Patriarch Pavle stories

Patriarch Pavle stories

Nov 4/17 2009 24th Tuesday after Pentecost.

Patriarch Pavle. Patriarch Pavle reposed in the Lord on Sun Nov 2/15 2009. I believe he was a righteous man. It is good to honor the righteous by telling stories about them. Here are a few I found. Memory Eternal!


From Archpriest Stefan Pavlenko


VECHNAYA PAMIAT’ ETERNAL MEMORY Today His Holiness PAVEL, Patriarch of Serbia reposed in the Lord. On Patriarch Pavle’s visit to the Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco, of the Church Abroad, before the glorification of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco, His Holiness sang the Troparion to Holy Hierarchs in Saint John’s Sepulcher (under the Holy Virgin Cathedral), thus giving Patriarchal and inter-jurisdictional confirmation of the significance of the canonization by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia from its very inauguration. Serbia has a MOLITVINIK at the Holy Throne of God!


From Priest Demetrios Carellas


On July 22, 2001, I had the sacred honor to co-celebrate the Holy Liturgy with Patriarch Pavle, when he made a visit to Pittsburgh. Never before have I met a Hierarch so totally focused on worshipping the Holy Liturgy! It was as if I were in the presence of Christ Himself! …


I think that one of the main reasons that I wept during today’s Gospel, was from recalling a story that someone had recently told me — an event in which the Samaritan’s holy compassion was incarnated by the words and actions of His Holiness. When he was the Bishop of Kosovo, he was brutally and severely beaten by a young Muslim man. So intense was this beating, that the frail Bishop almost died; and was in the Hospital for a few months. Upon his dismissal from the Hospital, the then Bishop Pavle went to the prison where the young man was incarcerated. He told the one who had almost killed him that he felt he needed to go home to his parents; because they needed him!


Then he called the warden of the prison and demanded the young man’s release. When the warden refused, Bishop Pavle told him, ‘I have nothing against this young man; and I will not speak against him. Therefore, you must release him now!’ What true Christ-like love, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ — love which bore a very special fruit: the young man was soon Baptized into the Orthodox Faith!


From (a much missed and excellent blog)


… It is well known that the Serbian Patriarch, even when taking up his high-ranking position, continued his ascetic podvigs and strove to live modestly – although for him this was all quite natural, without any deliberate affectation. He went around town by foot or took regular public transportation, among the throngs of people, was not acquisitive, and ate as little as the ancient desert fathers – simply because that was the way he was.


Mrs Jana Todorovic told me a story that concerned her sister. She was at a reception at the Patriarch’s for some reason. Discussing business, she happened to look at the Patriarch’s feet and was shocked at the sight of his shoes: they were old, had been torn and then repaired. The woman thought: “How shameful for us Serbs, that our Patriarch has to go around in broken shoes; couldn’t somehow give him some new shoes?” The Patriarch said joyfully: “Look at what good shoes I have! I found them near the garbage cans when I went to the patriarchate. Someone had thrown them away, but they are real leather. I darned them a little bit and, look, they can still serve a long time.”


Another story is connected with these same boots. A certain woman came to the patriarchate with the request to speak with the Patriarch concerning an urgent matter, about which she needed to speak with him personally. This request was unusual and she was not immediately admitted, but the visitor’s persistence bore fruit, and an audience took place. Seeing the Patriarch, the woman said with great excitement that that night she had dreamed of the Theotokos, who told her to take money to the Patriarch so that he could buy himself new shoes. Saying this, the visitor took out an envelope full of money. Patriarch Pavle, not taking the envelope, responded affectionately: “At what time did you lay down to sleep?” The woman, surprised, asked: “Well… around eleven.” “You know, I lay down later, around four in the morning,” the Patriarch responded, “and I also dreamed of the Theotokos, who asked me to tell you to take the money and give it to those who really need it.” He did not take the money.


Once, approaching the patriarchate building, His Holiness, Pavle, noticed many cars near the entrance and became interested in whose they were. He was told that these cars belonged to bishops. To this the Patriarch replied with a smile: “If they, who know the Savior’s commandment about unacquisitiveness, have such cars, just imagine what kind of cars they would have if there this commandment did not exist!”


Once the Patriarch was flying somewhere on a visit. While they were flying over the sea the airplane went into a zone of turbulence and began to shake. A young bishop who was sitting next to the Patriarch asked what he would think if the airplane were to fall. His Holiness, Pavle, replied calmly: “With regard to myself personally, I would take this as an act of justice: I’ve eaten so many fish in my life that it would be no surprise if they were to eat me now.”


It would not be a bad idea to cite a passage from a conversation between Nikolai Kokukhin and Deacon Neboisha Topolic:


“By God’s mercy we have such a spiritual pastor as His Holiness, Patriarch Pavle… He leads an ascetic life and is a living example of an evangelical pastor. He lives in Christ in the full sense of this word… As an Orthodox monk he fasts, that is, does not eat meat, and keeps a very strict fast on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays… He serves the Liturgy every morning in a small chapel in the building of the patriarchate. There is no choir there, and only parishioners sing…


“He vests himself before the service and unvests after the service, he Confesses and Communes parishioners himself. He has worn the same riasa and cassock from the time of his tonsure to the angelic order (and this was fifty years ago). He does not replace them. He washes, irons, and mends them himself. He prepares his own food. Once he told me that he had made himself a pair of good boots out of women’s boots. He has all the instruments for fixing boots; he himself can fix any shoes. He frequently serves in different churches, and when he sees that a priest has a torn riasa or phelonion, he says to him: ‘Bring it, and I’ll fix it’… Being around such a person is a great benefit for the education of the soul, for spiritual growth.”


Patriarch Pavle walking. From


He is very accessible. When his sister was alive he frequently walked to her house by foot. He in general like to go about by foot, without an escort. Anyone can approach him and speak with him. He receives visitors every day at his residence. People go to him with their needs and their small questions, and he finds a comforting word of consolation for each of them.

He gets up very early and, when everyone is still sleeping, he serves the Liturgy, praying for the entire Serbian people. All Serbia is in his heart. He is small in stature, but great in spirit. He has thin fingers, but when he forms these fingers into the sign of the cross legions of demons flee; he wears thin cotton vestments, but beneath these vestments is hidden the soul of a brave warrior. The people say: "This is our angel, who protects and defends us."


Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas


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2 Responses to “Patriarch Pavle stories”

  1. RJ Daum says:

    Memory eternal
    Each morning ,my imagination visited Patriarch Pavle . I have a black and white photo of him at my home icon corner. All this week my eyes fill
    with memories of my orthodox brothers who lived under his mantle.
    We are building a new temple, for as long as light comes into the Temple from the east window my imagination will fly to him.

  2. Thank you Fr. for posting this reflection of such a humble man. His life has been an encouragement to me. Memory Eternal

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