Our Bishop

His Grace the Right Reverend IRINEJ (Dobrijevic)

He was born in 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, of his father Djuro and mother Milica (nee Svilar). His elementary education was completed in Cleveland, Ohio, and thereafter from 1973-1975 he attended the Cleveland Institute of Art. From 1975-1979 he attended St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a Licentiate in Theology with the academic distinction maxima cum laude. In 1980 he enrolled in St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York and graduated in 1982 with a Master of Divinity degree with Honorable Mention for his master"s thesis Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich: A 1921 Mission to America. Following which, he entertained studies at the Athens Centre in 2000 and 2003 receiving levels I and II certificates in contemporary Greek language.

He spent most of his career in the field of education, lecturing at Loyola University in Chicago, and at the Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade. For many years he was the co-editor of The Path of Orthodoxy, the official publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada.

His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher of Midwestern America ordained him a deacon on 15 January 1994 in the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois. He was tonsure a monk on 18 January 1995 in the St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois, receiving the monastic name Irinej after St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons. Thereafter, he was ordained a hieromonk on 27 January 1995 in the St. Sava Cathedral in Parma, Ohio, USA. He was elevated to the dignity of Archimandrite on 18 June 2006 by His Grace Bishop Justin of Timok, a member of the Holy Synod of Bishops.

The Very Reverend Archimandrite Irinej up until his election as Bishop of Australia and New Zealand was the Consultant to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on International and Interchurch Affairs and Coordinator of the newly created Kosovo and Metohija Office of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate in Belgrade. Among his numerous recognitions, especially for his exemplary work in improving ties between the Serbian state and the Serbs of the Diaspora, and for his work in advancing relations between Church and State, in 2005, he was awarded the Order of Vuk Karadzich III Degree by President Svetozar Marovic of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and is a 2007 recipient of the International Heraldic Order of the Fleur de Les; as well as the 2008 Major Feldman Award of the Serbian Bar Association for merit.

Among his many appointments, it is important to emphasize that Bishop Irinej represents the Serbian Orthodox Church to the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee; is a member of the Jasenovac Committee and the Permanent Missions Board of the Holy Synod of Bishops; the Advisory Council of the Njegos Endowment for Serbian Studies at Columbia University; and the Editorial Board of the Tesla Memorial Society; and the Communications Committee of the Board of Directors of St. Vladimir's Seminary; a member of the Serbian-American Center in Belgrade; and an honorary Board Member for ZOE for Life! He is the Episcopal Patron for the "Milosh Obilich" Society of Serbian Crest-bearers and The Prince Tomislav Memorial Foundation, both in Belgrade, Serbia.

Previously, Bishop-elect Irinej was the Editor-in-Charge of the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church; Executive Director of the Office of External Affairs of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada, located in Washington, DC; co-chaired the Orthodox Advisory Committee of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in Metropolitan Washington; was a member of National Council of the Churches of Christ Environmental Justice Task Force (NCCC Eco-Justice); and served on the Board of Directors of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC); the Executive Council of The United States Conference of Religions for Peace (USCRP), the Conference of European Churches (CEC-KEK), the Serbian Unity Congress, the Mayor's Advisory Council on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs in Chicago, and the Chicago Human Rights Commission. He was also an instrumental participant in the 1998 Mission of US Religious Leaders to Yugoslavia with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, and the 2005 official visitation of the Delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church to the United Nations and the United States Government.

On the basis of the decision of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of 26 May 2006, the Reverend Hieromonk Irinej (Dobrijevic), Consultant to the Holy Synod of Bishops, was elected as Bishop of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand. He was consecrated on 15 July 2006 in the Holy Archangel Michael Cathedral in Belgrade at the hands of His Eminence Archbishop Amfilohije of Cetinje, Metropolitan of Montenegro, together with 16 other bishops, including His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas of Hong Kong of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and His Grace Bishop Nikolai of Alaska of the Orthodox Church in America. He was enthroned on 21 October 2006 in the St. Sava Pro-Cathedral in Elanora Heights, New South Wales by His Grace Chrysostom of Bihac-Petrovac, a member of the Holy Synod of Bishops, as Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, with its see in Sydney.

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