Premiere of the Documentary Film on the Bigorski Monastery in Rome

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In the ceremonial atmosphere of the “Pontifical Institute for Oriental Studies” in Rome, the screening of the documentary film “1000 Years – Witness of the Light,” dedicated to the millennium of the Bigorski Monastery, directed and authored by Ilija Iko Karov, took place last evening.

At the initiative of the Ambassador of the Republic of North Macedonia to the Vatican, H.E. Marija Efremova, and under the patronage of the Director of the Commission for Relations with Religious Communities and Groups, Darijan Sotirovski, the documentary on the Bigorski Monastery was projected in front of a large number of ambassadors and other diplomats from various countries, accredited to the Holy See. The goal of this screening was to introduce the diplomatic corps from various countries in the Vatican to the Macedonian cultural and spiritual heritage.

At the beginning of the event, addresses were made by the Ambassador of the Republic of North Macedonia to the Vatican, H.E. Marija Efremova, the Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Father David Nazar, the Director of the Commission for Relations with Religious Communities and Groups, Darijan Sotirovski, the Hieromonk Kiril from the Bigorski Monastery, and the film’s director, Ilija Iko Karov.

The ceremony was opened by Her Excellency, the esteemed Ambassador Mrs. Marija Efremova:

“Today, we have a rare opportunity, for which we are joyful but also excited, to present before all of you one of our most significant jewels, the Macedonian Orthodox Monastery of St. John the Baptist – Bigorski, which is our valuable cultural and spiritual heritage, and a contemporary reality that captivates with its spirit, a spirit that has been preserving the strong fire of the Church’s tradition for a thousand years.

How many things have changed in the last 1000 years? How many events could have spelled the end for this sanctuary? How fortunate is the current generation to be contemporaries of a millennium-old monastery that is more alive than ever?” – highlighted in his speech by the Director of the CRRCG, Darijan Sotirovski.

“It truly is an honor and privilege to address this ceremonial and esteemed audience tonight, which has the quality of an unmistakable arbiter elegantiarum. The honor and heartfelt tremor in me are all the greater, as this dignified gathering takes place here, in the Eternal City, in Urbe Aeterna, which is a witness to countless epochal events, the homeland of numerous famous historical figures, a city-museum of a civilization continuum that lasts ab Urbe condita, from 753 BC, to the present day.

All of this undoubtedly gives a strong tone of mystical magnificence to our event tonight. In the midst of this cradle of civilization, the documentary film about a similarly exceptionally long, millennial spiritual and cultural continuity will be broadcast. ‘1000 Years – Witness of the Light’. It seems that the title itself is powerful enough to convey the seriousness and sanctity of the spirituality, beauty, enlightenment, sublimity, and holiness accumulated over ten centuries,” – with these words, Hieromonk Kiril from the Bigorski Monastery began his speech.

“The sun wakes up and rises in the East every morning, then sleepily, rising, reaches the highest point in the sky; in its zenith, where it shines the strongest for all. Then, calmly and slowly, it continues its journey, heading towards the embraces of the West, where it will peacefully fall asleep and set; to rest until tomorrow. God so perfectly made the Light, that it cannot be complete without either the East or the West…” – emphasized in his speech, the author and director of the film, Ilija Iko Karov, making, among other things, an allusion to the life of Saint Constantine – Cyril the Philosopher, thus highlighting the connection of the Macedonian land with the Eternal City.

The immense enthusiasm that the content and aesthetics of the film sparked among the guests could not be hidden, who with thunderous applause sincerely recognized the director Ilija Iko Karov, the first assistant director and editor Branko Blazevski, who was among the attendees, as well as the entire team that worked together on this project for five years.