Vecernje Novosti daily, Belgrade
June 23, 2003

Dragan Damjanovic

LIPLJAN - Two attacks on Serbs in as many days have resulted in more fear being sown among their remaining compatriots in the municipality of Lipljan and confirmed suspicions that the terror of Albanian separatists in the Province is far from waning.

(Serb) Momi Jeftic was on his way to Kosovo Polje to inspect his house in the village of Magura, which was being watched for him by his adopted brother, (Albanian) Nezir Larli. En route they were met by a group of Albanians, who used their cars to block their vehicle and pulled Jeftic out of the car. After punching him repeatedly, the Albanians forced Jeftic to walk back to Kosovo Polje. Jeftic recognized the brother of his own adopted brother among his attackers and understood that this was his "final warning" not to return to the home of his forefathers.

On Monday afternoon a group of Albanians beat up Zivka Matic of Rabovce near Lipljan. She was admitted to the hospital in Gracanica while UNMIK police failed to arrest her attackers because, according to them, they were minors. At almost the same time Mirko Janackovic was beaten up while on his way to Kosovska Vitina. We were unable to find out more about what happened to him.

Two nights ago in Obilic the home of the refugee family of Pecelj was set on fire. Thanks to the rapid intervention of UNMIK firefighters one part of the house was saved while the rest was reduced to ashes.

Residents of northern Kosovo and Metohija were also disturbed by an incident in the train going from Kosovo Polje to Kosovska Mitrovica. Policemen from the train took a married couple, Sinisa and Stanka Jeremic, to the nearby Zvecan police station because they were convinced that they knew a Serb man who stoned an Albanian at the Vucitrn train station.

Serbs blocked the train and road toward Raska for half an hour in protest, stating that this was clearly a provocation since there has not been a resident of Vucitrn of Serb or Montenegrin nationality for more than four years. An official statement from the appropriate UN institutions regarding these incidents is expected.





ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, 20 June 2003

(photo: an injured Serb doctor after the police attack on the hospital)

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the Serb National Council most strongly condemn yesterday's brutal attack by UNMIK and Kosovo (Albanian) police in the building of the Kosovo Polje Health Center. During the attack police used tear gas resulting in injury to approximately 20 patients and Serb physicians. Serb medical staff and gathered citizens quite reasonably could not allow UNMIK and Albanian policemen to take over the hospital because the Health center was legally handed over by the Russians to the Serb medical peronnel which have been working in the institute for years. The building used until recently by Russian troops is owned by the Serbian Institute for Blood Transfusion, formerly located in Pristina. In addition to the team of Russian physicians and technologists, the dispensary and specialist section of the Russian military hospital employed a Serb team of physicians from the Kosovo Polje Health Center.  

This unprecedented and immoral act represents one of the most shameful stains on the four year work of the UN Mission in Kosovo. Instead of working on the implementation of Resolution 1244, UNMIK is increasingly being transformed into a public service for the establishment of an ethnically pure Albanian society in Kosovo and Metohija under the guise of building supposed multiethnic institutions and establishing democracy. While Albanian extremists wreak havoc throughout the Province, brutally and freely murdering entire Serb families, peaceful peasants, teachers and elderly people, destroying churches and digging up graves without punishment, UNMIK police and the former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army now wearing the uniforms of the Kosovo Albanian police are applying force against Serb physicians whose crime lies in wanting to continue to perform their humanitarian work and to help their people, who for the past four years have been living under ethnic repression and the terror of ekstremists.

Kosovo Polje Health Center is one of few medical institutions in Kosovo and Metohija where Serb physicians were able to continue working after the war and where Serbs from the Kosovo Polje region are able to receive medical treatment. The Serb physicians were assisted for four years by their colleagues from the Russian KFOR contingent, which contributed to this medical institute becoming known as one of the most professional of its kind in the Province. Kosovo Polje Health Center is also an institute where, in addition to Serbs, ethnic Albanians and members of other ethnic communities receive medical care without any form of discrimination. Several of the Serb physicians who were collectively evicted from the Clinical Medical Center in Pristina before UNMIK and KFOR forces four years ago continued, thanks to Russian KFOR, to offer medical services in this hospital to the remaining Serb population of Kosovo Polje and Pristina municipality, which today can only receive medical treatment in this institute. As a result, UNMIK's intention to place this institute under the control of the provisional Albanian-run Kosovo health ministry and to prevent the normal work of Serb physicians represents a serious threat that has caused great fear among the Serb population.

The state of health care in Kosovo and Metohija, like all other public services, is disastrous. There have been no Serb patients or Serb physicians in any of the regional medical centers for the last four years because Kosovo Albanians with the silent acquiescence of UNMIK have ejected all the Serb physicians with the intention of building an ethnically pure Albanian society. Serb patients cannot seek medical assistance in these insitutions because no one can guarantee either their right to appropriate treatment nor for that matter their right to life. Those who do not have the funds to seek treatment in central Serbia can only receive primary medical care in existing but poorly equipped Serb village dispensaries. As a result of this inhuman approach by Albanian institutions and UNMIK, many elderly people and chronic patients are condemned to silent death in poverty and absence of appropriate medical and social care.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the Serb National Council appeal to the international community to prevent the usurpation of the Kosovo Polje Health Center, and to enable the normal work of Serb medical staff. UNMIK's attempts to use force to evict patients and Serb physicians from these institutions in order to place them under Albanian control must be prevented by the Serb community using all legitimate means, in unison and decisively. Therefore, the Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the Serb National Council of Kosovo publicly express their solidarity with the physicians and people of Kosovo Polje and most sharply condemn the repressive policies of Michael Steiner and the provisional Kosovo health ministry. At the same time, the Diocese and the SNC call on the Serbian Government and the Coordinating Center to provide material and professionally support the work of Serb medical institutions in Kosovo and Metohija.

The Information Service of the
Serbian Orthodox Church

June 13, 2003



(photo: Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Kyr Pavle - Biography)

His Beatitude the Serbian Patriarch Kyr Pavle sent an appeal today to the United Nations Security Council and Mr. Javier Solana, the European Union's high representative for common foreign and security policy, to protect and ensure basic human rights for Serbs and other non-Albanians still remaining in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as to continue providing humanitarian assistance to those expelled from the southern Serbian province. The letter states, among other things, the following:

"The suffering of hundreds of thousands of Serbs and other non-Albanians, expelled four years ago from Kosovo and Metohija, an autonomous province of the Republic of Serbia under the administration of United Nations during this entire time, continue undiminished. Their houses and property in Kosovo and Metohija have been destroyed or illegally appropriated by the Albanians (30,000 houses and apartments looted, 77,000 usurped). International organizations are no longer giving them even minimal assistance to cover their most basic life needs. Prospects for their return to their ancestral homes grow smaller each day, taking into account that KFOR and UNMIK officials are doing very little or nothing to ensure basic rights for the few Serbs remaining in Kosovo and Metohija. What is more, after the bestial murder of the three members of the Stolic family in Obilic, they are preparing to flee from the knives of Albanian terrorists. Unfortunately, the Republic of Serbia has no opportunity to control this part of its own territory because those provisions of Security Council Resolution 1244 giving it this right remain a dead letter.

"We are aware that much of this is already known to you and we have written regarding these matters to many influential international factors repeatedly in the past. However, we are appealing to you once again because we simply cannot accept that the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija have outlawed before the eyes of the entire planet: those who fled have been left without minimal living conditions; those who remain in Kosovo and Metohija live in daily fear for their lives.

"Therefore we once again appeal to you to influence KFOR and UNMIK organs so that they actually begin to work on achieving their proclaimed goal: a multiethnic Kosovo and Metohija. Only one thing is necessary to achieve this goal: to put an end to crime and terror. For we are convinced that the Albanian population must know that it cannot build the happiness of its own children on the misfortune of Serb ones.

