Bigorski Awarded the Order of Merit for the State

The President of the state, Mr. Stevo Pendarovski, awarded the high state honor “Order of Merit for the State” to the Bigorski Monastery.

Today, in a particularly solemn and dignified atmosphere at the presidential residence on Vodno, marking the grand jubilee: “1000 Years of the Bigorski Monastery,” the President of the State, Mr. Stevo Pendarovski, awarded the high state honor “Order of Merit for the State” to the Bigorski Monastery. The order was presented to our abbot and bishop, Bishop Mr. Partenij, in the presence of: the Prime Minister of the Government Mr. Zoran Zaev, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia Mr. Mr. Stefan, the Metropolitan of Debar and Kichevo Mr. Timotej, the Metropolitan of Tetovo and Gostivar Mr. Josif, Bishop of Heraclea Mr. Kliment, ministers and representatives of the Government, heads of religious communities, professors, guests, and part of the brotherhood and sisterhood of our monasteries.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the opera singer Naum Naumovski first performed the National Anthem of Macedonia, followed by the reading of the initiative for the award, and then President Mr. Pendarovski delivered his address on the great and significant spiritual-historical work that the Bigorski Monastery has accomplished throughout its millennium. Among other things, he highlighted:

Mr. Stevo Pendarovski – President of Macedonia

“Bigorski is not only an Orthodox monastery and Christian sanctuary, it has always been renowned as a place where assistance, support, a human word, and consolation could be found by all, regardless of their religious, ethnic, or any other affiliation. The history of the monastery, and not least its current, vibrant spiritual and cultural mission and engagement, easily transcend state borders and unite people, which is surely the most noble possible cause in the world of which we are a part.”

Our abbot, Bishop Mr. Partenij, also delivered an inspired speech and message to the Macedonian public, firstly deeply and humbly thanking for this pious state initiative, then reflecting on the significance and role of the Orthodox Church in contemporary society and its challenges in addressing current temptations. As a clergyman who daily faces people’s problems and temptations, Bishop Partenij, among other things, emphasized:

Bishop Mr. Partenij, Abbot of the Holy Bigorski Monastery

“The Christian tradition, enlightenment, and life wisdom, preserved in the millennial heritage of Bigorski’s history, which at the same time coincide with the sacred Orthodox tradition of the Church from the East, are the only applicable and fruitful response to contemporary tendencies for dehumanization of man, expressed through the aggressive intrusion of modern technology, especially, on social networks into every aspect of daily life. Confronted with the soulless tyranny of so-called artificial intelligence, modern man increasingly loses his godlike image, becomes isolated, becoming a victim and part of the depersonalized and aimless crowd. This leads to the creation of a nihilistic anti-culture, filled with the spread of hatred, mockery of what is sacred, and relativization of true good. We are daily witnesses to the devaluation of values that are part of human nature, to various slanders, gossip, and fake news, which cause serious damage to the psycho-somatic system of humans, especially the young.”

Bishop Partenij also reflected on the contemporary problems within the Orthodox Church:

“Sometimes it seems that we forget the call that Christ made to His disciples: You are the light of the world… you are the salt of the Earth (Matthew 5:13-14). And if the salt loses its strength, then we cannot expect someone else or something else to season human souls with the grace of God, grace that enlightens, liberates, soothes, and heals the wounds in people’s souls. The disputes and battles for dominance in the Orthodox ecumene, in an attempt to bypass, and even demolish the already established canonical order and tradition regarding primacy in the Church, indicate that indeed the salt of love, which is the only building factor in the Church and in interpersonal relations, in general, has indeed become insipid. However, no force can overshadow the Divine light of God’s revelation in the Orthodox Church, and it always finds a way to break through the darkness and the melancholy of vain existence in this world. A clear indicator of this is the activity not only of the Bigorski Monastery, for whose glory we are now gathered, but also of the entire local Orthodox Church. In the context of this, I sincerely welcome the support of the state leadership for the final resolution of the open issue with the recognition of our holy Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric…”

In conclusion, he once again thanked President Pendarovski for the high award:

“Finally, as the abbot of the Holy Bigorski Monastery, I would like to once again thank President Mr. Stevo Pendarovski and his associates for the high state honor, which pays tribute to the countless Bigorski fathers, teachers, and actors, who throughout ten centuries have manifested Christ’s light, joy, enlightenment, and love, making Bigorski a beacon of celestial and earthly events, a precursor to our statehood, the heart of our spirituality.

Thank you for your attention! Many years!”

The solemn atmosphere in Villa “Vodno” was further enriched by the chanting of the monastic choir at the Bigorski Monastery, which concluded today’s award ceremony.

Awarding of the Order of Merit for the State by President Mr. Stevo Pendarovski (live broadcast)