President Stevo Pendarovski decorated today the Bigorski Monastery “St. John the Baptist” with the Order of Merit for the Republic of North Macedonia, for preserving and continuing the thousand-year-old tradition and for contributing to the nurturing of the spiritual and cultural-historical heritage, care for artistic and for ongoing social and humanitarian activities.
The address of President Pendarovski at the ceremony on the occasion of the decoration of the Bigorski Monastery “St. John the Baptist” is below.
Distinguished Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia,
Respected Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia and Justiniana Prima,
Dear members of the Bigorski family,
Distinguished representatives of religious communities,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our generation has an extremely rare opportunity to witness an impressive jubilee such as 1000 years since the founding of the Bigorski Monastery of St. John the Baptist. It is an even greater honor for me that as President I have the privilege of decorating the Monastery with high state recognition.
The Bigorski Monastery, without any doubt, is one of our greatest spiritual sanctuaries, which throughout the centuries, and today, is continuously a source of literacy, culture and art.
Bigorski is not only an Orthodox monastery and a Christian sanctuary, it has always been famous as a place where everyone could find help, support, human word and comfort, regardless of their religious, ethnic or any other affiliation. The history of the Monastery, but, no less, its current, living spiritual and cultural mission and engagement, easily cross the state borders and unite and unite the people, which is surely the noblest possible cause in the world of which we are a part.
Even if you have the best intention and desire, it is impossible in just a few minutes to cover the thousand-year history and tradition of this temple and say enough about all the aspects that make the work of the Bigorski Monastery so special and valuable. For some of them we heard in the announcement at the beginning, for some we had the opportunity to read in the old manuscripts, in some we have convinced ourselves with our own eyes, but, of course, there are parts that will be revealed by the generations after us. After all, the monastery, to the joy of all of us, continues to live, to create kindness and lasting values. I am more than convinced that in the second millennium of its existence, the tradition will be continued, and we will all be in charge of new cultural and spiritual feats and deeds worthy of respect.
Unfortunately, despite the beautiful events and anniversaries like this one today, the year 2020 will be remembered after the pandemic that fundamentally changed our lives. We live in fear and caution because of the virus, while we face the devastating economic consequences it causes. However, exactly in such moments, more than ever, we need faith, solidarity and mutual respect, care and attention, love and sharing with the closest, to the poor, to the vulnerable.
Accustomed to the comfort and routine of life, we experience every change of this type fatalistically and much easier than before, we allow impatience, anger, frustration to overcome us. However, exactly the thousand-year-old story of Bigorski teaches us that life is not just honey and milk and that as the folk wisdom says, there is something good in every bad. Human history remembers other apocalyptic events, but the human race has always been revived with new life experiences. It will be the same this time. In the struggle for a happier and more fulfilling life, the power of the centuries-old fortresses such as Bigorski, can certainly serve as additional inspiration.
Allow me, at the very end, to wish you all good health and well-being, and to thank the holy Bigorski family and Father Parthenius for everything they do to preserve the tradition and our cultural and spiritual wealth, but also for their efforts in the service of all who come to the monastery to find peace, mercy and support. I wish you and your spiritual successors in the next millennium to remain faithful to the tradition of that holy place with such great significance for the vitality of our entire nation.