Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity (DPCU), visited Serbia from 27‒28 October 2022.
On 28 October he paid a visit to His Holiness Porfirije, Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, at the Patriarchal Palace in Belgrade. Mention was made during their warm conversation of the challenges facing the Church in the Serbian context and in contemporary Europe, with both expressing the aspiration to pursue their collaboration.
Several members of the Holy Synod also attended the meeting, namely Bishops Irinej of Bačka, Ioanikij of Montenegro-Primorsko, Fotij of Zvornic-Tuzla and, on the Catholic side, Archbishop Stanislav Hočevar of Belgrade, with his secretary Monsignor Mihal Sokol, Revd Monsignor Simon Sanchez Carrion, Chargé d’affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature, and Reverend Jaromír Zádrapa, official of the Eastern Section of the DPCU, who is responsible for relations with the Slavic Orthodox Churches.
At the end of the meeting, Cardinal Koch presented Patriarch Porfirije with the Holy Father’s gift of a mosaic of the Mother of God “Della Scala”; the Patriarch asked that an icon of Saint Sava be conveyed to the Holy Father.
The Cardinal and the Patriarch also visited the new Cathedral of Saint Sava, where together they prayed before the tomb of Patriarch Irinej.
During his stay in Serbia, the Prefect of the DPCU visited the Orthodox monasteries of Kač and Kovilj and held a conference [IT] on “The Significance Today of the Ecumenical Council of Nicea” with the participation of priests, religious and lay people of the diocese. This was followed by a Eucharistic celebration in the Catholic Cathedral of Belgrade, during which Cardinal Koch delivered the homily [IT].
Cardinal Koch’s last visit to Serbia was in May 2015, during which he met with Patriarch Irinej.