"Similarly, we call on you to work with humanitarian organizations to ensure that refugees from Kosovo and Metohija continue to receive the humanitarian assistance so necessary for their essential survival. We therefore express our full support for the petition sent to you in April 2003 by the Patria Association of Expelled and Displaced Persons from Berane, and the Kosmet Association of Displaced Persons from Sutomore.

"We hope that you will take advantage of existing opportunities and realistically support the survival of the Serbs and other non-Albanian peoples in Kosovo and Metohija."

Ruins of the Serb Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral in Djakovica blown up by Kosovo Albanian extremists
symbolize disorderly situation in the UN administered Serbian Province four years after the conflict


Report on four years "results" of the peace mission in Kosovo and Metohija
by Fr. Sava Janjic

Four years after the deployment of the UN Mission and KFOR troops in Kosovo and Metohija one can hardly claim that the war torn southern Province of Serbia is on the right track to become a democratic and multiethnic society. Quite on the contrary, UNMIK’s policy of constant compromises towards ethnic Albanians and their political goals has made life for Serbs and non-Albanian communities extremely difficult and without true perspectives for the future. UNMIK’s constant ignoring of the UN SC Resolution 1244 and legitimate claims of the Serbian people on one hand and creating temporary “multiethnic” institutions without any link to Serbia-Montenegro on the other, have turned Kosovo and Metohija into a virtually independent ethnic Albanian state prior to any negotiations at all. In fact, it appears that the goal of some international circles and Kosovo Albanian leaders is to pursue a policy of fait accomplish and practically leave independence as the only remaining option to which Serbia is expected to agree under certain concessions on the other side.

The willingness of Kosovo Serbs to participate in building of multiethnic institutions within the lines stipulated by the UNSCR 1244 has only been exploited in order to give false legitimacy to the institutions which in reality remain under complete control of Kosovo Albanians and have become tools of institutional repression.
If such policy of UNMIK is continued in future and if there is no constructive revision of the Constitutional framework, which would return the process of institutionalization within the limits of the UNSCR 1244, Kosovo may not only become an independent state but also a state in which all traces of the Serbian people and its culture will be completely eradicated. Four years of the internationally granted peace with a terrifying record of crimes and destruction of cultural heritage present only a shadow of what the Province might look once Kosovo Albanians are given full and unrestrained power. The last but not least, this "state" may become a main destabilizing factor for the entire SE Europe, which will seriously obstruct the process of European integration and democratization of the Balkans. As a focal point for future ethnic Albanian integrations independent Kosovo may act as a dangerous precedent for redrawing political maps of Europe according to the ethnic lines. MORE-FULL TEXT

Burrial of the massacred Serb family in Obilic, June 6, 2003


Bishop Artemije and his priests officieated a burrial service for the massacred Serb family in Obilic - During the burrial ceremony many Albanians hoisted flags, called out insults and swore at the funeral procession

BK TV, ERP KIM Info-Service
June 6, 2003

Stolic family members, Slobodan, Radmila and Ljubinko, killed by Albanian terrorists three days ago in Obilic, were buried today around 1400hrs in near village of Crkvena vodica (Church water). This crime happened on the 4th annual of signing the Kumanovo agreement which marked the end of almost three months of NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

More than thousand Serbs from all the enclaves of Central Kosmet attended the funeral, and Bishop Artemije and the priests from Raska – Prizren Diocese held the funeral service. He strongly accused Kosovo's international administration of hypocricy over the murder. "The crimes committed against the Serbs are still happening after 4 years, beside the presence of the International Community, and it’s a high time to do something to prevent the further Serb exodus," said Bishop Artemije adding that "future of Kosovo and Metohija cannot be built on blood of the innocent". The Bishiop also called on Kosovo Serbs to keep their faith and stay in their homes and not allow Albanian extremists to accomplish their goal - ethnically clean Kosovo and Metohija.

Momcilo Trajkovic, the President of the Serb "Resistance" movement from Kosovo, Coordination Center officials from Belgrade, and "Povratak" Coalition representatives attended the funeral. Oliver Ivanovic, the Kosovo Parliament Presidency member strongly condemned the Stolic’s murder, and added that Serbs have a right to complain regarding the unsatisfactory International Community results.

"We are preparing a letter which will be sent to many officials, at first to Kofi Annan, Lord Robertson (which means NATO), and Javier Solana, to the 5 countries ambassadors in Belgrade (the Contact Group and Russia), and to the 6 countries ambassadors and offices in Pristina. There is a need to do something, this cannot to continue anymore," said Oliver Ivanovic.

Beside the Kosovo President and Prime Minister's appeals, before and at the time of the funeral, the most extreme of Albanians have hoisted Albanian flags, called out insults and swore at the funeral procession, but there were no incidents only thanks to the Norwegian KFOR members.

The house in which three elderly Serbs were murdered and burnt


"The Church has been, is now and will remain with its faithful believers, sharing their fate. Crimes, such as the one that occurred yesterday in Obilic and such as the murder of Zoran Mirkovic here in Vrbovac, must not go unpunished. The international community must finally put an end to the systemic violence being carried out under its auspices against the defenseless Serb people of Kosovo and Metohija," Bishop Artemije told Kosovsko Pomoravlje Serbs

ERP KIM Info Service

Gracanica, 05 June 2003

On Thursday, June 5, Bishop Artemije and representatives of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija visited Kosovska Vitina and Vrbovac to celebrate the religious holiday of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ with the people and distribute humanitarian aid collected by the Diocese. After Holy Liturgy in the Orthodox cathedral in Vitina, Bishop Artemije and Dr. Rada Trajkovic spoke with Serb representatives of the Vitina region who informed them of the exceptionally difficult situation of Serbs living in Kosovsko Pomoravlje.

Serbs from Vitina told the Bishop that security and living conditions in the region are very unfavorable, especially since the most recent crimes and attacks against Serbs in Vrbovac and Vitina. People also complained that they are not getting almost any assistance from the Serbian state and they feel completely abandoned. There is great hypocrisy and intolerance on the Albanian side, claimed the Serb representatives. According to their testimony, publicly the Albanians express their willingness for the development of normal interethnic relations while in reality the Serbs remain exposed to daily repression and discrimination. They are exposed to continuous pressure to sell their homes and leave their centuries-old homes.

An especially sore point with the Serbs of this region is the fact that international representatives of UNMIK and U.S. KFOR have not demonstrated a sincere willingness to end Albanian violence and, not infrequently, openly tolerate the reinforcement of the terrorist self-proclaimed Albanian National Army. Whenever an attack against Serbs occurs, the typical response is that KFOR forces swoop down on a Serb settlement and carry out house to house searches while the Albanian attackers flee from the scene unpunished.

The hypocritical attitude of international institutions and local Albanian authorities toward the Serbs was more than apparent following the murder of Zoran Mirkovic on May 17 in Vrbovac. Despite the fact that Serbs had ample evidence of the involvement of ANA terrorists, international representatives covered the whole incident up over night and even said that it probably was not an ethnically motivated crime, thus de facto suggesting that Mirkovic was killed by Serbs, which represents the ultimate level of hypocrisy. The perpetrators of this loathsome crime, as usual, were not found.

Despite persistent attempts to present a false picture of idyllic interethnic relations to the general public, the reality of daily life is completely different and it is misleading to speak about any kind of substantial improvement in the lives of local Serbs, concluded the Serb representatives who spoke with Bishop Artemije.

