Bishops Atanasije, Joanikije and Teodosije take part in celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy in Prizren

Today on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the Administrator of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, His Grace Bishop Atanasije, served the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the Orthodox Cathedral of St.. George in Prizren with the concelebration of Their Graces Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje and Niksic, Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan and twelve priests including Protopresbyter Stavrophor Milutin Timotijevic (Rector of the Prizren Seminary), Protopresbyter Radomir Nikcevic from the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Coastlands, Archimandrite Sava, the hegumen of Tvrdos Monastery, and ten priests from the Diocese of Raska and Prizren. Before the beginning of Hierarchal Liturgy, Bishop Atanasije reconsecrated the restored church.

About 250 faithful from Prizren and various parts of Kosovo and Metohija (especially Velika Hoca, Brezovica and the north of Kosovo) eucharistically participated in the Divine Liturgy, including some thirty children who took part in the traditional procession with icons, which is performed on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Advisor to the President of the Republic of Serbia Mr. Mladjan Djordjevic (who is a native of the Prizren region) also attended the Divine Liturgy and took part in the procession.

This is the first Hierarchal Liturgy to be served in the newly restored Orthodox Cathedral in Prizren, which, like other Serbian Orthodox holy shrines in Prizren, was torched during the March pogrom in 2004. In addition to St. George Cathedral, the Bishop's Residence in Prizren has also been rebuilt as part of the reconstruction process, where the see of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren will soon be returning in accordance with the decision of the Holy Assembly of Bishops in May 2009. The Diocese of Prizren is one of the oldest in the Serbian Orthodox Church and the earliest preserved written records of the Diocese date back to the beginning of 11th century, even though there are traces of church life from earlier centuries. The second oldest Serbian diocese after Prizren is the Diocese of Sts. Peter and Paul (Petropavlovska) in Raska. In the year 1808 the Dioceses of Prizren and Ras merged to form the Diocese of Raska and Prizren.

In the city of Prizren, where 8,000 Serbs lived prior to the war in 1999, there are now only about 20 Serbs remaining, most of them elderly. The Diocese is confronted with the huge task of strengthening church life and presence in Prizren in order to encourage the return of refugees and to show that the Serbian Orthodox Church is not giving up her ancient church and historical see.

On the same day the Bishops visited Holy Archangels Monastery, where monastery administrator Fr. Benedikt welcomed them. They then visited the church of the Bogorodica Ljeviska (the Holy Virgin of Lyevish) and the newly rebuilt Prizren Seminary building (the Sima Igumanov Endowment).Today's Holy Liturgy was also attended by the commander of German KFOR, General Manfred Hofmeyer, who accompanied the bishops during their visit to Holy Archangels Monastery.His Grace Bishop Artemije served today in Gracanica Monastery.

Source: Diocese of Raska-Prizren