Crucified Kosovo The focal point for Kosovo and Metohia issues
Destroyed And Desecrated Serbian Orthodox Churches In Kosovo And Metohia (1999-2000)

His Grace Artemy Radosavljevic,
bishop of Raska and Prizren Diocese

The cross which Kosovo was crucified on has been carved 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 carved 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 is being burnt 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 the treason of Kosovo was signed in Kumanovo? The very place where 80 years previously Kosovo had been freed from the Turks and consecrated! The withdrawal of the Yugoslav state security forces from Kosovo and Metohia, if this is a state, abolished its frontiers with Albanija and macedonia and 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, 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 Metohia has been purged as well as many towns in central Kosovo, and endangered are entire Serb enclaves 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 hovering above them as to whether they will ever heal -- there were churches built in recent times which were consecrated, or were due to be, and 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.

Note: The addresses of Their Graces recorded at the presentation of the first edition of Crucified Kosovo, Belgrade Town Hall, 16 September 1999.