When father Gabriel came to the monastery Lepavina in 1984, he attracted many faithful souls. Monastery Lepavina is visited by ten thousand people from Republika Srpska and other countries, especially in the last twenty years . On the following site, www.manastir-lepavina.org
, you can find a plenty of information about monastery editions, about father Gabriel and comments from many believers that were sent and confessed to him. Below is a short story about father Gabriel.
-Archimandrite Gabriel entered monastery as a novice at the end of the April 1961. He is born on May 10, 1944, in the village Duboka, municipality Kucevo, near Pozarevac. On Holy Saturday 1964, he was ordained in the monk, in the monastery Rakovica. He received the administration of the monastery Lepavina and monastery parish in 1984. On the day of Assumption of the Holy Virgin in 1994, his Eminence Metropolitan of Ljubljana and the entire Italy John ordained him into the rank of Archimandrite.
Thanks to father Gabriel’s devoted work, spiritual life in the monastery Lepavina is on the rise. From the moment he came to the monastery Lepavina, he attracted many faithful people. In the last twenty years large number of believers, ten thousand of them have been coming to the monastery. Father Gabriel is respected monk even outside of the Serbian Orthodox Church. People of other religions come to the monastery Lepavina, too. The miracle working Icon of the Holy Theotokos of Lepavina is inextricably tied to the monastery Lepavina history. Monastery Lepavina has a rich publishing activity. In addition to the numerous books, journals, father Gabriel and his brotherhood are issuing the monastery Journal “The Way, the Truth and the Life” as bi-monthly edition in order to restore the faith in the souls of parishioners and all those who seek a true spiritual life.
Father Gabriel published two books entitled “Spiritual conversation”. He tells that Orthodox Christians must strive to learn about Orthodox faith by studying Holy fathers, to know clearly what makes them Orthodox. That way, they will be able to preserve their Orthodox identity. Father Gabriel is speaking with faithful over the Skype program and Face book; there are thousand people registered in this virtual parish. On the day of Annunciation 2006, he launched the Internet radio “Blagovesti”. He was in the focus of the media interest when Holy Synod decided that he would choose 45th Serbian Patriarch out of three bishops. On the April 18th, he celebrated 50 years of his monastic life.
- As we said, father Gabriel talks with many faithful people over the Internet via Facebook and Skype. We have the honor that father Gabriel is with us this morning, talking over the Skype. God help you, father.
- God help you! I am greeting you from the monastery Lepavina, as well as all listeners of yours TV show.
- You have a long monastic experience, can you please tell us what is the advantage of modern way of communication when it comes to the faith?
- After His resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to his disciples and told them: “Go ye into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” So, to every creature, to the whole world! At that time Apostles went into the world on foot, but today, we travel by plane. They had to travel for days to come to a certain place and preached there. However, by using technology, word can be spread in a moment. Well, it is obvious advantage of modern way of communication – no more spatial barrier to prevent intercommunication. People who are away from each other, who live in a different parts of the world, can call each other and talk, as we do right now. Phone, cell phone, email, Skype and Facebook are only means that allow us to communicate. So why not take advantage of that, for conversations about the faith? Certainly that in those means of communication lies danger; man can be closed in the room with the computer and alienate from loved ones, he can become dependent on technology, but it all depends how we use the technology. Responsibility is on us and we need to become aware of it. I, as a monk who had been in the monastery for fifty years, use all those modern means for spiritual conversations, to spread the word of God, to spread the word about resurrected Christ, who with His own sacrifice redeemed the fallen man and opened the door of eternal life in the God’s Kingdom.
- What the people ask the most and what messages are you giving to them?
