|Pilgrimages - The Visit to the Chilandar Monastery|
The students of the Military Academy were on the pilgrimage in the Chilandar Monastery (Mount Athos) from 17th June to 23rd June. The group of 49 students was led by Commander Svetozar Vasileski and Lieutenant Dejan Mihajlovic. They were accompanied by the representatives of the Religious Education Council of the Metropolitanate of Belgrade and Sremski Karlovci, the deacons: Jovan Babic and Dragan S. Tanasijevic.
This visit was based on the Agreement between the Religious Education Council of the Metropolitanate of Belgrade and Sremski Karlovci of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Military Academy in Belgrade and it represents the crown of one-year cooperation between the Serbian Orthodox Church and The Military Academy which consisted of numerous lectures and visits to the monasteries of Serbia.
During the visit to the Chilandar Monastery, the host was hieromonk Dositej Hilandarac. The students got acquainted with the history of the monastery and its significance for cultural, historical and spiritual rising of the Serbian people as well as the creation of the Serbian state.
This was the first organized visit of the students of the Military Academy to the Center of Serbian Spirituality – the Chilandar Monastery. The Brotherhood of the Chilandar Monastery’s Imperial Laura welcomed the students and invited them to visit Mount Athos and the Chilandar Monastery in the future again.
During their stay in the Chilandar Monastery, the students took part in solemn liturgies and they regularly received communions. Two students, Dusan and Nemanja, decided to receive the Holy Secret of Baptism in a primeval way, by having been baptized in the sea, on the cost of the Aegean Sea under the protection of the Chilandar Monastery.
Hieromonk Dositej showed to students, during their visit, Treasury where they saw the charters signed by our kings and tsars, the objects from battlefields: from the Battle of Kosovo to the recent wars, the icons and the parts of the iconostases from the period of building the monastery. The students had an opportunity to see wine grape which grows from the wall of the Church of St. Milutin, the wine cellar of the monastery and the cemetery church.
The students were especially thrilled by the fact that they would have lunch in the refectory where St. Sava used to bless at the beginning and end of the meal.
The first epitrop of the Chilandar Monastery’s Imperial Laura, hieromonk Metodije, welcomed the members of the Military Academy from Belgrade and on that occasion he thanked the future officers of the Army of Serbia for their visit.
Reception at Priest Metodije
In the guest room, hieromonk Metodije organized the meeting with the students of the Military Academy from Belgrade who visited the Chilandar Monastery for the first time.
Father Metodije highlighted the great importance which the brotherhood of the Chilandar Monastery gives to the members of the Serbian Army, especially to the students of the military-school institutions. He said that the monks were very pleased with the visit of the students and that the Nemanjic Foundation on Mount Athos would in future open its doors to the students and superiors of our Army. It will bring to the development of personalities and virtues of these young men.
Commander Svetozar Vasileski said that he was very pleased with the fact that in the Army of Serbia the process of achieving cooperation with religious communities started and especially with the Religious Education Council of the Metropolitanate of Belgrade and Sremski Karlovci of the Serbian Orthodox Church concerning the achievement of religious rights, as well as the possibilities that the students during their pilgrimages get introduced with historic and spiritual values of the Serbian people.
On behalf of the Head of the Military Academy, major-general Vidosav Kovacevic, MA commander Svetozar Vasileski handed the book ’Serbain Armed Forces’ to hieromonk Metodije.
Military Secretary of the Bishop of Hvosno, Mr. Atanasije Rakita, deacon Jovan Babic, expressed gratitude, on the behalf of Bishop Atanasije, for unmeasurable contribution to the christian education of the future Serbian officers.
During the reception, the students, by serious and meaningful questions, inspired the monks to talk with them about all dilemmas concerning christian education.
Father Metodije handed to Commmander Svetozar Vasileski monographies of the Chilandar Monastery as the gift to the Ministry of Defense and the Head of the Military Academy, and every students got the book with the blessings of the Chilandar Monastery’s Imperial Laura.
On their trip back to the Republic of Serbia, the students visited the Serbian Military Cemetery and the Church of St. Dimitrije in Thessaloniki where they had paid tribute to their ancestors.
The Head of the Military Academy, major-general Vidosav Kovacevic, MA and His Grace, Bishop of Hvosno, the Vicar of the Serbian Patriarch Pavle, Mr. Atanasije Rakita, who served liturgy in the church of St. Archangel Gavrilo, wished to students and superiors of the Military Academy to have a nice trip.