Rejoice ye, pastor of Ohrid, and most holy hermit of the Bigorski Monastery! Rejoice ye have founded it for eternity, most blessed John, appraisal of Debar!
(Megalynarion to St. John of Debar, Archbishop of Ohrid)
The prayerful rejoicing in the Bigorski Monastery in honour of the glorious Beheading of the Forerunner was completed this afternoon with the Divine vespers service dedicated to the founder of the Monastery, which according to the ecclesiastical tradition is served on the day of the Monastery feast. At the ceremonious Vespers, headed by His Eminence, our Elder and Abbot the Bishop of Antania Mr Parthenius, besides our great heavenly intercessor, St. John the Forerunner and Baptist, we also celebrated in our prayers the founding father of the Holy Bigorski Monastery, our protector among the Saints, John of Debar, Archbishop of Ohrid. St. John of Debar founded this renowned Monastery in the distant year 1020, in the exact place where, according to the tradition and the old monastic chronicles, as a hermit, he found the miraculous icon of St. John the Baptist.
Right after the Vespers, the Elder served a Panikhida in which with prayer and due gratitude we remembered not just the Archbishop John of Debar, but also all of our blessed and constantly mentioned founders: the Hieromonk Hilarion from the Debar village Elevci, who started with the revival of Bigorski in the XVIII century and bought the property in Rajchica; the Hieromonk Metrophanes from Lazaropole village, who built the present gorgeous church in 1800; the Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Arsenius of village Galicnik, who devoted himself to the mission of adorning the church with all the magnificent woodcarvings and ikons, in his time the world-famous iconostasis was made, the particle of the Holy Cross of Christ was brought, as well as the relics, and pleased in the wonderful wood – carved and painted reliquary, the exquisite Refectory and the monastic hospice “Upper Palace” was built and completed with the church dedicated to St. Georgios the Triumphant in the monastery in Rajchica… But besides all these renowned persons from the centuries-long history of the Bigorski monastery, we also prayed for all the other monks, Abbots, donors, and embellishers, who have indebted us with this great, above all spiritual treasure that we have today.
To them and to always remembered and blessedly reposed founders of the Bigorski Monastery eternal memory!