“Without getting into politics… we have the duty to say that he was a friend of Orthodox Serbs and all people in the City of Zagreb and wider, but also my friend. I pray God for his soul to rest,” the patriarch said.
In his sermon, he said that when he arrived in Zagreb as the metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana in 2014, he felt fear as he had arrived in an unknown country and space “at a time preceded by insanity.”
“May the Lord forgive us for such delusions… I deeply know, and I have learned it also from you, that the Church of Christ doesn’t exist to divide, to create confrontation, but to unite in Christ,” Porfirije said.
“Coming here then, I was burdened by various information coming from outside, perhaps even by my own prejudices, but I said honestly then: I am a Serb and I love my people, but above and before that I wish even more to be Christ’s, to be a Christian, and that means to hear His word, that all should be one. I said then that I would try every day to love all peoples more and more,” he said.
The patriarch said he “felt love at every step, first and foremost, naturally, from Serb Orthodox believers, but no less also from others who constantly disarmed and freed me both from what I was hearing outside and from what was coming, perhaps as prejudice, from inside,” adding that he “was disarmed by meeting common people in bars, workers in the street, as well as people in high positions.”
Porfirije thanked “the wonderful people, both Orthodox Serbs and Catholic and non-Catholic Croats,” saying that he was also grateful for meeting with Jews, Muslims, Bosniaks, Roma and Russians.
He said that because of all that he felt the need to ask God every day to have mercy “for Orthodox Serbs in Croatia and for all people in Croatia with the wish that Christ’s peace and Christ’s love be in the lives of all people.”