Christ is Risen!
Today is both the Leaving-taking of Pascha and the feastday of St. Vasilije of Ostrog. Pictured above is His Eminence Metropolitan Amphilohije at the relics of St. Vasilije serving the Akathist. He was joined this year by His Grace Bishop Longin of N. Gracanica and Midwest America (see photos here). It’s a big feastday in Montenegro (see earlier post here; last year I was in Belgrade for the feast). This year marks the 400th anniversary since the birth of St. Vasilije.
I found a snippet from a homily delivered by the metropolitan on this feastday in 2006 in which he laments in the words of the poet prince Njegos “Our own leaders, God’s curse be on their souls, carved the empire into little pieces….”. Thus, Montenegro is it’s own country. But the metropolitan asks, what are we to do with the relics of the holy Serbian Saints in Montenegro who speak of the unity of the both the Serbian lands and people:
We have gathered here to be with our Lord, to become one in heart and in soul with each other, for this Holy Shrine calls us to unity, said Metropolitan Amfilohije in his archpastoral homily. “Even today there are those who would like to alienate brothers, there are those who would like to separate us from the Holy Shrine, to steal this holy shrine from us, to divide this Holy Shrine but the Holy Shrine exists, not to divide us but to unite us. There are those who do not know what to do with this Holy reliquary, because Holy Father Vasilije was born in Herzegovina, the ancestral home of Saint Sava. Today those who want to divide brothers, to divide the state, want to snatch holy relics, too,” warned the Bishop.
He said that if Saint Vasilije were to behave “according to their lack of wisdom, then he would have to leave this Holy Place and to return to his mother in Herzegovina. If we divide the ancestral land of Saint Sava and his heirs then Saint Arsenije, too, would have to move out of Montenegro. There would be no room here for Saint Peter of Cetinje, either, who wanted to create a Slavic Serbian empire.”
Metropolitan Amfilohije asked what we could do today then with the dedication written by Lovcen, prophetically by Bishop Rade, recalling Njegos’ verses, “Our own leaders, God’s curse be on their souls / Carved the empire into little pieces / Sowed the bitter seed of disharmony / And thus poisoned the entire Serbian tribe.” “Today once again our new leaders are sowing bitter seed that they may poison brotherly love, that they may use it to divide brothers, [to divide] what God has united, [and] what the holy relics of our Holy Father Vasilije unite. Who dares to divide us, to separate us from the reliquary of St. Vasilije, the reliquary of St. Arsenije the Archbishop and Enlightener of the Serbs? Who dares to divide us gathered around the reliquary of St. Peter of Cetinje, the great unifier and peacemaker?”
Their presence among us is the best witness of the indestructible unity of this people and this state, said Bishop Amfilohije.