(Video) Pan-Orthodox concelebration, fraternal love and Archimandrite’s dignity at the Liturgical celebration of St. Parthenius

The Divine Liturgy is the culmination of love, faith, joy, mercy, grace… Yesterday’s festive archipastoral Liturgy, headed by the highly esteemed shepherd of the holy Debar-Kichevo diocese, His Eminence the Metropolitan Timothy, in fraternal concelebration with our dear, beloved, and years-long friend in Christ, His Grace Bishop Nikiphoros of Amorion and Abbot of the Vlatadon Monastery, along with our beloved Elder, Bishop Parthenius of Antania, was much more than that. It was the culumination of unity in Christ, fraternal love in the most beautiful sense of the word, and a communal celebration of God’s Last Supper. Indeed, prayerfully united with the holy hierarchs, the archimandrites Father Kalinikos from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Father Matthew from the Church of Greece, the diocesan secretary Father Nicholas Hristoski, the archimandrites from Bigorski, Dositeos, Makarius, and Cyril, the Archpriest-Stavrophor Fr Zlatko Purevski from Radovish, the Archpriest-Stavrophor Fr Ljupco Simidzioski, then Fr Pavel Krcoski from Ohrid and Fr Mile Angelkovski from Debar, as well as protodeacon Nicholas Gjurgjinoski, the Athonite deacon Chrizostomos, the hierodeacon Parthenius from Tanzania, and the Bigorski hierodeacons also patricipated. The Divine Eucharist was preceded by yet another beautiful gift for those present – the angelic harmony of the two choirs, the Athonite and the Bigorski, caressing our souls during the festive morning service, glorifying, through inspiredly composed stichera, the great Lampascus Saint, whose name, with imitation and humility, is borne by the Bigorski Elder and bishop. Truly a rich spiritual feast for the numerous lovers of Christ and pilgrims of the feat and holiness of the miracle-worker Parthenius, enriched with his grace-filled presence, tangible in the joy enveloping the hearts. Our gentle Christ also rejoiced, seeing how His children from various places in the world, in one spirit, with heartfelt prayer, brotherly celebrating the Liturgical mystery, testify to His Commandment to be one.

Thus united, all shared the same joy at the moment when the officiating clergy of the diocese hierarch, Metropolitan Timothy, presented our beloved and dear hieromonk Makarij, so that by the request of our Elder, Bishop Partenius, he could be rightfully awarded and adorned with the rank of Archimandrite, as a sign of gratitude for his long service before God with true monastic endeavor and obedience. The thunderous “Axios!” (He is worthy!) echoed from all mouths, once again confirming the unanimity, the beating of all hearts in one joyful rhythm of praise. Amidst that universal joy, the humble appearance of the one receiving the archimandrite’s cross further ignited hearts for fervent prayers directed towards heaven, beseeching strength for his cross-bearing.

The liturgical solemn spiritual feast culminated with the sweetest spiritual bread and drink, that is the partaking in the Holy Mysteries of Christ. But before that the beloved Metropolitan pastorally prepared all present to worthily receive that gift, with his wisely preached sermon:

Finally, our beloved Elder, whose generous heart could not but seize even this day to bestow love, delighted Metropolitan Timothy with a beautifully crafted copy of the once Bigorski monastery’s pearl-adorned darophylakion, to adorn the throne of Ohrid’s Saint Sophia, as a token of appreciation for his efforts in the revival of this ancient sanctuary. And our dear guest and great friend of Bigorski, Bishop Nikiphoros of Amorion, was gifted with a bishop’s panagia in memory of the years-long friendship and mutual love for Christ’s Church, and to the Athonite Archimandrite Father Matthew, who also remained close to the Bigorski Monastery through all joys and sorrows, through all trials and glories, the Elder presented an epitrachelion and zone, handcrafted by the sisters in Rajcica. As for the new Archimandrite Makarius, on behalf of the entire Bigorski brotherhood, the Elder placed upon his chest a specially crafted cross, as a reminder that the archimandrite’s rank is not just an honor but a greater cross. To him, the monastic father of his spiritual son, inscribed the following dedication: “To my faithful and obedient son in monasticism Archimandrite Makarius, with love in Christ, Bishop Parthenius.”

Many years to come, our father in Christ, Holy Bishop of Antania, Elder Partenius!