SPEECHES ON THE PRESENTATION OF THE BOOK
CRUCIFIED KOSOVO
Belgrade Town Hall, 13 September 1999

 

The Speech of Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro
The Speech of Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren

 

Amfilohije, Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral

Shame And Blame In The Face Of Christian Europe

Your Holiness, Your Grace, dear brothers and sisters,
Our wise episkopos spoke wisely sometime in the month of June. We are fighting, said he, a new Kosovo battle but this time we have no venerable Knez (the closest English equivalent of this title is Prince) and no Holy Cross. The venerable Knez was replaced by irreligion. Irreligion, as known to people from times immemorial, lacks in faith. The Holy Cross has been substituted for a "target", the suicidal sign of the God Shiva, which I had found in the deserted Patrijarsijska street leading towards the Patriarchate of Pec last June. It has also been replaced by an Albanian flag that is now, for the first time since the Battle of Kosovo, flown from the house nearest to the Patriarchate.

This was obviously meant to happen, justifiable probably by some historical logic, or some deeper moral code, but also based on the ways mysterious even to God. Everything that has been going on in Kosovo since 1941 lead to this which is happening today and that has not happened in 600 years. This year's Vidovdan (the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, 28 June) has undoubtedly been the most dreadful of all such holidays for entire Serbian nation both in Kosovo and Metohija and outside of it.

On the eve of the Vidovdan liturgy, which we served behind the altars of our ancient archbishopric and patriarchal temples in the Partiarchate of Pec and with the blessing of His Holiness, we laid to rest the bodies of Mileva Vujosevic, aged 50, shot dead with a bullet, her brains, in which I stepped on entering her house, strewn and Marica Maric, a retarded girl, who was raped in her poor abode in Belo Polje. We found her on a broken couch, dead, disfigured. These two we buried just before Vidovan and, as we served the Vidovdan Liturgy in the Patriarchate of Pec, we could not help feeling that this was really the most horrific Vidovdan over the past 600 year which affected all the Serbs and had a special effect on the Serbian national entity in Kosovo. We felt that the vladika (the equivalent of prince bishop Rade's words "Kosovo is a huge court-house with Sodom raging in its midst" really came to be the words of a prophet.

Today Kosovo is, if that is of any consolation to us, really a "huge court-house". It is the court in which our people are being tried, the court where Shqiptars are being tried, the court where Europe and the civilized world are also being tried. Today's verdict, being passed on the world, was written in a gospel before Christ's Golgotha and its continuation, I have a felling, happens to coincide with what is going on in Kosovo and Metohija at present. What is happening here today concerns not only us but is also relevant to the entire modern world, the Christian civilization and is pertinent to the man at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. When speaking with European and American dignitaries during their visits to the Patriarchate I have repeatedly said, which may have been found objectionable by some, that what has been occurring is foremost a disgrace and a shame of my people, one segment of my people that is. This I have repeated and I repeat it again. It is also a disgrace on the part of the Albanians, one honourable nation who is also a God's people deserving of its place under the sun, the time and space in which to bear the fruit of their labour. What one fraction of this people has been doing in the name of all is a disgrace and a shame on the face of the entire nation. The things taking place in Kosovo today as well as those which happened during the bombardment are, as I kept repeating and am repeating it now, disgraceful and the Christian Europe should feel ashamed The Christian Europe and American civilization brought upon themselves the blame which they ought to be ashamed of. It is a disgrace that the 20th century is coming to its close by bombs being dropped on a sinful and, as His Holiness sometimes points out in His prayers, sinful all around but not without a reason, nevertheless Europe's ancient, Christian and honourable nation. This is how Europe is commemorating the 2000 years of Christianity and this is how it is entering the third millennium. This is also something most tragic and absurd that every sensible person ought to stop over and think about, regardless of what nation or religion he/she belongs to.

