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His Holiness the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch
Church Serbian Orthodox Church
See Belgrade
Enthroned 1 December 1990
Reign ended 15 November 2009
Predecessor Patriarch German
Successor Patriarch Irinej
Personal details
Birth name Gojko Stojčević
Born 11 September 1914(1914-09-11)
Kućanci, Austria-Hungary
Died 15 November 2009 (aged 95)
Belgrade, Serbia
Buried Rakovica monastery

Patriarch Pavle (Paul) (Serbian: Патријарх Павле, Patrijarh Pavle; 11 September 1914 – 15 November 2009) was the 44th Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church,[1] the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Serbs, from 1990 to his death. His full title was His Holiness the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch Pavle. He was the oldest living leader of an Eastern Orthodox church. Because of poor health, he spent his last years in the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade, while his duties were carried out by Metropolitan Amfilohije.


Early life

Pavle was born Gojko Stojčević (Гојко Стојчевић) in the village of Kućanci, near Donji Miholjac in what is today Croatia. He lost both his parents in childhood, and was raised by an aunt. After finishing elementary school, Pavle graduated from a gymnasium in Belgrade, then studied at the seminary in Sarajevo. During World War II he took refuge in the Holy Trinity monastery in Ovčar, and later moved to Belgrade. After the war, he worked in Belgrade as a construction worker, but because of his poor health he took monastic vows in Blagoveštenje monastery in Ovčar in 1946. His monastic name became Pavle (English: Paul). He served as a hierodeacon in Blagoveštenje, and later in Rača monastery between 1949 and 1955. In 1954, Pavle was ordained to the rank of hieromonk. The same year he was ordained as protosyncellus, and in 1957 as archimandrite.

Between 1955 and 1957 Pavle took post-graduate studies in Athens, Greece. After returning from Greece, he was elected the Bishop of Ras and Prizren (which includes all of Kosovo) in 1957. He held that position for 33 years before he was elected Patriarch.

As a religious leader

Patrijarh Pavle.jpg

As a bishop of Ras and Prizren Pavle built numerous new churches and helped the reconstruction of old ones. He spent a lot of time in traveling and meeting with people of his eparchy. He also wrote books and gave lectures in Church music and Church Slavonic language.[2]

After 33 years spent in Kosovo Pavle was elected the Patriarch of Serbia in 1990, instead of ill Patriarch German, and moved to Belgrade. He was ordained for the Patriarch in the St. Michael's Cathedral in Belgrade on 2 December 1990, and in Patriarchate of Peć monastery, the ancient seat of the Serbian Church, on 22 May 1994. Just six days after his election, the parliamentary election was held in Serbia, in which Slobodan Milošević's SPS came to power. At first, relations between the government and the church were good, but gradually eroded because of the Yugoslav Wars and ongoing crisis in Serbia.[3] During the war, the patriarch and the church gave support to the leaders of the Bosnian Serbs and Srpska Krajina. A famous photograph from this time shows Radovan Karadžić kissing Pavle's hand.[3] Paramilitary leader Željko Ražnatović Arkan called the patriarch in one speech his supreme commander, which Pavle welcomed.[3] Pavle also had connections to the Karić family and had numerous meetings with Milošević and Mira Marković, but also with the leaders of the opposition. In 1993 Pavle wrote a letter to Milošević urging him to release Vuk Drašković from prison[3]

Styles of
Patriarch Pavle of Serbia
Coats of arms of the Serbian Orthodox Church.jpg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Patriarch
Posthumous style His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Blessed Repose

In 1997 Pavle took part in the massive anti-government protests in Belgrade. On 27 January (St Sava Day) he led the protesters to break the police cordon in Kolarčeva street. This was the first time that Pavle openly confronted Milošević's government. Although in following years he became close to the opposition leaders and confronted Milošević, Pavle took part in the 1999 Republic Day celebration where he congratulated Milošević. Pavle later apologized and said that it was misinterpreted. After this, the relations between Pavle and Milošević hit new lows. In 2000, Milošević didn't send Pavle Christmas congratulations for the first time. Pavle later called Milošević and his government responsible for the Yugoslav catastrophe and asked him to resign.[3] After the change of power in Serbia, Pavle continued to cooperate with the government, and was a frequent guest at various political ceremonies.

Pavle has been referred to by some as the "walking saint" based on his simple lifestyle and personal humility.[4] All of the bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church have cars, which they use to travel through their dioceses, except Pavle. When asked why he'd never owned a car, he replied: "I will not purchase one until every Albanian and Serbian household in Kosovo and Metohija has an automobile."

In his tenure as the Patriarch he healed the schism with the Free Serbian Orthodox Church, now known as the New Gračanica Metropolitanate, and he made efforts to heal the current schism in Macedonia with the Macedonian Orthodox Church, which is considered uncanonical by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all other Eastern Orthodox churches. During his term, he visited numerous eparchies of the Serbian Orthodox Church both in Serbia and abroad. He visited Australia, United States, Canada and Western Europe. He was also a guest at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and at the White House.

Patriarch Pavle was the oldest among all living Patriarchs. He was especially devoted to and fond of the words of the Apostle Paul (after whom he was named Pavle), whom he often quoted and expressed admiration for.


