Patron Saint-day of the Decani Monastery
This annual celebration of the Patron Saint-day of the monastery of Decani, the feast of Holy King Stefan of Decani, was enhanced with the presence of His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch
Along with bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Their Graces Bishops Jovan of Sumadija, Pahomije of Vranje and Teodosije of Raska-Prizren, Serbian Patriarch Irinej consecrated a newly built so-called Prizren’s refectory. It is the monastic refectory where the brotherhood of the monastery will live.
The celebration of the feast-day of Holy King Stefan of Decani began on the eve of the Patron Saint-day (slava) with the arrival of His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, and Their Graces accompanied by the diocesan Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren. After the solemn welcome and the doxology in the church, the Serbian Patriarch visited the newly built “Prizren” refectory and met with Mr. Sverre-Johan Kvale, the former Norwegian ambassador to Pristina, who contributed that the Norwegian government was the main donor of the funds for the construction of the “Prizren” refectory.
In the evening hours the solemn feast-day’s vigil service began and His Holiness officiated. Lots of priests and monks of the dioceses of Raska-Prizren, Zica, Budimlje-Niksic, Backa, Zahumlje-Herzegovina, Timok and the Archbishopric of Belgrade-Karlovac attended the service. Following the vigil service the brotherhood of the monastery prepared a dinner at the dining room of the monastery.
In the morning, His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch celebrated the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy with the concelebration of Their Graces Bishops Pahomije of Vranje, Jovan of Sumadija and Teodosije of Raska-Prizren, as well as forty priests, monks and deacons of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Moscow, which was represented by hieromonk Ambrosius from Torino (Italy). Monks of Decani and students of the Prizren Seminary sang responses. Many believers gathered this year, more than two thousand of them came from all parts of Serbia, Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska.
Serbian Patriarch blessed the slava cake and cut it with the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Sava, and then he addressed the present faithful with a sermon in a form of a prayer to the Holy King. The Holy Liturgy was attended by many high officials, ministers of the Government of Serbia: Milan Mrkic (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Nebojsa Rodic (Minister of Defense) and Aleksandar Vulin (Minister without portfolio and director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija). Also, foreign high officials attended the service: Head of EU Office in Kosovo and EU Special Representative Samuel Žbogar, ambassadors of the Kingdom of Norway in Pristina and in Belgrade (Jan Braathu and Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg), former Norwegian ambassador to Pristina Sverre-Johan Kvale, ambassadors of USA, Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy in Pristina, as well as representatives of the UN, OESC and KFOR Commander, Italian General Salvatore Farina.
Following the Holy Liturgy Serbian Patriarch Irinej with Their Graces Bishops and the clergy consecrated the newly built “Prizren” refectory. The ceremony was held in a great hall of the new refectory in which all Serbian and foreign officials, many priests and monks, as well all who contributed to the construction of this refectory were present. After the consecration, Patriarch Irinej, on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church handed in the order of Saint Sava of the first degree to chief donors who enabled the construction of the “Prizren” refectory: the Government of the Kingdom of Norway, the EU Commission and the Office for Kosovo and Metohija. The orders were received on behalf of these organizations by: Norwegian ambassador to Pristina Jan Braathu, head of EU Office in Pristina Samuel Žbogar and director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Aleksandar Vulin. Serbian Patriarch Irinej presented personally the order of Saint Sava of the second degree to Sverre-Johan Kvale, former Norwegian ambassador, for the large contribution towards the construction of the refectory during his mandate. The awarded were especially commended for the help to Serbian returnees as well as for the restoration of the churches on Kosovo and Metohija.
Source: Diocese of Raska-Prizren