Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Elder Tadej of Vitovnitsa

Elder Tadej of Vitovnitsa
Father Tadej (Thaddeus, Фадей) was born in Serbia in 1914. Aged 15, he was told by doctors that he had only five years to live. The young man entered the monastery of Milkovo, where he became a monk, the disciple of Russian monks who had taken refuge there. They had come to Serbia as a result of the Bolshevik coup d'etat in Russia and the neo-calendarist persecution of Orthodoxy at Valaam Monastery, then in Finland. Among the Russian monks at Milkovo was the well-known Fr. Ambrose, a disciple of St Ambrose of Optina. It was from him that Fr. Thaddeus soon learned the Jesus Prayer.

After the repose of his revered elder, the saintly Fr. Ambrose, Fr. Thaddeus moved to the monastery of Gorniak, where he was tonsured by its Russian Abbot Fr. Seraphim. Two years later Fr. Thaddeus was ordained priest. After this he was given various obediences and until the outbreak of the Second World War served at the Patriarchate in Pec.

From here he returned to Belgrade where he was arrested by the Gestapo, who had already arrested Patriarch Gabriel and the future St Nicholas (Velimirovich). They considered Fr Thaddeus to be one of the leaders of the Serbian resistance to the Nazi occupation. However, these charges were dropped, Fr. Thaddeus was released and he set off for the monastery of Vintovitsa.

Fr. Thaddeus was to remain in Vintovitsa for most of the rest of his life. He became known as an elder and every day received all who came to him for advice, support and consolation. However, he was persecuted by those jealous of him and spent the final years of his life with spiritual children. He departed this life on 13 March 2003 and was buried in the monastery of Vitovnitsa. He is venerated by his many spiritual children, especially Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Bosnians, including former Muslims whom he converted to Christ.

Sayings of Elder Tadej in English
Sayings of Elder Tadej in Serbian

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