The working segment of the May Session of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church that is taking place in the Žiča Monastery has started with a heated discussion between Serbian bishops following Patriarch Irinej inviting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to attend the session.
The majority of the Episcopate allegedly opposes Vucic attending the meeting, arguing that it constitutes pressure from the state on the work and the independent decision-making of the Church’s Synod. Vucic is probably going to be met by Patriarch Irinej and those Serbian bishops who expressed their wish to meet up with the president of Serbia on Monday, most likely in one of the salons of the Patriarchy Palace in Belgrade, although, allegedly, Patriarch Irinej does not like this option.
The bishops who are against Vucic’s presence at the Holy Synod session are not against talking to him but agreed to talk to him only after the session takes place. Sources from the Serbian Orthodox Church say that Patriarch Irinej shocked most of the archbishops when he announced, at the beginning of the session, that Aleksandar Vucic would sit in on his address to the Holy Synod. Most bishops opposed this, pointing out that that was a precedent, because, until now, never had a Holy Synod session been attended by top civilian officials. They also think that the initiative came from Vucic himself.
Back in May 2013, when Vucic was the first deputy PM of Serbia, he was admitted to the Holy Synod, at the insistence of the then Bishop Backi Irinej (Bulovic), but was not allowed to attend the actual sessions.
The sources from the church also said that certain bishops protested against the dismissed SPC Bishop covering the area of Canada, Georgije (Djokic) being present at a session in Ziča, but Patriarch Irinej approved Georgije’s presence. Nobody could confirm if other bishops, who had been removed from their posts before Irinej was appointed patriarch, would also attend the May session of the Holy Synod.
This post is also available in: Italiano