Bishop Teodosije at the New Year Reception: To do all which is in our power that neighbor never turns against one’s own neighbor and brother
Bishop Teodosije of Raška and Prizren served today 14 January (1st January according to the Julian Calendar) the Holy Liturgy at the small church of St. George (14th century). Fr. Sava the Abbot of Dečani Monastery, Fr. Michael the Abbot of the Holy Archangels as well as priests and professors of the Prizren Serbian Orthodox Seminary concelebrated the Liturgy. At the end of the servece the Bishop read the prayer of blessing on the occasion of the beginning of the New Year.
At the traditional New Year reception which was organized in the Bishop’s residence next to St. George’s church in Prizren, Bishop Teodosije reminded his guests that regardless of different calendar traditions the celebration of Christmas and the New Year holidays presents us with an opportunity to strengthen our mutual respect and peace.
„We cannot glorify God if we don’t work on peace on earth and good will among peoples. That is the goal of all humankind, particularly here in Kosovo and Metohija where, 20 years after the armed conflict in which many innocent people suffered, which we remember and honor regardless of their ethnicity or religion, we must make efforts that a neighbour never turns against one’s own neighbor, and a brother against his brother“, said Archbishop Teodosije today in Prizren.
During his welcome note at the traditional Orthodox New Year’s reception in the Diocese’s seat, he emphasised the importance of respecting one another, various traditions in order for every one to live in peace and understanding.
„We cannot have outword peace unless we first have it in our hearts. This is the reason why there are so many misfortunes and wars and suffering in the world because instead of finding peace in our hearts, human beings see enemies in their neighbours“, said Teodosije. „Because wherever there is peace and love towards the neighbour we will make space for God to dwell among us,“ he added.
Beside the hosts from the Diocese of Raška and Prizren, the New Year reception was attended by representatives of the Muslim, Jewish and Protestant community in Kosovo, including the head imam of Prizren ef. Orhan Bislimaj and the president of the Jewish community Mr. Votem Demiri. There were also representatives of international diplomatic missions (Embassies and liaison offices), international organizations in Kosovo including KFOR, OSCE, EU Office, EULEX, UN representatives, the members of the Kosovo police unit for protection of holy sites, representatives of the civil society as well as Serb representatives who have particularly supported the work of our Church.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am taking this opportunity to express my distinct pleasure that we have gathered today at the seat of our Diocese of Raška and Prizren, one of the oldest institutions in this region, in order to celebrate the beginning of the New Year of the Lord 2020 (according to the Julian Calendar). Many of you celebrated these holidays two weeks ago and we celebrate them these days, everyone according to one’s own tradition. Respecting one another let us not forget that our God is teaching us to respect Him who has created us all to live in peace and understanding.
The angelic hymn “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Still resounds in hearts of us Christians who have recently celebrated the Nativity of Christ – Christmas. Indeed, we cannot glorify God if we don’t work on peace on earth and good will among peoples. That is the goal of all humankind, particularly here in Kosovo and Metohija where, 20 years after the armed conflict in which many innocent people suffered, which we remember and honor regardless of their ethnicity or religion, we must make efforts that neghbor never turns against one’s own neighbor, and brother against his brother. God gave us enough earth, sky, water and fields to live in peace respecting one another and thus showing respect to God, our common Creator.
In order to be able to live in peace we first must acquire that true peace in our hearts, the peace that comes only from God and his love and in this peace to be able to recognize all people around us as created by God to be our eternal brothers. That is why we cannot have outword peace unless we first have it in our hearts. This is the reason why there are so many misfortunes and wars and suffering in the world because instead of finding peace in our hearts, human beings see enemies in their neighbors, repeating the horrible crime of Cain against Abel.
That is why we pray for that true peace of God, to reign in us and the whole world and to witness it in every place and every occasion. Only then we would be able to say that we are true servatns of God, because wherever there is peace and love towards the neighbor we will make space for God to dwell among us.
At the beginning of the New Year 2020 we pray to God to grant us a year peaceful and blessed and that we resolve all disagreements through dialog and understanding of one another, not though conflicts; to do all which is in our power that the society in which we live here in Kosovo and Metohija would truly become home for all its residents regardless of our ethnicity or regligious tradition, so that everyone would be safe and could have better future, particularly the young people.
Happy and blessed New Year of the Lord. Peace and blessing be unto you from God.
Prizren 1/14 January 2020