The Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana, Porfirije Perić, is considered a very serious candidate for the new patriarch, both because of his position within the Serbian Orthodox Church and his obvious closeness to the current government and the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić.
Porfirije is one of the youngest bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, he was born on July 22, 1961, and after completing his elementary and high school education, he graduated from the Orthodox Theological Faculty in 1986.
A year earlier, he changed his name from Prvoslav to the monastic name Porfirije. According to his official biography, he was ordained a monk by his spiritual father, Irinej Bulović, in the Visoki Decani monastery. After finishing his studies, in the Holy Trinity Monastery in Musutiste, he was ordained as a hieromonk by the then Bishop of Raska and Prizren, and later by Patriarch Pavle.
He attended post-graduate studies in Athens from 1986 to 1990, when, with the blessing of the Bishop of Bačka, Irinej, he went to the Monastery of the Holy Archangels in Kovilj, where he was ordained a priest and appointed abbot.
In 2005, the National Assembly, as a representative of all Churches and religious communities, elected him as a member of the Council of the Broadcasting Agency, and the Council then elected him president in 2008. In the period between 2010 and 2011, Porfirije was the bishop of the military, and later the coordinator of cooperation between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian military.
At its session on May 24, 2014, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church elected him Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana.
According to some sources, Metropolitan Porfirije does not have such a tough stance on Kosovo’s independence as many other bishops, which opens the possibility for President Vučić to resolve the issue more easily through negotiations with Priština. Bearing in mind that the Church has so far clearly stated that it is acceptable to treat Kosovo only as part of Serbia, Porfirije’s appointment could mean a change of course and moving the clergy away from this issue.
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