Translated by: Kalina Maleska
At the end of the year I finished with excellent grades. The rector said that the Archbishop gave his consent for me to go to the university. I, therefore, returned to Mala Bogorodica in the summer. To wait for the autumn in prayers and fasting. I felt as a drifted sheep among my brethren, a bit said for I did not have the support of Father Aleksej. My days passed by somehow with the hymns and psalms, and I began, though it was indeed difficult, to find meaning in the monastic life. Father Aleksej went where the sun rises, and it seemed to me that he took forever with himself the former Naum Furnadziev, and, as a substitute, he left to Inokentie the toll of the bells and the love towards the serenity with which he will defeat (he must defeat!) the shrewdest lusts of earthly life (the first one was already defeated in front of the iron gate of the seminary – “Share the bed with a woman!”). A bud of happiness, sensed long ago, grew inside me. It was, in the same time, a sign that I found the meaning of my monastic life.
But one day…
… It was Sunday, a Sunday in August. With beads in my hands, on whose ambers I counted my prayers (a present from Aleksej), I would go with my older brethren to a liturgy. On the other side of the monastery gate, belching of the bells of a carriage horse was heard. Abbot Irinej ordered to me:
“Brother Inokentie, open the gate!”
I opened the two large iron gates with difficulty and I made way for the carriage. I saw inside (of course I saw, it passed right in front of my nose!) three children, three children and one woman, and another woman in yellow linen dress with black dots. She seemed to look at me in surprise, smiled at me and I heard, as the carriage passed:
“Thank you, Father.”
Her voice enthralled me:
“Oh, Krisula, what a young monk!”
And I heard the merry laughter of the one called Krisula:
“Well, Marika, there are young and old.”
“Lord, absolve us of our sins…” I murmured and ran towards my room. But Abbot Irinej stopped me.
“Take the ladies to our supporters and donors, the Mitracevi brothers, in the room next to the Bishop’s…” And accelerated his step, and stoked his curly beard (maybe in order to curl it?).
Igno the servant and I carried the suitcases and the boxes and the two young women admired the beauties of the monastery in the midst of the oak trees. We left the things, so I felt better to be able to disappear from the room next to the Bishop’s, but as I was leaving I heard again the voice of the one called Marika:
“Really, how old are you?”
I was watching at yellow and black somewhere around the knees. I said:
“This is your room, ladies,” and the fear broke my will. And: what I called the bud of happiness was smoldered by a hot wind that blew inside me.
During those days, I felt the fever. I lay in bed and did not go to the morning nor to the evening prayer. Only the bells sent through the window support for me to endure in the torture that suddenly overwhelmed me. Surprised and frightened, however, I noticed: without Father Aleksej, their toll is quiet and quieter still. I twisted in my bed for several days and nights, I repeated the prayers silently, then half audibly, then loudly, then, I think, I yelled and shouted, begging for mercy: to purify the sinful thoughts inside me. Nothing soothed me. On the contrary, I had the feeling that, the same flames that were burning inside me on the Bitola promenade among the oak trees, fortified now with double, triple force, and convinced me that I shall be unable to overcome them, turn them to ashes.