Gračanica, Kosovo, March 15, 2023
On Friday, March 10, Mother Teodora, 82, the abbess of the ancient Holy Dormition Gračanica Monastery in Kosovo, reposed in the Lord, reports the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raško and Prizren.
She served in the Lord in the monastic life for 70 years.
Her funeral was served on Saturday, March 11 in the Church of the Dormition at the monastery where she labored for so many decades.
The Funeral Liturgy was led by His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Raško and Prizren with clergy of the diocese. A large number of monks and nuns, relatives, friends, and believers also came to say goodbye to the beloved abbess.
After the Liturgy, the rite of the monastic funeral was served, during which Bp. Teodosije remembered her as someone who “loved the Lord and her neighbors with all her heart and being.”
“With the breadth of her soul, she embraced everyone and loved Christ: the old and the young, the poor, the sick, and all those in need. Her merciful hand was constantly extended to those who needed help,” His Grace reflected.
In her later years, Mother Teodora was overtaken by numerous illnesses, but this didn’t hinder her uninterrupted prayerful communion with the Lord, the Theotokos, and all the saints.
“Thanks to that daily sacrifice of her spirit and life, and the selfless love she constantly radiated, our mother Teodora bravely and patiently faced many illnesses and ailments. She was and remains an example to all of us of how to joyfully and patiently carry one's Cross through this life. We will remember how sickness and all temptations are overcome by praying to the Lord,” the hierarch said.
“Her pure soul is now with the saints and angels, and we are preparing her body at this moment to be buried in this holy place, in this holy land of Kosovo and Metohija, where the bones of many martyrs, venerable monastics, and ascetics rest,” Bp. Teodosije concluded.
Schema-Abbess Teodora was born on May 4, 1940, in the village of Raklja near Aleksandrovec Župski in south-central Serbia, in a pious family that produced 9 monks and nuns.
She showed an inclination for the spiritual life from childhood, and at the age of 12, she left home for Holy Protection Monastery in Mrzenica. She went through various obediences there, but soon moved to the Rudenica Monastery, and in 1955, she moved to Gračanica Monastery.
After four years as a novice, she was tonsured as a riassaphore nun on the eve of the monastery’s patronal feast of the Dormition by the future Patriarch Pavle. She then attended the monastic school, studying Scripture, Church history, Church Slavonic, the lives of the saints, and more.
At Gračanica, Mother Teodora went through all the various obediences, and through her initiative, the monastery’s economic situation greatly improved.
When the previous abbess reposed, she took on the duties of deputy abbess.
She was tonsured as a nun of the small schema in 1994, and of the great schema in January 2018. With her life and self-sacrifice, she gained the love of all the inhabitants of the monastery and beyond.
On the feast of St. George, May 6, 2020, she was formally installed as the abbess of the monastery.
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