Friday, December 21, 2007

Visiting Churches Around Belgrade

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The weather in Belgrade was COLD and snowy. On Saturday, we braved the elements and our hosts gave us a tour of a few churches in and around Belgrade.

The first stop was the interesting and new church to St Basil of Ostrog (top photo). Completed in 2002 or 2003, it features a very unique architectural design. The inside is completely covered in absolutely beautiful new iconography.

The second stop was the Vavedenye Monastery dedicated to the Presentation of the Mother of God (third photo). There was a good bit of traffic on the way there, and we therefore had the opportunity to get a glimpse of another side of life not just in Belgrade or in Serbia, but in all of Eastern Europe (at least) – the Gypsies or Roma. The second photo is of their village located near the river in downtown Belgrade, along a highway. Many of these shacks even have numbers spray-painted on them as permanent addresses. It’s an eye-opening scene. Of course, there are similar villages here in Thessaloniki. We also saw one when we were in Rome. The really interesting part is that in Serbia, for example (which is by no means a wealthy country), the government has constructed free housing for them in a suburb of Belgrade. They, however, will not take them. It’s a very different culture.

In any event, the last stop (last photo) was our host’s parish church in Zemun, a suburb of Belgrade adjacent to New Belgrade, where our hosts live.

That evening, I retired early and tried to prepare myself for the next morning.

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