Ilija Iko Karov on “1000 Years – A Witness of the Light”

Director: Ilija Iko Karov

Address by the author and director of the documentary film “1000 Years – A Witness of the Light,” Mr. Ilija Iko Karov, at the promotion in the Macedonian National Theater, on April 15, 2022

Honorable President, Mr. Pendarovski,
Your Beatitude, Mr. Stefan,
Your Eminences,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear viewers in front of the small screens,

Firstly, allow me to thank you for your esteemed presence on this, for us, solemn evening – the premiere night of the documentary film for the millennium “Witness of the Light.”

Silence is the language through which man communicates with Eternity…

In silence, monks most loudly communicate with God…

If you ever have the chance in life, if you are blessed to spend some time with the Bigorski monks, try to understand at least a “few words” of their language. Because he who has managed to understand even one of “their words” has managed to interpret a small part of his own Universe.

See, such grand things their silence preaches.

To be a monk means to speak the language of silence well…

It wasn’t easy to understand, even a tiny part of that prayerful poetry, so rich with emotions, yet articulated without words, uttered deeply within oneself with the silent voice of the heart, and directed straight to the celestial expanse.

With the most penetrating, ascetic, grateful voice of the heart, which resounds loudest in the ears of God.

Speaking this language is hard, it requires great sacrifice. And from this temporal instance, who knows if I dare say that even a small part I began to understand, in order to comprehend what is a Monk, what is Orthodoxy?

For monks to understand you is nothing new, if I say that it is a usual practice I would not be mistaken. Because monks are filled with compassion, empathy, understanding, and of course, above all, love for every human being – whatever it may be.

They draw this love, through their Elder, directly from the source of the deepest meaning of Life – from God. And whoever once drank from the life-giving source of Saint John in the Bigorski monastery, understands well what I am talking about.

In Bigorski, there is one “so great” black-robed monk who, when crossing the threshold of the church, doesn’t need to bow under the not-so-high arch of the entrance door. And that same one will in a moment be on the chanter’s stand on the right, briefly will turn the page, and then it will be his turn…

And at that moment when he crosses himself and utters the words: “Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit!” in an indescribable way, you start to diminish before the blessing poured out through his words…

For a moment, you become smaller than a grain of poppy…

And then you realize why at the door where all of us must bow, only he dares to pass upright.

Because at the door from where we exit, from there he comes…

Filled with that spiritual silence, which loudly echoes from the hearts of his thousands of spiritual children, is precisely the great Bigorski Elder, Father Partenij.

I hope we managed to capture small parts of his life and immortalize them on film, thus capturing at least a tiny piece of his great work.

In the end, I will repeat myself: to approach this film as a director meant to stand at the helm of a time machine, which does not travel either backward or forward in time, but upwards out of time, towards eternity.

I thank you, on behalf of the entire team, especially to the people of Bigorski, for the support and love in the realization of this film. Deep bow for the cooperation despite knowing how much you dislike being filmed.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Sisters and Brothers!

I deeply bow before the entire team. Branko, Žoga, Goran, Gotra, Grnčarot, Kibo, Braco, Simon… this film could not have happened without you.

Thank you to everyone present here tonight.

Have a pleasant evening, I hope you will enjoy the documentary film: “1000 Years – A Witness of the Light.”