Preserve Hilandar

The Hilandar Monastery donated space for the Serbian school for additional education, named “Sveti Sava” in Thessaloniki


On January 28, 2024, in Thessaloniki, the Serbian school for additional education “Sveti Sava” was consecrated and officially opened in new premises belonging to the Hilandar Monastery Office in Thessaloniki. The school will be attended by a total of 94 students.

The Minister without Portfolio for the diaspora, Đorđe Milićević, Archimandrite Methodius, the abbot of Hilandar Monastery, Serbia’s Consul in Thessaloniki, Jasmina Milačić, and the administrator of the Hilandar Monastery Office in Thessaloniki, Protoiereus-Stavrophor Aleksandar Pavlović, were present at the school opening ceremony.

Abbot Methodius and Minister Milićević cut the ribbon together. A plaque was unveiled with the inscription – “The Holy Monastery of Hilandar, with paternal love, donates this school in honor and glory of Saint Sava.

The abbot, with his brotherhood, in Thessaloniki, on January 27, 2024.”

Minister Milićević donated elementary school textbooks used for teaching children to read and write, so-called ‘’bukvar’’, as well as other textbooks to the school principal, Ms. Antonina Miljković. Emphasizing the importance of preserving our identity and language, he stated that the opening of this school, organized by the General Consulate of Serbia in Thessaloniki and Hilandar Monastery, is a significant step in that direction. According to him, not only will this school provide additional education for Serbian children in Greece, but it will also be a place where they will nurture their language, culture, tradition and patriotic spirit. The minister emphasized that enabling our children to learn their mother tongue wherever they live is the obligation of us all. He also stressed that the Ministry’s collaboration with the Ministry of Education did their best to support their work and reminded us that thousands of books, Cyrillic primers referred to as ‘’bukvar’’ and other textbooks were distributed to students of schools of this kind across Europe.

Saint Sava, after whom this school is named, left a profound and indelible mark on our history. His deeds and thoughts continue to inspire us to cultivate a love for knowledge, tolerance, solidarity, and a spirit of unity, concluded Minister Milićević.

In his speech, Abbot Methodius emphasized the importance of preserving the Serbian language. He shared insights gained from living on Mount Athos for nearly 30 years, highlighting the Greeks’ respect for their language, the pride they take in it and their commitment to preserving their language.

The celebration of the school’s opening in new premises and the celebration of St. Sava’s Day, organized under the patronage of Hilandar Monastery, the Republic of Serbia, and the Republic of Greece, continued at the “Macedonia Palace” hotel.

As per the agreement between the Hilandar Monastery Office in Thessaloniki and the General Consulate of Serbia in Thessaloniki, and upon the monastery’s proposal, starting from the 2023/24 school year, Serbian language classes have been organized in the premises of the consulate. For that purpose, three premises have been renovated and equipped with the necessary furniture and classroom aids. The pupils attend the classes in Serbian language in three classrooms. For the previous 12 years, until the school year 2022/23, classes in the Serbian language were organized in the premises of the 34th Elementary School in Thessaloniki. These premises were used without any financial compensation. The classes were taught by a freelance teacher Ana Đoganović.

Parents and staff state that the conditions for organizing classes are very good, and that both children and teacher feel welcome. The change in the location for teaching in Serbian is based on common goals focused on preserving the Serbian identity, fostering connections with the homeland, and creating unity between the representation of the Republic of Serbia, Hilandar Monastery, and the Serbian community in Greece.

The children’s choir of the Serbian school “Sveti Sava,” the Cultural-Artistic Society “Dimitrije Koturović,” and the Belgrade Male Choir, all made contribution to the ceremony.

In the last three years, the Republic of Serbia has opened 34 Serbian schools for additional education worldwide.

The patronage of Hilandar and the donation of necessary space and equipment represent a part of the monastery’s broader mission and activities in working with children and the youth. This mission was initiated with summer camps and collaboration with Mathematical and Zemun Grammar schools in Belgrade and will be expanded through other initiatives.