Macedonian Orthodox Church celebrates canonization of sibling saints

Ohrid, June 10, 2024

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The Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric liturgically celebrated the canonization of two new saints during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Sofia Cathedral in Ohrid yesterday, Sunday, June 9.

At its session on April 11, the Holy Synod of the MOC-OA canonized three saints: the Righteous Spase and Spasa Višenski and the Venerable-Martyr Stefanida of Bitola.

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Yesterday, His Eminence Archbishop Stefan of Ohrid led the glorification of the holy siblings Spase and Spasa, together with 16 other hierarchs, including guest hierarchs from the Serbian and Bulgarian Churches, and priests from throughout North Macedonia, reports the Diocese of Tetovo and Gostivar.

Festivities began the evening before at the Church of St. Athanasius in the village of Višni with Vespers and the washing of the relics of Sts. Spase and Spasa. The relics were then delivered to the St. Sophia Cathedral in Ohrid, where the final panikhida service for the new saints was served.


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Tradition says that Sts. Spase and Spasa were brother and sister, orphans, who fled from the Turks and settled in inaccessible terrains. St. Spasa went to a cave church in Višni, where she spent her ascetic life and where she rested in peace. Long after her death, one sleepless night, the saint appeared to a woman named Maria, a Christian from Belica who was immobile, asking for mercy for the peace of her soul: “Tell the people of Višni to gather my bones for I have no peace!” After appearing a second time, Maria gained a strange strength and together with her brother, they set out in the darkness to find the relics. And at that moment, while wrapping the relics to carry them to the church in the village, she was filled with joy, her step became light, and her painful and stiff posture became unusually nimble and easy.

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