Bishop Atanasije serves in Donja Budriga, visits villages of Kosovsko Pomoravlje

Bishop Atanasije today served Holy Liturgy in the village of Donja Budriga, not far from Parteš (municipality of Gnjilane) with the concelebration of some ten priests and two deacons. The church of St. Paraskeva, recently renovated, was full of people. Two hundred faithful took part in the Liturgy, most of them from Kosovsko Pomoravlje and many took communion, especially children. During the Little Entrance of the Holy Liturgy Bishop Atanasije gave retired protopresbyter Živojin Trajković the pectoral cross of a protopresbyter-stavrophor in recognition of his pastoral work in Kosovsko Pomoravlje. In addition, the Bishop awarded notes of thanks to people who are especially deserving for the renovation of St. Paraskeva. According to custom, the faithful of Budriga prepared a lunch after the Liturgy for all attendees; thus, the community realized during the Liturgy was transferred to the banquet table, where songs were also song for the people of Pomoravlje despite their suffering have preserved the spirit of Christian determination and optimism, which has sustained them for centuries in this region.

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Homily of Bishop Atanasije (in Serbian) 5 MB

After Donja Budriga, Bishop Atanasije headed in the direction of the Serbian village of Žegra from which Serbs were expelled in 1999 before the eyes of KFOR international forces. All the houses in the village were burned and destroyed and Serbs still cannot return due to danger from local Albanians. In the village are also the ruins of the church of St. Elijah, as well as a desecrated and destroyed Serbian cemetery. On the road to Žegra, one passes through the village of Vladovo where there are a large number of usurped Serbian properties. Serbs legally own about 63% of the land in the district of this village but Albanians have occupied it, and for the past 12 years Serbs have not been able to return nor use their properties.

At the end of today's visit to Kosovsko Pomoravlje, Bishop Atanasije visited the village of Pasjane and the church of the Holy Transfiguration in this village.

In his homily during today's Gospel in the church of St. Paraskeva in Donja Budriga, Bishop Atanasije spoke about the Holy Myrrh-Bearing Women, to whom the second Sunday after Easter is dedicated. He also explained to the faithful the significance of the Holy Eucharist, “which connects heaven and earth, and which is the pinnacle and expression of our faith. . . . Eternal life will be the table of the Kingdom of Heaven and the wedding of the Emperor's Son, where the Holy Spirit present the Bride – the Church, and the Church is all of us – the Faithful who believe in Christ.”

In the continuation of his homily, the Bishop spoke about the salvation of humankind and its archetypal significance: God created man using His Son as a model, He made him according to the image of the future Christ, of His Son who would become man, that is, the God-Man. He died for us to free us from sin, which is enslavement by the devil and alienation from God, and He brought us into a community – the Church, and the pinnacle of that community is joint Communion. The prerequisite for Communion is true faith (orthodoxy), which is demonstrated in true life (correct living), which is Christ’s Model, reconciliation with everyone… We should not remove the mote from the eye of our neighbors without seeing the log in our own eye. Bog is philanthropic and charitable, and we must open our heart to God because He will not force His way into it. The Lord says, “"If you love me, you will obey what I command,” and the commandments of God are the two constituent elements of our being, because man is made in the shape of the cross. These are the commandments of love for God and love for people.

After Holy Liturgy, the Bishop and many of the children knocked Easter eggs, and the children then sang Kosovo songs.