Bishop Atanasije serves Holy Liturgy in Goraždevac

The Administrator of the Diocese of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, Bishop Atanasije, served Holy Liturgy today in the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in the village of Goraždevac near Peć. Concelebrating with the Bishop were Vicar Bishop Teodosije and four priests. Taking part in the Holy Liturgy were about 150 faithful, especially children. A considerable number of the faithful took communion.

After the Liturgy, the Bishop gave out Easter eggs, talked to the people and children, and even played soccer with them. They also sang the old songs of Kosovo, and the residents of Goraždevac had prepared a lunch for the Bishops, clergy and faithful.

Tomorrow, on St. Thomas Sunday, Bishops Atanasije and Teodosije will serve Holy Liturgy in St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Prizren.

We are attaching a PHOTO GALLERY and excerpts from Bishop Atanasije's homily:

In conversation after Holy Liturgy, the Bishop informed the faithful that a fifth soup kitchen will soon open in Pomoravlje, and then a sixth in Vidanje, to help the socially most vulnerable families in Metohija, too. He told the residents of Goraždevac: "Try to live in harmony, because I heard that there is discord; that is human, but it must not last and there should be no malice." In the Our Father we say – Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Man encumbers himself with sin and becomes a debtor, but man was created by God to be free."

In addition to the church of the Nativity of the Theotokos, which was built in 1926, the village is home to one of the oldest wooden churches in Serbia, dedicated to the Holy prophet Jeremiah, which is located in the old cemetery. The church testifies to the centuries-old presence of the Serbian people in the region, although a large number of old church sites and cemeteries have been destroyed especially in recent decades and years.


In today's homily Bishop Atanasije spoke about the resurrection of Christ as "the essence, content and eternal meaning of the Christian faith because everything God created was subject to death and for all that Christ taught there was no proof that it was truly salvational; only with the Resurrection of Christ as the God-Man was the truth of the Gospel of Christ is demonstrated and proven. The Gospel is eternal Thought of God, the eternal decision of God, the eternal good will of God, the eternal love of God, to give all that He had created eternal life. That is how the human race began in paradise and the angels with it and all creation to participate in the joy of the divine life. But in creating man as a free being, God decided to test the freedom of man, to see if he really wants eternal life in cooperation with God or if he wants otherwise."

Further in his homily, the Bishop explained that the jealous devil tricked Adam and Eve, who ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God had forbidden "as a reminder to point out as orientation to the first man that only God can inherit eternal life. That is why God created him. Adam later repented but the consequences of apostasy from God remained, and that is why the Son of God voluntarily became man, truly a man, who died for us in order to heal our inner human nature, to enable us for eternal life, to make us immortal. He passed all of our paths and all of our conditions, Christ the God-Man, not only as God but as man, and by His Resurrection He showed that He is immortal and that man is immortal and that He gives the human race immortal life.

But our historical journey through this world and history still remains to reinforce it. To show by our faith that we really want to live with God in eternal life. He gave us to each another, and one next to each other to learn to live a life in common, to learn co-existence. Marriage was given for this purpose and the monastic community and parishes and villages and the wider community and this world, exists, so that we people can learn to live each other because eternal life will be in community with the Kingdom of God. If one does not accustom himself to this life, he cannot inherit eternal life, either. The fundamental lie of our civilization is that there is no eternal life, that all there is is here, and it all ends in our grabbing at watery mud that slips through fingers, and that we all end up in the grave. but here all the time and ends that catch the mud and sloppily through our hands and end all in the grave. Therefore, adjustment and adaptation and co-existence is eternal life. It is the basic thing that God wants from us humans because eternal life will be in community. If we do not get used to this, we will have hell in our soul (this one or that one bothers me, why is he taller, why does he have more, why am I neglected) and thus each carries in a hell in his soul if he has such passions. There will be no hell in the sense of a kingdom for Satan – the bandit, the kidnapper, the slanderer, the liar will not get any kingdom of his own. There will be none of that. But spiritual states of man will be what he himself prepares. God is not a tyrant to impose, nor an aggressor to take snatch away. Therefore, it is highly responsible to be a human. And that is why there is a Church in this world to teach us, to prepare us and to administer us. We are each of us a living, walking church and every one of us is responsible and called upon to incorporate himself in the Church in the community of the brothers of Christ and the children of God," said the Bishop.

