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Bishop Anthony Travels to Pilgrimage Sites in Europe

By Vicky Michaels

In May 2019, His Grace Bishop Anthony travelled to Rome, Italy, where his goddaughter and niece is currently studying abroad. We went to see where she has been studying and to visit the home of His Grace’s grandmother in Montenegro. We landed in Rome and met Antiochian priest Fr. Michael Nasser, who was there picking up his daughter Maria who was studying in Florence. Father took us to the site of St. Paul's imprisonment and martyrdom. We were able to see St. Paul’s prison cell as well as Tre Fontane where he was beheaded. When St. Paul's head was removed, it bounced three times and in that location, a fountain came up out of the ground. 

While in Rome we also visited St. Paul's Basilica, St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, and the Coliseum – all wonderful places to see!

From there we flew to Dubrovnik and drove to Montenegro. We were surrounded by mountains with the sea in the middle. Bishop Anthony was able to serve in the church of his grandmother, St. Nicholas in Kotor. How wonderful it was to see the old church and beautiful ancient town! The church even honored us with a reception after the liturgy. 

We also visited some holy sites while in Montenegro. We drove up in the mountains to Ostrog Monastery, and when we arrived they rang the bells of the entire monastery because the bishop was there. There were so many people lined up for blocks to see the holy relics of St. Basil of Ostrog, where many miracles of healing have happened. As His Grace walked up the stairs to venerate the relics, many people stopped him and asked him for a blessing. He anointed us with holy oil from the vigil lamp over St. Basil’s resting place. They were all so very happy to see the bishop. This monastery is built way up on the side of a mountain, and the beautiful icons were painted inside the walls of the mountain. The monks were so very kind to us and welcomed His Grace with a reception in his honor. People came from all over and spread their blanket out in the front of the monastery to spend the night in order to participate in the Divine Liturgy the next day. Many people took their shoes off and climbed the mountain without shoes; we were on holy ground. 

From there we went to Cetinje Monastery where we saw the right hand of St. John the Baptist (the hand that baptized Christ), a piece of the holy cross, and the relics of St. Peter of Cetinje. They called the monks and they all came to receive a blessing from Bishop Anthony. 

See pictures from His Grace’s European trip on Facebook.