DioceseMonasteriesHistoryHuman RightsNews ArchiveKDN

August 18, 2004

ERP KIM Newsletter 18-08-04

Decani Monastery Relief Fund Action

Bishop Teodosije takes Serbian children from Metohija enclaves on summer vacation in Greece

Approximately 100 Serbian children from the Metohija enclaves of Velika Hoca, Gorazdevac and Osojane departed with the blessing of Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren for summer vacation to Asprovalta, approximately 50 kilometers north of Thessaloniki. The arrangements were organized by the Orthodox sisterhood of St. Lidia in Asprovalta and the Visoki Decani Humanitarian Fund. After five years of living in complete isolation, fear and uncertainty the children from these small Serbian enclaves finally have the opportunity to experience the joys of childhood in freedom. A second group of children from central Kosovo departed for Patras on the Peloponnesus at the same time thanks to the NGO "Majka Jugovica" from Gracanica.

Special thanks for organizing this summer holiday also goes to Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes of the Greek Church in the U.S., who is the co-president of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, and who worked with Fund treasurer Mr. Veljko Sikirica and DMRF donors in order to help realize this noble effort.

Children from Metohija enclaves singing as they enter camp of Orthodox sisterhood of St. Lidia in Asprovalta, Greece

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, August 13, 2004

Approximately 100 Serbian children from the Metohija enclaves of Velika Hoca, Gorazdevac and Osojane departed with the blessing of Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren for summer vacation on Asprovalta, approximately 50 kilometers north of Thessaloniki. The arrangements were organized by the Orthodox sisterhood of St. Lidia in Asprovalta and the Decani Monastery Relief Fund (DMRF). After five years of living in complete isolation, fear and uncertainty the children from these small Serbian enclaves finally have the opportunity to experience the joys of childhood in freedom.

The Orthodox sisterhood of St. Lidia comprised of some one hundred nuns has a developed publishing and missionary program which includes a summer camp where Orthodox children from various Serbian lands have spent summers with their Greek peers for years. Expenses are covered by funds from the sisterhood of St. Lidia and some of the sisters work together with the guardians accompanying the children to organize various children's activities.

Upon arrival in Asprovalta Bishop Teodosije takes children to church for evening prayers (click on photo to enlarge)

In cooperation with the sisterhood of St. Lidia and with the support of Serbian educators and caregivers from Velika Hoca and Gorazdevac Bishop Teodosije launched an initiative to take children from the poorest Metohija enclaves to Asprovalta this year. The idea was finally realized on the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the children of Gorazdevac last year during which two Serbian children were killed and four other children wounded. The majority of these children have never seen the sea; it is the first visit for all of them to sisterly Greece, which for years has stretched out its hands to help Serbian children.

On Monday, August 9, the children of Velika Hoca set out with an armed German KFOR escort in the direction of Zvecan; at the same time, Italian troops provided transportation for children setting out from Gorazdevac and Osojane. In Zvecan the children were loaded on two buses provided by the Uzica transporter "Raketa" and accompanied by an armed German KFOR escort through Pristina to the (FYR) Macedonian border. The buses then continued in the direction of Thessaloniki and Asprovalta on their own.

Bishop Teodosije met the children in Asprovalta with Archimandrite Theophilos, the spiritual guide of the sisterhood of St. Lidia, who remains remembered in the hearts of many Orthodox Serbs, especially children, from Bosnia and Herzegovina and other Serbian lands as a great philanthropist, a true friend and father. Traveling together with the children from Metohija enclaves and their guardians was also Decani Hieromonk Hilarion (Lupovic), who will stay with the children in Asprovalta and provide them with regular religious services in the Serbian language as well as religious instruction.

Serbian children with Bishop Teodosije, Archimandrite Theophilos and guardians in front of church with monastery of St. Lidia in background (click on photo to enlarge)

The children from Gorazdevac, Osojane and Velika Hoca will be staying in Asprovalta for the next 20 days. In addition to everyday sports and recreational activities, the children will also prepare a cultural and artistic program under the guidance of their guardians in order to present to their hosts the traditions of their land, and they will regularly attend services. A boat trip around the Holy Mountain (Mt. Athos) is also planned.

On behalf of the Serbian people of Metohija the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija and the brotherhood of the monastery of Visoki Decani would like to publicly thank Archimandrite Theophilos and the sisterhood of St. Lidia for their love and hospitality.

Special thanks for organizing this summer holiday also goes to Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes of the Greek Church in the U.S., who is the co-president of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, and who worked with Fund treasurer Mr. Veljko Sikirica and U.S. donors in order to help realize this noble effort.

A second group of children departed for Greece at the same time with the blessing of Bishop Artemije and the assistance of the humanitarian organization "Majka Jugovica". Led by Presbytera Svetlana Stevic from Gracanica, these children from central Kosovo will be spending their holiday near the city of Patras on the Peloponnesus.

Serbian children in yard of children's camp with monastery of St. Lidia in Asprovalta in background (click on photo to enlarge)

Our Newsletters in html format are available on the Web at: Photo Galleries of the March pogrom are available at: http://www.kosovo.net/pogrom.html  


Readers' comments:
Your name + Country

Your e-mail (optional):

Comment:

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

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

Additional information on our Diocese and the life of the Kosovo Serb Community may be found at: http://www.kosovo.net

If you want to unsubscribe go to the page: http://www.kosovo.net/erpkiminfo.html


Copyright 2004, ERP KIM Info-Service


Suscribe to our mailing lists:

Our mailing lists: in English in Serbian