July 15, 2009

Patriarch Pavle of Serbia Today

Patriarch Pavle of Serbia receiving Holy Communion

Referred to by some as a "walking saint" based on his simple lifestyle and humility, as of right now Patriarch Pavle is 95 years old and still leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Whereas bishops around the world are often wrongly criticized for the cars they drive and despite the fact that every bishop in Serbia owns a car to travel around their diocese, he did not. When asked why he never obtained an automobile, he replied: "I will not purchase one until every Albanian and Serbian household in Kosovo and Metohija has an automobile."

Today Patriarch Pavle is the oldest living Patriarch in the Orthodox Church, and unable to walk, bound to a wheelchair. On November 13, 2007 Pavle was institutionalized in the Belgrade Military Medical Academy and has remained there ever since. On May 17, 2008 the Holy Synod took over all Patriarch Pavle’s duties owing to his inability to carry out his functions following a long illness. On October 12, 2008 His Holiness was reported to have asked the Holy Synod to accept his resignation due to declining physical ability. Because of the great love and honor the people and clergy have for His Holiness, on November 11, 2008 the Holy Synod decided to ask Patriarch Pavle to remain on the throne for life.

Today Metropolitan Amphilochios of Mavrovounio visits the Patriarch daily to administer for him Holy Communion, as he has been doing now every day for two years.