August 28th, 2014

Serbia: 100 Years since the Birth of Serbian Patriarch Pavle

Patriarch Pavle (Gojko Stojčević at baptism) was born on 11 September 1914 (on the Beheading Day) in the village of Kućanci, district of Donji Miholjac in Slavonia (modern Croatia) to peasant parents. He finished elementary school in the place of birth, junior school in Tuzla and grammar school with the graduation exam at the VI Boys’ Grammar School in Belgrade. He finished the 6-year High School of Theology in Sarajevo in 1936 and graduated from the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Belgrade.

At the breakout of the Second World War he was a conscript. As a refugee, he stayed at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Ovčar. During the years of foreign occupation he was a religious teacher to refugee children in Banja Koviljača till 1944. Then he fell ill and retreated to the Vujan Monastery, where he stayed until 1946. Two years later he moved to the Annunciation Monastery in the Gorge of Ovčar and Kablar. Between 1949 and 1955 he was at brotherly service of the Rača Monastery performing various duties. Meanwhile, he spent one academic year 1950/51 as a supply teacher at the High School of Theology in Prizren, precisely when the first post-war generation reached the graduation exam. At the Annunciation Monastery he took monastic vows in 1948. The same year he was ordained as hierodeacon and in 1954 as hieromonk.

He was awarded the rank of protosingel in 1954. From the Christmas of 1955 till May 1957 he was a post-graduate student in Athens. While in Greece he particularly focused on the studies of the New Testament and Liturgical issues, which was extremely useful to him in his later engagement in the publication of numerous liturgical texts in the Church Slavonic and Serbian language. He was elected as the Bishop of Raška and Prizren on 29 May 1957. He was enthroned on 13 October 1957 at the Cathedral Church of Prizren. For his patient and reliable scientific theological work, the Faculty of Theology awarded him the title of an Honorary Doctor of Theology in 1988.

On 1 December 1990 Bishop Pavle was elected as the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The newly elected Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch Pavle was enthroned the next day, on 2 December at the Cathedral Church in Belgrade. In his inauguration speech the new Patriarch addressed a message of peace and love to the Serbian Orthodox believers, the Orthodox Universe, the Christian world and all the people of good will. At the Monastery of the Peć Patriarchate, he was enthroned as a Patriarch of Peć on 22 May 1994. He passed away at the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade on 15 November 2009.

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