After Kosovska Vitina, Bishop Artemije was escorted by UNMIK police to the village of Vrbovac where a requiem service (parastos) was served for all Serbs murdered in Kosovo and Metohija. In his homily Bishop Artemije wished local Serbs a happy holiday of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ and encouraged them to be resolute and determined and remain in their centuries-old homes without losing hope in a better future. "The Church has been, is now and will remain with its faithful believers, sharing their fate. Crimes, such as the one that occurred yesterday in Obilic and such as the murder of Zoran Mirkovic here in Vrbovac, must not go unpunished. The international community must finally put an end to the systemic violence being carried out under its auspices against the defenseless Serb people of Kosovo and Metohija," Bishop Artemije told the gathered Serbs. 

Kosovo Serb realilty
Police and family members take the bodies of the
massacred Serbs from their home in Obilic

An 80 year-old man with a bullet wound to his temple, his wife and son stabbed with a knife in the area of the heart found in house - Attackers tried to cover up the crime by setting fire to the house

ERP KIM Info Service
Obilic, 04 June 2003

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija and the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija most strongly condemn today's massacre of the Serb family Stolic in Obilic.

The bodies of three members of the Stolic family were discovered early this morning in their house in Obilic, where the crime occurred. The deceased include an elderly married couple, Slobodan and Radmila Stolic, both about 80 years old, and their son Ljubinko, who was 50. According to eyewitness testimony Slobodan Stolic has a bullet wound 6 cm. long on his temple and his son Ljubinko has stab wounds from a knife in the area of the heart. The attackers who treacherously murdered the Stolices started a fire in the room where the murder occurred in order to cover up traces of the crime. The Stolic family car was also stolen from the yard.

The remaining Serbs in Obilic who live in Cerska Street were awoken during the night by flames from the Stolic house. The fire was quickly localized and the police called, who immediately blocked off the scene of the crime. When members of the Kosovo police, who arrived in the meanwhile in considerable number, attempted to remove the bodies, a minor scuffle occurred between the police and the gathered Serbs, who refused to allow the bodies to be removed without the presence of Serb forensic experts.

This loathsome murder of innocent civilians is yet another in a series of crimes by which Albanian extremists and terrorists are attempting to expel the remaining Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija. There only some twenty Serb families left in the town of Obilic who for months have been exposed to systematic terror, bomb attacks and arson. The murder of the Stolic family confirms the bitter truth that the position of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija has remained unchanged for the past four years and that the reduced crime rate is exclusively the result of the isolation of the Serbs, who remain exclusively in their enclaves and protected zones.

UNMIK chief Michael Steiner arrived in Obilic at approximately 10:00 hours. Currently there is large police and KFOR presence in the town. An SNC KIM delegation headed by Randjel Nojkic visited Obilic and learned the details of the crime. There is great unrest and worry among the local Serb population.

According to information received by the ERP KIM Info Service a large popular protest meeting has been called in Gracanica at noon. Participants are protesting against the crime in Obilic and the systemic violation of the human rights of the Serbs in the Province. Representatives of the SNC KIM are expected to speak at the demonstrations.

Five people, including member of Greek KFOR, injured in attack in front of Orthodox church

ERP KIM Info Service
Obilic, 04 June 2003

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija and the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija also condemn the recent terrorist attack in Urosevac. On May 31 at approximately 21:45 hours unknown persons threw a hand grenade at members of Greek KFOR guarding the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Emperor Uros (built in 1933) in Urosevac. Five people were injured in the attack, including a member of KFOR. The KFOR checkpoint is located right next to the church in the center of town. The attackers managed to flee from the scene and are still being sought.

The attack was also confirmed by UNMIK police in their official report of 02 June, as well as by Albanian language media. Urosevac mayor Adem Salihaj expressed his concern as a result of the attack in a statement for Radio Kosovo on 03 June.

Unfortunately this terrorist attack on KFOR members guarding the only remaining Orthodox church in this town no longer inhabited by Serbs is another indicator of the deterioration of security conditions in Kosovo and Metohija where, despite all efforts by UNMIK and some international circles to hide reality, anarchy and chaos rule.

This latest attack on Greek KFOR in front on the Orthodox church in Urosevac comes only days after an attack by Albanian extremists on members of Spanish KFOR guarding Gorioc Monastery near Istok. These extremist attacks are clearly meant to show that those who protect Orthodox shrines are hardly safe themselves.

Leadership of the Serb National Council at press conference in Belgrade Media Center, May 30, 2003 (from left to right: Dr. Marko Jaksic, Dr.  Rada Trajkovic, Bishop Artemije, Dr. Milan Ivanovic)


May 30, 2003


1. We support the multiethnic and democratic solution opposing the formation of an ethnically pure Albanian state of Kosovo and Metohija. In the event that the formation of such an ethnically based state is permitted, we demand the recognition of the right of all Serbs everywhere to alter borders according to ethnic principles.

2. The Albanians are seeking an ethnic and undemocratic solution based on the concept of ethnic cleansing and domination. This concept is inconsistent with the idea of European integration and the transcendence of ethnic problems within the framework of existing borders. Therefore, we suggest A CHANGE IN THE WAY OF THINKING, NOT A CHANGE OF BORDERS. This is the philosophy of the 21st century, whereas the prevalent Albanian philosophy belongs to the 19th century.

3. Serbia is the most multiethnic state in the Balkans, and the Serbian people removed Milosevic and his associates from power by their own will. The fact that Serbia preserved its multiethnicity even during the time of Milosevic suggests that today it has even greater credibility in ensuring that various ethnic communities can find a secure future within her borders.

4. If the Albanians demand a referendum on independence, we will demand a REFERENDUM to keep Kosovo and Metohija in Serbia-Montenegro, to be held throughout the territory of the state. This is our democratic right because Serbia and the Serbian people have legitimate interests here, and Kosovo and Metohija has never been an independent state.

5. A referendum where Kosovo Albanians would vote in favor of independence through sheer force of numbers is not and cannot be a just solution. Although modern European legislation recognizes the right to self-determination, it also recognizes the right to the territorial integrity of sovereign states. In the twentieth century there have been numerous examples of clashes between these two principles, although they are not necessarily contradictory nor mutually exclusive.

6. The right to self-determination does not necessarily mean secession. A national group does not have to be independent and in its own nation-state to control its own fate. If this was the case, Europe would look very different than it does today and there would be constant armed conflicts in one senseless and misguided attempt after another to create ethnically pure nation-states.

7. A country which readily and cheaply renounce a part of their territory to achieve short-term political and economic goals loses its credibility as a state and is automatically reduced to the level of a semi-colonial territory, which as such will never become a full-fledged member of the European Union. This concept can be likened to the logic according to which a passenger ship will reach its destination more quickly if the passengers and their baggage are promptly tossed into the ocean. Once the selling of land where Serbs have centuries-old historical rights and their most important cultural monuments begins, the disintegration process will gain momentum in other parts of the country, too, as everyone begins to grab as much as they can take or pay for. There is no need to mention that such a Serbia will disappear more easily into the proverbial melting pot and be marginalized, finally, as a political power in the Balkans. It would be inaccurate to say that such a Serbia and Montenegro could not join Europe but it would be more in the capacity of a semi-dependent region than of a real, independent state.

8. The position of Serbia should be KOSOVO CAN ONLY BE FORCEFULLY TAKEN FROM US BUT WE WILL NEVER GIVE IT UP. As long as Serbia has not officially renounced Kosovo and Metohija, there is always the hope that it will be restored to its formal constitutional and legal position. If it should be surrendered, God forbid, and renounced in writing, Serbia and the Serbian people will lose their moral and historical rights to this land for all time. PROPERTY DEEDS SHOULD BE KEPT BECAUSE HISTORY CHANGES.

