On September 24, Serbian Patriarch Porfirije conducted a liturgy at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in the Bosnian city of Mostar. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the consecration of this cathedral. During the Bosnian war, the cathedral was completely destroyed, and its reconstruction has been ongoing since then.
During the celebratory service, Patriarch Porfirije was joined by hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church: Metropolitan Zlatoust of Dabar-Bosnia, Metropolitan Joanikije of Montenegro and the Littoral, Bishop Dosifej of Great Britain and Scandinavia, Metropolitan Pahomije of Vranya, Bishop Joan of Shumadija, and others.
After the liturgy, the head of the Serbian Church addressed the gathered crowd with a sermon, condemning the destruction of churches as the "greatest shame and fall before God."
"The renewed church is an opportunity and the beginning of our renewal—renewal within ourselves, reconciliation with God, and reconciliation with each other. It is an opportunity to pray for God to grant His peace to each of us. And we all know that there is no possibility of establishing peace outside if we do not have peace within," emphasized the Serbian Patriarch.
The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was built in 1873 when Bosnia was part of the Ottoman Empire. The main funds for its construction were provided by the Turkish Sultan Abdul Aziz and the Russian Empire. In 1992, during the Bosnian war, the cathedral was completely destroyed, but it has now been rebuilt. The Cathedral in Mostar is a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina and, like the Old Bridge over the Neretva River, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The reconstruction of the cathedral took many years. According to Serbian press reports, the church was robbed 10 times in 2022. The last time, all the wiring was cut in the church. The Serbian Church spent several months collecting funds for the restoration of electricity in the cathedral.
Mostar is the main city in western Bosnia and the fifth most populous city in the country. As of 2013, out of 100,000 inhabitants, 48% are Croats, 44% are Bosniaks, and 4% are Serbs. Historically, the city consisted of two parts, inhabited by different ethnic and religious communities—Bosnian Muslims and Croatian Catholics—divided by the Neretva River.