On 25 May 2016 the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church elected by acclamation Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand to the Throne of Bishops of Eastern America following the election of His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America to the Throne of Bishops of Canada.
Bishop Irinej was born Mirko Dobrijevic in 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, to his father Djuro and mother Milica (nee Svilar). His elementary and secondary education was completed in Cleveland, Ohio. After studying at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1973-1975, he attended St Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania from 1975-1979, where he graduated with a Licentiate in Theology with the academic distinction maxima cum laude. In 1980 he enrolled in St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York and graduated in 1982 with a Master of Divinity degree with Honourable Mention for his master's thesis Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich: A 1921 Mission to America. Following which, he entertained studies at the Athens Centre in 2000 and 2003 receiving levels I and II certificates in contemporary Greek language.
The future Bishop spent most of his early career in the field of education, lecturing at Loyola University in Chicago, and at the Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade. For many years he was the co-editor of The Path of Orthodoxy, the official publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada.
His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher of Midwestern America ordained him deacon on 15 January 1994 at the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois. He was tonsured a monk on 18 January 1995 at the St Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois, receiving the monastic name Irinej after St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons. Thereafter, he was ordained hieromonk on 27 January 1995 at the St Sava Cathedral in Parma, Ohio, USA. He was elevated to the dignity of Archimandrite on 18 June 2006 by His Grace Bishop Justin of Timok (presently of Zhicha), a member of the Holy Synod of Bishops, at the request of Patriarch Pavle.
The Very Reverend Archimandrite Irinej up until his election as Bishop of Australia and New Zealand was the Consultant to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on International and Interchurch 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. Among his numerous recognitions, especially 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, in 2005, he was awarded the Order of Vuk Karadzich III Degree by President Svetozar Marovic of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and is a 2007 recipient of the International Heraldic Order of the Fleur de Lys; 2008 Major Feldman Award of the Serbian Bar Association for merit; 2009 Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ; 2009 Grand Cross of the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ; 2011 Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ; 2011 Senator of the Grand Badge in the Order of Saint Queen Tamar; 2012 The Medal of Merit of the Royal House of Georgia by HRH Prince Davit Bagrationi Mukhran Batonishvili; 2013 Knight Commander of The Imperial Order of St Anne of the Imperial House of Russia; and 2013 The Imperial Medal "Jubilee of the All National Effort", honouring the 400th Anniversary of the Imperial House of Romanov, 1613-2013 by HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.