His Holiness Patriarch Pavle +2nd November, 2009
His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia reposed in the Lord yesterday, the 15th of November, being the 2nd of November in the Church calendar.
The Serbian Church has long been a friend of the Russian Church Abroad. Indeed, it was the Holy Synod of the Serbian Church which, in 1922, gave its blessing for the establishment in Serbia of a synod of bishops for exiled children of the Russian Orthodox Church in light of the persecution of the Church in Russia. In light of this and the decree of Patriarch St Tikhon calling upon exiled Russian Orthodox faithful to organise themselves as best they were able in the circumstances, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was born.
After puppet patriarch Sergius rescinded the decree of St Tikhon under Soviet duress - an action never accepted by ROCOR as being of the Church - many of the other local Orthodox churches gave their allegiance to Sergius and turned their backs on ROCOR. While the Church in Russia is now free and those other churches are once again in full communion with us, we must never forget that the Serbian Church was one of a handful of churches which were not tempted by the political ease of pacifying the Soviet state, and throughout all of those difficult years remained faithful to the path of spiritual freedom sought by the exiled Russian people, and later by the many people of western lands who came to the Faith through the unwavering confession and witness of ROCOR.
His Holiness Patriarch Pavle continued this loving tradition of the Serbian Church throughout his life and himself concelebrated with clergy of the Russian Church Abroad, sharing a common chalice with our people - a sign of true oneness of heart and mind, brotherly love, and piety among those who share the life in Christ. For this, our Church Abroad shall ever be grateful. We mourn the loss on earth of a true brother and friend, and pray for his repose in the loving arms of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Metropolitan Hilarion has sent his heartfelt message of condolence.
In a blessed falling asleep, grant rest, O Lord, to the soul of thy servant, the Patriarch Pavle, and make his memory to be eternal!
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