Serbia has paid its final respects to the late head of its orthodox church, Patriarch Pavle, who died last Sunday aged 95. A religious service was held in Belgrade’s cathedral to mark the start of the funeral.
As head of the church during Yugoslavia’s bloody collapse critics accuse him of failing to contain hardline bishops and priests who stoked Serbian nationalism. Many though prefer to think of him as a modest man who made his own shoes and used public transport rather than a chauffeur-driven car. Thousands of people lined the streets to watch the procession make its way to Rakovica monastery on the outskirts of Belgrade, where Pavle is to lie in rest. Even though, Pavle was symbolically still head of the church, he gave up the day-to-day running last year because of ill health. Serbian President Boris Tadic described his death as a huge loss.