Bishop Atanasije gives lecture on "Living Faith in the Living God" in the hall of the Rectorate in Kosovska Mitrovica
In the hall of the Rectorate building of the University of Priština temporarily displaced in Kosovska Mitrovica, His Grace Bishop Atanasije gave a one-hour lecture this afternoon on "Living Faith in the Living God". The lecture was organized on the initiative of the Rector of the University, Dr. Zdravko Vitošević, who welcomed Bishops Atanasije and Teodosije in front of the Rectorate, expressing his satisfaction that the University in Mitrovica could provide an opportunity for such an important lecture by Bishop Atanasije, a long-time professor of theology. The lecture was attended by the professors and students along with the Rector and the most prominent deans of the University. A cause for special joy was the arrival of the 90 year-old abbess of the monastery of the Peć Patriarchate, Mother Fevronija, who came together with the sisters from the Patriarchate and Sokolica Monastery. In addition to the clergy of the Mitrovica district, the lecture was also attended by the hegumen of Banjska Monastery, hieromonk Danilo, monks from Dečani, as well as representatives of the Russian office in Priština, including the head of mission, Mr. Andrei Shugorov.
Bishop Atanasije gave an inspired speech on a topic that includes the essence of Christian faith – the revelation of the Living God to man in the community, the Church and above all, the Holy Liturgy. Speaking about the meeting of man and God in the Old Testament the Bishop picturesquely explained how man has always longed to know God as a person (mentioning Jacob wrestling with God) and how God constantly guided man to a community personified in the people of God and openness towards others as the main prerequisite of a personal knowledge of God. Faith in the Living God is not a faith which springs from rules and laws; instead, the laws of God spring from God's love towards humanity and all of creation. Christian belief in God is therefore primarily a personal and a living faith in the Holy Trinity, which shows that man realizes himself as a full, free and loving person only in communion with God and his neighbors. However, ontology has no meaning without ethics as the mode of man's existence in the community, and that is why ontology and ethics in the living faith in God are mutually interconnected. There is no true love without freedom, but there is also no freedom or love without responsibility.
Bishop explained how God finally manifested Himself as a person in His Only Begotten Son, who became man so that we could become participants in Divine nature and thus introduced us to the eternal union of the Holy Trinity. In Christ we recognize God the Father ("No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known." Jhn 1:18 ). In Christ we also recognize the pre-eternal designation of humanity, originally created in the image of God, through whom God in Christ the God-man presented all of creation into eternal existence, institutionalized in a church community – the Church, the collective hypostasis, the person of Christ. Concluding the lecture, the Bishop emphasized that this eternal community in Christ in objectivized in a living manner during Liturgy, the icon of eternal existencexistence.
Након пAfter the lecture and a short conversation with the Rector and his closest associates, the Bishops were invited to the Technical Faculty to attend the opening of an exhibition of photographs from World War II taken by war photographers. This was a opportunity to emphasize the long tradition of Orthodox and brotherly relations between the Russian and the Serbian people, who are connected by their Orthodox faith and unbreakable cultural and civilizational ties.
Bishop Atanasije emphasized the great role of the University of Priština temporarily located in Kosovska Mitrovica as an institution that has one of the key roles in the education of young generations and the preservation of the identity of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.