Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
Reposed on April 14 2003
Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica was one of the most renowned spiritual guides of Serbia in the twentieth century. As a novice he lived in obedience to Elder Ambrose of Miljkovo Monastery, a disciple of the Optina Elders. From him Fr. Thaddeus learned the Prayer of the Heart and the selfless love that came to characterize his whole ministry to the suffering Serbian people. He was born on October 10, 1914 in the village of Vitovnica as Tomislav Štrbulović. Elder Thaddeus lived through all the suffering endured by Serbia in the twentieth century. Over the course of two World Wars, during the Communist takeover, and through the Nato bombings of 1999, he co-suffered with his people. He taught, counseled, and prayed for all who came to him in pain and sorrow. His words of love and hope provided spiritual balm for people from all classes of society. However, he was persecuted by those jealous of him and spent the final years of his life in Backa Palanka in Vojvodina with his spiritual children, in the family Slobodan Grubora .
On the night from 13 to 14 April 2003 Elder Thaddeus departed to the Lord, and was buried on April 15, 2003 in the monastery of Vitovnica. leaving behind a large collection of his teachings, preserved by his faithful spiritual children.
May the Lord give us the spiritual strength to transform ourselves. We know that time is running out, and the evil spirits know this, too. They do not want a single person to be free from evil thoughts. With that aim, they teach even small children to oppose their parents so that, when these children grow up, they will be easy prey for them…
But it call all take a turn for the good if each one of us begins with himself, if the transformation starts with us. We should try to have good thoughts which will radiate from us. A meek and humble person is always very pleasant to be with, for he emanates peace and warmth. That person may not say a single word, yet we rejoice to be in his presence. So, if we all begin with ourselves, transformation will take place. Goodness will be renewed and established all around us, in our country, and further abroad.
Obedience constructs and self-will destructs. A child has to learn to be obedient to its parents and to God. It’ll remember the words of its parents all its life and will always respect its elders, and not only those but people who are younger, too. It’ll be polite and careful with everyone. Unfortunately, there are very few families who bring their children up in this way.
The holy will of God works within us from our parents or through our teachers or our employers. If we need to correct the behaviour of a child, we have to do it with great love and care. If the only thing we have in mind is to change the life of the child, we’ve already given it a slap just with our thoughts.
We punish our children, but, in fact, have no right to do so, because we’ve failed to teach them the right way.
The first step to communion with God is to give ourselves up to God completely.
With God’s help we can do everything, everything, when we turn to the Lord with our hearts.
We can keep guard over the whole world by keeping guard over the atmosphere of heaven within us; for if we lose the Kingdom of Heaven, we will save neither ourselves nor others. He who has the Kingdom of God within himself will imperceptibly pass it on to others. People will be attracted to the peace and warmth in us; they will want to hear us, and the atmosphere of heaven will gradually pass on to them. It is not even necessary to speak to people about this. The atmosphere of heaven will radiate from us even when we keep silent, or talk about ordinary things. It will radiate from us even though we may not be aware of it.
We are the sons of light and love, the sons of God, His Children. As such we must have His qualities and His attributes of love, peace, and kindness toward all.
Peace and joy are the greatest riches in this world and in the world to come.15. As well as keeping peace in your heart, practise standing before the Lord. This means
constantly keeping in mind the fact that the Lord is looking at us.
Our thoughts not only cause wars and eathquakes, but also the pollution of the environment.
This is surpassed by spiritual pollution, which is much more dangerous.
Work hard to have good thoughts and goodwill towards friends and enemies and you will see what good fruit you and everyone around you will receive.
Cease to think evil of your superiors or colleagues at work, change your evil thoughts to good ones and you will see how the bahaviour of your one time ‘enemies’ will change.
When you get up in the morning, do not leave the house without praying and in the evening thank God for the wonderful day.