Patriarch Pavle of Serbia

On 27 April 2007, the Holy Synod announced that it had named the Metropolitan of Zagreb, Ljubljana and all Italy Jovan as the Guardian of the throne (taking over the Patriarch's duties temporarily) while patriarch Pavle was recovering in Sveti Sava hospital. He was discharged from hospital on May 1 and returned to his duties on May 14. The Patriarch's health worsened and he was restricted to a wheelchair. On 13 November 2007 Pavle was admitted to a medical clinic, and the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Amfilohije Radović, as the oldest Bishop, was elected by the Holy Synod to conduct the duties of the Patriarch.[5] On 20 November 2007 it was announced that his life was in danger. On 17 May 2008 the Holy Synod took over all Patriarch Pavle's duties owing to his inability to carry out his functions.[6] On 12 October 2008 His Holiness was reported to have asked the Holy Synod to accept his resignation because of declining physical ability.[7] On 11 November 2008, the Holy Synod decided to turn down his request and to ask him to remain on the throne for life.[8]


Patrijarh Pavle preminuo -Serbian Orthodox Church head Pavle dies at 95


Pavle died on 15 November 2009, after more than two years spent in the Military Medical Academy (Vojno medicinska akademija) in Belgrade.[9] Citizens were able to pay tribute to Patriarch Pavle at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Belgrade.[10] The funeral liturgy was held in the Cathedral of Saint Sava and he was laid to rest on 19 November, in Rakovica monastery.[11] The funeral was attended by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Patriarch Daniel of Romania, Filaret, Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, Metropolitan Christopher of Prague and Roman Catholic Cardinal Angelo Sodano.[12]

The Government of Serbia announced three days of national mourning over the death of Patriarch Pavle,[13] while Republika Srpska, City of Belgrade and Brčko District declared the funeral day as the official day of mourning.[14][15][16] President Boris Tadić said that the patriarch's death was an "irredeemable loss for the entire Serbian nation."[17] Condolences to the Serbian church, people and officials were sent by Russian Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow,[18] Bulgarian Orthodox Church,[19] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens held memorial service,[20] Patriarch Daniel of Romania,[21] Pope Benedict XVI,[22] Cardinal Walter Kasper,[23] Presidents and heads of Government of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Germany


Funeral service of Patriarch of Serbia Pavle

Funeral service of Patriarch of Serbia Pavle

and France[24] as well as leaders of countries that are territorially part of the Serbian Orthodox Church - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro.[25] The Jewish community, both Islamic communities in Serbia, The Islamic community in Bosnia, and the Roman Catholic Church in Serbia sent condolences.[26]

At least 40 days must pass after his death before a successor can be elected, and in the meantime the authority of the Patriarch will be held by the Holy Synod, while the Metropolitan Amfilohije will serve as the Guardian of the Throne.[27][28]


  1. Serbian Orthodox Church, history at
  2. Život po jevanđelju
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Portret savremenika - patrijarh Pavle: Skromnost i tumačenja". Vreme. Retrieved 2009-02-22.  (Serbian)
  4. Known as 'saint who walks' - Orthodox leader Restored Serb church's prominent role
  5. "Amfilohije: I am merely patriarch's assistant". b92. 15 November 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  7. "Patriarch's resignation "no done deal"". b92. 27 October 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  8. "Pavle remains Serbian patriarch". b92. 11 November 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  9. Associated Press (2009-11-16). "Serb Patriarch Pavle dies at the age of 95". Kathimerini (IHT edition): p. 2. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  10. Serbia observes first day of mourning
  11. Patriarch Pavle to be laid to rest on Thursday
  12. Ko sve dolazi na sahranu patrijarha
  13. Serbia announced three days of mourning over Patriarch Pavle death
  14. Влада прогласила дан жалости због смрти патријарха српског Павла
  15. Градоначелник Брчко дистрикта БиХ донио је одлуку о проглашењу Дана жалости у Брчко дистрикту БиХ у четвртак, 19. новембра поводом смрти поглавара Српске православне цркве, патријарха српског, господина Павла.
  16. Četvrtak dan žalosti u Beogradu
  17. Serbian Orthodox Church patriarch Pavle dies
  18. Предстоятель Русской Церкви выразил соболезнования в связи с кончиной Святейшего Патриарха Сербского Павла
  19. Ruska crkva: Veliki gubitak
  21. Beatitude Patriarch Daniel Expresses His Condolences to the Serbian Orthodox Church
  22. Papa Benedikt XVI izrazio saučešće zbog smrti patrijarha
  23. Други дан жалости у Србији - Саучешће Ватикана
  24. Президент выразил соболезнования в связи с кончиной Святейшего Патриарха Сербского Павла
    Александр Лукашенко выразил соболезнования Президенту Сербии Борису Тадичу
    Президент України висловив співчуття у зв'язку зі смертю Патріарха Сербії Павла
    "Zeleno svetlo" Angele Merkel
    Les condoléances de Sarkozy à Tadic à l’occasion de la mort du patriarche Pavle
  25. Saučešća povodom smrti patrijarha
  26. Religious leaders react to patriarch's passing
  27. Session of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church ended
  28. Serb Patriarch Pavle dies, spoke for Balkan peace

External links

Religious titles
Preceded by
German Đorić
Patriarch of Serbia
Succeeded by
Amfilohije Radović (acting)