His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia consecrated today the Church of the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin in the monastery complex Osovica near Srbac.
Patriarch Irinej has said that this sanctum was restored to the glory of Lord and the joy of not only the Banjaluka Diocese and Republika Srpska, but the entire Serb people. He has pointed out that this is a great gift in times of crisis, that the Lord is warming human hearts up and raising noble ideas, thus this sanctuary will continue to carry out its great mission and develop what is necessary today – the faith and devotion of the Serb people.
Patriarch Irinej has said that such holy places help the Serb people to survive and resist those who do not like them.
“The monasteries have always been the lights to our people. These were the powerful watchtowers to keep our people away from our enemies, external and internal. We do not know which are more dangerous and bigger,” said Patriarch Irinej.
Patriarch Irinej has decorated His Eminence Bishop Jefrem of Banjaluka with Order of the Holy King Milutin, a high decoration of the Serbian Orthodox Church, for effective and fruitful work.
Bishop Jefrem has said that, with the grace of Lord and the support of believers, including the authorities, this church was restored after 320 years.
He has reminded that initially this church was the endowment of the holy king Dragutin and was performing a spiritual mission from the 14th to the end of the 17th century, when it was demolished.
Bishop Jefrem has said that a miraculous icon of Theotokos “Tricherusa” has been in the Osovica monastery since last year after it had arrived from the Hilandar monastery, and invited the people to pray her for gathering and doing good for the glory of Lord and for the benefit of the Serb people and the homeland. Iguman of the Osovica monastery, Hieromonk Teofil, has said that the monastery complex was built in the last eight years on the foundation of an ancient monastery that dates back to the first half of the 14th century.
“The monastery was active until it was demolished in 1695. Three centuries was under the ground, and in 2003, archaeologists found the foundations of the monastery, and the reconstruction began eight years ago,” he said, adding that there are five monks currently in the monastery.
The divine liturgy served by Patriarch Irinej and few more bishops preceded the consecration ceremony.
The ceremony was attended by Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik, Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic and the ministers in the Srpska Government, as well as thousands of the faithful. The godfathers of the sanctified church are Mirko Savic, Zoran Lemic and Mladen Milanovic.
The construction of the monastery complex began eight years ago, after archeologists had found out that a monastery from 1330 used to stand at that very site, which the Turks demolished and destroyed in 1695.
The Osovica Monastery is located at the foot of Mount Motajica, thirty kilometers from Srbac