Church of Serbia – 26/5/18
On 23 May 2018 at the award ceremony of the International Fund for Unity of Orthodox Peoples held in the solemn hall of the Church Assemblies at the church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, His Holiness Irinej was awarded with the high award of the Fund. He also addressed the present with a speech. (photo gallery)
The event was attended by a number of hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, the members of the Serbian delegation accompanying His Holiness Irinej, representatives of the Serbian, Bulgarian, Czech and Slovak Churches, and the OCA serving in Moscow, and a number of political and public figures.
Pat. Kirill addressed the prize winners with a welcoming speech to open the ceremony, after which the biographies of the 2017 winners, including Pat. Irinej, were presented with supplementary video materials. Then the Serbian primate addressed the audience:
In 2002, during a difficult time for the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian people, this award was received by my predecessor, Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory from the hand of the blessed Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia. I do not receive this prize as an award intended for me personally, but I see in it, so dear to my heart, a sign of love and attention to all the Serbian people… This is a sign of support for our people and our Church, which is enduring terrible oppression in Kosovo and Metohije and is being forced to defend its age-old rights in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, and which for centuries has brought holy Orthodoxy to the world and remains firm in the faith of our fathers.
His Holiness also addressed the sorrowful situation in Ukraine in which schismatics and nationalists actively work to divide the Ukrainian people against themselves. Echoing the recent statement of the Serbian Holy Synod, the patriarch stated,
The martyred Ukrainian Church—where the holy Prince Vladimir baptized the people of Holy Rus’—is now being defiled by the schismatic’ blasphemy, violence, and bloodshed… The Serbian Church fully supports the unity and integrity of the Russian Orthodox Church and strongly condemns the actions of the Uniates and schismatics who tear apart the robe of Christ at the baptismal font of Kiev, selling their people to the enemies of faith. Their end will be according to their deeds (2 Cor. 11: 15).
The ceremony concluded with a concert put on by various Moscow choirs and orchestras.
Patriarchate of Moscow