Over there, in the south, in the vicinity of Hutovo, the Neretva, and the Bregava, on a hill in Prebilovci a miracle is happening. An event is happening, the most important event for man, the world and its existence. Resurrection is happening. God is frequenting his people; God is resurrecting human bones; Lord’s Wisdom is building a home for Himself and them, the martyrs’ bones.
Seventy-five years ago the martyrs of Prebilovci lived the same lives as we do today: they worried, they worked, they feared, they hoped, they had things and were deficient in them, they rejoiced and mourned, they sang at times and at times they cried; they fantasized, loved and dreamed.
However, some other people, having let evil and the evil one into their hearts, set their minds on murdering them. Not merely to deprive them of their property, their joy and sorrow, but of much more – they set their minds on depriving them of the life itself. And they committed the misdeed. They murdered the women, the children, the adults, the elderly men and women. They threw them into pits, bottomless pits, into the deepest darkness, into the depths of soil. Then, among themselves they divided the plunder – their property, their husbandry, their sheep and horses, their oxen, their fruits and vegetables, their corn and vineyards. But soon, as soon as the war was over, it was not to be for them to enjoy the plunder. The evil people roamed about the world; the murderers and slayers; drunkards, liars; their tracks were covered and they would vanish without leaving a trace. Finally, fifty years after the Golgotha, martyrs’ bones saw the light and the sun; they shone in the midst of the darkness of human evil as peace and a reminder, and the sons of the martyrs, at last, buried their ancestors’ bones worthily..
Alas, people failed to learn a lesson from their Golgotha. Sons of the villains, their sons by virtue of their volition and determination, destroyed the temple under construction with mines and bombs, and, for the second time, treacherously murdered the already murdered. A cloud of ash rose from the explosion along with a shower of sparks. Just like the ones before them, these murderers too started roaming about the world covered with and indelibly marked by the ashes of the innocent and burned bones. And the sparks from the disastrous explosion silently fell onto the homes of the martyrs’ sons, into the subdued icon lamps and started to serve and shine appeasably and silently. Their descendants, many of whom Herzegovinians scattered around the world, stood in front of the icons praying to God and the Saints thus flaring up memory of their martyred ancestors. It is from their faith that this church of Christ’s Resurrection has arisen in Prebilovci – white and light, generated from the ashes and bones of the innocent ones who had been murdered, built on the faith in Christ Who delivers from hell, from the bowels of the Earth, every deceased soul. It is He, Christ, Who has delivered from death and brought to life the martyrs of Prebilovci and Herzegovina.
That is why we invite you to concelebrate the martyrs and consecration of the church as if it were the holiday of Resurrection. Dress festively, we shall sing to the victory; it shall not be a memorial service over the dead. Come from wherever you are, no matter how far you are; they will be waiting for you – the martyrs of Prebilovci. And, at their side, Christ Himself will be waiting for you. Wash your soul with forgiveness, your body with peace and repentance, let your heart burn like an icon lamp, and cover your face with joy. Come to Prebilovci for it is better to descend from a martyr than from a murderer. What we have been waiting for has happened: the victory of justice and life, for it is not shameful to be murdered but to be a murderer. Therefore, brothers and sisters, it is better we warm ourselves by the fire of glory and Golgotha than gain the whole world yet forfeit our soul. I bow my knees before you asking you to dress in joy and white. Bring along good will and willingness and come to Prebilovci to celebrate life and Resurrection!
Bishop ZHiP Grigorije
Stamatis Skliris: Wall paintings – Holy New Martyrs of Prebilovci – Herzegovina