His Eminence Bishop Jefrem of Banja Luka said at the ceremonial academy in Banja Luka on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church that Saint Sava gave the vital force to the Serbian people by which he had overcome all difficulties in the past eight centuries.
Bishop Jerfrem stated at the beginning of the academy at Banski Dvor that the life and saintly personality of Saint Sava entered deep into the consciousness of the Serbian people.
– Saint Sava has given us the life force that we have been able to overcome all the difficulties we have had in the last eight centuries, and with this same vitality and optimism we are entering a new century – said the Bishop of Banja Luka.
He pointed out that there is stumble and fall on the “svetosavki” path , but that the Serbian people always rise to the glory of God and remain upright before God and the Holy One.
– The fact that we exist as a people and have been preserved in spite of the terrible historical temptations is proof that we were led by a safe hand along the way. Regardless of all the difficulties we have, we are looking to the future with much faith, hope and optimism – Bishop Jefrem added.
In his speech, he recalled that the Church was first governed by bishops of the Greeks, but that despite their best will they could not make the desired progress.
– In that fateful time, which could have led to a anomie rather than to the gathering and progress, a huge figure of Saint Sava appears on the Serbian historical scene, which moves in the much desired and necessary direction, introducing the Serbian Orthodox Church and the people into the golden Nemanjic era – reminded the Bishop Jefrem.
According to him, this is the period when Serbia reached its political, state and cultural peak.
St. Sava, reminded the Bishop of Banja Luka, was the first Serbian archbishop, founded new dioceses, consecrated bishops from among his students, taught a word about true religion, and smelled the deceased brothers …
He was a saint armed with the blessing power of the Holy Spirit and all that he did during this earthly life, says Bishop Ephrem, worked in the glory of God and for the good of the Church and the people.
The history of the Diocese of Banja Luka was addressed by Archpriest Dragan Maksimović, the elder of the Cathedral Church of the Baptist of the Savior in Banja Luka.
The Academy performed the choir of the priest of the Diocese of Banja Luka, the choir of the Serbian Singing Society “Jedinstvo” and the mixed choir of the Academy of Arts in Banja Luka.
The ceremony was attended by Republika Srpska President Željka Cvijanović, Serbian Member of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik, Director of the Secretariat for Religions Dragan Davidović, Minister of Labor and Veterans-Disability Protection Duško Milunović, Banja Luka Mayor Igor Radojičić.
The solemn academy ended with a choral performance of the song “Long Live the Republic of Srpska”. It was organized by the Diocese of Banja Luka.