November 18, 2009

Patriarch Pavle and Public Transportation

Patriarch Pavle was often referred to by some as a "walking saint" based on his simple lifestyle and humility. 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."

Below are two other stories regarding the way Patriarch Pavle preferred to travel:

The deacon of Patriarch Pavle of Serbia once learned the following lesson while in Belgrade as they were going to a church in Banovo Brdo.

He asked the Patriarch: "With what shall we go, with a car?"

"No, with the bus!" said the Patriarch emphatically.

"But the bus is always crowded and the heat is esphyxiating. It is not even nearby."

"This is how we are going", said the Patriarch.

"Your Holiness", said the deacon in an effort to convince him otherwise, "it is summer time and the people are going swimming to the small island of Tsigalia and the majority of people are nearly naked. It isn't right?"

"Father", said the Patriarch silently, "each person sees whatever he wants."

The residents of Belgrade frequently saw the Patriarch in the streets, on the train and on the bus. One day as he was walking to the bus, a Mercedes of the latest model pulled up next to him. It was a priest of one of Belgrade's richest churches.

The driver of the Mercedes told the Patriarch as he was getting on the bus: "Your Holiness, please allow me to take you wherever you want."

"Father, to whom belongs this fabulous car?"

"It is mine, Your Holiness."

"Stop right there immediately!" said the Patriarch. He got down off the bus, went over to the priest, blessed him with the sign of the Cross, and told him: "May God protect you!"