A significant religious meeting in Zadar.
Patriarch Irinej began the first visit to Zadar of a head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in recent history by visiting the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet, where he met with Orthodox worshippers whose number in Zadar after the war dropped from 14,000 to just 2,100, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on August 19, 2015.
Irinej arrived to Zadar following an invitation by the Dalmatian Orthodox Bishop Fotije, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the seminary which will be celebrated on Wednesday in the Krka monastery.
With mutual ecumenical messages and a call to Christian fellowship, Patriarch’s arrival is seen primarily as a signal to the Orthodox faithful in Zadar that they are not forgotten.
“We live in times which lead us one towards another. We have common ancestors who are no longer with us, and we ought to overcome the past that separates us, which has left its mark and which we are not proud of. Some things were done which were not in line with the Christian name. Our Churches have a big responsibility. Depending on how we present our Churches, our faithful will behave in the same way, because they are watching us and doing what we do. The Church unites us and brings us together more than it divides us. Let’s make sure that the joint fellowship makes us better. There were more Serbs here than there are today, we used to live like brothers. We must do everything to return to that time since there is nothing worse than to nurture hatred towards each other. Hatred kills the person who hates sooner than the person who is being hated. We are obliged before God to be brothers”, said Patriarch Irinej, the supreme head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, during his historical meeting with the archbishop of Zadar and the chairman of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference Želimir Puljić at the Cathedral of St. Anastasia in Zadar.
In his address, Archbishop Puljić said that the meeting transcended local boundaries. “Thinking of the 20th century and of many tensions which were suffered by both Croats and Serbs, in both the global wars and in local conflicts and disputes, I wish that our meeting gives a contribution to peace and stability of both Croatia and Serbia. I am convinced that the leaders of our religious communities, bishops, priests, and faithful can give an important contribution. Although the scars of the recent wars are still fresh, and the context is not perfect for ecumenical meetings and messages, I believe that we Christians must not tire of spreading love, tolerance and forgiveness”, said Archbishop Puljić who supported the Patriarch’s call for the Orthodox and Catholics to be brothers.