- What can I say, there is a crisis and people have a lot of troubles - some in the family, same at work, someone is bothered by illness, someone with the lack of money, someone is looking for happiness, someone for love… Every individual comes with his/her own problems and dilemmas that are his personal torments, but the problems are common. I will read several titles from the book “Spiritual conversation”, so you can see what kind of questions are common:
1st title: If you offended a friend, ask for forgiveness or
2nd title: No one should condemn others, because everyone may correct his/her life or
3rd Title: There cannot be confession over the internet…
There is a difference between questions asked by young and old people. Older usually comes to complain about their problems, to request the prayer for their children and the family…Young people have a different attitude, they are interested more in questions about faith, the Church, the monastic life. Lately, young people are spending the whole nights at bars and parties, but it is nevertheless evident that many of those who seek spiritual life have a need for the spiritual words.
I recommend to all that the most important for us Christians is Liturgical life in the Church; it is essential and I always say that one should regularly attend his parish church on Sundays and holidays, should fast, confess and commune, be active members of his church. I often hear: We do not have time to go to the church. What do you mean you do not have time? How many of you live in the house? Five of us. So, every week someone should go to the church. And every week someone from the family will be on the Divine Liturgy and will bring God’s blessing to the house. That is not a big sacrifice, and the entire house has a great benefit from it.
- What would be the Easter message to all your viewers?
- I wish to all to welcome and celebrate in joy the most joyful holiday of Christ’s Resurrection, and may our Lord Jesus Christ give us all peace, harmony, and every progress.
- Thank you father, goodbye.
- Thank you as well. Christ is risen!
- Indeed He is risen!
April 23rd, 2011
Interview: Dragana Dabic
Translated from Serbian by prof Bojana Popović
SAME OBSERVATION ON AN INTERVIEW
I saw the interview with father Gabriel, the abbot of the monastery Lepavina, on the monastery website. It was a TV interview, but not the classic one. When RTRS found out that father Gabriel actively uses modern technology for conversation with faithful, they decided to invite him for the interview on that subject, using those latest technological innovations, including Skype.
So, it is RTRS Morning program on Holy Saturday – a young, beautiful host is in the studio. She introduces viewers to father Gabriel’s biography - with the most important moment of his biography – preparing them to meet with the abbot. And meeting would happen – but we only hear father’s voice. At that moment, father Gabriel is at the monastery and he calmly answers interviewer’s questions. The video with the scenes from the life of the monastery Lepavina is shown: Divine Liturgy – thoughtful faces of the faithful, father Gabriel in the festive vestments and brotherhood, pilgrimages near holy well…
It is remarkably recorded. Only, I am sorry because there was not enough of video material: it was shown three times in a raw. It is possible that director did not have another solution, but in this case, it is not that much important because conversation alone was interesting enough. I would like to mention pleasant manner and behavior of the hostess of the program – she asked precise questions and demonstrated a good skill to hear the answer. What really impressed me was father Gabriel’s speech. The thing is that I finished journalism at Leningrad University, at the Department of radio and television, and one of my classes was a word technique, which we studied for entire year: a quick pronunciation of words for clarity of articulation, breathing technique, work with the voice on a distance, warming up of the speech apparatus before start of the program – the lips, tongue, throat… So I listen to father Gabriel. He did not study at Leningrad University, not even at Belgrade University, he did not learn rhetoric, but his speech was so good! He clearly pronounces each letter, each word, with stops – so that listeners would be able to imagine what he is saying, every thought is logically designed and completed. His speech is very emotional, but he is calm and convincing. Where did he get such skills?
I asked this question when I met father Gabriel. And what do you think he answered me? “This is probably the practice,” father Gabriel smiled. “Do you know how much I have to talk via Skype?” The most interesting in this TV interview was question about most frequently asked questions and father Gabriel’s answers. Two books named “Spiritual conversations” led over the Skype are not accidentally published.
And of course, it is a moving fact that the monk in years was able to become aware of modern means of communication, but also to master and use those means to serve God and people.
And thanks RTRS for organizing this interview!
- editor, journalist and host of her own shows, a member of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Translated from Serbian by Jovana Čonjić
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Reverend Father, Christ is risen, I watched the show; I have to give you a comment.
