His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, payed a canonical archpastoral visitation to the Diocese of Dalmatia, Croatia, starting from 18 August 2015. The Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church accompanied by many bishops was welcomed at the entrance of the city of Zadar by the head of the Orthodox Church in Dalmatia, His Grace Fotije.
His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb-Ljubljana and Their Graces Bishops: Vasilije of Srem, Irinej of Backa, Jovan of Sumadija, Pahomije of Vranje, Sergije of Frankfurt and All Germany, Marko of Bregalnica, Vicar Jeronim of Jegar and Bishop emeritus Atanasije of Zahumlje-Herzegovina.
The Serbian Patriarch visited this city of Zadar and the parish church of Saint Elijah, where Bishop Fotije briefly informed him about the ancient history of this former residence city of the Diocese of Dalmatia, its Christian shrines, and particularly about the history of the Orthodox Church, life of the Orthodox believers throughout the history and in modern times. Bishop Fotije also presented briefly the history of the famous Theological Seminary of Zadar as well as the contribution of the eminent hierarchs who had had their episcopal residence in this city. He mentioned specifically by name prominent bishops from the past: Stefan Knezevic and Nikodim Milas, theologian and the world expert in Canon Law.
Patriarch Irinej: We are obliged and called to be brothers
A meeting of Christian love at the church of Saint Anastasia
After a touching encounter with Orthodox faithful of Zadar and its surroundings, Serbian Patriarch Irinej, accompanied by Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia and many bishops, met with Arcbishop of Zadar, His Eminence Zelimir Puljic, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Croatia, at the Roman Catholic church of Saint Anastasia.
Archbishop Puljic expressed gratitude to Serbian Patriarch Irinej for having accepted the invitation of His Grace Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia to visit also the Cathedral of Saint Anastasia. Emphasizing the significance of the jubilee of the Theological Seminary of the Holy Three Hierarchs, now I monastery Krka, the Archbishop said that ecclesial educational institutions of the Catholic and Orthodox traditions have regenerated Europe in a spiritual, intellectual, educational and cultural sphere. He pointed out that also Saint Anastasia the Roman was joyous over that day’s meeting, being a mutual martyr since the Roman times and connecting East and West, the Orthodox and Catholic faithful.
At the end of the meeting, Patriarch Irinej and Archbishop Puljic with bishops and members of the entourage venerated the relics of Saint Anastasia the Roman, whereas the present Orthodox priests and students of the Seminary sang the troparion to this martyr for the Church of Christ.