Porfirije Perić .jpg
Photograph: Hina/ Dario GRZELJ/ dag

The head of the Serb Orthodox Church in Croatia and Slovenia, Metropolitan Porfirije Peric and other Orthodox dignitaries held a liturgy for the victims of WWII Ustasha concentration camp in Jasenovac, in the local church in Mlaka near Jasenovac, the Serb National Council (SNV) stated in a press release on Friday.

"We are here not to concern ourselves with numbers or to add or subtract the victims of this horrific place but to pray that the victims may rest in peace," Metropolitan Porfirije was quoted as saying.

He recalled that there had been a women's camp in Mlaka with horrific conditions and added that a break-out took place on 22 April 1945 by the last prisoners in Jasenovac.

"That break-out symbolised their desire for freedom and they who strive for freedom are not in a state to take freedom away from others," Porfirije said, underscoring that any downplaying of the evil that occurred here is a greater sin than that of those who committed the crimes.

The Serb Orthodox dignitary said that "any type of downplaying of the evil that occurred here or anywhere else in the world, is nothing more than a greater sin than that of those who committed the crimes because without being conditioned to, without being challenged, they who are trying to minimalise and downplay the evil are sending a signal that that is the right path, that it is not bad to do evil, and that the only thing that is important is how to cover it up."

After the liturgy Porfirije told reporters, "We are united and that is why places like this need to incite love and prayer for those who were victims here to help us to repent for our sins and that we know that hope always opens the path in life."

As reported, many believers attended the liturgy, representatives of ethnic Serbs in Croatia including SNV president and MP Milorad Pupovac and leader of the Independent Democratic Serbian Party (SDSS) Vojislav Stanimirovic.

Serbia's Ambassador to Croatia Mira Nikolic attended the liturgy with her associates as did several other diplomats. Croatian Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic also was at the service as well as Serbia's Labour Minister Aleksandar Vulin.

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