People watch television as by a habit; it is very interesting when the interviewer announces interlocutor, who is not from lifestyle we used to (I intend to say that most people do not meet very often with the clergy, even less with a man like you), and when emphasize that direct connection with interlocutor is something other than “standard”. It attracts attention, and at the same time the interlocutor’s voice is heard “better”.
I believe attention of the listener is drawn just by that, the combination of you and everything you say is a combination of something that general public want to hear no matter if they are believers or non believers.
Maybe we need more of these direct interviews, at least for 5 minutes, but regularly, for example: once in a month or once in a week where you would give some “spiritual advices” for the current week. I believe that people would gladly accept such a TV program. You are a little bit “mystical” for the general public and that would be an opportunity for them to pay attention to your words.
We had an excellent workshop on the topic of the family yesterday in Belgrade. There were plenty of exhibitors and really we were able to hear a lot of smart things and proposals on the topics of relationships, education, family law, religion ... I have exhibited the theme “Modern families with the technological awareness and awareness of technology”; I tried to point out some observed standards, I will send you the text so if you think it is interesting for reading you can post on the internet site.
All the best from God,
Translated from Serbian by prof Bojana Popović
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FATHER GABRIEL AS A ROLE MODEL
Apostle Paul wrote in his Corinthians “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” (1 Corinthians, 4:16) directing the faithful how to behave, what to do and what not to do. So do we - we have before us the words and deeds of archimandrite Gabriel, who teaches us, instructs us, encourages us, comforts us, speaks about the Kingdom of God, speaks about love toward God and people. All of that could be read or heard on the website of the monastery Lepavina; there are two books of spiritual advices that are the result of father’s work over the Internet. As the result of all that was the TV program on Television Republika Srpska a day before Easter. Again, using modern technology, archimandrite Gabriel talks about spiritual topics. As he said: “I, as a monk who had been in the monastery for fifty years, use all those modern means for spiritual conversations, to spread the word of God, to spread the word about resurrected Christ, who with His own sacrifice redeemed the fallen man and opened the door of eternal life in the God’s Kingdom.
”So, summarizing all that he said, we can actually talk about the phenomenon of father Gabriel. If we know that he is fifty years in the monastery, that he devoted his life to the Lord, to prayer, to hard work on the restoration of monastery and his personal spirituality then it is possible to conclude that his monastic life is far from “our”, “real”, “secular” life. But this is not true. In fact, thanks to his spiritual growth he enclosed with his life and deed “our” everyday life –life that we live in different parts of the world, working various jobs, meeting our parental and spousal obligations.
His deep knowledge of man surprise us every time. Guided by God he answers clearly and wisely on our questions, doubts, concerns. Just as the Lord directed him in the past as well as in the present to discover the secrets of modern technology, to become superior communication theorist, who gets “doctorate” in a daily dialogue with us, his virtual family. Father Gabriel shows us that we should not be afraid of technology; he says: “It all depends on how we use the technology.” Father Gabriel has mastered computer skills, journalism skills by working on monastery journal and radio program. He is the author of two books and we have recently heard him on television, maybe he would become a TV spiritual father.
By doing all of this father Gabriel shows us how to develop our gifts, to strive so that everything we do is “seasoned” with faith, hope and love.
Ljiljana Sindjelic Nikolic
April 29th, 2011.
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Indeed Christ is Risen!Reverend father Gabriel,
I did not use computer for three days. Brother Nenad has sent me a video of your interview a moment ago; I can tell you it is great, and you are special in many ways. Congratulation!
I wish you and the brotherhood happy Easter, may you celebrate it in good health and joy.
Your in Christ, sister Slavica
Christ is Risen!Reverend father Gabriel,
I watched a video of your interview and I liked your direct participation in the TV program; I particularly liked your comments about our faith and your quick thinking and synchronized speech in direct communication. You did not have any error; every word was in “place”. Shortly, I am impressed and my rating is excellent.
