Thursday, August 28, 2008

SPC dispute masking tussle for Patriarchy

Archbishop Amfilohije (FoNet, archive)

27 August 2008 13:02 Source: FoNet, Politika
BELGRADE -- The dispute within the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) should be also seen as a fight for the position of Patriarch.

Belgrade daily Politika writes that even though immediately after the May assembly, Archbishop Amfilohije said that he had no designs on the SPC's top job, and that the “Lord has the final say on that,” Amfilohije is one of the main candidates to become the SPC’s 45th Patriarch.

According to recent unofficial information, certain circles close to the state expressed an interest in what chances Australian-New Zealand Bishop Irinej, who has good ties in the U.S. administration, had of becoming the new Patriarch.

The problem is that Irinej does not meet the canonic conditions for the position, since he has been an archbishop for less than five years, having been elected bishop in July 2006.

Bishop of Banja Luka Jefrem, and Bishop Nikolaj are mentioned as a potential candidates from the so-called Bosnian bloc. It has frequently been rumored around Church circles that they would like the new “spiritual leader” of all the Serbs to be elected from among the younger SPC bishops.

Accordingly, Bishop of Zahumlje and Herzegovina Grigorije and Bishop of Braničevo Ignjatije are seen as potential candidates.

Of course, Bishop Artemije should not be written off as the leader of the anti-ecumenical bloc in the SPC, which opposes liturgical changes.

The Patriarch is chosen by an “apostolic draw” from among three candidates, with the one with the majority of votes being elected Patriarch. So, it is not outwith the realms of possibility that one of the aforementioned persons could become the new Patriarch and sit on the Throne of St Sava.



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