Serbian bishop visits South African monastic sites
Bishop Atanasije of Serbia visited some South African monastic sites yesterday, together with Father Miodrag, the editor of the Serbian Orthodox Church journal, and Deacon Stevan.
They first visited the Monastery of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, which was founded by Hieromonk Nazarius (Pribojan).
Father Nazarius formerly Fr Nikodim, was a parish priest in Florida, USA, but had a vision for mission in Africa, and came and founded the monastery in 2002.
Since the death of Father Nazarius at the beginning of the year there have been no monks at the monastery, but it is hoped that it will be able to reopen as a female monastery.
At the moment there is a caretaker staying at the monastery, and occasional visitors who come for retreats.
The Serbian visitors then went to the nearby orphanage at Atteridgeville, near Pretoria. Fr Frumentius Taubatla and his wife Evgenia look after 20 orphan children at the edge of the informal settlement of Brazzaville, which was the scene of xenophobic violence earlier this year.
Between the Monastery of the Descent of the Holy Spirit and Atteridgeville is the Skete of St Andrew, where there is one monk, Hierodeacon Nektarius, who recently had an operation, and so was not able to receive visitors.
Some people from Brazzaville attend Orthodox services at the orphanage, where there is no church yet, through the foundations for one have been marked out.
The Serbian visitors also went to the monastery site of St Nektarius, about 15 lilometres away. The monk who was staying there, Hieromonk Seraphim, has been taking care of the parish for Klerksdorp for the last few months.