Celebration of the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord in Visoki Dečani Monastery
The Ascension day was celebrated today at Visoki Dečani Monastery with a Holy Liturgy served by Bishop Atanasije, the administrator of the Diocese of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, with the concelebration of Vicar Bishop Teodosije and seven priests and priest-monks. Some 200 faithful from different parts of Kosovo and Metohija and central Serbia took eucharistic part in the Holy Liturgy. Also at the celebration were monks from the monasteries of Sopoćani and Tvrdoš, and the sisters from Končul Monastery with Abbess Minodora, as well as sisters from Gračanica Monastery. Meanwhile, another 300 pilgrims arrived from various parts of Kosovo and Metohija. Bishop Atanasije delivered a homily about the significance of the feast of the Ascension of Christ in the order of the salvation of humanity and all creation.
In his homily the Bishop said that today's feast is the pinnacle of God's providence and the order of God's love and philanthropy, the feast of the Ascension of Christ the God-Man in body to heaven and His seating at the right hand of God the Father. This holiday reveals and manifests and demonstrates all and why God created the world and worlds, why and for what He created humanity. The Lord ascended in body and demonstrated that He created not only the soul but also the body for eternal life and eternal glory for sitting on the right hand of God the Father. We have heard, said the Bishop, how the Lord dramatically showed the apostles that He was the one whose feet and hands and ribs were pierced and nailed. Great is the glory of the body of human flesh, great is the glory of all created by God. Religions usually emphasize the soul, Christians sometimes forget that the Gospel also says that the Lord became flesh, and He was soul, too. The theanthropic fullness of Orthodoxy can be seen in the fact that God the Logos became flesh and remained God for all eternity in order to make psychophysical man an eternal being.
God elevated man above the angels and archangels. Orthodoxy celebrates every creature of God, but most of all man as a living image of the God-Man Christ. This holiday celebrates the whole man, for God the Logos became flesh in order to make us a part of His body. And that is why Holy Liturgy is the pinnacle of our faith. We take communion with the Body and Blood of Christ. We unite with God in soul and body, we unite with the Holy Spirit. That is why the Lord sent the Spirit Comforter for it was necessary to fulfill the entire mystery of the love of the Holy Trinity towards us and for the Third Person of the Holy Trinity – the Holy Spirit – to also come and fill all and remain in the Church for the entire time to fill, to carry out, to perfect…
After the blessing of the slava bread and the formal procession, Bishop Teodosije, the hegumen of Dečani Monastery, and the brethren prepared for all in attendance a slava lunch, which included the singing of old Kosovo songs. Today's celebration was also attended by Dimitris Moschopoulos, the head of the Greek office and the European Union's special mediator for Serbian spiritual and cultural heritage, and his associates. Also in Dečani today was the mayor of Leposavić municipality, Branko Ninić, who hosted the celebration of St. Basil of Ostrog in Leposavić yesterday.
PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE FESTAL VIGIL IN VISOKI DEČANI MONASTERY, 12 May 2010