A part of this disgrace and shame has been presented, in word and picture, in the book called "Crucified Kosovo". The original list numbered over fifty temples but in the meantime additional twenty temples and monasteries, razed to the ground within the last fortnight, have been added to it. The latest report announced that the Monastery of Zociste, in the vicinity of Velika Hoca, has been levelled with the ground - an ancient medieval monastery, place famous for its healing properties, of importance not only for Orthodox Serbs but all inhabitants living around the monastery. Over the past years more Muslims and Shqiptars than Serbs frequented the Monastery of the Holy Physicians, especially in times of evil and deadly disease, the heinousness, which in many ways is accountable for the state, we now find ourselves in. Today the monastery with its temple and the buildings surrounding it are completely razed to the ground. The same destiny befell, and there is evidence of this, the Monastery of St King Milutin, in Musutiste. Now that his name is mentioned I must reveal before God what I heard has been happening in Kosovo. During bombardment a chief of the police came to a priest to inform him on an impending destruction of a mosque. The priest responded: " I beg you in God's name, don't destroy the mosque because if you do you will also destroy our temple." The policeman turned his head, went away and the mosque was pulled down. So how can anyone be certain that those, who "awaited their five minutes", will spare anyone's temple. Be assured, and we who have been in Kosovo and Metohija over the past few months can testify it to be true, that had it not been for the presence of the international forces in Kosovo at this very moment the Patriarchate of Pec, as well as Decani and Gracanica, too, would have been reduced to rubble and turned into ashes. There would be no Serb left in the area. The situation is as it stands now. This booklet is a small insert, which tells about the situation we are in.

That which has been left of the temples, holy places and people is to be found in reservations today and I am certain that even the Indian reservations are in a much better state than those in Serbia, including the enclaves in Kosovo and Metohija. The Patriarchate of Pec is a reservation of a kind, all in bunkers, under the search lights, protected by tenks. In spite of everything there were missiles launched the other day, as you have heard, but fortunatelly did not fall on the temple or the konak (residential quarters). Instead, they landed somewhere in between the two. Decani is also in a reservation as is Gracanica and all other places where our people live. Gora'devca, to mention some, is the only village on the Metohija side which remained. The reservations mentioned are temporarily secured, with a sword of Damocles hanging above them as it were. A deep, existential fear has entered them as did hundreds of people, out of some 30,000 from Pristina, who are now waiting to leave this hell. We have a list with the names of some 200 kidnapped and murdered people only in the Pec area but the number is not conclusive. There sure are tens of murdered people that are still unaccounted for, not the mention the kidnapped from this region alone. There must be over 400 abducted persons which are believed to be killed. Recently, a hole has been discovered in the vicinity of Istok and in it 40 corpses were found, among which was the body of Father Stefan from Budisavac Monastery. Father Hariton is still unaccounted for, and has been for quite some time. And, for as long as Kosovo is in such a reservation Serbia, together with its leaders and the entire population, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia itself, will also be in one. Theirs will have a cul-de-sac. The circle around Serbian people is getting increasingly smaller, with all diplomatic and political connections and humanitarian links being severed, not to mention personal ties with the international community. Those who, at this time, should be taking the people out of this situation they are in for the first time in their history are shunned by the entire world which does not wish to speak to them; the fact obvious to anyone who has the eyes and the ears. Whether those who do not want or do not wish to communicate are in the right or not is another issue. But chosing the target conscieslly or unconscieslly as their symbol, the symbol for something much more profound, by which these people have opted out for the road to suicide, should this situation in our country continue, is a historical and also a tragic fact. This means that the people have lost, on a deeper level, their sense of dignity, the sense for the future and the possibility for their survival and a come-back to the company of mature nations of the world. Each person may carry within themselves a suicidal drive which is everybody's torment and a joint sorrow. But turning their illness, their suicidal tendencies into a living style and a way of thinking and acting on behalf of an entire nation and expecting them to accept it, equalls the failure in understanding of the human nature. One thing, obvious from all that has been happening in Kosovo, is certain and must be said. There seems to be public, or maybe secret, plan and aspiration on the part of the international community to turn Kosovo into some kind of international protecorate.I do not believe I will live long enough, God's willing, to see Kosovo without the presence of the international forces which usually, after having stayed in another's land, another's country, another's home for too long, turn into an occupying force. At present Kosovo is a protectorate. In a long run it will become a NATO pact protectorate but also, by the looks of it, it is being prepared to become an indepenedent state which, one day, will be incorporated into a Greater Albania. Whether this is the plan of the European community I cannot fathom. Anyway, all that is taking place in Kosovo and Metohija at this moment points out in that direction.

Also, whether the people will gather strenght to establish unbiased and genuine relationship with the international community, to find new ways out of this misery, the Kosovo straits, depends on God and God's intentions but also on us all. Let this booklet about the crusified Kosovo be an incentive for us and our joint responsibility, before God, before history and before the modern world, that will help restore our dignity and enable our come-back, with due respect of all human rights, to our ancient lands, our ancient hearths.

May God grant and let it happen.
Thank you.


Artemy, Bishop of Raska and Prizren

The cross which Kosovo was crucified on has been made in Belgrade

Your Holiness, reverend elders, honourable brothers and sisters,

Crucified Kosovo, Kosovo on a cross. Can a more horrifying picture be
imaginable?

