Schererville, IN - After the parastos the Dean of the Chicago Deanery Rev. Nedeljko Lunich delivered the following words in memory of Patriarch Pavle:
A lot was written in the Church and Government press about this holy man, who was called a “living saint”. Indeed, God will glorify His faithful servant Patriarch Pavle and “put him in charge of many things”, especially to safeguard his Serbian people and the Serbian nation.
We also believe God will raise again a worthy successor to His Holiness and put him on the throne of St. Sava. There is no need to despair, God won’t abandon His faithful Serbian people, but will after all our suffering and repentance for our sins, hasten to our rescue and make again our Serbian nation to stand firm on the precepts of our Holy faith. God has given us great church leaders for the last 90 years. Each of them has put some marks on his time, time of wars and suffering. When Serbian people were suffering the Church suffered with them likewise. But the hope for a better tomorrow was never extinguished with the Serbian people. Trust in God and His mercy, which the Church nourished in the hearts of the Serbian people, gave strength to the Serbian people to endure, even the most horrible suffering and massacres in the World War One, World War Two, under communist oppression and in the last bombardment of the Serbian people and Serbian lands by the mightiest powers of the world. But Serbia will rise again as it did many times in the past.
An outpour of love by the hundreds of thousands of Serbian people and respect by all people of good will are testimony that we had a living saint amongst us. One cannot but be moved by the throngs of those waiting for hours to pay homage to a man, small in stature, but a giant in spirit.
In the dark years that followed an ascendancy to the throne of Patriarch Pavle, he would kept repeating that –there cannot be interest, individual or national, which could be used as an excuse for becoming inhuman”. As the former Yugoslavia descended into violence he appealed to the faithful to pray not only for those of good will, but for those of ill will, too, as “they are in even greater need of salvation”. When meeting the late US Ambassador Warren Zimmermann in 1991, he was asked what could America do to help him and the Church. He replied, “Your Excellency, the most you can do to help us is not to do anything to harm us”. He anticipated, like a prophet that harm will be done to his Serbian people and Serbian nation. He was a man of peace. Thus, he said when war broke out in the former Yugoslavia: “If we live as people of God, there will be room for all nations in the Balkans and in the world. If we liken ourselves to Cain, then the entire earth will be small even for two people.”
My dear brothers and sister, I have read the last four days many passages referring to the person of His Holiness, his humble life, his uplifting spirit; then many expressions of sympathies and condolences by the well known church and worldly leaders. I couldn’t remained indifferent, but was emotionally moved and have shed tears, not for His Holiness, but for our God fearing Serbian people who came, they said almost a million, just to see him, kiss his right hand and say farewell to a genuine God’s man. It is not an ordinary act when His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople kneels down by the casket and kisses His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, or as I read the words of twenty five Serbian prisoners in Dan Hag in which they expressed sorrow at the death of Patriarch Pavle, as follows:
“Deeply and profoundly moved by the passing away of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, spiritual father and lighthouse of our people, with prayers and tears, we beseech you to accept our heartfelt and most sincere sympathy. His warmly eyes will watch us from Heaven, encourage us in difficult times, scold us for our sins, and teach us that in any circumstances it is the most important to be a good man”.
“Serbian Orthodox Church got a saint who walked at the time of a total disintegration of the country, at the times of wars, misfortunes, civil wars, divisions, undermined values, and at the time of the divisions occurring in the Church. At the time of total dishonor we got a man at the helm of Church whose messages have entered into collective memory,” wrote the Serbian National Academy and Science.
Serbia was blessed with great Patriarchs - one of them is indeed Patriarch Pavle. He was a Patriarch who blended harmoniously three key functions of his throne: that of the father, of the priest, and of the prophet.
We, the Serbs in Diaspora owe the greatest gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Pavle for bringing us together and uniting us that we may in oneness with one mouth and one heart glorify the Lord our God.
May the Eternal God grant peace to the righteous soul of the Blessed Memory Patriarch Pavle. Amen.