Ecumenical Patriarch at the audience with President of Croatia

Church of Serbia – September 2016

On Saturday, September 10th 2016, His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, accompanied by Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb-Ljubljana, visited the President of the Republic of Croatia Mrs. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in her residence in Zagreb.

Madame President Grabar-Kitarovic pointed out that Jasenovac as the place of suffering, as well as other places of innocently suffered people, represent the black spots of people; however, she added that it was not good to manipulate with the number of victims and that one should look into the future by learning from the mistakes from history. By respecting and not forgetting the innocently suffered victims one should look into the future and do everything that people live in peace and mutual understanding.

Madame President mentioned the canonization of Alojzije Stepinac as well, saying that the canonization was not being undertaken against anyone, and conseqeunetly, not against the Serbian people, rather, the canonization had a symbolic meaning manifested as a fight against communism as a totalitarian regime.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out that was a great thing that Pope Franja showed openess for talks between the Orthodox and the Catholics on topics that we did not look at in the same way. In this way he confirmed that he cared about the unity of all Christians on which they, both Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis, insisted as much as possible together. Thereby, the Patriarch mentioned as the most important thing a readiness to listen to each other with respect in order to better understand someone else’s arguments that sometimes we do not have in mind.

At the end of the audience Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed best wishes and a blessing for peace, stability and prosperity of the Republic of Croatia, for which President, Mrs. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic cordially thanked.

Source: Metropolitanate of Zagreb-Ljubljana (translation: Info-Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church).