The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes his covenant known to them. (Ps 25,14)

Your Eminences,

It is with deep sadness that we heard of the falling asleep in the Lord of His Holiness, Patriarch Irinej, the Head of Orthodox Church of Serbia.

The legacy of Patriarch Irinej, who was a well-known personality of contemporary Orthodoxy, remains forever. At the heart of his spiritual leadership was the promotion of a culture of peace. In his address to the United Nations in New York some years ago, he called on people and nations to “commit ourselves in the name of respect for the principle of equality and justness in international relations” and he insisted that the “durability of peace is inseparable from its justness.”

His Holiness Irinej remains in the prayerful memory of the Church as an inspired spiritual leader who committed himself to a common and prophetic voice of Christians in Europe in the face of societal challenges.

We pray for the rest of the soul of Patriarch Irinej in the tents of the righteous (Ps 118: 15) and in the light, peace and love of the Most Holy Trinity and we give thanks to Christ, our Lord, the One who is the resurrection and the life (cf. John 11:25), for the life and ministry of His Holiness.

On behalf of the World Council of Churches I extend our profound condolences to the members of the Holy Synod and to the entire Serbian Orthodox Church.

May his memory be eternal!

Yours in the Risen Lord,

Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca

Interim General Secretary

World Council of Churches