German (Đorić) of Serbia

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His Holiness, German (Đorić) of Serbia, Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci and Patriarch of Serbia, (Serbian Cyrillic: Његова светост Герман Архиепископ пећки, Митрополит београдско-карловачки и Патријарх српски) was the patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church from 1958 to 1990. He was successful in revitalizing the Serbian Orthodox Church to a certain extent during the Communist period, despite two schisms that occurred during his tenure.


Patr. German was born on August 19, 1899, as Hranislav Đorić in Jošanička Banja into family of Mihailo and Cveta. His father was a teacher and later a priest. He attended elementary school in Velika Drenova and Kruševac, seminary in Belgrade and Sremski Karlovci, graduating in 1921. He studied law at the Sorbonne in Paris before graduating from the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Belgrade in 1942.

He was ordained a deacon, followed by appointment as the clerk of the Spiritual Court in Čačak. He was also a catechist in the Čačak's high school. Due to ill health, he left these administrative positions. Later, he was ordained a presbyter and was assigned his own parish of Miokovci. In 1931, Fr. Hranislav moved to Vrnjačka Banja and, in 1938, became a referent of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

His son, Vlastimir, later became protodeacon and teacher at St. Sava Seminary in Belgrade. His wife, however, had died.

In 1950, he was assigned the position of secretary general of the Holy Synod and editor in chief of the Glasnik, the official gazette of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Also he was elected June 12 auxiliary bishop to Patriarch Vikentije, with title vicar Bishop of Moravice. Fr. Hranislav was tonsured by bishop Vasilije of Banja Luka at Studenica monastery July 7, acquiring the name German. Fr German was elevated to the rank of archimandrite July 12. Patriarch Vikentije, together with bishops Vasilije of Banja Luka, Nikanor of Srem and Valerijan of Sumadija, consecrated Fr German. His ordination took place in Belgrade in Cathedral church of Holy Archangel Michael, July 15.

In 1951, he was elected bishop of Budim. However, Hungarian authorities didn't approve this appointment, and the government didn’t allow him to enter the country. Thus, he was never enthroned. In 1956, he was appointed Bishop of Žiča, one of most prestigious sees in Serbia, succeeding St. Nikolaj. In this capacity, he was also an administrator of Budimlja-Polimlje and Raška-Prizren eparchies.

After Patr. Vikentije died suddenly on July 5, 1958, Bp. German was elected the 43rd Patriarch of Peć on September 14, 1958.

In 1989, Patr. German broke his hip, which led to a series of surgeries and further injuries, that proved serious enough to not allow him to perform his duties. Thus, on August 27, 1990, the Holy Synod declared him incapacitated, and appointed the metropolitan bishop of Zagreb and Ljubljana, Jovan Pavlović, as the guardian of the throne. On December 1, 1990, the Holy Synod elected Pavle the new patriarch. His Holiness, German, died in the VMA hospital in Belgrade on August 27, 1991, at the age of 92. He was buried in Belgrade's St. Mark's Church.

His tenure of 32 years in the office as patriarch of Serbia is second longest in the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church, after Patr. Pajsije.

His Patriarchate

Patr. German oversaw the Church of Serbia through most of the era of communist rule of Serbia. This era was one of division and strife.

Upon assuming office, Patr. German was labelled a pro-communist by some priests assigned in dioceses abroad. This resulted in the split of the diocese of Nova Gračanica in North America in 1963 and the appointment of two bishops, one schismatic and another loyal to the Patriarch. The problem was resolved in 1992 during the initial period of rule by German's successor, Patriarch Pavle, when the schismatic diocese rejoined the Serbian Orthodox Church. The schism of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, however, is a much deeper and more complicated issue that is still to be resolved.

Patr. German strived to revitalize the Serbian Church which was oppressed greatly by the Communist government. Despite difficult conditions, he managed to form several new dioceses: that of Western Europe in 1969, Australia in 1973, Vranje in 1975, and Canada in 1983.

He oversaw completion of construction of the new complex of buildings and campus in Belgrade in 1958, such that today the entire neighborhood surrounding the complex is known as Богословија (Serbian for seminary). Today the Orthodox Theological Faculty of Belgrade University and St. Sava Seminary (in Serbia seminary is actually equivalent to secondary education) are housed in this building. He also established a new seminary in the Krka monastery in Croatia.

In 1984, he visited the site of the World War II concentration camp, Jasenovac, during which he stated the now famous line: ““Опростити морамо, заборавити не смемо (To forgive, we must... to forget, we must not).

Many consider Patr. German's greatest achievement to be his successful campaign for the resumption of the construction of the Temple of Saint Sava in Belgrade, which was stopped in 1941. For 26 years from his appointment, he urged the Communist government 88 times until they finally authorized the construction to continue in 1984.

Patriarchal Succession

The number of bishops in the Serbian patriarchal succession has been in dispute. Some sources claim a much higher number than 43 for Patr. German. The differing counts being claimed are as a result of over a dozen bishops who occupied the throne, but were not officially consecrated or recognized as such, or the number of patriarchs of Karlovci in Austria-Hungary who are not counted in the list of official patriarchs. This is especially of note for those who were called patriarchs of Peć, instead calling themselves patriarchs of the Serbs.

Succession box:
German (Đorić) of Serbia
Preceded by:
Bishop of Moravice - Vicar
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Hrizostom (Vojinović)
Bishop of Buda
Succeeded by:
Arsenije (Bradvarević)

(as Metropolitan)

Preceded by:
St Nikolaj (Velimirović)
Bishop of Žiča
Succeeded by:
Vasilije (Kostić)
Preceded by:
Vikentije (Prodanov)
Patriarch of Serbia
Succeeded by:
Pavle (Stojčević)
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