When I think of a Christian

I’m posting a  few photos I was able to find online  from today’s funeral in Belgrade. I’m sure more will appear in the days to come. What an extraordinary man, a living saint. In the statements that were given on behalf of the Catholic community and the Islamic community of Serbia, I was struck by the words of Rabbi – I’m afraid I can’t recall his name -who, speaking on behalf of the Jewish community, said, among other things, “When I think of a Christian I’ll think of Patriarch Pavle.” I was reminded of those words Gandhi once uttered when he said, “I’ll become a Christian when I meet one.” Patriarch Pavle was so wise and clever and quick, so full of spiritual wisdom.  Yet in the few times I was in his company I was never drawn to discuss anything with him, I was never compelled to have some burning life question answered by him. He himself was the answer. Just looking at him and being in his company was enough to know what one must do to be a Christian. And that extreme humility, that simplicity of life just blew me away so that posing a question, trying to appear smart and pious seemed redundant.  There was an article in the Serbian paper Politika a few days ago about how the Patriarch was able to attract and have an affect on so many people. As the citizens of Belgrade shuffled in line to offer their last respects they signed their names in the book of condolences. One person wrote how even though he is an atheist he considered the Patriarch to be an important person.  Though the holy Patriarch was truly a wise man he preached the Gospel of Christ not through his words but his life. Serbia is mourning because that life, the earthly one, has come to an end.  May God grant him memory eternal.

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3 thoughts on “When I think of a Christian

  1. Patriarch Pavle was a true Christian who showed his humility, while others just spoke about humility. The fact that Patriarch Pavle refused to have a chauffeur and a beautiful car — but preferred to use public transportation on a bus because he considered himself no better than any other human being — is a clear example of his peerless humility.

  2. Over the last few days I’ve been thinking about the personal memories I have of Patriarch Pavle: meeting him for the first time in 1992, a few more times during the 90’s, then again in 2003 when I had an audience with him and in 2004 and 2005-6 on the pjevnica in Saborna Crkva in Belgrade.

    I remember in 2003, when I took the service of St. John of Shanghai and SF to Patriarch Pavle as a gift from Metropolitan Laurus. Before our meeting, I thought of many questions I wanted to ask the Patriarch about my life. When I got into the reception room, I blanked. The Patriarch started talking to me about life. He quoted Mark Twain and Shakespeare. He gave me all sorts of pointers regarding spiritual warfare and life. When we finished, I realized that the Patriarch answered all of my questions that I had forgotten when I entered the room.

    The Moscow Patriarchate often has delegations visit it from other Churches. They say there, that the only two heads of delegations that made it a point to be at services every morning while visiting were Patriarch Pavle and Metropolitan Lavr of blessed memory. It says a lot about both of those men of God.

    Vjecnaja pamjat!

  3. “When a man is born,” Metropolitan Amphilohije stated in today’s eulogy for Patriarch Pavle, “the entire world rejoices, only he weeps. But our lives must be lived in such a way that when that man dies the entire world will weep but he will rejoice.”

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