Holy Slavic-Macedonian Bigorski Monastery! You, which have always hoped for the mercy of The Forerunner, have grown a wonderful tree of spiritual Elders on the bank of the river that flows into eternal life and have turned into a city descending from heaven, where God dwells together with the people, wiping out every tear from their eyes! Let us, therefore, rejoice my dear brothers and sisters and honour Christ – our King and God, and celebrate The Most Holy Empress Theotokos, because we have been given a harbor of salvation and holy teachers – The Most Reverend Fathers. Even the air itself around you, sanctuary of ours, is filled with holiness and healing springs flow from the miraculous icon of The Lord’s Baptist and his holy relics, from the Cross, the relics of St Jacob the Brother of the Lord, of St, Stephen, St. Charalampos, St. Nicolas, St. Seraphim and many other Saints.
The atheistic communist darkness only for a short while managed to interrupt the liturgical life, but by the prayers of the glorious Fathers of Bigorski: John of Debar, St. Prohor of Ohrid, The Most Reverend Metrophanes and Arsenius, Anatolius and Parthenius and all the others, God resurrected again the home of The Forerunner, gathering in its walls a new monastic family. And the axis around which the life of monks gravitates is the incessant daily prayer at the Divine services and during the monastery chores. The prayerful messages addressed to God: “For heavenly peace and salvation of our souls”, “for peace in the entire world”, “for those who sail, travel, those who are ill, or suffering, those in prison, those who hate or love us”, for the souls of the deceased to rest in peace” and “for the entire Christ-loving nation of ours” – are by far the most precious gift of our monastery for the society.
Still no less important is his role in the mission of spiritual enlightenment of this nation. Because owing to the hospitality, sacrifice, understanding and love of monks, the Bigorski Monastery became a spiritual home for many God-loving souls, a forever green oasis in the spiritual desert of this sinful world. Here, in this spiritual oasis, according to the Holy Church Tradition, Mysteries are carried out, and for those hungry for God, the monks have prepared a rich spiritual meal: chanting and prayers, spiritual conversation and confession, the Holy Communion…
The daily and nightly celebration of God is restored and the Divine blessing flows abundantly and mercifully, turning this sanctuary and ancient beacon of our nation into a real spiritual school which yields evangelical fruit, not a man-pleasing wisdom. The Divine grace as if revives and makes even more profound the traces of the previous literary-educational activity, the former revivalistic monastery-cell school, the woodcarving school of Debar and many other evangelistic-missionary activities, the fruit of which is deeply imprinted on each bigor stone and fill the heart of today’s visitor.
That’s why today, when it comes to the Bigorski Synodia, it’s impossible not to mention the word “rebirth”. Whether one talks about the glorious past of the monastery, or discusses its present deeds, or even prophesying its future – this word is present in everything and everywhere, secretly and publicly… It is a symbol, a sign that indicates the direction of contemporary time, it most precisely determines the essence of our aspirations, in which the temporary and the eternal flow together, in which the human plans and the Divine will unite.
The centuries-old tradition of Bigorski continues through the mission of spiritual rebirth and support of the Orthodox Macedonian nation, striving in this time of ours before the eyes of the world to incarnate the two greatest Commandments in the human heart: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul… and Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Mathew 22, 37-39). Beside the mission of educating people in the basis of Christian truth, there are also certain tutorials on religious topics being organized in the field of educational activity, while as the talented students are given the opportunity to develop their talent at the most prominent Seminaries of the Orthodox world etc.
The publishing of spiritual literature and translation of the works of the Holy Fathers have also been intensified. The first laymen Societies and organizations appear, dealing mostly with the evangelical knowledge of salvation. But one cannot neglect the need of charity towards the poor, widows and orphans, of giving comfort to those in trouble and the oppressed, nor the care for building new churches and restoration of the old ones!
“By the prayers of St. John, St Clement and St. Naum, may this Macedonian sanctuary shine forth with an all-encompassing light, not just on the outside, but also with the inner spiritual life, with the everyday Divine services, so that it could be the center of the spiritual rebirth of the Macedonian nation and the Macedonian Orthodox Church.”
(Excerpt from the sermon of Metropolitan Timothy of 6th August, 1995)
Great is the joy of the Divine Church upon seing that another sanctuary is brought to life, and testifies the presence of God, as the Ladder of Jacob, the Ladder between the heavenly and earthly world! It rejoices at its resurrection. Let’s show our gratitude towards the Lord and His Baptist for this unextinguished sanctuary of ours, for we have been given a New Testament vessel filled with the Divine manna, a lightened candle which burns and shines! Amen!