Chariton (Lukic)

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Chariton Lukic was a monk at the Crna Reka monastery in Ribariće and Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren, Kosovo. He was kidnapped by armed persons in Prizren in 1999, tortured and killed. His body with signs of painful death was found a year later and was buried in the Crna Reka monastery.

Life

Fr. Chariton was born as Radoslav on November 21, 1960 in a pious family of Orthodox Christians. His parents' names were Budimir and Milka Lukic. They had 2 sons and 3 daughters. The hieromonk who was baptizing Radoslav, predicted that the child would become a monk, but at that time, nobody noticed those words. The father, Budimir Lukic, was a miner and died in an accident in 1973. The mother died 2 years later when Radoslav was 14 years of age so he had to take care of his grandparents, brother and sisters. In 1980 Radoslav served in army and started to work in electric industry. During this time, Radoslav's character traits were boldness, austerity, fervor of spirit, determination.

Living in the world, Radoslav gradually started to forget the Lord. But the providence led him to participation in the war in Crotatia in 1990. The horrors of war and the closeness of death completely soften the grounds of Radoslav's heart so that he turned to the Lord again with greater zeal. He met Hegumen Elias (Milinkovic) from the monastery of St. John the Baptist near the town of Nish. Fr. Elias became his spiritual father. Radoslav began to fast and pray again, and his zeal especially increased when he visited the Holy Land in 1995. He wanted to stay there in the monastery of St. Savas but Fr. Elias blessed Radoslav to enter the Crna Reka monastery of Rashko-Prizren diocese.

Radoslav became a novice at the Crna Reka monastery located in Ribariće and started to work in different obediences cutting out his will. He avoided jokes and talks with others, was striving to gain patience, humility and love for other people. Besides his monastery duties, he every day visited one poor old woman who lived nearby and helped her, brought her food, chopped wood and heated the house.

Two years later, he was sent to the monastery of St. Mark and then to the monastery of St. Archangels near Prizren.

On May 2 (April 19), 1998, Radoslav was tonsured a monk by Bishop Artemy with the name of St. Chariton the Consfessor (Chariton is Greek translation of Radoslav).

Fr. Chariton secretly wanted the cross of suffering for Christ. It is concluded from the fact that the accepted without fear an obedience which was to help people in the time of the largest criminal and terrorist activity when many people were killed and many others had to flee from Kosovo. When monks were offered to temporary leave Kosovo due to terrorist activity, Fr. Chariton refused. Chariton was finding people who were in dangerous situation and transported them in safer places. His dedication and fearlessness became apparent when he was removing the killed Serbian soldiers from center of Prizren occupied by Albanians. At the same time, Chariton never said a bad word about the enemies, especially about civilian Albanians, seeing in them a Lord's creation.

On June 15, 1999, about 11 AM, Fr. Chariton's car was stopped by a group of terrorists in uniform. They took Chariton into an unknown place. That happened in front of German peacekeepers and a journalist. The German journalist filmed everything and informed the bishop about that. When Fr. Elias, the first spiritual father of Chariton, got to know about this kidnapping, he said: "Father Chariton is a martyr for Christ".

The body of Fr. Chariton was found on August 8th, 2000, in an unmarked individual grave in the cemetery of the Albanian village of Tusus near Prizren by the Commission of exhumation. The body was decapitated and severely mutilated. The head was not found. There were ID and prayer rope with the body. The body was buried in the first monastery of Fr. Chariton – Crna Reka on November 12, 2000. His spiritual father, Fr. Elias, reposed in 2004 and lies in a neighboring grave.

In an interview, Archimandrite Luke (Anich) tells about one event that happened in 1999: "What happened to me is something that I did not understand and I was not ready for. It happened at the ordination of Bishop Gregory Zahumsko-Herzegovinian in the town of Trebinje. After ordination, there was a meal. There was a head table for us, the abbots of large monasteries. But one of the abbots did not come, and Fr. Chariton was put in his place because there was no other place. He was placed between the abbots, and he became a monk only a year ago. However, as soon as he sat down next to me, such feeling of peace spread from him that I was just amazed. "How is it possible - I thought - that after only one year of monastic life, a person has acquired such peace." It was a complete peace that carries over to the others and that is inspiring. I remember that his hands were covered with some small scratches. He looked like he was a monk for 30-40 years. I felt like a small child in front of him, as to the older brother, who has over a decade of monastic life, who has passed all its trials and temptations, and was granted peace. Such a peace I already felt close to some people, great ascetics, and the same piece spread from Chariton. I was shocked. We were not even talking too much during that meal, that much he shone with the peace. A few days later, Chariton was martyred."

Archimandrite Luke (Anich) adds: "I spoke to some bishops, they said that you can pray to him as to a saint, he is a saint, he was killed because he wanted to protect others. Complete, all-embracing peace emanating from him was such that it is evident - he reached the heights of the spiritual life and was ready to finish his earthly journey."

Sources

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