In the village, religion was an integral part of life and was included in the schools’ curriculum. The government annually appropriated money in their fiscal budget to run the churches, which included paying the priests. The priest also received gratuities from the villagers on special events and for special services. Everyone in the village was an Eastern Orthodox Christian.
There was no choir in the church to assist the priest as in the USA. The priest’s helpers were Psalters (chanters, men only) from the village that usually had better voices than the average villager. The grade school children (boys only) served as altar boys and chanted (not read) the epistles that were assigned to them by the school teacher.
There was no social event in the village that did not involve the village priest. During my time in the village, the priest was Popo Naki Ristovski. He was ordained after very little training in a monastery and performed his priestly duties on a part time basis. He, otherwise, worked his farm or cared for his animals just as any other villager.