HRH Crown Prince Alexander is currently visiting Monastery Hilandar, on the 825 th anniversary of the establishment of the Holy Imperial Serbian Lavra in Mountain Atos in Greece. On this occasion, and for all the merits this Monastery has for our people, our country, and the Royal Family of Serbia, His Royal Highness decorated this holy place with the Royal Order of the Star of Karađorđe in the degree of Grand Cross.

Crown Prince arrived in Hilandar yesterday, on 24 May, and was welcomed with the highest honors by Most Reverend Archimandrite Metodije, Father Superior, together with the brotherhood of the monastery, who performed doxology service in the monastery church, in honour of the distinguished guest.

His Royal Highness, accompanied by members of the Kingdom of Serbia Association, attended the evening service and the morning Liturgy for the Feast of the Ascension. He later visited the monastery treasury where important historical items kept in Hilandar were presented, as well as the olive tree which Crown Prince planted during his first visit in 1990. HRH Crown Prince Alexander is only the fourth person who was honoured by the monastery to plant a tree, after Emperor Dusan, King Alexander Obrenovic, and King Peter I.

The order of the Karadjordje’s Star was presented to Father Superior and the brotherhood in the “sinodik”, a solemn room where portraits of the Crown Prince’s father and grandfather, Kings Peter II and Alexander I stand. On this occasion His Royal Highness also gave the portrait of HM King Peter I by Oliver Karanovic, to be placed in the very same room where his great-grandfather stayed in 1910, and which will be the official office of the Father Superior.

On the third day of his visit, Friday 26 May, HRH Crown Prince Alexander will light a candle in Monastery to mark the 10th anniversary of the State Funeral, and the return of the earthly remains of his father, mother, grandmother, and uncle to Serbia. During this day, Abbot Metodije will show the Crown Prince the works on the restoration of the monastery after the fire that occurred in 2004. As His Royal Highness visited Monastery immediately after the fire, it will be a nice opportunity to see the progress of the works.

“I am grateful to God for the opportunity to be here again in our Hilandar. More than thirty years ago, an incredible honor was given to me, of planting an olive tree in this holy place, during my first visit. The emotions I felt then are still as strong and alive today, as if three decades had not passed. I am here again today, on another wonderful occasion – eight hundred and twenty-five years since Saint Sava and Saint Simeon founded our Imperial Lavra. We know very well that years and centuries are only a moment in the eyes of our Lord, but for us people, such anniversaries are very important.

Without this great sanctuary, we Serbs would have had a hard time persevering and staying on His path. The walls of Hilandar inspire peace and tranquility in every person of faith. This holy monastery has given us light and shown us the way, during all these centuries of its existence. That’s why I have decided to decorate Hilandar with the Royal Order of the Star of Karadjordje in the degree of Grand Cross, for all the important services to our people and our country.

There is another important anniversary – ten years since we succeeded in correcting decades-long injustice and returning to Serbia the earthly remains of my father, King Peter the Second, my mother, grandmother, and uncle. I am grateful to God for enabling me to fulfill my father’s vow, to bring him back to our Serbia, even after his death. It has been ten years since they finally found eternal peace in our Serbian soil. It is very important to me that on this occasion, right here, I pray and light a candle for their souls and eternal peace. Especially because I know that in the most difficult days of my father’s life, during unwanted exile, his comfort was his connection with this holy place. The letters he received and sent to Hilandar were words of comfort. Thank you for all the love you have shown to my father, all my ancestors, and our Royal Home”, said HRH Crown Prince Alexander on this occasion.