One does not speak before a cross. One silently laments over one's pain, or
weeps in tears, in front of a cross. We are, however, forced to speak about the crucified Kosovo under its very cross. And we do so in pain and in tears. What hurts most is the feeling and the knowledge that the cross, which Kosovo was crucified on, has been dressed here, in the capital Belgrade and that the masters, who made the cross and had Kosovo crucified on it, are claiming the event to be their victory and are celebrating it as a great triumph. We all know, or have somehow been informed, about the occurrences in Kosovo but noone realizes the whole truth. Not even us living in Kosovo nor those who were born here understand what has befallen us. The day the peace treaty was signed and the resolution of the Security Council has been accepted, in the aftermath of the unheard of conflicts and atrocities committed in Kosovo, when we expected a real democratic solution to the Kosovo problem, the inevitable has occurred: the persecution and pogrom of the Serbian people living in Kosovo ensued. With the arrival of the international peace keeping forces, as they like to call themselves, to Kosovo a hell broke out for Kosovo Serbs. The most sacred of Serb land was turned into an inferno where everything burns to ashes. I have no desire to dwell on the causes here as I believe they are known to everybody. But let us ask what has happened since the day a certain military-technical agreement was accepted, and in Kumanovo treason of Kosovo was signed. It was then that all doors and gates opened, like a dam, letting in a human flood from Albania, Macedonia. Hundreds of thousands of Albanians previously expelled from Kosovo thronged and with them came many of those who had never even been to nor had lived in Kosovo. Along with the self-proclaimed and armed "Liberation Army of Kosovo", rested and trained in Albania, arrived numerous other gangs and bands of robbers and criminals. The wave was unstoppable; there was nobody to halt it. The international forces arrived to the region not to prevent the arrival but to assist it. That is why diplomats, who come to Kosovo, feel complacent about the results that have been achieved during the past two and a half months. Something that has never happened in the history of the entire world has happened now. Getting 700.000 exiled people back to their homes is what they see. That is what they want to see, not the new convoys with refugees leaving Kosovo and heading in the opposite direction, in the arms of "Terror", i.e. Serbia.

Brothers and sisters,

As you have heard from His Grace the Metropolitan Amfilohije, within the last two and a half months over 160.000 Serbs and some 30.000 other non-Albanians, namely Romanies, have been forced, under the threat of violence and torture, to leave Kosovo. The whole of Metohija has been purged as well as many towns in central Kosovo, and endangered are entire enclaves with Serb population with some 100.000 Serbs, praise be to God, still living there. Today they are the main targets for a campaign aimed at making them shift so that the centuries old Shqiptars' dream of an ethnically cleansed Kosovo can be realized. It is understandable that their primary aim is to expel all Serbs and the second is to eradicate all traces and witnesses, which could serve as evidence that the Serbs have existed at all. But who and what are the witnesses - churches, monasteries and holy places? So the Shqiptars set out to destroy the witnesses, to obliterate the traces. In two and a half months more than 70 monasteries and churches were burnt in a fire, demolished or levelled with the ground. Among them were the churches built by our illustrious and holy ancestors in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. The churches and monasteries, which survived the 500 years of Turkish occupation, did not endure the two months in the presence of 50.000 strong international "peace-keeping" force. Beside the ancient churches - each one representing an open wound, questions over them as to whether they will ever heal - there were churches built in recent times which were consecrated, or were due to be, those still under construction such as the ones in Djakovica, Djurakovac, Pecka Banja, to mention a few. This small but valuable book serves as a testimony of our times, our suffering, and our ill fate. And a horrendous picture it paints.

A question remains, however, as to whether we should allow our spirit to flag and accept the notion of a lost Kosovo. No, not yet. In spite of everything that has been happening Kosovo has not yet been lost for the Serbs or Serbia. While there are Serbs in Kosovo it will be theirs. Should we be there no more, it will not be ours even if Kosovo were lying within Serbia's' frontiers. It still belongs to the Serbs and we hope, God's willing, it will remain so. So whom does its survival depend on? It depends on us! Only on us! Kosovo will be saved if the regime in Belgrade, which led us into the situation we are in, is changed. Should the regime prevail at the expense of its people, perish the thought, then Kosovo will be lost forever.

The crucified Kosovo can resurrect only in a resurrected, free, democratic, born again Serbia. Let us do our outmost to make this happen as soon as possible.

Thank you.

translated by Vesna Novakovic