On the eve of the Sunday when the Church of God commemorates the memory of All Saints collectively, the Bigorski Monastery was adorned with the holy relics of another member from the sacred assembly of the Heavenly Church. Specifically, the illustrious choir of saints, who with unanimity and indescribable joy and praise continually delight in the Divine beauty of God’s face, today honored our brotherhood with the grace-filled visitation of the holy Martyr of Christ, Sabina the Roman. A fragment of her holy relics was gifted to our Monastery by the young devout Mr. Alexander Mladenovski from the Australian-Sydney diocese, originally from Bitola. This sacred relic, which Alexander had requested from a church in Australia where a part of Saint Sabina’s relics resides, was presented to our elder and abbot, Bishop Anthimos of Antania, in honor of his benevolent work and known veneration for saints. Along with the relics, Alexander also donated a beautiful reliquary to Bigorski Monastery. The sacred relic was welcomed with monastic hospitality and with the joyful ringing of bells.
In his address regarding the arrival of the relics, Alexander stated:
“Your Grace, our beloved Bishop and Abbot of this Holy Monastery, Father Partenij,
Dear fathers, Bigorski monastic brothers,
Dear brothers and sisters,
I greet you with our heartfelt greeting: Christ is among us! And indeed, today among you, I feel that grace, that Christ is among us. We have left a new mark in the deep history of this Holy Bigorski Monastery…
The currency in the Orthodox Church is love. Without love, we do not thrive. And today’s event is a gift from us from the Australian-Sydney diocese to the Bigorski Monastery, because we truly love you and pray for you. I want to thank the Bigorski brotherhood for your prayers, for your labor, and for your love towards us, the faithful people here and there, a bit further away, in Australia. That spiritual energy radiating from you is much needed, so I encourage you to continue with your efforts, for it means a lot to us.
I particularly want to thank our beloved Bishop, Father Partenij, for his 27 years of labor in this Monastery. I would not be overstepping to say that he has been, and still is, the greatest ambassador of our holy Macedonian Ohrid Archbishopric. It was very important for us to see that there is a living Church here, to witness the action of the Holy Spirit’s grace in our homeland. Though we are geographically far, in Christ, we are together, praying for one another. Through the prayers of the Holy Martyr Sabina the Roman, may we grow together in love for one another and journey together towards the Heavenly Kingdom. I am very happy to be among you. I see many familiar faces among you – you might not know me, but we follow you every day, and I am very joyful to now be personally with you. I ask you to continue praying for us, now having yet another advocate before the Lord’s throne. Amen.”
Saint Sabina was a widow of Senator Valentin and the daughter of Herod the Metalworker. After her slave, Saint Serapia, who had converted her mistress to the Christian faith, was condemned and executed, Saint Sabina ordered her remains to be brought to her, after which she placed them in the family mausoleum, where she herself intended to be buried. Soon, she was accused of accepting and preaching Christianity and was sentenced to death by the prefect Elpidius. She was crowned with the martyr’s wreath in the year 125 in the city of Vindena (in today’s Umbria, Italy).
Later, Martyr Sabina was counted among the saints, and in 430, her relics were transferred to the Aventine Hill in Rome, in the specially constructed basilica “Santa Sabina,” on the site of her house, believed to have been an early Christian church. The church was consecrated in honor of Saints Sabina and Serapia.
May their prayers be with us!
Our brotherhood, led by Elder Father Partenij, sincerely thanks the pious Mr. Alexander Mladenovski, for his love towards our monastery and the great gift he has left us in heritage. May it be for the remembrance and salvation of his Christ-loving soul!