9. We should not naively accept stories that anyone will guarantee the rights of Serbs if there are no Serb authorities here. Is the considerable presence of KFOR and UNMIK police not the best indicator of this? Every guarantee for Serbs in any agreement transferring Kosovo to the Albanians is not worth the paper on which it is printed.


10.The goal of the Albanians is not only the independence of Kosovo and Metohija and the creation of a little banana-republic but the affirmation of an independent Kosovo as the bastion of pan-Albanian national interests. IT IS NOT A GREATER ALBANIA THEY WANT TO CREATE BUT A GREATER KOSOVO WITH CAPITALS IN PRISTINA AND TETOVO.

11. An independent Kosovo means THE END OF MACEDONIA. If the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija are granted the right to the ethnic definition of borders, sooner or later the same model will be applied in other so-called Albanian territories, in Macedonia and Montenegro, and perhaps even in Greece.



Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
May 30, 2003

Two views of the Kosovo Future Starus

Baghdad, Belgrade and Borders
by John Zavales


Fr. Miroslav Popadic,
a prisoner with his 200 parishioners withstands terror of Kosovo Albanians for 4 years in hope of better days

Despite repeated requests for protection, including requests made personally two weeks ago to the KFOR commander, adaquate protection for a Serbian Orthodox Church and its priest in Kosovo's capital Pristina has not been provided since the removal of KFOR guards at the end of 2002. Attacks have become frequent and on 10 May many church windows were broken. Parish priest Fr Miroslav Popadic told Forum 18 News Service that "I open the church gates only on Sunday mornings and on major holidays for the faithful to come to liturgy, otherwise, if someone comes to church without a call in advance I do not open the gates. When I visit local villages, I make the sign of the cross, sit in my car and drive fast at my own risk". KFOR's commander told Fr Popadic he "cannot give any more troops for the protection of churches". No arrests have been made since for the attacks on Orthodox churches since 1999 and KFOR has not replied to Forum 18 News Service's questions on this latest attack, or to questions about the security of Orthodox churches and monasteries. FULL REPORT

Representatives of the Dioces of Raska and Prizren from Orahovac confirmed that after the withdrawal of KFOR protection in November of last year the parish hall in the village of Brnjaci (near Bela Crkva) in Orahovac municipality was broken into and burglarized. As well, after the most recent visit to the Orahovac Orthodox Cemetery, priests saw that Albanians were driving their tractors through the cemetery and using it is a village thoroughfare.


ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, May 14, 2003

Frs. Srdjan Milenkovic and Milenko Dragicevic, Serbian Orthodox priests from the Orahovac and Velika Hoca parishes, informed the Diocese of Raska and Prizren Info Service today that while visiting St. Nedelja Church in the village of Brnjaci, near Bela Crkva, Orahovac municipality, they noticed that unknown perpetrators had broken into the parish hall and removed most of the contents left there. St. Nedelja Church and the parish hall, which are located in a region now inhabited exclusively by Kosovo Albanians, was placed under the protection of KFOR troops after June 1999 and remained so until November 2002. Since then the church and the parish hall have been without direct protection, although members of German KFOR promised to protect the property of their church. However, their promise was not kept.

While passing by the church with a KFOR escort, Fr. Milenkovico observed at the end of April that some of the windows on the church and the hall were broken. Representatives of the parish were not able to visit the church an d parish hall before May 4 and at that time they noted signs of the break in and burglary. Arsenije Grkovic, the president of the church council, and Dimitirije Baljosevic prepared a detailed report on the condition they found. In addition to the broken windows and torn out door, three ceiling lamps with fans were also missing, as well as three smaller ceiling lamps. Also missing were curtains and other materials from the building. The fountain in the churchyard was broken and the church fence broken, allowing livestock to wanter into and dirty the churchyard. Fr. Srdjan had asked to remove the entire inventory and sacred vessels during his most recent to the church and parish hall in November 2002 but he was assured by members of KFOR that everything was secure and they did nto allow him to take anything with him except a pair of wooden benches.

Fr. Milenkovic reported the bulgary to representatives of UNMIK and KFOR and an investigation is in progress. St. Nedelja Church is first mentioned in historical records in 1348. In the 16th century the church was completely restored and afterwards it was partially restored several times. The church contains valuable stone reliefs dating back to the 16th century.



ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, May 14, 2003

According to the Serbian church sources in Orahovac desecration of the local Orthodox cemtetery is continuing.

 On May 10 Fr. Milenko Dragicevic, a priest in Velika Hoca, visited the Serbian Orthodox Cemetery, which is located in the Albanian part of the town and where Serbs have not been able to bury their deceased for four years, accompanied by representatives of UNMIK and Orahovac municipality. The purpose of the visit was to reexamine the possibility of activating the cemetery. The remaining 400 Serbs in Orahovac have been burying their deceased in the relatively small area surrounding the Church of the Assumption of the Most Holy Theodokos in the Serb quarter of Orahovac since June 1999. As early as summer 2002 Serbs visited the cemetery for the first time and found damaged graves and UCK graffiti written in red paint. This time Fr. Dragicevic observed more graves had been damaged and confirmed that in the visited section of the cemetery, almost 90 percent of the tombstones were damaged or completely destroyed. Especially worrisome is the fact that the cemetery fence has been torn down and local Albanians are driving their tractors through the Serb cemetery, using it as an improvised village thoroughfare. Fr. Dragicevic asked UNMIK and KFOR to urgently fence in the cemetery and prevent its further desecration.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren once again appeals to representatives of the international administration in Kosovo and Metohija and officials of the Republic of Serbia to urgently undertake measures to prevent the further destruction and looting of the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church.


Just in the past three weeks, a series of new incidents demonstrated that the situation in the southern Serbian province is not improving but instead is becoming increasingly difficult and uncertain

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, May 10, 2003

In Kosovo and Metohija there are still two realities, which have little in common. On the one hand, there are official statements by some international representatives and Kosovo Albanian leaders describing the continuous improvement of the situation and the need to transfer UNMIK competencies to the local population as quickly as possible. On the other hand, for the Kosovo-Metohija Serbs and largely for other at-risk minority communities continuing to live under a state of siege, the situation is not improving but life is actually becoming increasingly difficult and the future more and more uncertain.


On the eve of the Easter holidays, Orthodox Good Friday on April 25, Albanian hooligans brutally beat up a Serb woman, Smiljka Andjelkovic (66), in her home in Lipljan. The attackers broke into the Andjelkovic home at about 17,00 hours and inflicted serious bodily harm upon Smiljka Andjelkovic, who was alone at the time. When her husband, Ljubinko Andjelkovic, arrived home he found his wife lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen. There was also blood on a chair apparently used to repeatedly strike the old woman in the head. Emergency medical care was provided at the Simonida Medical Center in Gracanica, where physicians diagnosed serious injuries to the skull. The Andjelkovic family has long been the target of threats from local Albanian extremists using all means to force then to sell their apartment and move out of Lipljan. This attack has caused further unrest in this central Kosovo municipality where the remaining couple of thousand Serbs have lived under the constant ethnic terror of the Albanian majority for the last four years.

On the same day Albanian police belonging to the Kosovo Police Service
(KPS) detained a convoy of Serb buses and vehicles at the administrative border of Kosovo and Metohija near Podujevo without any concrete reason. Even though the convoy had a regular KFOR escort responsible for accompanying it to Brezovica to celebrate the oncoming holidays with relatives, the Kosovo police refused to allow the vehicles to pass. Only after the intervention of Mrs. Svetlana Stevic, a reperesentative of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren, in UNMIK headquarters in Pristina did the Albanian police allow the Serb convoy to continue on its journey.


