Bishop Teodosije serves memorial service for victims of war in Prilužje on Remembrance Day
With the blessing of Bishop Atanasije, the administrator of the Diocese of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, the Bishop's deputy, Vicar Bishop Teodosije, visited the village of Prilužje in the municipality of Vučitrn today to attend the commemoration of Remembrance Day for Prilužje residents who perished during the last war. On this day each year a memorial service is served for six young men who perished as innocent victims in May 1999: Slobodan Bojković, Predrag Zdravković, Slavujko Miletić, Milovan Zdravković, Slaviša Zdravković and Miroslav Vojinović.
Upon arriving in Prilužje, Bishop Teodosije was ceremoniously greeted in the churchyard by parish priest Milomir Vlašković with many faithful and children in folk costumes. In a short address to the gathered people in the church, the Bishop conveyed the blessing of Bishop Atanasije, expressing joy that the village has so many children and and that the resident managed to survive with the firm determination to remain in their ancestral homes. After the memorial service, which was served in front of the monument to the killed youths, Bishop Teodosije delivered a homily in which he called on the faithful to remember in their prayers those who perished in the last war, the innocent victims – those, as it is written on the monument to the killed youths, "who gave their lives to give us life".
While there is sadness in our hearts for those we have lost, said the Bishop, we as Christians should look to the future as our ancestors always did, with faith and hope in the Resurrection and eternal life. Those who died sacrificing their lives for their loved ones have fulfilled the greatest commandment of love, for they died innocent defending their country, people and holy shrines. Therefore, there must be no room in our hearts for despair or hopelessness, but instead we should thank God who has blessed us to be people who despite all suffering persist in its path with Christian joy, faith and hope. If we do this, the Lord will give fortify us to remain a people of God, who place our faith in Him, and not in the power of this world, which is transient. He will then give us the strength to remain in this region, consecrated and bathed with the blood of our martyrs, such as our Kosovo new martyrs Hariton and Stefan, and with them all the others who gave their lives for their loved ones or who perished only because they were Orthodox Christians.
Later in his homily Bishop Teodosije said that Our Lord teaches us not only to love those closest to us and to always remember them, but also to love our enemies, that in our hearts there must not be bitterness and hatred and that we must be constantly be aware that judgment is in the hands of God. Therefore, God expects us to perform works of love, mercy, to forgive each other while living in harmony… There are many wonderful examples in our history where our people in suffering found the strength to forgive and to show love toward those who commit injustice against us. At the end of the homily, the Bishop once again called on the fatithful to always remember their loved ones in your prayers and mention them during Holy Liturgies for the Church is the community of the living and the deceased, because we all live in God who is the only source of true life. Our prayers and memory of our deceased are also the greatest consolation to our deceased, and thus we, too, are reminded that we should always live for each other, instead of being selfish and keeping to ourselves. Bishop Teodosije ended the homily with a prayer to the Lord that the souls of the killed youths and all innocent Orthodox Christians who perished in the last war maz be added to the holy martyrs, and deemed worthy of the eternal joys of heaven.
After the service, elementary school children from Prilužje recited poems and sang songs of Kosovo. The families of those killed approached the monument and placed flowers on it. The Remembrance Day Organization Committee then presented awards of thanks to the Association of War Invalids, the Municipal Committee of the Red Cross, the Municipal Assemblies of Vučitrn and Prilužje, TV Most, the publication Jedinstvo, the Syndicate of Obilić Surface Mines, the Cultural Arts Society Abrašević from Prilužje and all those who helped to commemorate this day this year and contributed with their efforts to the life of this village.
After the commemoration of Remembrance Day, Bishop Teodosije and all the priests present were received in the building of the Municipality of Vučitrn in Prilužje by Vučitrn Mayor Zoran Rakić.