Serbian Home Blessings

vodica (800x723)

Still blessing homes. Winding down now, actually. It’s a very nice time of year, despite the cold and all.  I think it’s all these home visits, coupled with the feast-filled month of January – from Christmas to New Year’s to Theophany, then it’s sv. Jovan my personal Slava, then St. Sava – that makes winter go by much quicker.  It’s interesting how on the year’s coldest days the church gives us feasts which bring us the most warmth.

One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people like to get their homes blessed. Not sure if this applies to Greek Orthodox parishes, or if Russians or Romanians can relate, but it seems to be the case for us Serbs. At least that’s been my experience. I visit the homes of people I see every Sunday in church as well as those I never see on Sundays.  Yet, they all seem to have this one thing in common – they all want the newly blessed Theophany waters sprinkled in the rooms of their homes.

Seems natural for us to want God’s blessings in our homes.  We’re proud of them. We put a lot of our time and money in fixing and decorating and adding on to them. A man’s home is his castle. It used to be that generations would live in the same house. Times have changed and so, in most cases, our children not only move out of the house but they tend to move to different cities. Families nowadays tend to stretch from Boston to LA. But your home is your home. That’s why it’s difficult to leave a house you’ve lived in for years and years. To come back home for the holidays and sleep in the same bedroom you slept in as a kid. There’s no need for walls to talk, we hear them just fine as it is. Our homes are where we live our lives and we want God to enter into our lives and bless them.

When Christ saw Zachaeus in last Sunday’s gospel He told him to get off that sycamore tree for He needed to go to his house, “I must stay at your house,” He said.  This was no casual invitation. Then again Zacchaeus wasn’t someone who just happened to meet Jesus on the streets of Jericho, “Oh, hey how’s it goin’?” Zacchaeus had a burning desire to see Christ. He overcame his obstacles, found a sycamore tree to climb and when Christ saw him up there He knew that that was the man He needed to visit. Let’s face it, chances are Zacchaeus had a nice house with more room than the next guy. A place where there was more room for Jesus to be able to speak to a larger group of people. And it’s no secret that Zacchaeus wasn’t all that honest in his business. After all, he confesses it before Jesus and everyone when he says, “and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount…” (Luke 19:8).

That’s what this whole season of fasting we are slowly approaching is about, not only the desire to seek out God in our lives but to make a promise to change. We’re all cheaters. If we sin, we have cheated God.  It’s during this time – and not only during Lent – that we are to not only desire God to come into our homes, but for us to go to His home.  The Hebrew word barak means “to bless” but it can also mean “to kneel”.  God blesses us and we, in turn, are to go and bless,  to kneel before Him.

“Bless the Lord, o my soul, and all that is within me…” Psalm 103.

“Next year in Kosovo”

H/T: MINA, Macedonian International News Agency (here)

Tom Hanks: Kosovo is Serbia, Serbs will go back one day

The famous Hollywood star, a double Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks unexpectedly sided with the Serbs and in the show cable station “E” he said that that Kosovo has always been Serbia and will be again one day!

Talking about the beginning of the recent shooting of a Hollywood spectacle about History of the State of Israel, produced by Steven Spielberg where he will play a major role. He compared golgotha and the Jews with suffering of Kosovo Serbs.

During the World War II and Holocaust, Jews suffered a lot, not to mention what had happened to them hundreds of years earlier. In spite of all, they never lost faith and returned back to their country. They have an entire millennium where they greeted each other saying (see you) “Next year in Jerusalem.” Similar case we have today in Kosovo. It was inhabited by Serbs, who built monasteries and had their own kings and then they were expelled by Albanians. At the end of the 20th century there were NATO bombs falling on Serbs, but they still do not want to admit that Kosovo is an independent state and proudly say that “Kosovo is Serbia”, like the Jews who once eventually returned to their country, so maybe that is the case with the Serbs, said Hanks.

Tom Hanks is known in Hollywood for his interest in historical themes, so he had worked together with Spielberg in the historical documentary film about World War II and is considered one of the best ever educated Hollywood actors.

Fun facts about Serbs

Did you know

(borrowed from an online forum) –
1. During the 3rd and 4th century 18 Roman emperors were born on the territory of modern day Serbia. That’s a fifth of all the rulers of the Roman empire.
2. The patriarch of Constantinople was once a Serb. He was appointed by Mehmed II upon the request of his mother Mara Brankovic.
3. Vampire is the only Serbian word which was accepted worldwide.
4. Serbs lived in the land of the pharaohs.
5. The Serbian clock making industry is older than the Swiss. Serbs had their own clock 600 years earlier.
6.  Sava Vladislavljevic, a Serb, was considered to be the most notable figure of the Russia of his time. He made the border between Russia and China.
7. The most famous female Saint in the Balkans was Serbian. St. Petka.
8. One of the four official languages in the Ottoman empire was Serbian.
9. Only Serbia and Belgium took part in forming the new Europe, apart from the great powers.
10.  In Serbia there is a religious building that was turned into a mosque 10 times. (The old cathedral church in downtown Cacak.)
11. The first satellite video transmission between Europe and North America in 1963 was a picture of the Serbian fresco of the White Angel from Monastery Milesevo.
12. Statistically, Serbs are the most hospitable people in the world.