On the salme day, as Orthodox Christians marked the day of Christ's crucifixion and suffering on Golgotha through prayer, disturbing news arrived from Gnjilane that the Albanians had thrown about 1,000 Serbian language books from the city library into the garbage. Among the books ending up in garbage dumpsters were works by Serbian Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andric, Njegos and poetess Desanka Maksinovic. Unfortunately this barbaric act reminiscent of the burning of the books during the time of Nazism is not the only incident of this time. Immediately after the end of the war in 1999 and the arrival of the international UN mission and KFOR in Kosovo and Metohija, thousands of Serbian language books were ejected from the libraries of Kosovo-Metohija towns inhabited by an Albanian majority population and burned. The same occurred with books from private collections which their Serb owners were unable to evacuate in time. This latest anti-cultural act best illustrates the horrific contours of the new state being established in this region, sadly, under the administration and auspices of the UN. Kosovo Ombudsman Marek Nowicky, a Pole, has orded an urgent investigation and sought to preserve the remaining Serbian language books from destruction. As in similar instances in the past, not one representative of the Kosovo Albanians has condemned this act nor has the so-called Albanian intellectual community expressed any interest in the destruction of Serbian language books.


On May 3, just days after the Orthodox celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, Milan and Milorad Jeftic, local residents of Suvi Do, a village not far from Kosovska Mitrovica, were injured when they were intentionally hit by a bus driven by a Kosovo Albanian. The international police immediately arrested the driver who is to be indicted by the court within days. Only three days later, on May 6, a Kosmetprevoz Bus Lines bus transporting Serb students between Kosovska Mitrovica and Suvi Do was stoned by Albanians. No one was injured but the bus was demolished.

Serbs from Suvi Do, embittered by the frequent attacks by Albanians, organized a protest meeting on May 7 to demand more effective protection from Albanian extremists. In order to disperse the 250 Serbs who gathered for the protest, members of the Danish KFOR battalion fired tear gas at the local residents, including women and children. This resulted in the injury of Gordana Jeftic, who was transported to the medical center in Kosovska Mitrovica in serious medical condition. What is more, according to local Serbs, members of KFOR confiscated their bus (which had been stoned the previous day) thus removing their only means of transportation to Kosovska Mitrovica.

On the same day, Albanian extremists inflicted serious injuries upon Dejan Jeftic, a taxi driver from Suvi Do, who is still undergoing treatment in the medical center in Kosovska Mitrovica.


In the meanwhile, UNMIK representatives finally officially confirmed that two members of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) were responsible for planting explosives under a bridge in the village of Loziste near Zvecan. This news appeared in the wake of increasing attempts by KPC representatives to create an impression in public that this organization should be transformed into the future Kosovo army. The Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija immediately called on Kosovo Serbs not to join the Kosovo Protection Corps because "it is the direct heir of the Kosovo Liberation Army and an organization responsible for numerous terrorist attacks on members of the Serb and other non-Albanian communities". "All Serbs need to be cognizant of the fact," cites the Coordinating Center in its statement, that the KPC is providing "logistical support to the ANA, a terrorist organization responsible for recent terrorist attacks in northern Kosovo".

Unofficial confirmation that the KPC really has strong ties to the so-called Albanian National Army, placed on the list of terrorist organizations last month by the chief of UNMIK, was also given by international represenatives of the UN mission who informed the public that due to the involvement of members of the KPC in the terrorist attack in Loziste, they are cancelling the training program abroad for members of the KPC. According to Kosovo Serb leaders, the notorious ANA is in fact a phantom organization serving as a front for the human resources and logistical support of the Kosovo Protection Corps itself.


Unfortunately this recap of tragic news concludes with the latest instances of desecration of an Orthodox cemetery in the village of Zitinje near Kosovska Vitina, where unknown persons have completely destroyed eleven tombstones. According to Zoran Stankovic, a displaced person housed not far from his village in neighboring Klokot, the desecration of the tombstones most probably occurred during the May Day holidays. Among the tombstones destroyed was that of his son, who was killed four years ago on the threshold of his home by Albanian extremists. The Serbs of Zitinje were forced to leave their village in the summer of 1999 under pressure from local Albanian extremists; since then, the village has been inhabited solely by Albanians.

In all these instances, as in the past, an appropriate response by Kosovo institutions has been completely lacking; apparently, they are more concerned with how the Province can become an independent Albanian state as soon as possible than with the living conditions of its population. Respect for the rights of the non-majority population, law and order have long ago been put on the back burner by leading Albanian politicians. At the same time, they are seeking to project a completely different image abroad not corresponding at all to the real situation in the region and cover up the bitter truth that since 1999 a regime of terror and ethnic discrimination was established in Kosovo and Metohija, which continues on to this day with the silent acquiescence of international circles.


That these most recent incidents are not isolated cases and the exception in Kosovo reality is also confirmed by the latest report of the U.S. human rights organization Amnesty International, published in April of this year under the title "Prisoners in Their Own Homes" providing detailed descriptions of the position of the Serb people and minority communities in Kosovo and Metohija in the last two years. The report, the most complete international effort of its kind to date, discusses in detail attacks on the non-majority population, destruction of churches and cemeteries, ethnic discrimination and the most brutal trampling of basic human rights.

In the conclusions of this report it is clearly emphasized that UNMIK and KFOR "have failed in their task to ensure respect for human rights by failing to undertake timely and appropriate measures against their violation" and appeals to members of international UN mission and KFOR "to bring those committing crimes to justice and undertake more effective measures of protection for the at-risk population".

After last month's report by the UN Security Council, in which for the first time a harsher tone is used to criticize the behavior of the Kosovo Albanians, and indirectly the work of the UN mission itself, which tolerates the excesses of the extremists, the hope remains that the international community will not continue to ignore the catastrophic situation existing for the past four years under its protectorate.

To what extent these words of criticism and warning by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will influence representatives of the UN mission and KFOR, as well as the local population, remains to be seen in upcoming months which will be of key significance for the fate of the one of the most burning crisis areas in the Balkans.




Poleksija Kastratovic, with four other elderly Serbwomen
lives in an old parish home in Djakovica under KFOR protection
Read their story: "For whom the bells toll in Djakovica"


Serbia and Montenegro(1) (Kosovo/Kosova)
"Prisoners in our own homes"

Monday, 28 April, 2003, 20:08 GMT 21:08 UK
Kosovo minorities 'under threat' - BBC

Serbs and other ethnic minorities in Kosovo remain at serious risk of death or injury despite almost four years of peace and the presence of UN and Nato peacekeepers, a new report by Amnesty International says.

Tuesday's report, titled Prisoners in our own homes, says beatings, stabbings, abductions, drive-by shootings and the use of hand grenades to intimidate and kill members of these minorities are common in the province.

As the vast majority of these crimes remain unsolved, perpetrators are free to commit further attacks contributing to a climate of fear and the denial of basic human rights, it adds.

Ethnic minorities in Kosovo, of which the largest are the Serbs and Roma, make up about 8% of the predominantly Albanian population.


The report describes the daily lives of children living in mono-ethnic enclaves who are forced to have a K-for armed escort to school.

It says that discrimination in healthcare has led to an increase in mortality rates among minority communities, and up to 90% unemployment among the Serb and Roma communities.

Ethnic Albanians living in areas of Kosovo where they are in the minority suffer the same security concerns and restrictions on their freedom of movement.

Kate Allen, the UK Director of Amnesty, said that failures by the international community in Kosovo should serve as a lesson for other post-conflict situations.

"It is clear that the international authorities in Kosovo were unprepared for the massive abuses of human rights against minorities that accompanied the rapid return of the Albanian community," she said.

"As the international community discusses the future of Iraq it is essential that we learn the lessons of the past and ensure that measures are put in place to protect the human rights of vulnerable groups. It must be ensured from the outset that there is no impunity for the perpetrators of human rights abuses."

