Published: 11.09.2023

On this day, the Day of the Beheading of St. John, Serbian Patriarch Pavle (world name Gojko Stojcevic) was born. Patriarch Pavle was the 44th Supreme Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Humble, wise, caring, full of understanding for a new age full of trials, he quickly settled in the hearts of millions of believers who loved him and called him "The Living Saint". In addition, we highlight several interesting facts that Snezana Milkovic, granddaughter of Patriarch Pavle, wrote in her book "My Grandfather Patriarch Pavle"

When he turned 94 on the day of the beheading of St. John, September 11, 2008, since it is a fasting day, I decided to take a small fasting cake to the clinic and serve it to the sisters on duty and Father Methodius (now the abbot of the Cetinje monastery) who is on shift with Father David (now His Eminence the Bishop of Kruševac) spent days and nights by his grandfather's bed. I knew that I must not even mention my birthday in front of my grandfather, so I wished him good health, because in the Orthodox faith only three birthdays are celebrated: Christmas, the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ, Little Lady, the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Midsummer, the birthday of St. John. The fact that we do not celebrate our birthday does not mean that we should pretend that it does not exist and that we do not know that we are one year older. When Grandpa Pop turned ninety years old, he said to me: "Do you know that a few days ago I turned ninety, that's a lot and when you count, now it's time to get serious." I remembered that and thought - how serious should he get at 94. He sat in an armchair with his eyes closed and remained silent while we chatted. Father Methodius asked me if I would like to try some of the monastery brandy brought by someone who was visiting. I said I would, but really only a little. As I always do when I leave, I passed Grandpa Poppy and said, "Grandpa Poppy, bless me to go." To that he said: "God bless you and see you home!" We laughed because we knew what kind of message it was carrying, as well as the fact that he had been following our conversations with understanding the whole time.

 

"... THE CANDLES MUST BE LIGHTED..."

On one occasion, I arrive at the agreed time and first speak to the porter who says that the Patriarch is somewhere on the ladder, changing the light bulbs - he takes off the 60 watt ones and puts in 40 watt ones because they consume less electricity. In the afternoon, the corridor leading from the entrance to the interior is not excessively lit. Grandfather Pop quietly appears from the darkness and beckons me into the elevator. The elevator is old-fashioned, the doors are made of cast iron bars, like in old black and white movies. We enter, he presses the button for the second floor, but the elevator will not start, the door has no contact. He bends and then crouches down and tries to find out where the fault is. I dare and say: "I'm surprised you haven't fixed it already!" He understands my allusion and says: "You have a right!" While looking in the pocket of his mantle for the key to unlock the door of the apartment, he says: "While I was still in Prizren, a guest came to me, and when he did not find me, he asked where the bishop was. They told him that I would come soon and light a candle in the church. Surprised by the answer, the guest asked why the bishop lit the lantern. He replied that the bishop said that the lanterns must be lit, but he did not say who should light them!"

An anecdote about Saint Sava that Patriarch Pavle liked to tell. (Or the story of greed) ... 

He finds the night of Saint Sava in the house of a poor peasant and the host offers him to spend the night in his humble home. Wanting to host him as best as possible, he brought straw and make a bed right next to the hearth. A spark sparks, setting fire to the straw and the peasant's rags the house burns down.Saint Sava would be sorry, so make the house bigger and more beautiful. Forgive me from the host and on his way out he told him that whenever he needed something, he would come to nearby hill, call him and ask. Soon a peasant came to the hill and said to Saint Sava: "You gave me a nice house, but give me the land around the house so I can cultivate it." Do it to him Saint Sava, but soon he came and asked for a cart and a horse. When he got rich, he concluded that with wealth goes as well as power and reputation, and he asked Saint Sava to appoint him to someone leadership position in the village. Then he asked for his wife to be more beautiful because she likes him fits. Many times the peasant went to the hill, and Saint Sava fulfilled his wishes. One day the woman said to him: "Why do you keep climbing the hill? Go and tell the world Savi, let him come here!" The peasant did so, but when he returned home he found the old woman dilapidated house, everything else was gone.

 

You can listen to the song about Patriarch Pavlе performed by Serbian Orthodox singers at this link.