June 03, 2011

SfS in Old Serbia again


From Friday, 27th of May, until Sunday, 29th of May, Charity organization Serbs for Serbs conducted the second big charity action in Old Serbia (today Formal Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The team of SfS members Bojan Ilić and Mladen Matijašević provided help for seven Serbian families, and spent 1.600 EUR. We would like to emphasize that we have had unselfish help from our friend Milutin, an activist of SPONA from Skopje, our friends of the organization from Kumanovo, and the activists of the cultural-educational and informational center „Vuk Karadžić“ from Kučevište. We thank them all!

The help we provided for the families consisted in:

  • refrigerator

  • freezer

  • electric stove

  • washing machine

  • bed for two

  • sofa

  • three packages of groceries

The costs of the action itself were in the amount of 160 EUR (transportation 80 EUR, accommodation 60 EUR, food 20 EUR).

We begun our action visiting two families from the village of Nikuljane, in Kumanovo area. It is a Serbian village that exists since the 18th century. The Serbs from the village Žegar near Gnjilane founded the village Nikuljane, when they were forced to leave their centurial homes due to the Turkish and Albanian gangs.

The first family we found is family Todorović, father Momčilo and son Neško. Neško has some mental issues. They live alone and they are having a hard time. The social help was taken away from them recently, so all they have left are 3 cows, hens and a donkey. Deakon (đakon) Igor asked us to help them, because they are not capable of leading an independent life. They kept assuring us they didn't need help, but after looking around the house, we decided to buy them a bed, since theirs were old.

Another family from the same village is family Stefanović. Srđan and Zarinka have two children, Kristijan (10) and Antonije (8), and they live in extremely bad and unhygienic conditions. They have 4 goats and a social help in the amount of 35 EUR. Srđan is working for a wage, thus trying to provide extra income for the existence. They don't have water in the house, so we found them on the spring. We bought a refrigerator for the Stefanović family. We agreed that they should try to secure the water for the house, and we will try to provide a small bathroom. We also brought 2 packages of groceries for these families, and deakon Igor will get them that.

Our next stop was the village Old Nagoričane, where we visited our old friends, the Serafimović family. Dalibor, his mother, wife and two children, welcomed us in the better spirit than the last time. The youngest Milena had problems with her kidneys, but she was sucessfully operated in Belgrade, and her chances of getting well have improved. Dalibor had to loan a great deal of money for the operation, and it will take a lot of time and work to repay the debt. The last time we visited them, we bought them an electric stove, but this time we chose to bring them a freezer, so they could keep their groceries.

While we were at Serafimovićs, our friends from Kumanovo came by. We visited the Church of St. George again (Dalibor is taking care of it), and agreed to get them two goats next time, and thus enable them to become independent.

After Old Nagoričane we went to Kučevište, in Skopska Montenegro. Our friends, the activists of the Serbian cultural-educational and informational center „Vuk Karadžić“ from Kučevište welcomed us. The reception was incredible. We talked about the problems of the Serbian population, and after that we visited two families more.

Family Janković was the fourth we visited. Zvezda lives with her daughter Elica, and Elica's children Novica (14) and Marinko (11). Elica's husband died recently, so their situation is becoming more and more difficult. They are receiving a humble social help, but that can be taken away from them. We bought a sofa for the children, and two beds from the living room will be transfered to another, so they don't have to sleep in the same room.

The fifth family we visited is family Govedarov. Mother Danila lives with her three sons: Milan (20), Martin (18) and Blaža (16). None of them works, and the social help is in the amount of 110 EUR. They live in a house with a small backyard, so they can't grow plants. We bought an electric stove for them, and promised to visit them again. We noticed they need a freezer, and that the wooden stove is old, but we couldn't afford more.

It was late, so we couldn't finish the action and visit a family from the village Tabanovce. However, our friends from Kumanovo visited them, and let us know that the family needed a washing machine. We left them the money for the washing machine, and we expect to get the report soon.

We stayed in Kučevište for a couple of hours, hung around with the inhabitants, and opened three packages of books we got for them. After that we got back to Skopje. We noticed that these boys and girls care a lot about their origin and national identity, but the lack of faith and spirituality is evident. If the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) could provide a place in which the priests of the SOC could preach, I believe that these people would return to the spirit of Saint Sava, and that they would be braver, more determined and humble. The hope remains that it would happen some day, and that the national story would be complete, although the center is working quite well. If there would be more centers like this one among the Serbs!

On Sunday morning we went to a liturgy in Kumanovo. The liturgy was being held in a private house, because the SOC can't provide it in the temples. Bishop (vladika) Joanikije held the service. After the service we spoke about the complex issue related to Serbia and SOC, which must pay more attention to the lives of the Serbs in Old Serbia. People are alienated from the Church and spirituality, and the Serbs don't even have the desire to change that. The repression from the Macedonian Orthodox Church (Macedonian Travel Circus as we called it), has taken its toll.

After the service we had to catch a bus to Belgrade, so we couldn't make it to Zebrnjak and the seventh family we visited, but we agreed on the phone about how to help them. It's the family of the priest Simeon Brav, whose family we visited last time. Father Simeon, his wife and five children live in Skopje in very bad conditions. The service is being served in private apartments, and he is not receiving any money since January. We left 230 EUR to our friend Milutin, so he will accompany father Simeon to the store and buy the groceries for the family. He will send us the bill and the pictures later.

We arrived in Belgrade at 9 pm, but we were full of impressions. The bigest problem in FYRM is the Church. Many people will try to solve that problem, and the Serbs will be able to get back to their lost spiritual life, like all people in the planet. We must add that the situation of the Serbs in FYRM is far the worst in all ex-Yugoslavia. The assimilation by MOC is in progress, and we must pray to God for our brothers, their survival and salvation.

Sometimes a person thinks that the one who knows not of God is headed in the right direction, because he sees that a man who knows not of God is getting richer and more sucessful. Oh, if that person could see the end of such a journey!

Bishop (vladika) Nikolaj


Bojan Ilić


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