The newly elected Serbian Patriarch Porfirije is not against Ukrainian autocephaly as it could be, but he is not yet ready to take any of the sides of conflict. Archimandrite Kirill (Hovorun), a supernumerary cleric of the Moscow diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, wrote about this on Facebook.
“I am not personally acquainted with the newly elected Serbian patriarch, but my friends and colleagues at the Swedish Academy of St. Ignatius know him well. In 2016, he received the prestigious St. Ignatius Prize here – in a sense, the theological Nobel. He was very proud of this fact. He dedicated his speech when receiving the award to human rights. And thus he showed that European values are not an empty phrase for him.
In recent years, he served in the European Union countries – Slovenia and Croatia, where he won the trust of not only the Serbian community, but also the majority, which usually treats Serbs with distrust. At the University of Athens, he wrote his doctorate on St. John Chrysostom. That is, the ideas of non-conformism are not alien to him. I would call him a cautious conformist,” writes Kirill Hovorun.
He believes that Porfirije is exactly in the middle of various groups in the Serbian Church, in particular, the pro-Moscow and pro-Constantinople, he is not pro-Western, but he is not anti-Western, nor is he a Serbian nationalist.
“As far as I know, he is not against the Ukrainian autocephaly as it could be, but he is not yet ready to take any of the parties. He was considered to be a puppet of metropolitan Irenaeus of Bac, who takes a more pro-Moscow position. But I’m sure Porfirije now has an opportunity to emerge from the shadow of Irenaeus. This is facilitated even by the very procedure for electing the patriarch – by drawing lots. Now he certainly does not owe anything to anyone – and first of all to Irenaeus,” said Hovorun.