'Proper' resources

Amnesty is concerned that the ongoing persecution of ethnic minorities makes it unsafe for minority refugees and internally displaced people to return to their homes.

Of more than 230,000 Serbs, Roma and other minorities who fled Kosovo in 1999, only 5,800 have returned.

"While the viability of return continues to depend on K-for's presence, Amnesty International urges the international community to ensure that
no- one from a minority community is forcibly returned to Kosovo," Ms Allen said.

Amnesty is calling for proper resources for the UN civilian police force
(Unmik) and local authorities to ensure the thorough investigation of ethnically motivated human rights abuses.

To begin with, Unmik must extend witness protection to the witnesses of such crimes.

After the end of the conflict in July 1999 more than half the pre-war minority population fled to Serbia or Montenegro or took refuge in mono-ethnic enclaves in Kosovo guarded by K-for and Unmik.

About a third of the 100,000 Serbs and Roma in Kosovo live in three predominantly Serbian municipalities in the north of Kosovo.

Others live in mono-ethnic villages or under K-for protection in majority Albanian urban areas.

More than half the pre-war Slavic Muslim community of 67,000 fled in 1999. Now about 3% of the population, they are mainly concentrated in and around Prizren town.


"If this is the situation under the administration and control of UNMIK, Serbs are right to ask themselves what they can expect when the Albanians running those institutions take over completely," said Bishop Artemije.regarding the issue of transfer of authorities from UNMIK to local Kosovo institutions

Reno Harnish, head of the U.S. Office in Pristina, and Bishop Artemije, April 23, 2003
(click here for the larger photo

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica Monastery, April 23, 2003

Today in the episcopal residence in Gracanica Monastery Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija met with the head of the U.S. Office in Pristina, Reno Harnish. The dominant themes of the discussion were the return of displaced persons and the participation of Serbs in the Council for Transfer of Competences.

Mr. Harish informed Bishop Artemije that the United States and other Western countries are exerting great efforts toward the return of displaced persons because, he stated, this is a key issue for the multi-ethnicity of Kosovo. According to Mr. Harnish, it is thanks to the efforts of the U.S. that about 500 persons returned to their homes in Kosovo last year. He added that this year 10 million dollars have been earmarked for assistance and encouragement of returns, 7.5 million of which will be spent to assist displaced persons in Serbia, as well as those wishing to return to their homes in Kosovo. Mr. Harish indicated that he personally spoke with 150 residents in Bujanovac who had fled from the region of Vitina, and that they told him they wished to return home. U.S. Office officials are in regular contact with them. The head of the U.S. Office in Pristina also informed Bishop Artemija that this year the attempt will be made to return displaced persons to urban centers as well, instead of only to rural areas, as has been the case so far. Gnjilane and Prizren are considered especially suitable as international representatives believe that Albanians there more readily accept Serbs than in other locations. Mr. Harnish also said that he had personally visited the Serbs in the YU Program building in Pristina and that he was personally working on making them less isolated.

Bishop Artemije thanked Mr. Harnish for this information and added that it is very important for returns to also take place in the Vitina region where many Serbs suffered great persecution after the war. He expressed the sincere hope that this year words will finally be transformed into deeds if multi-ethnicity in Kosovo and Metohija is to be created.

With regard to the participation of Serb representatives in the Council for Transfer of Competences, the head of the U.S. Office in Pristina explained that the United States and other Western countries support this process so that, at least with respect to economic issues, the local population would assume responsibility. Mr. Harnish explained that UNMIK firmly intends to retain the judicial system and security under its own control. In his opinion, the transfer of competences would contribute greatly to the five Serb municipalities.

Bishop Artemije expressed the opinion that he personally has not noticed that the participation of the Return (Povratak) Coalition in the Kosovo Parliament has contributed to an improvement of the situation on the ground because not one proposal by the Serb caucus has been realized. He cited several concrete examples demonstrating to Mr. Harnish that institutions in Kosovo and Metohija are not multiethnic at all, and that they do not serve the interests of all citizens, regardless of their ethnicity.

The Bishop especially noted the situation in the Pristina Clinical Center, where not one Serb physician is working, nor has any Serb been able to request medical treatment in this institution in the past year. The situation, explained the Bishop, is completely identical at Pristina University, where there is not one Serb professor or student, even though there were several thousand before the war. Things are similar at other institutions where Serbs cannot seek assistance nor even, in most cases, physically access. "If this is the situation under the administration and control of UNMIK, Serbs are right to ask themselves what they can expect when the Albanians running those institutions take over completely," said Bishop Artemije. "How can I believe that Serbs will return to Decani municipality, which is inhabited exclusively by Albanians who will assume all authority? How can I be tranquil with respect to my monks and Visoki Decani Monastery?" Bishop Artemije asked the head of the U.S. mission.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Bishop Artemije pointed out the case of the school in the village of Crkolez near Istok (Western part of Kosovo). Despite the desire of the Spanish city of Ceuta to finance repair of this school so that Serb children no longer have to attend class in an old and delapidated private house, and the willingness of the Diocese of the Raska and Prizren to donate one of its land parcels for the school, the mayor of Istok (an Albanian) and the UNMIK administrator refuse to allow this and are putting pressure on the Serbs in this isolated Serb village to build a multi-ethnic school to include Albanian children from the area -- despite the fact that there are already dozens of ethnically pure Albanian schools in the municipality. In the opinion of the Serbs, said Bishop Artemije, this would lead to the disappearance of the Serb community in Crkolez because the Albanian children are very intimidating and aggressive, as can be seen from the numerous incidents throughout the Province. "This is yet another example," said the Bishop, "of how Serbs in mixed locations do not enjoy institutional protection."

The head of the U.S. Office in Pristina promised to carefully study all the cited examples, and to work on resolving these problems.


The Serbian Orthodox Church
To her spiritual children at Pascha, 2003


By the grace of God

Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church—to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous paschal greeting:


Brothers and sisters in the Crucified and Resurrected Lord,
Our dear spiritual children,

Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ,
let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus,
the only Sinless One,

just as millions of His disciples have worshipped Him through the centuries, and worship Him today.

What makes us Christians different from other people? Truly it is that we worship at His Cross and we glorify His Resurrection.

Our dear spiritual children both in the homeland and abroad, Christ’s Cross and His Resurrection constitute the essence of our life, our faith and our hope. The meaning of our birth, life and death were and are found in them. In the words of the Holy Apostle Paul, if Christ has not risen, then our faith is in vain and our lives are without meaning. (cf. I Cor. 15:14-19).

Through His Cross and Crucifixion the unspeakable Mystery of God’s love is revealed and given to us. Through them God reveals Himself to us as eternal true Love, as the Love which sacrifices itself for the other, for people and nations, and for the whole world. There is and can be no greater love than this. On the Cross Christ, the Son of God, shows Himself to us as the God Who not only calls us to love, but Who shows love in action, sacrificing Himself entirely for others. Christ’s sacrifice on Golgotha is the revelation of the great mystery of God’s self-sacrificial love by which God embraces and heals all beings and all creation. There is a kind of love in nature, that is, the common worldly love which brings joy and gives birth to new life. Earthly love is like this because it reflects the divine love which created the whole world and which instilled its breath into creatures and all beings. The more the love in this world, among people, is like this divine love, the more genuine and deeper it is. And there is no greater nor truer love than that which leads someone to sacrifice his life for his neighbor. Christ’s love was and is this kind of love. This is the kind of love which also belongs to His followers. Therefore only those people and nations which live by this crucified and resurrected love can consider themselves to be spiritually alive and worthy of eternal life. (cf Acts 13:46)

Besides the fact that the superabundant love of God is revealed and given to us by the Precious Cross of Christ and that by enduring it He has made us worthy of eternal life, it reveals yet another great truth to us: Christ’s crucifixion on the Cross reveals the meaning of human suffering. In the image of the Crucified Christ and in the images of the two thieves crucified with Him on Golgotha, the state of the entire human race is presented to us. Namely, suffering is the lot of everyone on earth, but the reasons why people suffer differ for each person. According to the Gospel of Christ, some suffer because of their sins, others because of the sins of their ancestors, and still others so that God’s name may be glorified in them. Thus on Golgotha, through the suffering of the most righteous One of all, Jesus Christ, God’s love was made known. The suffering of the repentant thief was for him unto the cleansing of his sins and of the evil things he had once done, and in his crucifixion he was washed by his blood and his repentance. But the other thief, the unrepentant one, who also suffered on the cross, by his hatred towards God and by his evil deeds made not only his suffering but also his very life meaningless.

