The beheading of St. John the Baptist
"As a lighthouse you have preceeded the true Light; as an angel you have been sent ahead, as a prophet you preached about the Lamb of God, Christ, Who came to the world, as a martyr your head has been cut off by a sword, announcing our Lord to those in the Hades."
How glorious these words sounded echoing in the festive night of the great protector of the Bigorsky sanctuary. The holy Bigorsky brotherhood rejoyced in exaltation, chanting to the one who has spiritually been protecting this monastery for already 10 centuries, the glorious Forerunner and Baptist of our Lord, St. John. Under his powerful protection, the new Bigorsky brotherhood growing on the roots of the rich monastic tradition, has been following his holy life for already 15 years and progressing well, giving birth to new branches of the monastic tree, new ascets, who with their prayers burn as torches in the eyes of God for the good of our people. In the spirit of our tradition, once again this year the Bigorsky fruitbearring tree enriched itself with another offspring, who sprang up as a result of the fatherly care and love of his elder, Archimandrite Parthenius, and now he bent down his head and was tonsured, yearning to live only for his Lord, to give in to Him completely, work only for Him, day and night, to strive towards Him, walking humbly down the road of perfection.
a wonderful sight for the huge multitude of present believers and guests was the
moment when the novice Spase Medarovski, dressed in a white long shirt and
embraced by his abbot, slowly progressed towards the altar, followed by tears of
joy and prayerful sighs. And what an exaltation when the new brother Siluan was
born! What a joy in the
he mentioned love as the greatest Christian virtue and light, which provides us
with the greatest joy in life and the best comfort in all everyday temptations
and sufferings, continuing thus: "The
But in spite of this tremendously important and useful activity, the monasteries have always been and will remain places of spiritual fits of monks who strive hard towards salvation. Tonight we witness such determination of a young God-loving soul, sriving towards Christ and His noble ideals."
Then Metropolitan Timothy conveyed several useful morals to the newly-tonsured brother Silouan: "Following Christ from the very youth, you would probably have temptations, but be sure that provided you have strong faith and constant hope in God, you would be able to surpass all the obsticles, if and only if you lay down your entire will to the Abbot and the brotherhood of this holy monastery. These vows you have given tonight of your own free will, promising to God and to the earthly and heavenly Church, you would be able to fulfill with the support and the prayers of the brotherhood and the sisterhood, as well as with the spiritual support of our noble and God-loving people. Preserve the flame burning in your heart for Christ and don’t ever let it be extinguished. Always add oil to your spiritual oil lamp, so that this flame would not only burn but blaze with light, so that you could easily and in a more dignified way renounce everything in this world and love only Christ Who is the "Alpha and Omega" of our life. Amin!"
The holy divine service and the ritual of monastic tonsure was attended by several representatives of the Government such as the Chief of the Cabinet of the prime – minister, Mr. Marthin Protuger, the parlament members Mr. Ilija Dimovski and Mr. Aleksandar Spasenoski and the minister of defence, Mr. Zoran Konjanoski.
The next day the monastery feast continued with the wonderful byzantine chants, glorifying the martyrdom of the holy Prophet. The joy was incresed by the arrival of His grace, the Archbishop Stephen, who headed the holy Archieric Divine Liturgy. And this Liturgy was the crown of Divine grace! The hearts of the numerous believers chanted joyfully inspired by the prayerful flame of the psalts and the dignity of the service itself. They combined their prayers toward the Forerunner with sincere suplications for the new brother. An after they received the Holy Communion, in a ceremonious lithany, everybody headed towards the phiale where the water was sanctified and the holy bread was broken.
And then, finally, the event that was imaptiently waited for, happened – the sanctification of the new Bigorsky bells, the first ever to be brought from orthodox Russia, for which most responsible are of course, the sponsors, mostly Mr. Andrei Kuku, the manager of the "Lukoil" company in Macedonia and the academic doctor Mr. Zan Mitrev. These bells, totally 13 of them, have been cast especially according to the basic scale of tones and are a work of the most famous Russian bell foundry: "Vera Anisimov" company from Voronesz. As a sign of gratitude of the brotherhood for the noble and God-pleasing act of mercy, Mr. Andrei Kuku was presented with a valuable painted icon of the Mother of God. And His grace, Archbishop Stephen, who performed the ceremony of santification, blessed the new Bigorsky bells with a simbolical ringing of the biggest bell, and conveyed his sincere wish these bells never stop to ring.
