The Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate & the Government of the Republic of Serbia – March 2016
His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, received Mr. Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Serbia at the Serbian Patriarchate on 25 March 2016.
The reception was also attended by: His Grace Bishop Dr Irinej of Backa, Minister of Justice Mr. Nikola Selakovic and adviser to the Prime Minister Mr. Vladimir Bozovic.
Unity of Serbian people common goal of Church and State
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej agreed at a meeting that the relations between the state and the SPC are good, noting that the relations between the state and other religious communities in Serbia are good as well.
Vucic told reporters in front of the Patriarchate that the state is particularly grateful to the SPC because has been helping the Serbian people to survive outside the borders of Serbia.
The church had a crucial role for the survival of the Serbian people in Lika, Banija, Kordun and other parts of Croatia, he said.
It is similar in the diaspora as well as in Kosovo-Metohija, where people have remained wherever we have churches and monasteries, he said.
He pledged state assistance for the completion of works at the Saint Sava Temple, which he said is slated for 2019, to commemorate the establishment of the first Serbian archdiocese.
It will be a magnificent and the most beautiful temple in the world, which will attract many tourists to Belgrade and Serbia.
They also spoke about Republika Srpska and Vucic said that Serbia cannot allow any threats to the existence and survival of Republika Srpska and that it will respect the Dayton Agreement and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territorial integrity, as well as the integrity of Republika Srpska.
The Prime Minister said that he and the Patriarch spoke about the verdict of the Hague tribunal to the first president of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadzic.
He recalled that the Serbian people will mark major anniversaries, including the anniversary of the camp Jasenovac.
We have completely embraced the idea and request of the Patriarch to jointly solve all the problems so that members of our people are not divided on all grounds and in all ways, because only together can we solve our biggest and most pressing problems, the Prime Minister concluded.
Patriarch Irinej expressed satisfaction with the relations of the church and the state, and said that it is necessary to cultivate such a relationship in the future.
We respect the principle of separation of church and state, but the church has a contribution to history and it is in the interest of our people to continue maintaining the friendly relationship of understanding and helping each other, the Patriarch said.
Speaking about the relationship between Serbia and Republika Srpska, he said that the relationship is good and that the church will strive to preserve the achievements of the Serbian people and its identity and culture.