June 28-29, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 29-06-03


Painting by Petar Radicevic 1987
Kosovo battle 1389 (link at kosovo.net)
Who was St. Prince Lazar and what is the meaning of the Kosovo battle in the Serbian history of Kosovo and Metohija? Serbian Medieval Epic Poetry in English Translation.

The Kosovo Battle was a turning point in the medieval history of Europe. It was not only a battle fought between a Christian alliance led by the Serbian Prince and the army of Sultan Murad but also an event which has marked the centuries of subsequent history of this part of the Balkans. Kosovo has remained an area of conflict between two civilizations, two religions and mentalities.

The Kosovo Field, June 15/28, 1389 by Prof. Sima Cirkovic - A historic essay covering the events before, during and after the Kosovo battle in detail.

One of the most important Serbian religious and national festivals celebrated in Kosovo and Metohija in the presence of the Patriarch, Royal Couple and the representatives of the Serbian Government and local officials.


June 28, 2003


Holy Liturgy in front of the church

Patriarch Pavle, Bishops Artemije and Atanasije

The Serbian Orthodox Church and its faithful today commemorate St. Vitus Day (Vidovdan) and hold memorial services for Holy Prince Lazar and Serb knights who perished in the battle against the Turks in Kosovo Polje in 1389. Vidovdan is also the day of memory of all new-martyrs who suffered for Christ and Orthodox faith since the Second World War.

Holy Liturgy was served by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle with concelebration of Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren (Kosovo and Metohija), Bishop Atanasije, retired Bishop of Hercegovina and several presbyters.

The liturgy was attended by approximately 1,000 people from central Kosovo and other parts of Kosovo and Metohija who gathered in front of Gracanica church early in the morning. KFOR and UNMIK forces provided reinforced security.






Vigil service on Wednesday evening

The liturgy was attended by Crown Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic and his wife Princess Katherine. At the service were also present the Serbian deputy premier Nebojsa Covic, the vice chair of the Serbian Parliament Committee for Kosovo and Metohija Momcilo Trajkovic, Return Coalition (Povratak) MPs in the Kosovo parliament and local Serb officials.

With the blessing of his Holiness Patriarch Pavle Bishop Atanasije addressed the congregation in his Vidovdan homily.

"Six hundred and fourteen years have passed since the Serb defeat in Kosovo and the great victory of the Cross and the Resurrection. The holy martyr Vitus for whom this day is named gave his life but the Serbs came to life - on the path to the Kingdoms of Earth and Heaven," said Bishop Atanasije.

In his homily Bishop Atanasije severly criticized the UN Mission saying that "during the last four years Kosovo is ruled by slavery, occupation and tyranny."

"They are teaching the Albanians to rule in a slave society. Freedom cannot be built on injustice, evil and the subjugation of others. The aggressors have set out to destroy all traces of us and that is why they are destroying our shrines. They bear witness to who we are, where we are from and how long we have been in Kosovo," said Bishop Atanasije.

He also noted that 120 Orthodox churches and monasteries have been destroyed in Kosovo since the arrival of UNMIK and KFOR while, on the other hand, "the occupiers are building palaces and cities."

After the Holy Liturgy Patriarch Pavle cut the feastal cake (Slavski kolac) in front of the Gracanica church and called the people to remain faithful to Christ and His holy commandments.

Holy Liturgy

Commemorate, oh Lord.....


In the continuation of the celebration Princess Katherine delivered a donation in food and medicine to Bishop Artemije, which will be distributed to the parishioners of this diocese. On that occasion, Princess Katharine addressed the gathering:

"My husband and I know this is a great day in our history and we belong here with you today. We bring you food and medicine as humanitarian aid, donated by our friends from Greece. I hope it will make your lives here at least a little easier. I assure you my husband, Crown Prince Alexander and I, will continue our work and will always be with you to help you."

Bishop Artemije warmly thanked the Princess for her love and efforts in helping everybody.

Donation of Princess Katherine

Royal Couple with His Grace Bishop Artemije at the luncheon at Gracanica Monastery


After the luncheon Serbian Patriarch Pavle, the bishops and the clergy served the memorial service (panychida) at the Kosovo battle site (Gazimestan) to the Serb heroes who fell in the battle against the Turks on this day in 1389. Gazimestan is situated 5 kilometers north from Pristina, on a hillside where a memorial tower was built after the First World War. On this site Holy Prince Lazar and his most faithfull knights were slain by Sultan Murad and his army after a heavy day-long battle.

