Church of Serbia – 25/7/17
His Grace Bishop Atanasije (Rakita), elected Bishop of Mileshevo, was born on 7 November 1957 in Janje near Sipovo.
His got the baptismal name Svetko. After finishing primary school in Babici, he absolved the Orthodox Theological Seminary at Krka monastery. He was tonsured in the same monastery as a graduate of the Seminary on 7 May 1977; ordained a deacon on 9 May and as presbyter on 18 December of the same year. He visited father Justin Popovic at Celije Monastery on 1 January r1978 and on 2 January he left for America, where he finished two intensive English language courses at the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh. In September of the same year he enrolled the Saint Vladimir Orthodox Theological Academy in New York. His Professors were Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff, world-famous theologians. In September 1981 he began with a teacher’s career at the Krka Monastery Seminary. Two years later, in 1983, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church transferred him to the St. Cyrill and Methodius Seminary in Prizren, where he was teaching eleven years, until 1994. There he got better acquainted with the then Bishop Pavle of Raska-Prizren, later Serbian Patriarch.
Upon the invitation of Patriarch Pavle, he moved Autumn of 1994 to Belgrade in where he worked as assistant to Bishop Atanasije (Jevtic) at the Patrology Chair of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Belgrade. He also was lecturer at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Foca, Republic of Srpska, where he gave lectures in History of Religion, at the same acting as editor-in-chief of the “Orthodoxy”, newspaper of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In 1999 he was elected and consecrated as Vicar Bishop of Hvosno. As a Vicar Bishop of Patriarch Pavle he was editor-in-chief of the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church – “Pravoslavlje Press” and contributed a lot as chairman of the Committee for Religious Education of the Archbishopric of Belgrade-Karlovac, also taking care of relations of the Church with educational institutions of the Armed Forces of Serbia – the Military Academy and the Military High School. He launched and edited the magazine “Orthodox Catechet”.
In May 2013 he was elected as Diocesan Bishop of Bihac-Petrovac. The Holy Synod of Bishops entrusted him representation of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In May 2017 at the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops he was elected as Bishop of the vacant Diocese of Milesheva. Bishop Atanasije will be the fourth Bishop of Milesheva since its founding in 1992.
Bishop Atanasije has written several scientific and popular Christian books ,and published a great number of studies and articles.
Diocese of Milesheva (translated by the Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church).