Serbian factions United

Bishop Irinej during the service in Wodonga on Saturday. He said the two factions within the Serbian Orthodox Church in Wodonga had resolved their differences and were now united. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL


The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand has declared the dispute between factions at Wodonga’s Serbian Orthodox Church over during a visit to the city.

Bishop Irinej conducted services at the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul in High Street on Saturday.

The dispute between members of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Free Orthodox Church, which had been subject to court proceedings and police mediation, came to a head in May when members of the Free Orthodox Church locked the gates to the Wodonga church.

There was a clash that left one person hospitalised.

Bishop Irinej said the parties had since united under the Serbian Orthodox Church.

“Some people were still reticent about coming back into the fullness of the church,” he said.

“The two factions have recently come together and become one.

“This unity is a great source of joy for all of us.”

The bishop conducted a traditional service, mostly in Serbian.

Bishop Irinej said the service celebrated the apostles Peter and Paul.

“Peter was a simple character, uneducated but who could also be fiery,” he said.

“Paul was very well educated, a teacher of law and a genteel man.

“They were diametric opposites yet both became foremost among the apostles.

“It shows for each and every one of us there’s a place within salvation in Christ.”