"The Serb people live in Kosovo, not to take from others what is theirs, not to trample the freedom of others and impose their faith upon them but in order to defend what is theirs. That is why our ancestors waged battle in Kosovo 614 and laid down their lives. Our Lord, help us in Kosovo to always remember your words: he who endures to the end will be saved," said Patriarch Pavle.

In the conclusion of his homily the Patriarch sent an appeal to everybody to unite and continue to live together in harmony, love and peace in Kosovo and Metohija.

Approximately 1,000 Serb faithful gathered in Gazimestan. KFOR provided additional security along the road betwen Gracanica and the Kosovo battle site so that the participants in this ceremony could drive freely in their own vehicles.

Memorial service at Gazimestan

With holy ones rest, oh Lord, the souls....


After the laying of the wreath on the monument to the Kosovo battle heroes in Gazimestan, HRH Crown Prince Alexander II addressed the present and emphasized that today’s gathering on Vidovdan pays respect to all generations of Serbian soldiers who gave their lives for freedom, as well as to the people of Kosovo and Metohija who lost their lives just because they were Serbs and Orthodox.

The Crown Prince condemned all acts of terrorism, murders, and the recent cold blooded killing of a Serbian family at Obilic as well as any criminal act perpetrated on any Kosovo inhabitant regardless of his or her nationality, ethnic origin or religion. He reminded that the problem of Kosovo can never be solved through violence.

His Highness said that Serbs in the Province live in ghettoes, that there are no refugee returns and that many shrines have been destroyed. He called on the international community to double its efforts and do far more to ensure security and the rule of human rights in Kosovo.

He also called on Serbs in Kosovo and the government in Belgrade not to give up but to continue to work toward a better future in the Province. He appealed to Serbs not to abandon Kosovo "because without them the Serbian churches and monasteries will become museums."






H.R.H. CP Alexander delivers
his speech at Gazimestan

"We should not be discouraged, but rather united and put aside differences, and work wisely for a better future. The Serbs and the Albanians can and must live in Kosovo together in total peace and mutual respect under democratic conditions and the rule of law and that everyone’s human rights are totally respected. As Bishop Artemije always said there is enough land in Kosovo for both the Serbs and the Albanians. To live in peace there must be jobs, investments and

 opportunities for everyone in Kosovo. I repeat again what I have always said to everyone present that there is absolutely no room for extremists from anywhere, terrorism and acts of violence. It is most important that the Serbs remain and live securely in Kosovo and that the exiles return to their homes once conditions are right. Without people, the Serbian monasteries and churches would become museums, and that must never happen. I call on the Serbs not to be strong and not abandon their ancestral homes in Kosovo. I call on the international community to double its efforts and to work much more for security, human rights, the rule of law and democratic institutions," added the Crown Prince.

This was the second visit of Their Royal Highnesses to Kosovo since their return to the homeland.

St. Vitus Day ceremonies commemorating the 614th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo continued in Gracanica in the afternoon.

Jelena and Ivana Zigon
actresses from Belgrade

Serbian traditional folk-dance - "kolo"


On return from Gazimestan Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren awarded 35 "Mother of the Jugoviches" [*] gold medals to Serb women in Kosovo and Metohija with five or more children.

The Diocese also gave special recognition to Belgrade actresses Jelena and Ivana Zigon.

After the cultural and artistic program, Bishop Artemije made the closing remarks for this year's Vidovdan festivities.

[*] According to Serbian tradition, the nine Jugovich brothers and their elderly father perished in the Battle of Kosovo.

Poetical evening at Gracanica Monastery

Poetical evening at Gracanica Monastery



SERBIAN MEDIEVAL EPIC POETRY (translated into English by Helen Rootham)

Mirror of Mark D. Lew's Serbian Epic Poetry Page

Kosovo and Vidovdan after 600 years, by Fr. Mateja Matejic

ERP KIM Info-Service is the official Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren and works with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije.
Our Information Service is distributing news on Kosovo related issues. The main focus of the Info-Service is the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian community in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. ERP KIM Info Service works in cooperation with www.serbian-translation.com as well as the Kosovo Daily News (KDN) News List

The views expressed by the authors of newspaper articles or other texts which are not official communiqués or news reports by the Diocese are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Serbian Orthodox Church

If you received this message by error or you don`t want to receive our e-mails anymore, please write to us: erpkim@kosovo.net

Our Newsletters are available on our ERP KIM Info-service Web-Page:

Additional information on our Diocese and the life of the Kosovo Serb Community may be found at:

Copyright 2003, ERP KIM Info-Service