His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia sends condolences

Syn. No. 1022 23 August 2010 In Belgrade

To the Episcopal Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, to the Clergy and faithful people of the Metropolitanate of Libertyville-Chicago

News of the passing of Metropolitan Christopher of blessed repose came to us while we were serving the Divine Liturgy on the day of the Lord's Transfiguration. The news was just as unexpected as it was sad. We were informed that His Eminence was afflicted with a serious illness, but no one among us expected that his life on this world would come to an end so quickly. Glory to the Lord for all things! Metropolitan Christopher of blessed repose leaves to his Lord, Whom he served faithfully and devotedly from his days as a student until his last breath. With his natural talents he was almost destined for the holy ministry of priesthood, to which he had committed himself in his youth.

He had the immense honor to be the student of the greatest teacher of our people and age, Saint Bishop Nikolai, to whom he was of great use in preparing his literary works for publication.

As a priest he belonged to the elite of our clergy in America. After the passing of his wife, the Holy Hierarchical Assembly elected him Bishop. Through his life and his demeanor on substantial and important Church questions, the reposed Metropolitan justified the Church's expectations of him. His attitude, reasoning and opinions expressed in our Assemblies were considered in their entirety by us hierarchs. He was always led by truth in the life of his Church, which he placed above all other interests. This was best shown when he recently suggested a solution to the question of regulating the boundaries of our dioceses in America and Canada. We were all most pleasantly surprised by his wise and selfless suggestion for solving that painful and, until then, open question. That could only have been done by a man who put the interest of the Church above all other interests.

His departure from the Church milieu in this world, especially from the milieu of our Church in America, represents a large loss which will difficult to overcome. We will miss his mild and wise words at the Assembly, which always offered the best and most appropriate path for solving concrete problems.

We hope that our good Metropolitan Christopher, from the world where there is neither sorrow nor grief, but joy and bliss in unity with the Lord and all the saints, will care for his Church and his flock, and remain henceforth a devoted intercessor in prayer for his faithful flock.

We pray to the Lord that He may give rest to the soul of His devoted servant, and grant comfort in faith and hope of eternal life in the Risen Lord to his faithful flock, the people, clergy and his family.

Although, to our great sorrow, we are unable to personally participate in the holy and mournful-joyous rite of his send-off, we assure you that we are in prayerful unity with you all.

With blessings

Your humble intercessor before the Lord
Serbian Patriarch Irinej
with the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops