Bp Victor: Patriarch Porfirije is a true shepherd and model for his flock
The UOC hierarch says Met. Joanikije's enthronement in Cetinje testifies to the truth of the Church and is an example of Christ's victory over the world forces.
Serbian Patriarch Porfirije is another true shepherd whom the Lord gave to His earthly Church. Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka, the vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, the head of the Representation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to European international organizations, wrote about this in his blog on the site “I am a Correspondent”.
The hierarch considers the situation in Cetinje, where “patriots” and “nationalists” attempted to disrupt the enthronement of the newly elected head of the Montenegrin-Littoral Metropolis, as evidence of this. He explained that if they had achieved the transfer of enthronement from the main shrine of Montenegro, the Cetinje Monastery, to Podgorica, they could later declare its illegitimacy.
The authorities tried to convince Patriarch Porfirije that Podgorica is the best option, guaranteeing his safety, and “the arguments of the state leadership and law enforcement officers looked quite convincing”, said Bishop Victor.
But, according to him, “a real shepherd never runs away from his flock. On the contrary, he ‘lays down his life for the sheep' (John 10, 11)."
“This is exactly what Patriarch Porfirije did – despite the danger, he decided that he should be where they were waiting for him, and he should accomplish what is his duty to God and the people of God,” wrote the hierarch of the UOC. “Therefore, the Serbian Patriarch nevertheless arrived at the Cetinje Monastery, where he led the Divine Liturgy, during which the enthronement of Metropolitan Joanikije took place.”
The Patriarch would have gone to Cetinje even if there had been no law enforcement officers and he would have been guarded at the initiative of the state, and not his personal one, Bishop Victor of Baryshevka emphasized.
“His act is an example to follow. After all, in our life, there are often times when we need to make a choice – to submit to circumstances and surrender or still fulfill one’s mission, no matter what.
The act of Patriarch Porfirije clearly showed that he is a real shepherd for his flock. Every resident of Montenegro saw that the Primate of the Serbian Church is not worried about himself, he is not concerned about his own interests but cares about the Church and puts the fulfillment of the Gospel in the first place.
It is obvious that the enthronement of Metropolitan Joanikije is another testimony to the truth of the Church and a vivid example of Christ's victory over the forces of this world. We are sincerely glad that the Lord gave His earthly Church another true shepherd – Patriarch Porfirije, and we hope that he will continue to be an inspiring example for millions of Orthodox Christians!” resumed Bishop Viktor of Baryshevka.
As reported, on September 5, 2021, the enthronement of Metropolitan Joanikije of Montenegro and the Littoral took place at the Cetinsky Monastery of the SOC. Over the riots of the radicals, Patriarch Porfirije and the newly elected head of the metropolis were forced to get to Cetinje by helicopte while the Montenegrin police shielded the hierarchs from snipers.