Skip to comments.Serb Patriarch Pavle dies, spoke for Balkan peace
Posted on 11/15/2009 7:49:30 AM PST by Ravnagora
BELGRADE, Serbia Patriarch Pavle, who led Serbia's Christian Orthodox Church through its post-Communist revival and called for peace and conciliation during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, died Sunday. He was 95.
There have been reports of an internal struggle over who would succeed Pavle, a respected theologian and linguist known for personal humility and modesty. The favorite is influential Bishop Amfilohije, a hard-liner known for his anti-Western and ultra-nationalist stands.
The seven-million member church said its highest body, the Holy Synod, could announce Monday when Pavle's successor will be chosen. At least 40 days must pass after Pavle's death before a new patriarch can be elected.
Pavle had been hospitalized for two years with heart and lung problems and died of cardiac arrest in his sleep, the church and the Belgrade Military Hospital said.
The news of patriarch's death was first announced by Amfilohije, who has served as acting head of the church during most of Pavle's hospitalization. State TV showed Amfilohije breaking into tears as he held a prayer.
Bells tolled from Serbian churches after the news of Pavle's death and the state-run television aired documentaries about his life. Serbia's government proclaimed three days of national mourning starting Monday.
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May His Memory be Eternal!