Serbian Orthodox Church Elects New Patriarch

January 22, 2010

(RFE/RL) — The bells at Belgrade’s Cathedral Church rang out today to announce that Bishop Irinej of Nis had been elected patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The 79-year-old Irinej will be the Serbian Orthodox Church’s 45th patriarch.

The veteran bishop, known to be relatively moderate, was picked at a gathering of dozens of bishops and other clergy at the Patriarchate in Belgrade.

“What is most important now is that we all show love, respect, and gratitude for getting the new patriarch so quickly and in such a miraculous way,” Bishop Irinej Bulovic said in announcing the result.

Irenej of Nis is expected to be enthroned on January 23 in a ceremony broadcast on television.

He will replace Patriarch Pavle, who died in November following a long illness at the age of 95. Pavle had headed the church for almost 20 years, a period that included the ethnic wars of the 1990s, which accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia.

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