The Position of the Church towards Kosovo Crisis
texts - interviews


Bishop Artemije gives lecture at Western Policy Center in Washington, D.C. (January 29, 2004)

While it is true that many hospitals have been restored, Serbs cannot seek treatment in them; numerous roads have been paved but Serbs lack the freedom to travel on them; tens of thousands of houses have been renovated but only about one hundred of them are owned by Serbs. After the war, all mosques were repaired and many new ones built while over one hundred Serbian churches still lie in ruins and not one has been reconstructed; there are many new supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants but what use are they to Serbs when only Albanians and foreigners can safely enter them? In short, based on his first-hand experience, the average Serb feels that UNMIK has come to help only one community while Serbs appear fated to live as second-class citizens on the margins of society, said Bishop Artemije during his lecture on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Bishop Artemije at the Western Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
January 29, 2004

Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, who is presently on a working visit to the U.S. with his associates, gave a lecture on Thursday, January 29 at the Western Policy Center in Washington, D.C. on the topic of Multiethnic Kosovo - Diplomatic Dream or Balkan Reality. The lecture was jointly organized by the Western Policy Center and the Serbian Unity Congress in the U.S. in order to inform the U.S. public regarding the present situation in Kosovo and Metohija and possible solutions for the crisis in the future.

Full report on the presentation by Bishop Artemije

For more information on positions of Bishop Artemije regarding the Kosovo issue you can download a zip-file with 15 MS Word documents (testimonies in US Congress, public letter, statements, interviews) /   500 KB 

Biography of Bishop Artemije:

The complete text of the Bishop's speech at the Western Policy Center you can find on:

or on our local page:

Bishop Artemije's interview for "Svedok"

Four years of experience has forced us to reject further cooperation to our own detriment

After everything our people in the southern Serb province have gone through in the past four years, including cooperation with the international community which offered us many programs and promises, we have gained little or nothing. I openly told Holkeri that under the circumstances in which the Serbs are living, we cannot participate any further in their programs and concepts. Four years of experience has forced us to reject cooperation to our own detriment and our own destruction.

Broad autonomy within Serbia-Montenegro - Bishop Artemije
full text of the interview is available at:

Newsletter 7 January, 2004

Bishop Artemije, Serbia wasted its opportunities in XX century

exclusive Christmas interview of Bishop Artemije to the "Danas" daily, Belgrade

Even though Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija have already lived for four and a half years since the introduction of an international protectorate "without safety, freedom of movement, the right to work, exposed to attacks, robbery and murder", Bishop Artemije says that they "await the holiday of the Nativity of Christ with joy".

Bishop Artemije: We do not need "minority rights" in exchange for Serbia's sovereignty in Kosovo and Metohija

Communiqué of Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija following the appeal of Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Dr. Nebojsa Covic

Serbian Orthodox Diocese of
Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija

Press Release

Gracanica Monastery, December 18, 2003

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija firmly supports yesterday's appeal by Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija president Dr. Nebojsa Covic, which he addressed to all political parties participating in elections for the Serbian parliament and election list primaries, calling on them to sign the Resolution on the Protection of Serbian National Interests and Rights of the Republic of Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija.

The proposed text of the Resolution with its seven articles is a document around which all political factors in Serbia should rally and unite, thus sending a clear message to the domestic and global community that the development of democratic processes in Serbia is not equivalent to the territorial cutting up of her state territory and renunciation of Kosovo and Metohija but their preservation as an inalienable part of Serbia.

The Serb people in this region desire a free and dignified life but cannot accept, in exchange for Serbia's sovereignty, offers of abstract "minority rights" in a society Kosovo Albanians are tailoring exclusively according to their needs and interests. The document "Standards for Kosovo", which does not mention the sovereignty of Serbia and Montenegro and the essential elements of UN Security Council 1244, fundamentally prejudices the secession of the southern Serbian province and as such must be urgently revised in order to be acceptable for the Serbian side, too.

The claim of some international and domestic "preachers" that Serbia with Kosovo and Metohija cannot be a part of Europe and the world is untrue and tendentious. In fact, it is without Kosovo and Metohija, and with the open process of territorial disintegration which the secession of the southern province would inevitable entail, that Serbia would commit her historical suicide and the Serbian people would lose its deepest historical roots, which represent the foundation of its religious and national being.

