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Patriarch Irinej of Serbia

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His Holiness the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch
Church Serbian Orthodox Church
See Belgrade
Enthroned 23 January 2010
Predecessor Patriarch Pavle
Ordination 1959
Consecration 1974
Personal details
Birth name Miroslav Gavrilović
Born 28 August 1930 (1930-08-28) (age 86)
Vidova, Čačak, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Nationality Serb
Denomination Orthodox Church
Styles of
Patriarch Irinej of Serbia
Coats of arms of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Patriarch
Posthumous style NA

Patriarch Irinej (Serbian: Патријарх Иринеј, Patrijarh Irinej; born 28 August 1930 in Vidova near Čačak, Kingdom of Yugoslavia) is the 45th Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Serbs, since 22 January 2010[1][2]. His full title is His Holiness the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch Irinej. Between 1975 and 2010, he served as the Bishop of Niš[3].


Early life

Irinej was born Miroslav Gavrilović (Мирослав Гавриловић). After graduating from high school, he enrolled and completed Orthodox seminary in Prizren. He then entered the Theological Faculty in Belgrade, serving in the army after graduating. After military service, he was tonsured a monk in 1959 in Rakovica monastery, receiving the monastic name of Irinej (Irenaeus)[4]. He was a professor at Prizren Seminary, and completed postgraduate studies in Athens. In 1969, he was appointed a head of the monastic school at Ostrog monastery. He later returned to Prizren, where he was appointed Rector of the Prizren Seminary in 1969.[4]

As a religious leader

In May 1974, Irinej was elected Vicar Bishop of Moravica and consecrated by Patriarch German. In May 1975, he was elected Bishop of Niš and enthroned in the Holy Trinity Cathedral on 15 June 1975.[4][5] Irinej headed the Niš eparchy for the next 35 years.

On January 22, 2010, he was elected the 45th Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church[6][7], after the death of previous Patriarch Pavle. He was one of the three candidates with the most votes from the 45 bishops eligible in the Serbian Orthodox Church, along with former locum tenens (interim leader) Amfilohije Radović and Irinej Bulović.[8] In the final phase, his name was pulled from a sealed envelope. In this way, the Serbian Orthodox Church believes the patriarch is elected by divine intervention, sidelining human interests.[9] He was enthroned on 23 January 2010 in St. Michael's Cathedral.[10]

Irinej has been considered, both abroad and at home, as a moderate traditionalist, open to global inter-religious dialogue.[11] In an interview, Irinej indicated he would not oppose the first-ever visit by the Roman Catholic Pope to Serbia in 2013 as part of celebrations of the 1,700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, the law under which Roman emperor Constantine, who was born in Niš, ended the persecution of Christians. Irinej said that "there is the wish of the Pope" for a meeting in Niš and that it would be a chance "not just for a meeting, but for a dialogue".[2][12]


  1. Vladika niški Irinej novi patrijarh
  2. 2.0 2.1 Babic, Boris (22 January 2010). "Profile: Serbia's new Patriarch Irinej, a Traditionalist and Diplomat". Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  3. Eparchy of Niš: Нишка Епархија од пада у Турско ропство до данас (Serbian)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Episkop niški IRINEJ (Gavrilović)" (in Serbian). Serbian Orthodox Church. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  5. ИРИНЕЈ ГАВРИЛОВИЋ on (Serbian)
  6. Barlovac, Bojana (22 January 2010). "Bishop Irinej Is New Serbian Orhodox Patriarch". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  7. "Bishop of Nis elected new Serbian patriarch". The Sofia Echo. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  8. Stojanovic, Dusan (22 January 2010). "Irinej, a moderate, elected as Serbian Orthodox Church leader". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  9. Serbian church promotes Bishop Irinej to new patriarch
  10. "Enthronement of Patriarch Irinej of Serbia". Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  11. "Moderate bishop Irinej elected as Serbian Orthodox Church leader". Daily News and Economic Review. Turkey. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  12. Irinej: Papa u Srbiji 2013. godine?

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Religious titles
Preceded by
Patriarch of Serbia

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