A moderate has been chosen as the new patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, beating two other candidates in a secret ballot. The 80-year-old Bishop of Nis, Irinej Gavrilovica, will become patriarch in a ceremony in Belgrade.
The more conservative traditionalists who had become influential in Serbian politics had clashed with the liberals over which way the Church should go. Irinej is successor to Patriarch Pavle, who died last November, after serving for 19 years.
The election result suggests that the Church is likely to leave matters of temporal government to the politicians now, and concentrate more on its spiritual mandate.
One religion analyst described Irinej as free of extremism and a man of dialogue.