Holy Archangels' Monastery near Prizren, Serbia

"You showed me the church of Yours as the source of health", Dusan's gift charter. -Full reconstruction was interrupted... -In June 1999 a monk from the monastery, Fr. Chariton, was abducted. -Now - a spiritual center gathering the remaining Orthodox people from Prizren and around. The young monastic brotherhood is full of religious enthusiasm and remains confident that one day Holy Archangels will be completely reconstructed.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Germans and St. Bishop Nikolaj of Serbia – The Story After Canonization (part III)

PART I, PART II

However, the story continued in 2003. Church formally canonized St. Nikolaj. Monks from Holy Archangels’ Monastery attended the canonization. A penitent future archbishop of Ohrid, bishop Jovan, came from Nikolaj’s former eparchy Ohrid, where communist (and even churchmen and their followers) besmirched Nikolaj most. Now the door was open to pan-orthodox celebration of bishop Nikolaj. The monastery “Soko-grad” (Falcon-city), which was being build during that time, was dedicated to him. Above the monastery, at the top of the mountain, a 14 meters high cross shines. That cross was the present of a German family Wrobel as a symbol of German penitence, as well as a memory of innocent victims of NATO bombing.

And now we finally reach the outcome of this story. St. Nikolaj of Zica and Ohrid passed away on March 18, and his relics are ceremoniously moved to Serbia on May 3. These two dates church celebrates as a memory of him. The religious celebration in Orthodox Church begins with an evening service shortly before the saint’s day. Therefore, on March 17, 2004. on the eve of Nikolaj’s first religious celebration, a very specific “evening service” was held in his first church in the monastery near Prizren, in Kosovo&Metohija. Following the example of their Islam and Roman Catholic leaders, Albanian extremists set fire to all orthodox churches in Kosovo, as well as to Holy Archangels’ Monastery and St. Nikolaj’s church. The crowd of 500 aggressive Albanians reached the monastery’s gates, face to face with German soldiers and guards. One thing that nobody could have expected actually happened. German headquarters ordered that monks should be evacuated. Monks carried St. Nikolaj’s relics in their hands, but the icon which had looked at the painful spiritual wounds of the German “atheist” could not have been moved so quickly from the iconostasis. Monks were taken on the other side of the river to a nearby German barracks, and than a bloody feast ensued, the bloody feast which is almost impossible to describe in words.

Soldiers were not ordered to protect the monastery, but to leave it and to seek for the refuge on the nearby hill. Albanians broke into the monastery and set fire. First Nikolaj’s church was burnt down on his day. While angels in heaven celebrated the One chosen by God, people on Earth burned his icon with the fuel from German generator. Did they, by doing it, burned the eyes which saw God?

I do not know where this soldier is today. He is somewhere among you in great Germany. And not just he, but thousands of young soldiers and their officers who marched through the Holy Archangels’ and St. Nikolaj Monastery of Serbia near Prizren. I wonder if they remember the church which once was there, and how do they remember it? Do gentlemen Hintelman and Brinkman sleep tightly? The gentlemen, who were supposed to protect the Monastery during the fire. Are all those soldiers who were part of that army proud of the medals they have received for the “excellently accomplished mission”.

One part of the monastery was renovated after the March 17, 2004. On St. Elijah’s day, August 2, 2004. a German military dredge started the renovation. Serbian people renovated one part of the monastery with the help of German and Italian KFOR. But not St. Nikolaj’s church. Colonel Buehler, who was the leader of German KFOR during the renovation was happy to see the new dormitory with a small chapel “Lazarus’ resurrection”. Above the monastery you can still see German flag and religious services are taking place every day. The song “A gold-mouth preacher of resurrected Christ” can be heard every day.

(completed on May 9, 2006, on the occasion of the triumph over fascism, during the terror of Albanian mafia in Kosovo&Metohija, while on heaven rules our God Christ. Glory to Him in ages of ages. Amin).

translated by Masha Krsmanovic


svarhangeli@hotmail.com

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