Courier from Mount Athos (11): The truth about the visit

Private archive of Mira Dragović

VISIT TO THE MONASTERY: Slobodan Milosevic with a delegation of the Government of Serbia on April 17, 1991

He confessed a large part of his sins, took communion in Hilandar, confirmed the similarity of military and monastic life, and General Đošan still had to find out the truth about Slobodan Milošević’s visit to the Holy Mountain. He believed that when he completed this task, his pilgrimage would be completely fulfilled.

Communist in the monastery

While the devotees from Belgrade walked the Way of the Centuries and drank water from the fountain of King Alexander, the guide Vladan Seferović asked for an answer to the general’s question. He gathered the officers to tell them what he had learned.

“This is the story of the older monks who were in Hilandar at the time. It is known that monks talk little and reluctantly. After the return of the holy fathers from Serbia during the NATO aggression in 1999, the extradition of Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague on Vidovdan in 2001 and his martyrdom, it is even harder to reach an interlocutor on that topic. However, I learned something from talking to them.

Milosevic really came to Mount Athos as the first ‘communist’. In fact, he flew in a helicopter, and it was not the first time the pilot had flown over Mount Athos. You will see a heliport arranged and marked in Kareja, not far from the Scythian Andrej Prvozvani, so there is no talk of any landing. That, comrades monks hello, was invented by someone with the aim of making a tasteless joke, insulting the brotherhood of the Hilandar and Milosevic monasteries. He was a serious statesman, he used a serious vocabulary and he did not come to Mount Athos for a private visit. He took with him a large delegation and the Minister of Religion in the Government of Serbia! ”The guide told them.

One devotee from the group, who had his third visit to Hilandar, said that this issue was on the agenda in each group of devotees and that he had heard different stories.

Witness the event

All questions and doubts were resolved by the old monk who witnessed the event.

“It is not serious to expect monks to look at the current situation equally. That is why most of the monks did not welcome Slobodan Milosevic. The monastery bells did not ring because two days before Slobodan, a messenger from Serbia arrived on Mount Athos, with a message to the brotherhood of the monastery, that they should not be visited by the elected president of Serbia, but by the Bolsheviks and the antichrist. Some monks, without faith and trust, took refuge in their cells or went to obey, others continued to live the life of an idiorhythmist out of habit, and part of the monks welcomed him together with the pastor Paisius. Among them was me, a native of Zvornik, whose father and mother were slaughtered by Chetniks from Romania on St. George’s Day in 1942 for helping the partisans. There was a large delegation with Milosevic, but he stood out with his appearance, “he said.

According to the story of the old monk, Slobodan, accompanied by the pastor, entered the Church and bowed deeply in front of the Three Hands, stopped in front of the iconostasis, and paid homage to the saints. It is remembered that in that historic visit, Milosevic did not kiss the right hand of the guardian, who was only a year younger than him, nor did Father Paisija bless Slobodan. Thus, ignoring the protocol on both sides, they ended the visit, which began in an already prepared atmosphere of mistrust. During the conversation, she slowly turned into an open and honest conversation that exuded a spirit of informality. From that conversation, a story emerged about a fellow monk, hello, launched by those who did not benefit from the rapprochement of church and state.

“There is no talk of a landing. We have long been accustomed to the sound of helicopters. Some Greek monks have a flying license, and there is every chance that some richer monasteries will get a helicopter. Many monasteries have arranged heliports, and the central heliport is located in Kareja. The donkey has long ceased to be the only means of transportation on the Holy Mountain “, the monk finished the story.

Hilandar Monastery

Endowment in Belgrade

Receiving a sigh of relief from the guardian Hilandar in the form of the Holy Scriptures in a black leather binding, politely thanking him, Milosevic addressed the guardian with the question of what Serbia can do for its sanctuary.

“So far, we have not been able to get a facility for our Endowment in Belgrade from the king, Tito or other presidents of Serbia, so that our monastic state is closer to the motherland of Serbia and our monks have a place to hide their heads, and the monastery has no money to buy it!” “, Said the then warden to Milosevic, who promised that Hilandar would get a worthy facility for his endowment.

He fulfilled the promise given to the headmaster Paisius, so in 1998 the Hilandar monastery received a residential building in Belgrade.

Meeting in Scheveningen

The conversation with the guide reminded the general of the meeting with Milosevic in Scheveningen and of what he told him then.

“General, I read your book. I see you are starting with Batajnica. You mention Maya and Gjakova. That is why I asked my associates to look for you. I served as a reserve officer in the Air Defense units at the Batajnica airport, so I understand a little bit about your systems. You have come a long way from Batajnica to Gjakova. Maybe you were my commander too? Do not intend to help me, say that it was not. Tell the truth and that will be enough! ”He told him then.

Monday: Farewell from Hilandar

Source: Vesti online by

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