Church of Serbia – September 2017
The solemn rite of the enthronement into the throne of bishops of Bihac-Petrovac will be performed at the Cathedral church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Bosanski Petrovac on September 10th, 2017.
The newly-elected Bishop of Central Europe Archimandrite Sergije (Karanovic) was born on 4 July 1975 in BackaPalanka, and was baptized as Zoran. His family originate from Boboljusci, near Martin Brod. He finished primary school in his native town, and in 1990, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa he attended the Seminary of Three Holy Hierarchs at Krka Monastery, Dalmatia. He finished school with great success in 1995, during the civil war in Croatia, before the suffering and exodus of the Serbs from Krajina. The same year he received blessing and a canonical release from Bishop Irinej of Backa and was accepted to the Diocese of Bihac-Petrovac, which suffered from the war destruction, in autumn 1995.
During the war Zoran Karanovic became a monk at Gomionica Monastery on 12 August 1995, and received a monastic name Sergije. Not too long before the end of civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with the brotherhood of the Rmanj monastery, he was exiled to Serbia, where he was received by then Bishop Hrizostom (Stolic) of Banat of blessed repose who ordered him to serve in the Vojlovica monastery near Pancevo. In this monastery he was ordained deacon, on 31 October 1995. The same year he enrolled the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Belgrade.
With the blessing of Bishop Hrizostom (Jevic) of Bihac-Petrovac, he interrupted the undergraduate studies and in 1996 went to Germany to help, as a deacon, the then Bishop Konstantin of Central Europe in the monastery of the Most Holy Mother of God in Himmelsthür. In the 1997-1998 academic year he improved his German in Regensburg.
He returned to his home monastery of Rmanj in Martin Brod, where he had obedience of a financial administrator. He was ordained presbyter by Bishop Hrizostom of Bihac-Petrovac at Sipovo on 5 April 1998. The same year he was appointed as administrator of parishes in Drvar, Prekaja and VelikiCvijetnic.
From 1998 until 2002 he gave religious instructions at Drvar, Martin Brod and Prekaja, and in 2000 he was appointed bishop’s deputy in the part of Diocese of Bihac-Petrovac that is in the territory of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to it, he served as Episcopal dean in the deaneries of Grahovo-Drvar, Petrovac-Bihac and Lijevljan-Glamoc, where he was responsible for organization of spiritual life, religious services, church-school gatherings.
In 2001 he passed the certification exam for teachers of religious education at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Belgrade.
For his efforts in the renewal of the spiritual life in the parish of Drvar he was awarded with the rank of sincellos in Drvar, on the feast-day of the Ascension of the Lord, on 13 June 2002.
On the Annunciation feast-day, 7 April 2004, at the Rmanj monastery he was promoted to the rank of protosincellos.
With the blessing of Bishop Hrizostom of Bihac-Petrovac, he went to Greece in 2005, where he enrolled the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki where he studied Orthodox Theology. In 2010 he successfully finished his studies.
Owing to his efforts in the restoration of the Rmanj Monastery, especially with the construction of the new refectory of the monastery, he was awarded with the right of wearing the pectoral cross on 2 October 2005.
On 5 October 2008, for the demonstrated priestly zeal and pastoral care, he was appointed an abbot of Rmanj Monastery.
He became Archimandrite with the blessing of Bishop Atanasije (Rakita) of Bihac-Petrovac, and was promoted by Bishop Fotije (Sladojevic) of Dalmatia, in in Rmanj on the Annunciation, 7 April 2014. During the regular spring convocation of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the SOC in Belgrade, he was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Central Europe, on 23 May 2014.
He was consecrated for Bishop of Middle Europe at the Cathedral church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Belgrade on 26 July 2014. The solemn rite of the enthronement into the throne of bishops of Middle Europe was performed by His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch at the Monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God in Himmelsthür on September 7th, 2014.
In 2014 he founded the Diocesan slava and Patron of the Diocese of Middle Europe – Saint Nicholas of Zica and Ohrid.
On the proposal of Bishop Sergije of Middle Europe the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the SOC, during its regular session in May 2015 transfer the administrative seat of the Diocese of Middle Europe from Hummelsthur to Frankfurt and rename the Diocese of Middle Europe to the Diocese of Frankfurt and All Germany.
In 2016 Bishop Sergije concludes his postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology “Saint Basil of Ostrog” in Foca of the University of Eastern Sarajevo where he defended his master thesis “Mission significance of Nativity and Easter encyclicals of the SOC, from 1941 until 1945”.
He participated as a member of the delegation of the SOC from 18 until 26 June 2016 at the Holy and Great Orthodox Assembly on Crete.
During the regular spring convocation of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the SOC in Belgrade, he was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Bihac-Petrovac on 24 May 2017.