After all these difficult wartime and post-war years, it is completely clear that if the Albanian nationalists realize their dream of an independent and Albanian Kosovo, the long-term survival of the Serbian people and preservation of our legitimate cultural and historical rights in this region will be impossible. The battle for the preservation of state sovereignty and the establishment of a just society for all citizens of the Province, regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation, is therefore the only path to preserving the multiethnicity of Kosovo and Metohija as an integral part of a democratic and multiethnic Republic of Serbia and state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Therefore, the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija strongly appeals to all political parties participating in the upcoming elections for the Serbian Parliament to demonstrate their national and political responsibility before their citizens and, regardless of existing political differences, to sign the proposed Resolution. We also call on the signatories of the Resolution to remain true to the principles they have publicly upheld and confirm their words with appropriate actions when, in the near future, they become members of the new Serbian Parliament.

Let us show the world that Serbs know how to unite on issues of vital interest of the people and the state! Let us show that the future of Serbia, the state union of Serbia and Montenegro and the entire Balkans does not lie in the creation of an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo and further destruction of its Christian heritage, which represents the foundation of European civilization and culture.

To the same extent that we ourselves respect our state and its sovereignty, we will be respected by the entire democratic world as a serious state based on law.

Bishop of Raska-Prizren and

Newsletter 05 December, 2003

Exclusive interview of Fr. Sava Janjic to the Belgrade daily DANAS (Today) - An Introduction to the revision of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244

"Autonomy can exist only in relation to a broader entity, not as an independent whole or an artificial para-state, which is in fact what UNMIK has created in Kosovo and Metohija in the past five years. Accepting the draft plan for implementation of standards without this essential provision of Resolution 1244, as a result of which Slobodan Milosevic agreed to an end of the conflict with NATO, prejudices the final status of the Province, which is contrary to the UN Security Council document. Through the gradual transfer of competencies from UNMIK to provisional Kosovo institutions (PISG) without any ties with appropriate Serbian institutions the survival of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia and Montenegro is becoming an abstraction, and with the increasing passage of time a practical impossibility."

The text in Serbian is available at the DANAS daily site:


Why the UN mission is hiding the real situation in Kosovo and Metohija from the public

On the beginning of cooperation between Belgrade and UNMIK on the investigation of KLA crimes

Commentary by Fr. Sava Janjic

Results of UN/KFOR mission that Kosovo Serbs experience firsthand every day
The number of unresolved cases of attacks against Serbs since the arrival of the
peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and Metohija give rise to the legitimate question
whether the role of the UNMIK  police is to prevent and punish crimes or just to
record crimes committed by Albanian extremists and express its "sincere regrets"
(Photo: Collage of images from some of the most serious crimes committed
against Serbs  since June 1999, ERP - Click on image for larger format)

This article was written exclusively for the Belgrade daily Danas and appeared in its weekend edition of November 29-30, 2003.

full text of the commentary is available at:



In Kosovo crimes not only continue to occur but for the past four years they have been a silently accepted legitimate means of pursuing the policy of ethnic cleansing which Kosovo Albanian extremists are carrying out against Serbs and non-Albanian minorities. Their goal is to realize what dictators such as Milosevic and Tudjman failed to accomplish: to execute a revision of Balkan borders on an ethnic basis and divide towns and villages that even five centuries of Turkish rule and even Milosevic's regime failed to divide. While in Belgrade, Zagreb, Banja Luka and Sarajevo politicians are painfully and with difficulty but with increasing courage and determination confronting the legacy of the past with the intent of joining the rest of Europe, in Kosovo key figures among the Kosovo Albanians persistently not only deny ethnic terror against Serbs but in the case of the most recent attacks resulting in the deaths of children and helpless old people are once again accusing phantom Serb forces, as if time for them had stopped back in 1999 when Milosevic ruled the fate of Balkan peoples.... MORE

by Fr. Sava Janjic

Vesti daily, Frankfurt
August 4, 2003



Intrigue and pure political games characterize everything that happened
surrounding Prohor Pcinjski, just as it is a political matter why
Macedonian authorities refuse to allow Serbian Orthodox Church priests
to enter and pass through Macedonia. Kosovo must be both Serb and

There is no clash between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the so-called
Macedonian Orthodox Church; there is only a difference of opinion and in
respect for the traditions of the church and canonic law. The so-called
Macedonian Church does not exist because it is not recognized by any
canonic Orthodox Church and, therefore, it cannot be a church, Bishop
Artemije of Raska and Prizren stated for "Vesti." He emphasized that
everything that happened surrounding Prohor Pcinjski is "pure political
games and intrigue, just as it is a political matter why Macedonian
authorities refuse to allow Serbian Orthodox priests not only to enter
but even to pass through Macedonia on their way to Greece."

