Berane, Montenegro, May 19, 2020
Released from a 72-hour detention in the early hours of Saturday, May 16, His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlja and Nikšić was warmly and lovingly greeted by the faithful in the city of Berane on Sunday.
Earlier, the Orthodox faithful of Berane spontaneously joined local priests in a procession in honor of St. George the Victorious on his feast day, May 6.
And gathering at the Monastery of St. George in Berane, where Bp. Joanikije’s residence is located, on Sunday, May 17, hundreds of faithful gathered to welcome their beloved hierarch home after being detained with a number of priests for participating in a procession on the feast of St. Basil of Ostrog, reports Sputnik.
The faithful lined up on a large field, forming the words, “Welcome, Vladyka,” and unfurled a 33-ft. Serbian flag to greet their archpastor. “We will give up our lives, but our holy places—never!” the people chanted, referring to the government’s attempts to confiscate sacred sites from the Serbian Orthodox Church.
“I am honored to greet you all and thank you for your love, for your fiery support that can rarely be found anywhere,” His Grace told his faithful flock.
“The strength of our faith is in the Cross of Christ and we are, very often, on Golgotha, but after Golgotha follows the Resurrection and, behold, God has arranged for us to continue the celebration of the Resurrection with these national gatherings we have had these days,” Bp. Joanikije continued.
Those who try to humiliate the Church and the faith will be humiliated by Christ, he said.