Promotion of the documentary film about Bigorski Monastery in Rome

Last night, the screening of the documentary film “1000 Years – Witness of the Light”, dedicated to the millennium of the Bigorski Monastery and authored and directed by Ilija Iko Karov, was held at the solemn venue of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.

Initiated by the Ambassador of the Republic of North Macedonia to the Vatican, H.E. Maria Efremova, and under the auspices of the Director of the Commission for Relations with Religious Communities and Religious Groups, Darijan Sotirovski, the documentary about Bigorski Monastery was screened in front of a large number of ambassadors and other diplomats from several countries accredited to the Holy See. The aim of this screening was to introduce the diplomatic corps from several countries in the Vatican to the Macedonian cultural and spiritual wealth.

At the beginning of the event, the Ambassador of the Republic of North Macedonia to the Vatican, H.E. Maria Efremova, the Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute Father David Nazar, the Director of the Commission for Relations with Religious Communities and Religious Groups Darijan Sotirovski, the monk Cyril from Bigorski Monastery, and the director of the film Ilija Iko Karov all gave speeches.

The ceremony was opened by Her Excellency, the respected Ambassador Ms. Maria Efremova, who addressed the audience:

“Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed ambassadors and members of the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See, dear friends, good evening to all, and thank you for your presence. It is an honor and privilege for me and my colleagues tonight to present to you the documentary film about the Bigorski Monastery, “1000 Years – Witness to the Light” directed by Iko Karo, in this beautiful library of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.”.

“We have a rare opportunity today, which makes us happy and excited to present one of our most significant gems, the Macedonian Orthodox Monastery of St. John the Baptist – Bigorski, which is our valuable cultural and spiritual heritage, but also a modern reality that captivates with its spirit, a spirit that has kept the flame of dedication to the Church strong for a thousand years.

How many changes have occurred in the last 1000 years? How much could the end mean for our sanctuary? How fortunate is today’s generation, which, despite everything, is a contemporary of a thousand-year-old monastery that has lived through anything?” – emphasized in his speech, the director of the Commission for Relations with Religious Communities and Religious Groups of the Republic of North Macedonia, Darijan Sotirovski.

It is truly an honour and great privilege in this special and rare moment to be able to address such a ceremonious and esteemed auditorium as yourselves. This evening you have been given the noble task of infallible arbiter elegantiarum. I have to confide with you that this feeling of honour and overwhelming piety within me, increases even more with the realization that our dignified assembly takes place in the Eternal City, in Urbe Aeterna. The city of Rome has been a witness of numerous history-changing epic events, a homeland of many renowned historical celebrities, a city museum of a civilizational continuum which lasts ab Urbe condita, since 753 BC, until present day.

All this undoubtedly gives our event of this evening a powerful undertone of mystical grace. In the heart of this civilizational cradle, you are to be presented with a documentary about a similar, millennium-long, spiritual and cultural continuum. 1000 years – Witness of the Light. It seems that the title of this documentary itself is powerful enough to convey to you the serenity and the sacredness of the ten centuries-long layers filled with spirituality, beauty, enlightenment, sublimeness, and holiness.” began Hieromonk Kiril of the Bigorski Monastery in his speech.

“The sun wakes up every morning and rises in the East, then sleepily grows and rises to the highest point in the sky; at its zenith, where it shines most brightly for everyone. Then it calmly and slowly continues on its path, heading towards the embrace of the West, where it will peacefully sleep and set; it will rest until tomorrow. God so perfectly ordained the Light that it cannot be complete without both the East and the West…” The author and director of the film, Ilija Iko Karov, emphasized this in his speech, among other things, alluding to the life of St. Constantine – Cyril the Philosopher, and thus emphasizing the connection of the Macedonian land with the Eternal City.

The guests in attendance could not hide their great enthusiasm for the content and aesthetics of the film. They gave sincere recognition to director Ilija Iko Karov, first assistant director, and editor Branko Blazhevski, who was among the attendees, as well as the entire film crew who worked together with them on this project for five years, with thunderous applause.