Easter Concert in Kichevo

The life-giving rays of Christ’s victory over death once again illuminate the universe. The news that Christ is Risen today again warms and rejoices all people, and the Divine power that emanated from the empty Tomb in Jerusalem and proclaimed victory over life everywhere, like a beacon of light, captures the souls and kindles the spark of faith, hope, and love in everyone.

Amidst this Paschal celebration, to the great joy of the people of Kichevo, for the second consecutive year, the Easter Concert was held at the Kichevo Cultural Center, organized by the Association of Youth for the Protection of Folk and Spiritual Heritage “Metropolitan Kozma of Prečista.”

At the ceremony, alongside our beloved Elder, Bishop Antanisian Mr. Partenij, were present the Mayor of Kichevo, Mr. Fatmir Dehari, representatives of the Kichevo municipality, the Director of the Kichevo Cultural Center, Mr. Mazlam Osmani, a large number of cultural and educational workers, the clergy of the church of Saints Peter and Paul in Kichevo, as well as many monks, nuns, and a large number of Kichevo residents.

The joyous event was opened by the melodious singing of the members of the Metropolitan Kozma of Prečista choir, which was founded with the blessing of the much-respected Metropolitan, Mr. Timothy, and through the strong efforts of Bishop Partenij. These diligent young souls, who have participated in several cultural events across the country, have been very successful for several years in transmitting moral and ethical values, and the benefits of Christian civilization among all generations.

An integral part of their performances is also the group “Čalgii Merak,” consisting of Filip Mihajlovski, Oliver Nastovski, Toni Arslan, Tasos Joannu, now enriched by the great musical experience of Robert Angelovski and Dragan Teodosiev. In their performance of their works, they were once again led by maestro Petar Hristov, who is our faithful collaborator and friend.

A special joy was the emotional performance by the distinguished traditional singer, Evgenija Zdravevska, or Zarina Prvasevda, whose tender voice warmed the souls of all present. She sang about the joy that the people felt due to Christ’s Resurrection, conveying to us his age-old struggle for perseverance in goodness.

This Easter event was crowned with the gratitude that flowed from the hearts of the members of the Metropolitan Kozma of Prečista choir, who, addressing Bishop Partenij, among other things, said:

“Have peace among yourselves and in your hearts – Christ teaches us. So do you, our most beloved Elder, always teach us to have peace among us, to love one another, to grow and to spread the love of Christ which resurrects and transforms this world. We are witnesses that you constantly teach us to be good, to love everyone, even those who err and offend us, to strive to recognize and witness Christ, to live in harmony, and in this way to overcome all difficulties and the pressure of modern times. Simply, as the Apostle Paul taught the Christians of his time, so do you today: ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus!’ To unite with Christ and to live with Christ.”

The Elder, Bishop Mr. Partenij, in turn, addressed the attendees and, among other things, fatherly said:

“Behold, it is early morning, and why, Mary, do you stand at the tomb with many dark thoughts in your mind, asking where Jesus was laid?”

Thus, my dear ones, begins a wonderful church hymn sung at Holy Pascha, before the priest comes out of the altar with candles and graciously hands over to all the people the light from Christ’s Resurrection. It is the moment before singing the hymn “Come receive light from the Light that is never overtaken by night.” Listening to the beautiful and contemplative hymns, which were sung with so much love and dedication now before us by the melodious voices of these radiant members of the choir of Eastern Orthodox singing “Metropolitan Kozma of Prečista,” accompanied by the harmonious sounds of the ensemble “Čalgii Merak,” I was reminded of this mystical sticheron and thought about how all of us often in our lives resemble Mary Magdalene. We are perplexed by the mystery of Life, by the triumph over death, confused as were the apostles by the Resurrection of the Teacher. And they, says the Evangelist Mark, when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, believed not (Mark 16:11).

But the answer to their disbelief was in the empty tomb, which they themselves later saw. Soon, He Himself appeared to them, after having first naturally appeared to His Mother, the Most Holy Theotokos, who knew and awaited the Resurrection, to comfort and rejoice her, while the Gospel records that among other people the Myrrh-bearing Women were those who first saw the gloriously Resurrected. Thus, to all of you women present here, in this beautiful atmosphere, I wish you to be like the Myrrh-bearing Women and always to proclaim the joy of life in Christ. To the choir, however, I wish to grow more with men apostles, so next year it may be even more numerous.

On this occasion, I especially want to thank Mother Charitina, the abbess of the Monastery of Prečista, and her Christ-like sisterhood, for their obedience and for their deeds, love, and effort they put into our world and the great Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos. Because of their sacrifice, namely, we today have these beautiful spiritual fruits. Let us pray the Most Holy Theotokos to grant them gracious powers, to persevere in their endeavor and their sisterhood God to multiply with more sisters, and the faith in this city and in our entire homeland to further strengthen and grow. Be blessed! Christ is risen!”