The Diocesan Bishop

Bishop Artemije - On a Cross with his people
His Grace Bishop of Raska and Prizren

A R T E M I J E

Biography of H.G. Bishop Dr. Artemije (Radosavljevic):

His Grace Bishop Dr. Artemije
Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren


His Grace Bishop Artemije (Radosavljevic) (pronounced: Art-eh-my-eh Rado -sav- lyevich) was born on January 15, 1935 in the village of Lelic near Valjevo (central Serbia). He finished elementary school in his native village and lower secondary education in Valjevo proper. Following this he attended the Orthodox Seminary in Belgrade. During his early years he became acquainted with the famous spiritual father and confessor Fr. Justin Popovic who was confined in the Celije monastery, a few miles away from the birth house of Bishop Artemije. Young Marko (his civil name) became his first post-war spiritual child and was tonsured by Fr. Justin in Celije just after finishing his Seminary on November 20, 1960 receiving a new monastic name - Artemije. Fr. Justin gave the blessing to the young monk Artemije to attend the theological studies at the Belgrade Theological Faculty. Fr. Artemije, who was in the meanwhile consecrated a deacon and the hieromonk, finished his studies successfully in 1964.

Between 1964 and 1968 Fr. Artemije worked as a theology professor in Krka Seminary (Dalmatia). His spiritual father gave him the blessing to go to postgraduate theological studies in Athens where he completed his PhD in theology on: "The Mystery of Salvation according to St. Maximus the Confessor". On his return to his homeland he was appointed by the Patriarchate to the Prizren Seminary. After one year, with the blessing of Fr. Justin and Bishop Pavle of Prizren, he retreated to the small and deserted monastery of
Crna Reka in 1978 where he spent his last 13 years before his election for Bishop of Raska and Prizren in 1991. During his stay in Crna Reka archimandrite Artemije made a great spiritual revival and gathered around himself twenty young monks who later became abbots of several Kosovo monasteries, eventually resulting in an intensive spiritual and monastic revival in the whole diocese. In addition, he developed the publishing activity of the Diocese with the diocesan periodical "St. Prince Lazar". In 1992, his first spiritual child, Fr. Justin (Stefanovic) was elected a Bishop of Timok and very soon reorganized the spiritual and monastic life in his Diocese in Eastern Serbia.|

Today, Bishop Artemije is a member of the Standing Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He is very active in pastoral, theological work and translating. In his theological approach he greatly relies on hesychastic monastic tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Holy Fathers as well as the rich local Serbian spiritual tradition of St. Bishop Nikolaj of Zica and Ochrid and St. Justin Popovic.

Diocese of Raska and Prizren

Abba Artemije
Abbot Artemije in Crna Reka (photo taken during the eighties)

Bishop Artemije
Bishop Artemije in 1991 when he became Bishop of Kosovo and Metohija


hieromonk Artemije, abba Justin of Celije and hieromonk Amfilohije
(the photo was taken in the late 70ties in Celije monastery)


Activities during and after Kosovo conflict in 1999

Bishop Artemije had clearly distanced himself and the Church from the former, repressive Milosevic regime. During the last several years he had no access to regime-controlled media, including Pristina TV and radio. Many times he was attacked from both sides. Extremist Serbs accused him of treason and extremist Albanians called him nationalist. But the position of Bishop Artemije remained consistent - opposition to any violence and condemnation of any crime, no matter from which side it comes. As much as he condemned policy of repression and wartime crimes committed by Milosevic's paramilitaries Bishop has also strongly condemned the crimes of UCK (KLA) against innocent Serb civilians, especially in the post-war period. He also strongly condemned the NATO bombing of Serbia in which many civilians were killed too.

As soon as the war was over the Bishop took upon himself a difficult role of the leadership of his people even in political life. Politics for him has never been an ambition but a necessity in order to save his people from both sides. Bishop Artemije traveled all over the world to present his view of the Kosovo problem. Since he began his trips of peace and truth in 1997 visiting several European capitals he reiterated a strong message that the source of the Kosovo problem is a enduring idea of Kosovo Albanian secessionism which dates back from the 19th century and is based on the idea of homogenization and unification of all Albanian inhabited territories in SE Europe. Their goal of secession from Yugoslavia found a very good excuse in the undemocratic government of Slobodan Milosevic and was immediately presented to the Western world as a legal struggle for human rights and democracy. The true face of the Kosovo Albanian view of democracy was revealed immediately after the war in which civilians on all sides suffered. As soon as the UN Mission came to Kosovo with KFOR peacekeepers Kosovo Albanian extremists launched and organized a campaign of ethnic cleansing and systematic destruction of non-Albanian cultural and religious heritage. Serbian Orthodox churches, many of them dating back to medieval times, were targeted with exceptional vandalism. With the export of Albanian "democratic" revolution to Macedonia in 2001, the warnings conveyed by Bishop Artemije to western leaders several years before became truth and evident for all to see. From all territories occupied by Albanian extremists and mafia, Slav populations were forced to move out. Bishop Artemije has never supported repression as a political method but has always supported peaceful coexistence of different ethnic communities in a democratic society. As much as he could never approve of the violence used by the Milosevic police and army he also strongly opposed turning Kosovo Province into an ethnically clean Albanian province.

Bishop Artemije had many high level meetings on these issues. Aside from almost all European Foreign Ministers, the Bishop had three meetings with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former President Bill Clinton and many other world renowned politicians. During all of these meetings the Bishop made strong appeals to cease the systematic destruction by Kosovo Albanian extremists of the Serb people in Kosovo and their religious and cultural monuments and give freedom to all. In June 2000 Bishop Artemije had a meeting with the UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan and other UN officials.

"At the moment Kosovo Albanians are only free in Kosovo, but to be more precise they are free to do what they want and how they want. The freedom for others does not exist except in enclosed enclaves and ghettoes. This is not multi-ethnicity but a simulation of democracy and peace", this has been one of the most often repeated conclusions of Bishop Artemije.

Additional Reference:

For more information on positions of Bishop Artemije regarding the Kosovo issue you can download a zip-file with 15 MS Word documents (testimonies in US Congress, public letter, statements, interviews) /bishop_texts.zip   500 KB 

TEXTS AND INTERVIEWS

 

Bishop Artemije in front of UN Headquarters in Pristina
Bishop Artemije in search for justice for his suffering people

Kosovo Serb Delegation in the Security Council
Bishop Artemije in UN Security Council Meeting with Kofi Anan, GENSEC, Sep. 2000

Bishop arriving by helicopter
Bishop Artemije - just arrived to Gracanica manastery in a white UN helicopter
The Bishop is under constant guard of special UNMIK close protection unit

Bishop in his throne
Bishop Artemije in his Episcopal Throne in Decani Monastery, 1999