Church of Serbia – 14/1/2021
If we recognize our neighbour in the other, then all difficulties, whatever they may be, will at least be easier, and in practice, they will be easier to overcome, Metropolitan Porfirije said during the meeting with Archbishop Josip Bozanic.
The Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb and Ljubljana and Archbishop of Zagreb Josip Cardinal Bozanic met in the Archdiocese of Zagreb on January 12, 2021. They visited the Zagreb Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Cathedral church of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Both churches, as well as the premises of the Archdiocese and the Diocese of Zagreb-Ljubljana, which are located next to them, were severely damaged in the earthquake of March 22, and additionally in the recent earthquakes that hit Banija.
Archbishop and Metropolitan, in cordial talks held in the Archbishop’s Palace and the premises of the Church Community of Zagreb, exchanged views on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, but also on supporting Banija families whose existence is endangered by recent earthquakes.
Addressing the media in front of the Cathedral, Metropolitan Porfirije stated that he shared with Archbishop Bozanic a feeling of condolence with the families of those who lost their lives during the earthquake that hit Banija on December 28 and 29. He said that, despite the fact that many churches were destroyed, at this moment it is much more important to provide accommodation for people who lost homes and that the reconstruction of churches will be left for future time, after the people in Banija are taken care of.
Archbishop Bozanic also said that taking care of people is in the first place, and then everything else. “As bishops, at the same time we look at the need and suffering of the people, but also at the help that is coming,” said Archbishop Bozanic and appealed to “everyone to do everything in their power, especially for those who do not have homes.”
Metropolitan said that the “call of God”, as the Archbishop called the coronavirus pandemic in the conversation they had before, “awakened in us answers and steps towards each other”.
The Archbishop pointed out the fact that the meeting took place on the eve of the Octave for Christian Unity, which takes place every year at the end of January. He underlined that he supports ecumenism and the unity of all, and that “the Catholic Church has much in common with the believers of Serbian nationality and the Serbian Orthodox Church.”
Even “the silent forces of this world tell us that we are called to be one in diversity and that man needs man. If we recognize our neighbor in the other, then the difficulties, whatever they may be, will at least be easier, and it will probably be easier to overcome in practice as well, ” Metropolitan Porfirije said.
After visiting the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace, the Metropolitan said that the damage was enormous. He appealed to the state to pay attention to that “magnificent church which is at the same time a cultural monument that transcends the borders of Croatia”.
The Metropolitan said that many Orthodox churches in Banija were destroyed and that two were completely demolished. He reiterated that at this moment, the most important thing is to help specific people, to keep everyone in their places and that temples will be renovated when people are taken care of.
Archbishop Bozanic said that about 80 churches and 69 other church buildings in the area of the Zagreb Archdiocese were damaged.
The meeting was also attended by vicar bishops of Zagreb, Ivan Sasko and Mijo Gorski, as well as protonamesnik Bogoljub Ostojic and deacon Jakov Petar Kozakijevic.