The visit took place on the sidelines of the consecration by the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox church in Berne-Belp. Among other things, the agenda of the talks included the situation of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Switzerland. In addition, the participants discussed the mutual recognition of baptisms within the National Ecumenical Council of Switzerland. The recognition of baptisms, which had been suggested by a Serbian Orthodox priest, has not yet been signed by the Orthodox churches. FSPC President Gottfried Locher expressed his wish that the Serbian Orthodox Church might support this recognition.

The meeting was the second of its kind between Patriarch Irinej and FSPC President Gottfried Locher. The first took place during a visit to Belgrade in 2015. At the end of last year, a meeting was held in Bern between the Serbian Orthodox Church in Switzerland and the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches. The Federation, together with the cantonal Christian churches, conducts dialogue with the Serbian Orthodox and other Orthodox churches in Switzerland.

Patriarch Irinej was accompanied, among others, by Bishop Andrej of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Switzerland and Austria and by the bishop’s vicar Stanko Marković, pastor in Bern-Belp.

The Serbian Orthodox Church is an active member of the National Ecumenical Council of Switzerland AGCK.CH and the World Council of Churches WCC. With around 120,000 members, it is one of the largest Orthodox churches in Switzerland. More than other Orthodox churches, it actively participates in ecumenical activities.