Today the newly-elected Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren was formally enthroned. The Divine Liturgy was served by His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch the newly-reconstructed St George’s Cathedral church with the concelebration of 14 bishops of the SOC and more that 70 priests from many dioceses. Many Bishops of the SOC and other local Churches sent their postcards regarding this act which represents for sure one of the most important events in the new history of Kosovo and Metohija.
Among priests there were representatives of Greek Orthodox Church with monks from Mount Athos as well as the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church. A great number of monks from many monasteries of the SOC also participated in this solemn act along with more that 1500 believers mostly from Kosovo and Metohija who had come to welcome their new Bishop. The Divine Liturgy was chanted by the church choir from Nis together with the choir of theologians of the Prizren Seminary Saints Cyril and Methodius temporary transferred to Nis.
Addressing Bishop Teodosije and congregation, the Patriarch reminded of the suffering experienced by Prizren, the SOC and Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.
“This is a great day, the day of the enthronement of a bishop who should help the SOC pursue its history and life in Kosovo and Metohija, and instill history with a new hope, a new grace” Patriarch Irinej said.
He pointed out that the Church has chosen a man in whom it has complete confidence, hope and whom it believes will be able to live up to the tasks of the difficult and dreadful time we and the Kosovo Serbs live in.
In his speech, Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren, who had previously served as the head of the Visoki Decani Monastery, noted that the 19 years he has spent in Kosovo have been his best school of life.
Among officials who attended the enthronement ceremony and the reception in the new building of the Diocese in Prizren there were vice president of the Serbian government and Minister of Interior Ivica Dacic, Minister for Kosovo and Metohija Goran Bogdanovic, Minister of Faith Bogoljub Sijakovic, as well as an envoy of the President of Serbia Mladjan Djordjevic. There were also representatives of Kosovo Serbs politicians from all parts of the Province.
The ceremony was also attended by international representatives of KFOR, UNMIK, EULEX and European offices in Pristina, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe. There were also present Roman Catholic Bishop of Kosovo Dodë Gjergji with few his associates as well as representatives of the Muslim community in Kosovo and the Evangelist Church.
Today ceremony in Prizren began at 8.30 with a solemn entrance of Bishops led by His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch in the crowded Cathedral church of St. George the Great Martyr. After the Divine Liturgy and solemn enthronement of the new Bishop of Raska-Prizren Patriarch Irinej and Metropolitan Amfilohije was greeting once again the faithful people from the balcony of the new Diocesan court, while the new-enthroned Bishop Teodosije was giving his blessing of icons of St. George to the believers in the church, and Bishop Atanasije was handing out sweets to children in the courtyard of the Diocesan court. Afterwards in the Diocesan court a coctail was prepared for all Bishops and all guests. Today’s ceremony was peacefully and with dignity. The security was provided by the German KFOR, the EULEX police and the KPD.
Today’s ethronement ceremony of Bishop Teodosije marked at the same time a return of the seat of Diocese of Raska-Prizren to the city of Prizren after 11 years. The Cathedral church of St. George and the Diocesan court were burnt in March pogrom in 2004. Thanks to the process of reconstruction which has been done by the Council of Europe, Bishop Teodosije, appointed by the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the SOC, to be responsible for the process of reconstruction managed along with the Commission for reconstruction to restore fully the complex of the Diocesan court with the Cathedral church and the Parish home in which these days parish priest Slobodan Djoric (22) has moved with his family. The return of the seat of the Diocese in Prizren and placing parish priest here should encourage fled Serbs from Prizren to come back and the significance of south part of Kosovo and Metohija, which has been neglected for several years.
After the end of the program in Prizren, Bishops, priests and one part of the believers went to the monastery of Visoki Dechani where Bishop Teodosije with the monastery brotherhood prepared a solemn lunch.
Bishops who took part in this solemn act of the enthronement of Bishop TEODOSIJE of Raska-Prizren:
His Holiness IRINEJ, Serbian Patriarch, Metropolitan AMFILOHIJE of Montenegro and the Littoral, Bishop LAVRENTIJE of Sabac, Bishop IRINEJ of Backa, Bishop HRIZOSTOM of Bihac-Petrovac, Bishop JUSTIN of Timok, Bishop PAHOMIJE of Vranje, Bishop JOVAN of Sumadija, Bishop JOANIKIJE of Budimlje-Niksic, Bishop GRIGORIJE of Zahumlje-Herzegovina, Bishop MAKSIM of Western America, retired Bishop ATANASIJE of Zahumlje-Herzegovina, Vicar Bishop PORFIRIJE of Jegar, Bishop MARKO of Bregalnica (Archbishopric of Ohrid).