Inspired by this event, His grace, gave an appropriate festive sermon, in which he ephasised the great importance that the Bigorsky monastery has always had in the history of the Macedonian spiritual life:
"The Holy Gospel teaches us that before the comming of the Son of our Lord on Earth, a man was sent by the name of John. (Jn.1,6) According to the testemony of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself – no man born by a woman was greater than John (Lc.7, 28). Being born with a special announcement by God and by older parents, he remained an orphan at a very young age. He grew up far from the world in a desert away from people and the influence of everyday life.
althogh fisically weak from starvation and from the ascetic fits in the desert,
when we are given such chance to visit the royal palace, we do nothing but
admire and show gratitude for this opportunuty, but
It’s not worthy of you priests, who don’t keep the oath that you would serve the church, honestly and with dignity, who don’t fulfill your obligations responsibly, who foul the image of the Divine shepherd with your immoral life, who break the Cannons and rules, defile the holiness and would be reproched today for your life by the unsilent St. John...
It’s not worthy of you parents who don’t keep the sanctity of marriage, don’t preserve the authority of the family, don’t educate and care for your children...
It’s not worthy of you who have given in to alchoholism and other vices. Isn’t the example of Herod enough for you? What did he do because of alchohol and the other evil in himself? Even today we often listen and read in the media that a drunken father killed his son, etc… or someone overdosed himself and that was his last, or in order to get money he hurt his kins, stole from a bank, from his friends, relatives and even from a church.
It’s not worthy of you is ment for all those who practise corruption, steal from the national and government resourses, etc…
So, this it’s not worthy of you is addressed to all of us, who live more with the evil than with the good, who tolerate the sin within ourselves or others around us. But this great Prophet of the Church, this Evangelist of the Salvation, doesn’t leave us only with the reproach, but he also gives us a way out, the way of salvation, a moral when he says: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near…(Mt. 3,2)
The repentance and changing of mind is the way of reformation and imroving our behaviour, it is the way of love, faith, fit, and Divine fear. That this is so, is confirmed by St. John the Baptist himself, when he says for the Saviour: He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Mt.3,11). In this context, emphasising the gift of love towards everything and everybody, the gift springing out of repentance, the holy apostle Jacob advises us: …If one of us should go astray and the other brings him back to the path of truth, he should know that, he who converts a sinner from his sinful ways, saves a soul and thus would cover many sins. (Jc. 5, 19-20)
Therefore, let us renounce sin which leads us toward every deceit, malice, hipocricy and envy and every evil doing (1Pt.2,1), so that we could be true sons of our Lord and not to forget the words of the holy Forerunner and Baptist John, not to forget that these words are addressed to all of us, everywhere and forever!
Thinking about our behaviour in this way, about our words and deeds, we would actually show that we are considering the cry of John it’s not worthy of you, and that way beeing in control of oureselves, we would know how to treat the others as well. In that way we would only please our Lord with good deeds, moral behaviour and dignified life in Christ.
Dear beloved, beeing here today, at the Bigorsky monastery, I cannot but stress the remarcable role and place of this sanctuary in the spiritual revival and growth of our people. This monastery of ours has been and with the spiritual fit of this brotherhood remains a real harbour for repose from the spiritual burden, a real infermary for all the spiritual diseases and place for calming down and distancing from all temptations of this modern time.
Also I would like to share with you the feeling of delight by what we all see before our eyes, for it’s obvious that this monastery of ours is going throug a real spiritual and material renaissance. The history would definitely confirm that with the arrival of father Parthenios as an Abbot of this brotherhood, the Bigorsky monastery retrieved its past fame and glory. Today, this monastery it’s the gretaest spiritual and material construction ground and a place where the restored and the new buildings dazzle with their grandness. Let us wish, with the help of God and by the prayers of St. John, that all the planned constructions and reconstructions continue with the same intensity which made this monastery famous far away. We also believe that the new bells would spread even farther the cry of St. John for repentance and distancing from the unworthy behaviour, as well as the call of this sanctuary for people to come more often to this unique spiritual spring of Bigorsky.
For many years to come I wish you all good health and salvation."
The very same day, the bells were installed in the Bigorsky bell tower by Mr. Denis Latishev, who came for this purpose from Moldavia. He dignified the believers present in the monastery with the first festive bell ringing of the singing Bigorsky bells.
And certainly, great was the joy of the monks for the newly restored and sanctified kitchen where now they can prepare food for greater and greater number of guests and believers who visit the monastery for every feast and night vigils.
Inform the sisters from Rajcica Monastery