Kosovo, April 23, 2019
Dozens of new liturgical books for the monastic brethren and dozens of new classical Russian books for the students who are studying Russian arrived from Kaliningrad on the eve of the visit of His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia to Draganac Monastery, the only surviving monastery in Kosovo Pomoravlje, from April 15 to 16.
Archimandrite Ilarion, the abbot of Draganac Monastery writes:
Christ is among us.
Books took off from Russia and landed in Kosovo and Metohije. Dostoyevsky and Lermontov, Pushkin and Tsvetaeva flew to us. The choir of saints in the pages of the menaion flew to us.
Joy has arrived—we feel it when we read the pages written by a Russian hand, when we pronounce the words that we heard not long ago in our fraternal Russia.
Joy translated into Serbian all the love from distant Russia and gave us to see that we are one body in Christ.
Slavic brothers are united by the one incarnate Word of God—in Him we understand and love one another.
We thank God that we have brothers in Christ, and that is you. If we do not see one another in this world, then may God grant that we meet in the eternal day of the Heavenly Kingdom.
The school also expressed its heartfelt gratitude.
Sergei Afanasiev, the organizer of the donation, said:
Our statements about brotherhood—blood and spiritual—with the Serbs must be confirmed by deeds. Beautiful words and declarations alone will not get you far—we must labor. I’m very glad that the idea of supporting our Serbian brothers found such a response from our parishioners. Perhaps the geopolitical situation of our regions and the self-perception of their residents is a bit similar: If the Kaliningrad region is an exclave of Russia, surrounded by not the friendliest of neighbors, then Kosovo and Metohija, I think, can now be safely called an enclave of Orthodox Serbia. And God grant that faithfulness to Christ be kept both here and there. It is easier for us, Russians, than for Serbs in Kosovo, and, in our experience, any support is very important: When you feel that you are not alone, you look at life more cheerfully. And when you know that someone else is praying with you, even on the other side of the continent, your heart rejoices. That is the joy of our efforts.
“We are glad to show the Kosovo Serbs by our help: You are not alone, brothers,” Afanasiev concluded.
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