"We are forced to travel through Bulgaria, to travel twice the distance
and spend far more time than we would need to reach, for example,
Thessaloniki," said Bishop Artemije.

When asked whether these disagreements will influence the bilateral
relations of Macedonia and Serbia, the Bishop of Raska and Prizren
briefly answered that this was "a minor matter to influence the
relations of two states."

Commenting on the future of Serbs in Kosovo, Artemije says he views the
issue through the past of the Serb people.

"If we were able in the past to live with all the peoples who live in
this region, I believe we can do so again in the future because Kosovo
and Metohija will never again be, should not be and cannot be Serb only;
however, it will not be and must not be Albanian only, either. Kosovo
and Metohija has enough land and air and sun for all. It will either be
multiethnic or it will cease to exist; therefore, there is a future in
Kosovo and Metohija for both Serbs and Albanians. That is my belief and
my conviction," emphasized the Bishop.

Serbian Orthodox Church serves God and the people

When asked whether he thinks that the Serbian Orthodox Church has been
aspiring to the creation of state policy since the fall of Milosevic,
Artemije responded:

"The Church has never created state policy but it has always sought room
to live and to conduct its activities. The Church does not concern
itself with politics and does not serve political aims; it serves God
and the people regardless of the political system or the regime that is
in power. The Church acted thus during the time of Tito and during the
time of Milosevic and during the time of the Turks and it will continue
to do so in the future."

Bishop Artemije states for "Vesti" that he expects the new head of UNMIK
in Kosovo to be first and foremost objective, that is, unbiased toward
either side but able to see real problems and to resolve them in
accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244. "If he manages to
implement the Resolution in full and to realize what it foresees, I
think he will accomplish a great thing not only for Kosovo and Metohija
but for the entire international community," concluded Bishop Artemije
of Raska and Prizren.

* * *

Unity around Church and forefathers

Bishop Artemije's message to the Serbian people:

"To unite around their Church, their faith and their forefathers. For
without this doing this the Serbs will not have a good future, no matter
where they are located."

("Vesti" is a Serbian-language daily newspaper published in Frankfurtfor the Serbian émigré communities of Europe, America and Australia)


For immediate release


Reaction of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija to "the appeal of Albanian leaders to displaced Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija"


The Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija believe that the recent appeal of Kosovo Albanian leaders to displaced and expelled Serbs to return to their homes in Kosovo and Metohija is a formally positive but essentially insincere political move and trick whose goals are more in the domain of political marketing than in the honest intention of establishing better interethnic tolerance and democratic relations. Unfortunately, the enormous disparity between rhetoric and the everyday reality in which the Serb community lives is too great for this appeal to represent serious encouragement for 230,000 Serbs which are not granted free return to their homes four years after they fled Kosovo.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija must state with regret that the concrete behavior of individual Kosovo Albanian leaders and Albanian municipal authorities in practical life is diametrically opposed to the rhetoric of the aforementioned appeal.

Nenad Radosavljevic, the repatriation coordinator in the office of the special representative of the UN secretary general in Kosovo and Metohija, has already pointed out several concrete examples where municipal authorities belonging to the parties of Ibrahim Rugova and Hashim Thaci, respectively, are openly blocking returns and failing to undertake any concrete measures to realize the return of displaced citizens*. The situation is especially difficult in the Pec region where the municipal authorities are rhetorically calling on Serbs to return while at the same time preventing in practice by a series of impossible conditions any organized and sustained return by Serb citizens to this region. Even though conditions for the return of individuals or smaller groups and families do not exist in most of the Province, especially in the urban centers, due to enormous security risks and pervasive ethnic discrimination, K/Albanian leaders stubbornly oppose the return of the Serb population of entire Serb villages that now lie empty with the justification that they don't want "the creation of new enclaves." Very frequently mentioned in public is the false idea that Serbs in fact do not want to return, without bothering to mention that it is completely unrealistic to expect the return of families with women and children to locations where these people are faced with the absolute lack of elementary security and human rights. By stubbornly avoiding to responsibly build a spirit of tolerance and a readiness to accept the refugees among the majority populace, the K/Albanian municipal authorities are actually conducting an organized and carefully planned campaign to prevent the return of significant numbers of displaced persons, especially to urban centers. At the same time, the tolerance and hiding of continued crimes and pressure applied on remaining Serbs, especially the elderly, to sell their property and leave Kosovo and Metohija represents another indicator that behind the rhetoric prepared for the Western media market there is no sincere willingness for a common life, tolerance and respect for the rights of non-Albanians.

