Friendship between Serbia and Russia continues to flourish. On December 6, in Belgrade, Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia received Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, Deputy Head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of External Church Relations, and a delegation from the Russian Foundation for the Support of Christian Culture and Heritage, headed by Yegor Skopenko.
Archpriest Nikolai Balashov conveyed to the head of the Serbian Church greetings and best wishes from Moscow Patriarch Kirill and the head of the External Church Relations Department, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Department’s website reports.
At the meeting, the parties discussed the current state and prospects of relations between the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches in the field of culture and education, as well as the possible participation of the Foundation for the Support of Christian Culture and Heritage in projects, run by the Serbian Orthodox Church, aimed at preserving cultural heritage.
Russia, Serbia and ROC in Ukraine
Russia has strong ties with Serbia, including at the church level. In addition, the ROC in Ukraine is also sympathetic to the allies of the aggressor power, that is, the Russian Federation.
It must be mentioned that Patriarch Porfirije, head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, earlier consecrated in Belgrade a monument to Russia’s national hero, Prince Alexander Nevsky. The event was held on November 18, 2021, with the participation of the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On November 25, the ROCinU hierarch, Metropolitan Antoniy (Pakanic) met with the Serbian Ambassador to Ukraine.
It should be recalled that the Patriarch of the Serbian Church, Porfirije, refers to the ROCinU as an integral part of the Moscow Patriarchate.
He also expressed support for the ROC conference on November 11, which was organized to condemn the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
The Serbian Orthodox Church has not recognized the OCU. Its delegation participated in a non-canonical meeting in Amman, initiated by Russia. It remains one of the Moscow Patriarchate’s biggest allies in the latter’s attacks on the OCU and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.