Continuing his homily, Bishop Atanasije spoke about the importance of eucharistic life as the central event of the Church: "These days especially remind us of this, the great services, we sing joyfully – Christ is Risen – and we take communion. I have sent out a short letter where I quoted the Holy Fathers and the Holy Canons literally that on all seven days, including, of course, tomorrow on St. Thomas Sunday, they attend Churches and sing songs of thanksgiving to Christ for the Resurrection and take communion. Do not listen to those who lie like Bogomils when they say that if you have eaten meat in preceding days you cannot take communion. The fast is a different thing and we should fast during the time of fasting and take communion but the fast is not two hundred days nor half the days in a year, and most days are not fasting and one can take communion if he has no sin, hatred, envy, malice or wickedness. This is especially important. We have cases in this Diocese today, especially in the north, unfortunately, where people are acting maliciously, slandering, lying and falsely accusing, and speaking about fasting and confession. I do not know if this will not bring them even greater condemnation. You should take communion freely in these seven days. A long time ago, it was longer, during all 50 days there were services and communion but seven days remain. Children up to about ten should take communion freely throughout the year. This is eternal food that the Lord gives us as a pledge, as an appetizer so that we make take communion in eternity, i.e. take part in the eternal table of the Lord. God wanted to give his Son as food and drink, and He clothed Him in our flesh and blood that He might be accessible to us and again during Liturgy in the form of bread and wine that we might take communion in Him. In bread consecrated and blessed by the Holy Spirit transformed into the mysterious body of Christ is the body of Christ and in Him we have the pledge of Resurrection as said by the Holy Fathers…

By the Resurrection we have become immortal but God has left physical death even after Resurrection so that we might cleanse ourselves of sin, of that which defiles us, that which makes us unworthy of the Kingdom. That is why the Lord sometimes allows suffering, not because He is a sadist but become man sometimes needs to suffer and endure so that later he might become more noble and more compassionate and cleaner and that he might be more qualified for common life with other people, i.e. for the Kingdom of Heaven," said Bishop Atanasije in his homily today in Goraždevac.

Настављајући беседу Владика Атанасије је посебно говорио о значају евхаристијског живота као централгног догађаја Цркве: "Ови дани нас на то посебно подсећају, велике службе, певамо радосно – Христос Васкрсе – и причешћујемо се. Ја сам и упутио једну посланицу кратку где сам навео Свете Оце и Свете Каноне дословно да се свих седам дана и наравно сутра у Томину недељу похађају Цркве и певају песме из захвалности Христу за Васкрсење и да се причешћујете. Немојте слушати оне који као богумили лажу да ако се једе месо у току претхнодних дана да се не може причестити. Друго је пост и треба постити у време поста и причешћивати се, али пост није ни двеста дана ни пола дана у години, али већина дана нису посни и може се причешћивати ако човек нема неког греха, мржње, зависти, злобе, пакости. То је нарочито важно. Ми имамо данас случајеве у овој Епархији, нарочито на северу нажалост, да пакосте, клеветају, лажу да подмећу, а говоре о неком посту и исповести. Не знам ако им то није на већу осуду. Слободно се причешћујте ових седам дана. Некада је то било и дуже, свих 50 дана се служило и причешћивало али остало је седам дана. Децу до десетак година слободно причешћујте чешће у току године. То је вечна храна коју нам Господ даје као залог као предјело да би се у вечности причестили тј. учествовали у вечној трпези Господњој. Бог је хтео да да Сина свога за храну и пиће и обукао га је у наше тело и крв да би нама био доступан и опет је у Литургији дао под видом хлеба и вина да се Њиме причешћујемо. У хлебу освећеном и благословеном Духом Светим претвореном у тајанствено тело Христово је тело Христово и имамо у њему залог Васкрсења како су говорили Свети Оци….

Васкрсењем смо постали бесмртни али то што је Бог и након Васкрсења оставио телесну смрт то је због тога да се очистимо од греха, од оног што нас онечишћује, што нас чини недостојнима Царства. Зато Господ понекад допушта и страдање, не зато што је садиста, него зато што је човеку некада потребно да понешто одстрада и претрпи да би после био племенитији и да би био милостивији и чистији и да би био приспособљенији за суживот са другим људима тј. за Царство Небеско," рекао је Владика Атанасије у својој данашњој беседи у Гораждевцу.