
Then I think of those icons that are usually painted above the tombs of our holy patriarchs and archbishops—The Dormition of Patriarch Joanikije, St. Sava II, and other saints of ours, because that repose and that event mark and signify the end of someone’s earthly endeavor and significance.
It’s not said in vain: Emulate your elders, your fathers, and observe their end, for that end is the thread that adorns their entire life’s work. That’s why you can tell what kind of person they were from their farewell. Based on our Patriarch’s farewell to eternity, we can only say: He was truly a saint!
His repose is a new beginning, as one poet says: What is at the end is the beginning. The real end of life is just the beginning of that joy and freedom in Christ and the preparation for that fullness which will come when the General Resurrection occurs.
May the prayers of our holy Patriarch also be with this monastery, with this city, with this diocese, with Kosovo and Metohija, where he served for so many years, with our people, our covenant community, and may we, God-willing, see him in the grace and joy of eternal life, and together with him glorify the One Whom he glorified with his life on earth, the only true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
His Holiness Patriarch Pavle (Stojčević ) of Serbia (September 11, 1914-November 15, 2009) lived a long life full of Christian asceticism. His simplicity, meekness, and humility, combined with his strict asceticism inspired the love that millions of believers had for him during his lifetime. Many already considered him a living saint, and after his repose, faith in the holiness of Patriarch Pavle is growing ever more and strengthening in the hearts of the faithful. Today marks the 10th anniversary of his falling asleep in the Lord.