Patriarch Pavle of Serbia

Pavle (Serbian Cyrillic: Павле, English: Paul; 11 September 1914 – 15 November 2009) was the 44th Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church,[1] the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Serbs, from 1990 to his death. His full title was His Holiness the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch Pavle. Before his death, he was the oldest living leader of an Eastern Orthodox church. Because of poor health, he spent his last years in the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade, while his duties were carried out by Metropolitan Amfilohije.

Pavle was born Gojko Stojčević (Гојко Стојчевић) in the village of Kućanci in the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia (present-day Croatia). He lost both his parents in childhood, and was raised by an aunt. After finishing elementary school, Pavle graduated from a gymnasium in Belgrade, then studied at the seminary in Sarajevo. After finished Seminary, Gojko entered University of Belgrade where he studied Theology and Medicine in parallel. He quit medicine, but graduated with a Theology degree in 1942. During World War II he took refuge in the Holy Trinity monastery in Ovčar, and later moved to Belgrade. After the war, he worked in Belgrade as a construction worker, but because of his poor health he took monastic vows in Blagoveštenje monastery in Ovčar in 1946. His monastic name became Pavle (Paul). He served as a hierodeacon in Blagoveštenje, and later in Rača monastery between 1949 and 1955. In 1954, Pavle was ordained to the rank of hieromonk. The same year he was ordained as protosyncellus, and in 1957 as archimandrite.

Between 1955 and 1957 Pavle took post-graduate studies in the Theological School of the University of Athens, Greece. After returning from Greece, he was elected the Bishop of Ras and Prizren (the eparchy which includes all of Kosovo) in 1957. He held that position for 33 years before he was elected Patriarch.

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