A monument to Patriarch Pavle
A monument to one of the most loved Serbs – Patriarch Pavle – will soon be placed in a newly built square in front of St. Mark’s Church in Belgrade.
When riding on a tram down Resavska Street, from Beograđanka (a famous building in Belgrade, also known as the Belgrade Lady) to Boulevard, you have the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful view of St. Mark's Church. The church is located next to Tašmajdan Park (colloquially Taš) where local citizens like to spend their free time. This is a part of the city that radiates with exalted joy. Although, it is the city center and one of the busiest streets, here you can find peace among the trees bathed in the sun and sunrays that always find their way to get to passers by.
At this very place, at the sight of a newly built square in front of St. Mark’s Church at the green area between the tram station and the park, the monument to the most beloved head of the church, the saint as he was called while he was still alive, the monument to Patriarch Pavle will be placed. This place is deliberately chosen because it resembles the peace and spirituality that Patriarch radiated: his modesty, asceticism and love. The author of the preliminary design of the monument is our sculptor Zoran Maleš. The famous sculptor wanted to show the spirituality of the sublime being who taught us about love and freedom as the meaning of life, unhindered by hatred, greed and envy. In the first place, the artist wanted to show Patriarch whose physical appearance would be subordinate to the spiritual, the soul that radiates the peace and tranquility. The monument will be slightly higher than the Patriarch really was, and made in bronze; Patriarch Pavle will be in a sitting position, with a slightly bowed head. His face will be recognizable, not by physical characteristics, but by asceticism, with the idea of reminding us of everything that he taught us during his life.
Patriarch Pavle was born in 1914, in Kućanci village, in Slavonia, then Austro-Hungarian Empire. He came to Belgrade in 1936 where he enrolled and later graduated at the Faculty of Theology. He also enrolled the Faculty of Medicine, but soon the Second World War began. During the war, he worked on building sites for a while in order to support himself, but due to his poor health he left the job and went from Belgrade to St.Trojica Monastery in Ovčar – Kablar region where he spent the last two years of the war. He entered the monastic life at Blagoveštenje Monastery, and here, Gojko Stojčević was given the name Pavle, according to apostle Pavle. He was elected in 1957 as the bishop of Raška-Prizren eparchy. There, he built new churches and renewed old ones, monked priests, sanctified monks. He was elected Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1990 and remained at that place for the rest of his life, until 2009. The Patriarch also dealt with scientific work, he published monographs, studies and prayer books. During Patriarch Pavle’s jurisdiction, a religious education was returned to schools, and the Faculty of Theology again became an integral part of Belgrade University, after having been excluded during communism.
Apart from official speeches that Patriarch gave to the public, the citizens could often see Patriarch Pavle in the city streets. They could meet him while he walked, in the market and on trams he liked to ride. He was modest and quiet, but devoted to faith, church and his people. Because of this, he was loved by many and he was truly admired. In our sincere opinion, Patriarch Pavle is one of the few who really deserves such a tribute! Belgrade, at least in a symbolic way, will repay and show respect to, as we can freely say, the saint although the canon has not confirmed it yet.