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BELGRADE, NOVEMBER 23 /SRNA/ - Chairman and Serb member of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik says that the blessed Serbian Patriarch Irinej was above all a good man, who managed to gather all Serbs with his calmness and simplicity.


"Wherever he appeared in public, he was leaving behind the dimension of a simple-minded attitude towards people and things, captivating and gathering. He liked to come to Banjaluka and Srpska. We also established a private relationship, talked on the phone about health, we have agreed to visit him, but death was faster," Dodik said.

He stated that he saw Patriarch Irinej in Podgorica the last time /at the funeral of Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral/.

"The funeral of Patriarch Irinej was dignified and His Holiness deserves it, it was a calming and gathering atmosphere. It gave me the impression and a strong conviction that he was buried in the right way," Dodik told Happy TV on Monday evening.

He added that Patriarch Irinej never asked for anything in boisterous way and always believed that it should be first checked if he could do something, he never gave an ultimatum.

"We attended each other's patron saint day. For me, he was an inspiration and stability," Dodik pointed out, noting that Serbia and Srpska mark many dates together nowadays and that Patriarch Irinej also contributed to it.

Dodik stated that the historical role of the Serbian Orthodox Church is very important, and that the Serbs preserved their identity during the centuries-old Ottoman occupation, thanks to the church and the gathering of the faithful.

"The church kept its identity in that period, and later during the communist era, during the persecution of priests based on the fact that you belonged to the church," he said.

Dodik stated that the communist regime "harassed" everything that was the SOC in BiH, and that in the early 1960s, under the guise of communists, the door was opened to the spread of Islam.

"Since 1961 and in the next ten years, more than 720 mosques have been built in BiH, which did not exist until then. And new churches could be counted on the fingers of one hand," he said.

Dodik stated there were 17 mosques and one church in Banjaluka, which was majority Serb-populated, making a disproportion and an attack on the Serbian Orthodox Church.

"It all had to be survived, including the Ustasha era, because the Ustashas were burning down and destroying churches, as was the case in Banjaluka. In the former Yugoslavia, everything was done to prevent Serbia from being strong," Dodik pointed out.

He emphasized that Sarajevo is now only interested in a weak Serbia.

"A strong Serbia does not suit them, therefore they satanize it, saying it is Greater," said Dodik. /end/vos