What took place on Golgotha is what has happened throughout all of human history. The just suffer in order to become even more just: they pass through their suffering like gold through the furnace so that their righteousness might shine with an everlasting radiance.
For sinners who repent, suffering becomes a fountain of virtues and of regeneration, of unending wisdom and understanding. But those people who have no faith and no repentance for their sins become through suffering even more cruel; they wander ever deeper into spiritual blindness, hatred and bitterness towards God and man.

May the Risen Christ keep us all from being this third kind! And He will protect us if we “stand fast in the faith,” in the words of St. Paul, and if we become aware of the eternal truth of life that “It is through many tribulations that must we enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Acts 14:22). For the point of suffering in not merely to bring us to our senses, as the ancient Greeks would say, but to help people and nations “to turn away from useless things to the living God.” (Acts 14:15). Only when understood and experienced in this way can our own personal suffering, the suffering of our people past and present, and the suffering of all the peoples of the earth, acquire its true meaning and significance.

To repeat: All this is testified to by Christ’s passion on Golgotha and by His suffering, as seen in the light of the holy and brilliant Mystery of His Resurrection.

This is why we worship the Cross of Christ, and why we glorify His Resurrection! This is why His Cross and suffering have become victory over death and the medicine of immortality, the fountain of resurrection and eternal life. That which is the most senseless has become the source of deepest meaning. So the mystery of Christ’s resurrection is like the leaven of new life.

People of this world constantly talk about reforms in society and try to create a “new man.” Basing their reforms on changing “trivial matters” and on superficial adaptations to the spirit of this age, without any appreciation for the life-bearing fire of Christ’s Resurrection which establishes, renews and perpetuates everything it touches, they themselves become captives of emptiness and impermanence.

These are the kind of people who would also like to reform the Church, living under the delusion that it is like worldly, human organizations which, in order to survive, must constantly change and adapt themselves. But the Church measures life by the perfect measure of Christ’s Resurrection and the human dignity it reveals. As such it never ceases to renew every person who comes into this world, as well as every area and every structure of human life, calling them to constantly greater perfection and change for the better.
Having the infinity of God as the measure of everything which is earthly and human, not only does the Church call people and nations to a constant process of ever greater perfection and growth “into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13), but by the power of the Resurrection it gives the ability to achieve this never-ending growth. So, in giving everything its eternal meaning and significance, the Church cannot accept any kind of limits or restrictions to the carrying out of its divine mission. Nothing human is alien to her, but at the same time nothing human can enslave her—neither earthly life, nor death, nor time, nor whatever people do over time which restricts them: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 35-39) Even while serving a particular nation, the Church attempts to be a light to all nations and all people, attempting to transform all peoples into one People, the People of God, that all may be one as the Father is one with the Son and the Holy Spirit (see John 17:21). Therefore, in the words of the Apostle, in the Church “none of us live to ourselves, and none of us die to ourselves. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the living and the dead.” (Romans 14: 8-9).

And so, brother and sisters, our dear spiritual children, let us worship Him, the Lord of life and death, the Lord Who is risen and Who bestows resurrection upon all creation, Who is the “Bread of Life” Who has “come down from heaven” and Who is given “for the life of the world!” (John 6: 48-51). Let us all sing with one mouth and one heart the joyous Paschal hymn:

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life!


Given at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade at Pascha, 2003.
Your intercessors before the Crucified and Risen Lord,
Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch PAVLE

Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana JOVAN
Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Coastlands AMPHILOHIJE
Metropolitan of Midwestern America CHRISTOPHER
Metropolitan of Dabro-Bosna NIKOLAJ

Bishop of Shabac-Valjevo LAVRENTIJE
Bishop of Nish IRINEJ
Bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla VASILIJE
Bishop of Srem VASILIJE
Bishop of Banja Luka JEFREM
Bishop of Budim LUKIJAN
Bishop of Canada GEORGIJE
Bishop of Australia and New Zealand (New Gracanica Metropolitanate) NIKANOR
Bishop for America and Canada (New Gracanica Metropolitanate) LONGIN
Bishop of Eastern America MITROPHAN
Bishop of Banat CHRYSOSTOM
Bishop of Backa IRINEJ
Bishop of Great Britain and Scandinavia DOSITEJ
Bishop of Ras and Prizren ARTEMIJE
Bishop - Administrator of Zica ATANASIJE
Bishop of Bihac and Petrovac CHRYSOSTOM
Bishop of Osijek and Baranja LUKIJAN
Bishop of Central Europe CONSTANTINE
Bishop of Western Europe LUKA
Bishop of Timok JUSTIN
Bishop of Vranje PAHOMIJE
Bishop of Sumadija JOVAN
Bishop of Slavonia SAVA
Bishop of Branicevo IGNATIJE
Bishop of Milesevo FILARET
Bishop of Dalmatia FOTIJE
Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina GRIGORIJE
Bishop of Budimlje and Niksic JOANIKIJE
Vicar Bishop of Hvostno ATANASIJE
Vicar Bishop of Jegar PORFIRIJE

Metropolitan of Veles and Povardara JOVAN,
Patriarchal Exarch of the Autonomous Archdiocese of Ohrid

[Path of Orthodoxy translation]

Analysis: After Steiner's proclamation that Albanian National Army
is a terrorist organization


Proclamation of ANA as a terrorist organization is a major step forward towards stabilization of security situation and  interethnic reconciliation, claim Serb political leaders in Kosovo. Whether this is a change in the existing UNMIK/KFOR strategy or only a new rhetorical trick the following days and months will show. FULL TEXT



Steiner released an administrative direction, declaring AKSH - which has claimed responsibility for the act for blowing up the railway bridge in Zvecan on April 12th - an outlaw organization. Steiner said the bombing was aimed at killing "a large number of innocent civilians and damaging public property." The decision to declare ANA a terrorist organization was the first such move by the U.N.'s Kosovo administration.

Radio 21 (Pristina)
April 17, 2003

Steiner released an administrative direction, declaring AKSH (ANA) - which has claimed responsibility for the act for blowing up the railway bridge in Zvecan on April 12th - an outlaw organization.

"Noting further that AKSH publications and other propaganda materials, including the AKSH web-site, clearly manifest that it seeks to achieve its objectives by violence and use of force, Armata Kombetare Shpiptare (AKSH) / Albanian National Army (ANA) is a terrorist organization as defined under section 1 (f) of UNMIK Regulation No. 2001/12", reads Steiner's administrative direction.

The ruling by German diplomat Michael Steiner means that members of the Albanian National Army (ANA) can be jailed for up to 40 years. The move suggests that Western officials are starting to take ANA, which has been dismissed by some diplomats as little more than a band of criminals, more seriously.

ANA says it wants to unite Albanian lands in the Balkans. It said this week on its website that it was behind the bomb attack designed to cut the railway connecting "occupied" parts of Kosovo with Belgrade. Two suspected bombers were killed.

