Saint Lazarus Day in Gracanica: We will Persevere with the God’s Power and our Faith

Church of Serbia – 7/2/2020

Serbian Saint Lazarus Day was solemnly celebrated in the monastery of Gracanica with the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Atanasije of Zaholm-Herzegovina, with the concelebration of the clergy of the Diocese of Raska – Prizren.

Liturgical responses were sung by the church choir from Cacak, with the participation of several hundred faithful from all parts of central Serbia, Montenegro, Republika of Srpska and Northern Macedonia. Due to the specific conditions of the pandemic this year, the number of believers was much smaller than usual, but many who could not come participated in the all-Serbian celebration of Saint Lazarus Day, praying in their own churches around the world.

After the Holy Liturgy, the orders of Mother Jugovic were presented to the mothers with many children, and a special cultural and artistic program was held. For all the guests of the monastery, Mother Theodora and her sisterhood prepared a an agape in the monastery dining room,  with a wholehearted help of the abbess Stefanida and her sisterhood from the monastery of St. Nicholas in Brnjak.

His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren, with the concelebration of His Grace, retired Bishop Atanasije of Zaholme-Herzegovina Atanasije, the clergy and monks of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren, performed a memorial service.

„631st Saint Lazarus Day since the Battle of Kosovo. We stand on a terrible place in the world as well “, said the Bishop, comparing the covenant of Serbian Prince Lazarus and  Olt Testament prophet and leader of Jews, Moses, as well as the vows of Saint Nemanja and Saint Sava. “He sealed the covenant of Christ with us with his own blood,” he added talking about what the covenant of Lazarus represents. “If the Jews are called the Chosen people of the Old Testament,” the Bishop stated, “the Serbs are with other peoples who are in Christian faith – the New Testament people.” “Because of that, we bear the responsibility to observe the covenant of the Holy Prince Lazarus, who invested his life right here for Christ, for the faith, for the fatherland, for this our holy Kosovo and Metohija.”

“By staying in Kosovo and guarding the churches and monasteries, this very vow is confirmed, which is why, although in much smaller numbers, Serbs are grateful on Saint Lazarus Day for lasting long on Kosovo,” the Bishop explained, adding: “There are many who would like us not to be in this area, but we will not give up, we will not surrender and we will persevere, not so much due our strength and power, but with God’s power and our faith. There is a small flock here, but it is not insignificant before God. “