The newly appointed Administrator of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija His Grace Bishop Atanasije (Jevtic) served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy today on the feast of the Meeting of Our Lord in Gracanica Monastery with the concelebration of Vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan and the clergy, monks and nuns of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren. Liturgy was sung by the nuns of Gracanica together with Abbess Mother Efronija, and attended by some 200 faithful from Gracanica with their children, two of whom were baptized after Liturgy.
Gracanica nuns with children at the Liturgy
In his homily Bishop Atanasije informed the faithful that by the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church he had been appointed administrator of the Diocese. He explained that he had come to repair the situation in the Diocese where a group of monks led by Simeon Vilovski had sullied the reputation of the Bishop and the Diocese with their anti-canonical actions and financial frauds, as well as by creating discord and division within the Diocese as well as outside the borders of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren. The Holy Synod of Bishops, said Bishop Atanasije, was forced to take emergency measures to protect order and unity of the SOC, especially on the territory of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren. In the continuation of his homily, Bishop Atanasije spoke about the significance of the feast of the Meeting of Our Lord and preparations for the forthcoming Great Fast as a period of repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation and participation in the joy of the Resurrection of Christ the God-man.
After the Divine Liturgy, Bishops Atanasije and Teodosije invited the faithful, led by the head of the district of Pristina (of the Republic of Serbia) Mr. Goran Arsic, as well as clergy, monks and nuns to refresh themselves with food and drink and to talk in the monastery’s guest dining room.
Bishop Athanasius is already known to the faithful in Kosovo and Metohija. He personally spent the most difficult years of the war and post-war suffering in the region, helping first former Bishop (later Patriarch) Pavle and then Bishop Artemije, and visiting every part of the Province. There is hardly a village, monastery or cemetery that Bishop Atanasije has not visited, and he has especially close ties with the much suffering village of Cernica in the Gnjilansko Pomoravlje area. He personally took many photographs of destroyed churches that were later included in the book Crucified Kosovo. Bishop Atanasije is also the author of the book Od Kosova do Jadovna (From Kosovo to Jadovno) and a coauthor of the large momentous monograph The Holy Shrines of Kosovo and Metohija. He is one of the top experts on the situation in this region. Bishop Atanasije enjoys great respect among the clergy, the faithful and the monks and nuns on the territory of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren and his appointment as Administrator of the Diocese has resulted in open satisfaction on the part of many familiar with his tireless effort and love.