The Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej, awarded on Tuesday evening President Aleksandar Vucic with the highest SPC medal, The Order of St. Sava of the first grade, for “fruitful love towards the Church and the untiring struggle for the integrity of Serbia, and especially for the preservation of Kosovo within it”.
At the formal academy on the occasion of eight centuries of the independence of the SPC, Irinej warned that “we must not make a gift of a single foot of our holy Serbian land, Kosovo”.
Inappropriately praising the Serbian President for several minutes, Irinej glorified his alleged reform and economic merits, underlining that he was certain that Vucic would not recognize the independence of Kosovo.
“If he had wanted to betray, he would have done it already, he had many opportunities for this”, said Irinej, explaining why he was certain that Vucic would not sign an agreement on Kosovo, contrary to the SPC’s standpoint that it is – a part of Serbia.
In this thanks for the medal, Vucic did not comment on these allegations of the Patriarch but vaguely said that the award obligated him to work even more and more strongly for Serbia, for its unity, for Kosovo and for the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Montenegro and in Croatia.
Irinej himself previously received the Order of St. Sava of the first grade, and the medal was at the same ceremony also awarded to the Serb member of the B-H Presidency Milorad Dodik.
Part of the bishops against awarding medal to Vucic: The decision on awarding Vucic the medal did not encounter the united support in the SPC, and the retired Bishop of Zahum and Herzegovina Atanasije Jevtic and the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Amfilohije openly criticized this decision claiming that the majority of other bishops was opposed to Vucic being given this award.
Academician Matija Beckovic and Professor of the Philological Faculty Milo Lompar refused to attend and speak at the SPC formal celebration.
Daily Danas reported on his website on Tuesday evening that most SPC bishops boycotted the ceremony.