Consistently, the Belgrade Patriarchy takes another wrong turn

To be quite honest, nobody is delighted by the selection of the new head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Porphyrios. Rather than experiencing quiet and serene joy that in these troubled times the Church finally has found its helmsman, the announcement was accompanied by an unmistakable sense of discomfort. As an internally rotting and dysfunctional institution, judging by its acute loss of compass and lack of restraint the Patriarchy is nearing not just the pre-Reformation but more ominously the present-day unenviable condition of its “sister” organization at the Vatican. Instead of maturely surveying the reasons for its loss of coherence and vital contact with the laity it is supposed to serve, the Serbian Church is instead submitting to external pressure. As chief doctor for the treatment of its numerous afflictions it has selected the man who is himself gravely infected with all those maladies. That means only one thing: barring a huge miracle, there is no hope for the recuperation of the Serbian Patriarchy any time soon.

Metropolitan Porphyrios is not a reconciler, unifier, or healer. Within the Patriarchal system, where he is perfectly adapted and swims like a fish in its own pond, he is a notoriously controversial cleric, a fitting counterpart to the numerous “controversial businessmen” from the secular domain, a milieu which is not the least bit foreign to contemporary church functionaries. A survey of the visible effects of Porphyrios’ public activity should disclose all that needs to be known about his suitability for the post to which he has been elevated. On the pastoral level, his results are meagre or downright damaging. It suffices to mention just these two.

Since his appointment in 2008 to preside over the government radio broadcast agency (state body charged with supervising the content of radio and television broadcasts) the quantity of pernicious garbage the population of Serbia has been exposed to on a daily basis has increased continuously and exponentially, while the poison permeating that trash has become even more malignant. Porphyrios’ self-serving rationalization, that he was merely one of several executive members of the agency and had limited ability to oppose the dissemination of  the garbage emitted over the airways, coming from a doctor of theology, sounds exceedingly disingenuous. He was always in a position to do what any decent person would have done in his place, which is to resign in a situation where he had few options to worthily represent the Church, instead of staying on in his episcopal vestments and embarrassing her where his presence would be manifestly unseemly.

When in 2014 he was sent to take over the Zagreb and Ljubljana Diocese, on the occasion of his enthronization in Zagreb Porphyrios pronounced an appallingly nauseous discourse, adorned with pseudo-Christian babble, and composed in the ruinous Serbian style of obsequiousness lest the enemies who surrounded him there should take offense.  From ecumenism, to an apotheosis phoney fraternity, and paeans to “reconciliation” and “togetherness” with unrepentant tormentors, in his accession speech he did not overlook to utter a single major politically correct platitude. While occupying his Zagreb cathedra he acted precisely in the spirit of the words he had then pronounced. He will surely continue to act in the same vein, but now with the external accoutrements of patriarchal authority and with an incomparably wider scope.

By all accounts, the mission on February 18, in the crypt of Saint Sava temple in Belgrade, under the convenient (for the authorities) surveillance of video-recording devices, was accomplished successfully. More than that, the mission was completed with lightning speed, without even a pro forma pretense of proper deliberation. The procedure that the assembled dignitaries followed suggested unmistakably a pre-arranged scenario that was familiar to all and to which all were happy to submit voluntarily. In the corrupt “symphony” which the Serbian Church has now got, in the shape of a lamentable parody of the Byzantine archetype, Porphyrios will undoubtedly, as its ecclesiastical component, be assigned the role of a suitable and reliable accomplice to his equally wretched counterpart from the political realm.

The main task of both is crystal clear. It is the betrayal and conformist assent to the betrayal of Kosovo. They both were pulled out of respective hats and installed in the posts they now occupy, having in view primarily the particular propensities and character defects of each, so that they would complement one another in the execution of their dishonourable assignment. Porphyrios was calculatedly selected (not by his fellow-bishops, to be sure, and even less so through the operation of the Holy Spirit) so that he should impart to squalid treachery a loftier form and if possible a superior note. But not in a vulgar manner – by blessing it publicly, because that would rebound like a boomerang, but more subtly, by demobilising the Serbian Church in order that she should not anathemize or resist the scandal, and it shall be done by at first cynically ignoring the outrage and then by smoothing it over with crafty Jesuitical casuistry.

February the eighteenth is a sad day in the history of the Serbian Church and Serbian statehood, the latter just recently having been hypocritically extolled to the heavens by the apostates who gathered in Orašac to commemorate it just a few days ago. The mosaic pieces are now falling into place, signalling the final and synchronized directed detonation of State and Church. Like the two towers in New York, both of these ancient structures are from top to bottom rigged with explosives to blow up as soon as the button on the remote control dashboard is pressed.