President Milanović Bestows Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir with Sash and Star upon Cardinal Puljić

17. January 2022.

The President of the Republic Zoran Milanović bestowed the Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir with Sash and Star upon Vinko Cardinal Puljić, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vrhbosna for his outstanding contribution to the preservation of the Croatian identity, and for extraordinary achievement in interreligious, cultural and humanitarian activities.

Expressing his satisfaction and honour in bestowing such a high decoration, the Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir upon Cardinal Puljić on behalf of the Croatian state, President Milanović noted that he has followed his work and his mission for years. “During the decades in which you have worked as a shepherd and lately as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Vrhbosna, you have left a bright and dazzling trail both as a man and as a prelate of the Catholic Church, a church to which belong the majority of Croatian citizens and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, President Milanović stated in his address.

“You have accomplished a great deal for the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina too. They live in a neighbouring and friendly state whose existence we will never call into question. You have done all you could on your part so that relations between nationalities and faiths remain harmonious, human, in accordance with the fundamental principles and postulates of what you preach, namely fraternity, harmony, peace and love among people. I am aware this sounds like a cliché, but this is what we have to aspire to and is the only sense and meaning of politics”, the Croatian President said in thanking Cardinal Puljić for everything he has done and will do in the future.

In this acceptance speech the Archbishop of Vrhbosna Cardinal Vinko Puljić recalled all the individuals who were a source of inspiration to him by “taking the right position in challenging times”. In this context he mentioned the first Archbishop of Vrhbosna Josip Stadler, Blessed Aloysius Stepinac and the Archbishop of Zagreb Franjo Kuharić. “I thank them for their testimony of faith and for helping me to adopt the positions and principles based on the Gospel and Church doctrine, which I have always strived to adopt in leading the local Church that was confided to me on the eve of the war. Having survived the war, I persistently stand for these same principles to this day”, he noted.

“In Bosnia and Herzegovina we differ according to faith, culture and national identity. This is why I have always been persistent in advocating the path of dialogue and mutual respect according to the principle: love one’s own and respect others”, Cardinal Puljić stated, and underlined that he “is grateful that you have recognized this and encouraged me with this recognition”. In essence, you have encouraged all those who cooperated with me on these same positions and commitments, and for this I thank you sincerely!”, Archbishop of Vrhbosna Cardinal Vinko Puljić said in concluding his address.

Attending the ceremony in the Office of the President of the Republic with Cardinal Puljić were the Secretary General of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference Krunoslav Novak, PhD, the Personal Secretary to the Cardinal Rev. Domagoj Matijević and friends of the Cardinal.

Alongside President Milanović were the Head of the Cabinet of the President Bartol Šimunić, the Adviser to the President for Education Jadranka Žarković, and the Adviser to the President for Foreign and European Policy Neven Pelicarić.

PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Ana Marija Katić