Bishops Maksim, Atansije and Teodosije serve Holy Liturgy in Sopoćani Monastery
His Grace Bishop Maksim of the Diocese of Western America today served Holy Liturgy in Sopoćani Monastery with the concelebration of Bishop Atanasije, Vicar Bishop Teodosije, the hegumen of Sopoćani Monastery, protosyncellos Teoctist, and seven priests of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren. Faithful from the Novi Pazar area also took part in the Holy Liturgy, especially many children who took communion. Before the start of Holy Liturgy Bishop Atanasije, the administrator of the Diocese of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, presented pectoral crosses to two protopresbyters, Father Miroslav Popadić and Father Tomislav Milenković, the bishop's administrator for the disctirct of Novi Payar, elevating them to the office of protopresbyter-stavrophor. Holy Liturgy was sung by the monks and novices of Sopoćani together with the faithful.
Bishop Atanasije addressed the faithful after the reading of the Holy Gospel with a homily on the Resurrection of Christ and the evangelical theme of the healing of the infirm as an image of the healing of human nature. He emphasized that the Lord did not come into the world to restore human nature to its original state, but to lead it into its pre-eternal designation which the Holy Trinity at the pre-eternal Council preordained for human nature. The Lord achieved this "healing of infirm human nature" through Himself as the God-Man. The pool of Bethesda thus became a symbol of baptism and the blessing of the water, as well as the spiritual healing of created nature. Further on in his homily, Bishop Atanasije spoke about the Pharisees who hypocritically condemned the "violation" of ritual law on Saturday. Pharisaism is unfortunately a characteristic of humanity and may God save us from that pharisaism, said the Bishop, because it means we hold onto something thinking that it is everything and that we lose everything thinking that it is not so important. Finally, the Bishop expressed his joy at the arrival of Bishop Maksim from the far away western United States, where there is a flourishing of the Orthodox faith.
At the end of the Holy Liturgy Bishop Maksim delivered a homily in which he spoke about the Resurrection of Christ and the Paschal period as an amazing time of salvation. He pointed out that we should always live in the joy of the Resurrection and open ourselves to the entire cosmos and eternity, and not withdraw into oneself. Brotherhood of the monastery and the faithful people of the Diocese of RP and Kim Bishop Maksim conveyed the brotherly greetings of the Orthodox faithful from the distant United States to the brotherhood of the monastery and the faithful of the Diocese of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija.
The hegumen of Sopoćani Monastery, Father Teokist, presented the Bishop of Western America with an engraved hand cross from his monastery's engraving studio as a memento of today's concelebration and his visit to Sopoćani.