Steiner said the bombing was aimed at killing "a large number of innocent civilians and damaging public property." The decision to declare ANA a terrorist organization was the first such move by the U.N.'s Kosovo administration.

U.N. police spokesman Barry Fletcher said the remains of two people were found by a bridge, damaged in Saturday night's explosion near the town of Zveçan, northern Kosovo. "We believe they were the people who were setting the explosive device," UN Police spokesman told.

He said three people were detained in connection with the incident, adding they were from an Albanian-populated area near the divided flashpoint town of Mitrovica.

Also Kosovo Assembly, Government, the President Ibrahim Rugova, the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci and the one of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj strongly condemned the terrorist act of the bombing of the railway bridge near Zvecan.

"This is an act against stability and overall progress in Kosovo. We expect the authorities which implement the law to investigate the case and bring the culprits to justice", Government, Rugova, Thaci and Haradinaj said among others.

Bishop Artemije visiting Prizren area, 28-29 March, 2003
Full Report by ERP KIM Info-Service


MEMORIAL SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF NATO BOMBING HELD IN ALL SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCHES - Patriarch Pavle, Boris Tadic, Vojislav Kostunica and Crown Prince Alexander II speak on occasion of the fourth anniversary of the NATO bombing.

ERP KIM Info-service
Belgrade, March 24, 2003

Memorial service in St. Mark's Cathedral - Belgrade, March 24, 2003

In accordance with the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops, memorial services (panichidas) for the victims of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 were served in all Serbian Orthodox churches, both in the country and abroad. His Holiness Patriarch Pavle served this year's memorial service with the priests of his Archdiocese at St. Mark's Cathedral in Belgrade. In his homily on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of this tragic event, the Patriarch of Serbia prayed to the Lord "to grant to our country and our people peace, justice and love" and "that what happened to us never happen to any other people in the world".

The memorial service was attended by several hundred citizens, among them Dr. Vojislav Kostunica, the former President of Yugoslavia; Boris Tadic, Defense Minister of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro; Vojislav Milovanovic, the Serbian Minister of Religion and Velimir Ilic, the head of the political party "New Serbia" in the ruling DOS coalition.

"We have just offered our prayers for the souls of our innocent brothers and sisters killed by NATO bombs. May the Lord rest their souls and grant them peace in the Heavenly Kingdom. O, Lord, give us strength to persevere to the end on Your path, no matter how narrow and difficult it may be, because he who endures to the end will be saved. Grant us, Lord, Your Peace, Justice and Love so that we may find ourselves as Your faithful servants in Your Eternal Kingdom," said Patriarch Pavle.

SCG Defense Minister Boris Tadic told journalists after the service that "although we can never forget the NATO bombing, we have to find a way to built such reality in which we will never again die from bombs".

"We could not foresee all the consequences of the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia in 1999," said Dr. Vojislav Kostunica, "and their effect on the life of the people and their memory. Now, in the case of Iraq, we can see that evil happening again; however, this time with quite a different attitude of the part of most of humanity. This is indeed a humble consolation and encouragement after what had happened to us four years ago," said Dr. Vojislav Kostunica when asked by journalists to comment on the attack on Iraq in the light of our own experience with the NATO bombing.

On the occasion of the fourth anniversary of NATO bombing agression of our country, HRH Crown Prince Alexander II said that Serbia and Montenegro are still recovering from the attack that killed thousands, caused enormous damage and lasted for 78 days.

"The lives that were lost will never be forgotten; they will always be in our hearts and memory. But in the memory of those killed we must turn to a brighter future, toward the great European family of nations to which we all belong."

HRH Crown Prince Alexander II expressed his hope that such aggression will never happen again and that our country will direct all its efforts toward establishing a developed, strong and stable democracy and economy, along with respect for all citizens regardless of their religious or ethnic origin.


Bishop of Raska and Prizren Artemije and his clergy served memorial services (panichidas) in all functioning Serbian Orthodox parish churches of Kosovo and Metohija. Panichidas were also served in all monasteries of the Diocese. Bells at Visoki Decani and Gracanica marked a moment of memory of all men and women, children and elderly who perished under NATO bombs four years ago.

Unlike the mourning and prayerful recollection in Orthodox Christian churches, Kosovo Albanians rowdily celebrated the anniversary of the bombing, waving American and Albanian flags throughout the Province. A few days ago, Kosovo Albanians organized a series of pro-Iraqi War rallies in Pristina and other major cities, making Kosovo one of the few places in the world where pro-war rallies were held.

Memorial services to the victims of NATO bombing of Serbia
left: Gracanica Monastery chappel - Bishop Artemije serving
right: Visoki Decani Monastery, hieromonks Metodije and Ilarion


March 24, 1999

ERP KIM Info-Service

Today's edition of our newsletter is devoted to the memory of all those who died or suffered during the tragic three months NATO bombing aggression in 1999. Exactly four years ago NATO launched massive air raids against Serbia without the approval of the UN Security Council and without all possibilities for the peaceful settlement of the crisis first being fully exhausted by the international community. Although NATO claimed that the air attacks were directed against Yugoslav military targets and the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, thousands of civilians of all ethnicities suffered and died as "collateral damage". This is a moment to remember all these innocent victims who were killed in the name of "freedom and humanity" and to pray for the repose of their souls. The lives that were lost will never be forgotten; they will always be in our hearts and memory.

Did the military intervention bring full peace to Kosovo as it had been planned? Definitely not for all. Four years after the NATO aggression Kosovo is still not a safe place for all its citizens, severe ethnic discrimination continues and more than 250,000 citizens of the Province (primarily Serbs) are not allowed to return to their homes despite the NATO and UN presence. More than Serbian Orthodox 100 churches were turned into ashes before the eyes of the international representatives and their powerful military. Kosovo has never been more monoethnic in its history. A peace mission has never been more a caricature of justice.

Did the NATO intervention bring Milosevic's rule to the end? No, because it was only one year later that Serbia managed to overthrow the dictator's regime without outside assistance and trace its own way toward the future. The bombs which fell on Serbian cities, bridges and hospitals will never be considered by its people to have contributed to their freedom. On the contrary, they will remain a painful reminder that friendly assistance and democracy can never arrive on the wings of bomber aircraft and cruise missiles.

NATO missiles target a Serbian bridge at Grdelicka gorge, and hit a civilian train killing dozens of innocent civilians: "We are just little crosses on their computer displays, We are just a part of their video-game...", Verses by a contemporary Serbian poet Matija Beckovic

While the International Court in The Hague is prosecuting those who have been indicted for committing crimes against Kosovo Albanian civilians, no one yet has assumed responsibility for at least 2,000 civilian victims of the NATO bombing campaign. As well, no one has been brought to justice for the 847 non-Albanian civilians killed and 1,154 kidnapped after the arrival of NATO-led peacekeepers to Kosovo and Metohija and the beginning of the UN Mission. Are these not crimes? If they are not, who in the world can justify the systematic violence where almost 2,000 innocent civilians perished in the time of peace and how? Today we also remember these innocent victims and pray for their eternal peace.

Praying to the Lord of Peace, the Lord of true Peace and Love, we cannot but lament the tragic path which some of the world's most powerful leaders took four years ago. The depth of their deception was as profound as the conceit of their temporary power and righteousness. Unfortunately they are making a similar mistake today. Yet the only consolation in this moment of sorrow is that the Lord of Peace will be the ultimate Judge and that His Judgment will not be based on shallow principles of human "justice" and hypocrisy. Everything not built on the firm foundation of God's justice will not prevail.

Praying for the innocent victims of the NATO bombing in 1999, we ask the Lord Christ to grant them eternal peace in His Heavenly Kingdom. VYECHNAYA PAMYAT - MEMORY ETERNAL!