A local church in central Bosnia, whose construction was terminated by Bosnian war of the early 1990s, has resumed these days. This place of worship is being rebuilt by all residents of Gornji Rakovac, regardless of their religious or any other affiliation.
The war that broke out in 1992 had ravaged the village and forced thousands to leave their homes, most of them never came back
Davor Vidakovic, head of a local association of citizens, explained that a few residents expressed wish to reconstruct the local church in order to continue the 200-year-long tradition of gathering.
“About fifty people met three months ago to clear the area around the church from the weeds and to clean the devastated church which was frequently used by shepherds,” said Vidakovic.
According to him, the May gathering which brought together dozens of former residents of Gornji Rakovac was an incentive to start the reconstruction of the church, which had initially commenced in 1988.
“The many ask us why we’re building a church in the place where nobody lives. Physically maybe not but all locals are spiritually connected, some of us keep visiting our old homes and burst into tears when we see how it all looks like today,” said Vidakovic.
The church is being rebuilt sincerely and wholeheartedly, he stressed. The works take place every Sunday and every time more people come to help.
“It is positive and important that we are together again. We built the altar. We are already assembling the roof. The bell tower has been walled,” he added.
The locals do not want politics to get involved in what they do.
“We are building a church for people. It is our intention to have a liturgy served here upon the construction at least three to five times a year. To organise the church’s patron saint day and prayer. To organise weddings and christening ceremonies besides memorial services. To make the church again a symbol of birth and life, which died in this area in 1995”, he added.
Their first Muslim neighbours help them build the church. Municipal authorities as well. According to Vidakovic, Head of Maglaj Municipality intervened to have the road infrastructure repaired.
Members of only two of the pre-war 430 households have returned after the 1992-95 war, according to Vidakovic, while four other houses have been reconstructed and their owners come for visits on weekends only.
They hope the village will get its old shine once the church is rebuilt.