July 31, 2010

Patriarch Pavle: The Greatest Sin Is To Justify Sin

In the summer of 2003, Deacon Rados Mladenovic described a recent encounter with the head of the Serbian Church, Patriarch Pavle:

Pavle, our patriarch and holy man, recently visited the town of Vrnja─Źka Banja, and I went there to greet him. I asked him: "Your Holiness, how are you?"

"Very well," he replied, and he said to the nuns, "Serve the deacon and bring the refreshments."

The nuns from Zica knew that Bishop Stefan granted me the privilege of one glass of brandy each time I visit him at his cabinet. So they brought in the coffee and asked: "Your Holiness, how about a shot of brandy for the deacon?" The patriarch remained silent. "Your Holiness, shall we bring the brandy for the deacon?" Still there was no reply.

In order to break the uncomfortable silence, I said: "Your Holiness, in my village they say that a coffee without brandy is like a dead man without a candle."

"That is the point, deacon, my brother," the patriarch then said, "the greatest sin is not when you commit one, but when you seek to justify it!"