Strong reactions to SPC Patriarch calling a woman “wretched” and “miserable”

“I want to cry and scream in agony when I see this miserable, wretched woman who uses a straw man argument to claim that “women are endangered” and “society doesn’t take proper care of them”.  Well, they are threatened, we are all threatened by you, you wretched woman”… The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Porfirije, used exactly those words commenting on “gender-sensitive language” in a video that recently appeared on social media.

It remains unclear which woman he was addressing, describing her as “miserable” and “wretched”. Of course, his words caused a strong public reaction.

Whether the patriarch’s, for lack of a better word, misogyny can contribute to the formation of traditionally negative attitudes about the role and place of women in our society remains to be seen, but it can certainly relativize attacks on women since “the church patriarch says that women are “wretched” and “miserable” human beings anyway”.  


This whole story and the Patriarch’s “outburst” caused, to say the least, astonishment in Serbia.

Ratko Božović, a sociologist, was surprised too saying that this is out of the Patriarch’s character, who is known as “being a gentleman”.

 “I am very surprised that this happened to him. When a person puts their personality aside when they assume a certain role, there is a shift from that personality to its new role and subsequent representation. That is why I am very surprised that this happened to him. Every ill-measured and ill-chosen word is not welcome from the point of view of love and tolerance,” Božović adds.

Women in Serbia interpreted the Patriarch’s words somewhat differently, especially those who help women victims of violence.

Vesna Stanojević, the coordinator at Women’s Shelter, was completely shocked when she read the Patriarch’s statement.

“I cannot believe that the Patriarch could say such a thing. I expect some rebuttal or further explanation of his statement because this is really a precedent. Regardless of who the current patriarch was, I never heard anything like that coming from the mouth of a church dignitary. If we allow people who are in high social positions, from the country’s president onward, insult and call their colleagues, journalists and other people the most horrible things, then why wouldn’t the Patriarch give himself the liberty to insult too,” says Stanojević.

(Danas, 15.05.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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