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Irinej (Dobrijevic) of Australia and New Zealand

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His Grace the Right Reverend Irinej (Dobrijevic) is the Bishop of Australia and New Zealand for the Serbian Orthodox Church. He is the ruling bishop of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, and the Administrator of the Diocese for Australia and New Zealand of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate. Both dioceses are directly under the Serbian Patriarchate.

Bishop Irinej was in Cleveland, Ohio. Prior to his election at the May 2006 convocation of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, he was very active in inter-church and international relations, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and the plight of Serbs in Kosovo. Fluent in English as well as Serbian, he has a working knowledge of and is conversant in Russian, Greek and German. Bishop Irinej arrived in Australia in October 2006.

Biographical timeline

  • 1955 – Born Mirko Dobrijevic in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • 1960 – 1973 – Completed his elementary and secondary education in Cleveland, receiving High Distinction in Fine Arts and the Silver Key in Fine Arts in Ohio state competition.
  • 1971 – 1975 – Studied Japanese Sumi-e Brush Painting and Oriental Water Colour University of Akron. One Man Show at Marywood College Gallery, Scranton, Pennsylvania; March 1978.
  • 1973 – 1975 – Attended the Cleveland Institute of Art; and privately studied Byzantine Iconography.
  • 1975 – 1979 – Graduated from St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, with a Licentiate in Theology with the academic distinction Maxima Cum Laude.
  • 1980 – 1982 – Graduated from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York with a Master of Divinity degree with Honourable Mention for his master's thesis, Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich: A 1921 Mission to America.
  • 1982 – 1986 – Diocesan Secretary to the Serbian Orthodox Dioceses of Eastern America and Midwestern America.
  • 1986 – 1994 – Director of Religious Education at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1992 – 1997 – Senior Lecturer at Loyola University in Chicago, and Guest Lecturer at the Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade.
  • 1994, 15 January – His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher of Midwestern America ordained him a deacon in the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1995, 18 January – He was tonsure a monk in the St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois, receiving the monastic name Irinej after St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon.
  • 1995, 27 January – Thereafter, he was ordained a hieromonk in the St. Sava Cathedral in Parma, Ohio.
  • 1999 – He was also an instrumental participant in the Mission of US Religious Leaders to Yugoslavia with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell.
  • 2000 and 2003 – He studied at the Athens Centre in receiving levels I and II certificates in contemporary Greek language.
  • 2004 – 2006 – Hieromonk Irinej up until his election as Bishop of Australia and New Zealand was the Consultant to the Holy Synod of Bishops on International and Inter-church Affairs and Coordinator of the newly created Kosovo and Metohija Office of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate in Belgrade.
  • 2005 – Instrumental member of the official visitation of the Delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church to the United Nations and the United States Government regarding Kosovo.
  • 2006, 26 May – The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church elected the Reverend Hieromonk Irinej, Consultant to the Holy Synod of Bishops, Bishop of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand and appointed him Administrator of the Diocese for Australia and New Zealand of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate.
  • 2006, 18 June – He was elevated to the dignity of Archimandrite by His Grace Bishop Justin of Timok, a member of the Holy Synod of Bishops.
  • 2006, 15 July – He was consecrated in the Holy Archangel Michael Cathedral in Belgrade.
  • 2006, 18 October – Bishop Irinej arrived in Australia.
  • 2006, 21 October – Enthroned in the St. Sava Pro-Cathedral in Elanora Heights, New South Wales by His Grace Chrysostom of Bihac-Petrovac, a member of the Holy Synod of Bishops, as Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, with its see in Sydney.
  • 2006, 22 October – Presented as Locum Tenens and assumed the position of Administrator to the Diocese for Australia and New Zealand of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate.

Bishop Irinej holds the following distinctions and honours

  • 2005 – For his exemplary work in improving ties between the Serbian state and the Serbs of the Diaspora, and for his work in advancing relations between Church and State, awarded the Order of Vuk Karadzich III Degree by President Marovic of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro;
  • 2007 – The International Heraldic Order of the Fleur de Les presented by HRH Princess Elizabeth Karageorgevich; and
  • 2008 – The prestigious Major Feldman Award of the Serbian Bar Association for merit.

Among his many appointments and representations, Bishop Irinej:

  • Is the Episcopal Patron of the “Milosh Obilich” Serbian Heraldic Society;
  • The Episcopal Patron of the Prince Tomislav Foundation;
  • Represents the Serbian Orthodox Church to the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee;
  • Is a member of the Jasenovac Committee and the Permanent Missions Board of the Holy *Synod of Bishops;
  • the Advisory Council of the Njegos Endowment for Serbian Studies at Columbia University;
  • The Editorial Board of the Tesla Memorial Society in New York;
  • The Communications Committee of the Board of Directors of St. Vladimir's Seminary;
  • A member of the Serbian-American Centre in Belgrade; and
  • An honorary Board Member for ZOE for Life.

Previously, Bishop-elect Irinej held the following positions:

  • The Editor-in-Charge of the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church;
  • Executive Director of the Office of External Affairs of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada, located in Washington, DC;
  • Co-chaired the Orthodox Advisory Committee of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in Metropolitan Washington;
  • Was a member of National Council of the Churches of Christ Environmental Justice Task Force (NCCC Eco-Justice);
  • Served on the Board of Directors of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC);
  • The Executive Council of The United States Conference of Religions for Peace (USCRP);
  • The Conference of European Churches (CEC-KEK);
  • The Serbian Unity Congress;
  • The Mayor's Advisory Council on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs in Chicago; and
  • The Chicago Human Rights Commission; and
  • Co-editor of The Path of Orthodoxy, official publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada.
Preceded by:
Milutin
Bishop of Australia and New Zealand (Serbian)
2006-present
Succeeded by:

Sources

  • Official biography
  • Briggs, David, 2006, "Cleveland-born Orthodox priest named bishop", in Plain Dealer: Religion, Saturday July 8.

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