In spring 2010, a student of the Orthodox Theological Faculty of Belgrade invited me to visit the well-known monasteries of his region of Valjevo: Celije, Pustinja and Lelich. I had heard of Nicholai Velimirovich before. I knew about his outstanding role in the Serbian Orthodox Church and the 20th century history of the Serbian people. But when I saw his birth place and breathed the air and the spiritual atmosphere of this amazing scenery, he became for me a much more living person.
The following text is not a research paper on his homilies, but an exegetical essay. However, I am grateful to the Nicholai Studies for publishing it, since it shares the endeavour which was Nicholai’s: to read and patiently reread the Gospel and to communicate the teaching of Jesus Christ as faithfully as possible so that it may illuminate both our personal lives and the destinies of our nations.
The Serbian Chrysostom insisted that we need Christ to open our eyes in order to understand who He is. This is precisely what the central section of Saint Mark’s Gospel, analysed in the present study, is about. It also contains this aspect of Jesus’ teaching which was central for Bishop Nicholai: we will see God’s Kingdom and walk with head held high when we follow in the steps of Jesus, when we, instead of sacrificing the others to our interests, become their servants.