Goodbye father Gabriel!
(Father Gabriel, I just wrote what Zarko dictated to me.
Your in Christ, sister Slavica)
Slavica i Zarko Djordjic
* * *
Indeed Christ is risen!
Reverend father, please bless!
Honestly, if somebody asked me to say something in front of video camera, I would have a huge stage fright. But you talked for the entire Republika Srpska! Your speech was very nice, you were well prepared and you gave good answers. Glory to God!
Congratulating you and your brotherhood the most joyous and the most beautiful holiday, the Feast of Feasts – The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ – we wish you a long lasting life, good health and all the best in the Resurrected Lord!
Vladimir, Anastasija, Marija, Jovana and Bojana
* * *
God help you father Gabriel, please bless.
After I heard your interview on Radio Television of the Republika Srpska, which you led in the Morning program on the Easter Saturday, I felt a need to write you a letter on your missionary work via informational technology.
Indeed, you multiplied the talents which were given to you by the Lord. Every day, whether summer or winter or day or night, you firmly enlighten and witness the great secret of Christian life. Our God Lord Jesus Christ chooses Apostles to go all over the world and preach the Gospel to every creature to be saved. Today, we have witnessed that through your work we get the same life saving words from the Gospel, but only on the easier and more accessible way.
Yes, everything has been given to us, but not everything is beneficial to us! I believe that through your spiritual conversations, you directed many people how to use informational technology the right way, so they could serve for salvation. There are many questions and it is not always easy to give an answer on them, but your extensive monastic experience is helpful. And lo! An end can be seen to all problems, there is an answer for every issue, and all doubts go away…
Your interview on the Television of Republika Srpska left me breathless.
With wishes that God grants you good health and lot of strength to lead the sinners on the right path, I kiss your right hand and ask for your blessing,
Your child in Christ,
* * *
The father’s spiritual message, chaste and justified goes: “No one should condemn, because everyone can correct his/her life.”
While watching her newborn, mother believes that the baby will live, grow, walk and talk. The child development is something that is expected. However, it is different with values that may not develop - love and happiness, pursuit of the Lord. It grows from the seed that is nurtured; it grows if there are favorable conditions for development, but if those conditions do not exist, the seed may die. Well, our beloved father nurtures all necessary light and temperature for the seed to grow. That seed directs us what to do in order to uphold and strengthen in the infinite collection of spiritual possibilities. The beauty of that continuing and relentless effort is that father presently uses all available technical possibilities to spread the word of God and to open horizons before us and the path to the Kingdom of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As a form of thanks for all that father Gabriel gave us, RTRS aired this interview just the day before joyous Feast of Christ’s Resurrection. This witness father Gabriel’s spiritual awareness and his missionary activity, with pre stressed view and hearing for new civilization’s flow. This technological vitality gives results to all of us, especially in the life of our youth.
Let’s not doubt, not even in one moment, father Gabriel’s power, because underneath all this work, lays a great effort. I know many younger people than father Gabriel who were afraid to engage and deal with technical progress and try to use it. I bow to the man who, in spite of his habits and the life he led before contact with computer, understands necessity of all aforementioned and washes our souls through various media.
Your in Christ,
* * *
CHRIST IS RISEN!
God help you, my father! I often thought what would be your next missionary enterprise. I listened your interview on the RTRS and it became clear that it would be on television. Your appearance in relatively short time period contained everything that one God-seeker would need, a spiritual advices that go right into the heart. I think that your spiritual advices we should listen several times in a day in order to remember every word: “everyone in the world…all over the world…a modern way of communication…there are no more barriers for communication between people…” and many others that were said in this interview.
At the same time, your first appearance on the TV was professional. Looking at it from the technical point of view, it made the host’s job easier.
Mostly respectful father Gabriel, from the bottom of my heart I wish you success in your missionary journey.
With deep respect and love,
your in Christ child,
Translated from Serbian by prof Bojana Popović