The position of Albanian leaders who claim that "they cannot guarantee either security or employment" for Serb returnees is highly problematic. From such a statement it follows that these leaders are not ready to assume any personal responsibility or concrete political activity in order to create better interethnic living conditions. There are many examples confirming this "political schizophrenia" of Albanian politicians because after all major incidents where Albanian extremists have attacked and murdered members of the Serb community or destroyed churches, the political leaders of the main Albanian parties in the Province chiefly limited themselves to superficial, ambiguous and rhetorical statements condemning violence without taking any concrete measures to publicly reduce interethnic tension and intolerance. What is more, by their statements in contacts with their electorate they continued with their usual nationalistic rhetoric, acting as if no one lived in the Province except ethnic Albanians.

What awaits Serb returnees to the Province where they are being so magnanimously invited by the leading Albanian politicians?

First, the complete absence of any form of security guarantees, individual or collective rights or freedoms. Serbs continue to be subject to persecution, attack, theft and various acts of violence. All postwar crimes against Serbs, including the massacre of the Stolic family, remain unsolved crimes because of the absolute unwillingness of the Albanian community and its political leadership to help UNMIK police to identify the criminals. Not one instance of destruction or desecration of Orthodox churches or cemeteries has been positively resolved and there is an absolute conspiracy of silence in the Province regarding the issue altogether, which not infrequently borders on a tacit approval of the crimes themselves or even accusing Serbs of blowing up their own shrines. Mr. Ibrahim Rugova and the other leaders of Albanian political parties act as if all these crimes are happening somewhere in Madagascar or in the Philippines. Premier Rexhepi, for instance, openly contested a number of destroyed churches in a meeting with a group of Italian senators in March this year, which was later confirmed by the Albanian press and the senators themselves. He also repeated a "popular" theory that only political churches were destroyed although many of the destroyed shrines were built in the 13th or 14th century. In this way Rexhepi de facto not only justified these acts of vandalism but also encouraged new attacks. After the stoning of 50 Serb pensioners in Pec in December of last year, none of the Albanian leaders visited the elderly men and women who were attacked, nor did anyone publicly address the Albanian population of Pec to point out that behavior of this sort is unacceptable for a society that aspires to become a part of Europe. The so-called Albanian "independent press," which under the strong influence of the political parties, is not only failing to participate in the building of a spirit of tolerance but is further fanning the flames of interethnic intolerance and persistently glorifying the ideals of wartime violence, representing the chief obstacle to the process of the democratization of society.

It is characteristic that Albanian leaders consistently see the essence of the security problem in the Province in "organized crime." Of course, no one can deny that since 1999 Kosovo has become a mecca of organized crime, prostitution and drug dealing, a fact regularly reported by the Western press. However, the real root of violence and crime lies in the existence of a retrograde collective consciousness that the Province should be transformed into an ethnically pure Albanian independent state, where even the last vestiges of Serb presence and culture should be eliminated once and for all. This is the direction toward which the surviving structures of the former Kosovo Liberation Army are working, whether through the terrorist Albanian National Army (ANA) or through "legal" structures such as the Kosovo Protection Corps, Kosovo Police Service (KPS) and public institutions. Recently the Kosovo Parliament passed a decision, despite the opposition of the Serb delegates and the international community, proclaiming the war fought by the KLA to be "a war of liberation," despite the fact that a large number of innocent civilians - Serbs, Albanians, Roma and Bosniacs - perished at the hands of extremists belonging to this inherently terrorist organization. Only a month ago leading Albanian politicians reaffirmed in Prizren the 19th century ideals of the infamous "Prizren League," behind which stands the idea of the political unification of all the Albanians in the Balkans in a single, ethnically based, exclusive state. With its exclusive ethnic Albanian and Islamist postulates, the Prizren League is a dangerous anachronism and an obstacle to the democratic development of society and the establishment of interethnic confidence. The statements of the Albanian leaders on the occasion of these "national" occasions are in grotesque contradiction to the polished rhetoric of the appeal to displaced Serbs. Nationalistic rhetoric is often used as a public cover by those leaders who are under suspicion of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity and it is not unusual at all that the main initiators of the post-war ethnic violence wrap themselves in the Albanian national flag in order to present themselves as the only sincere fighters for the future of the Kosovo Albanian people.

Keeping all these fact in mind, we cannot help but conclude that the most recent declaration appealing for the return of displaced Serbs is yet another colorful lie the purpose of which is to conceal the direct responsibility of certain leaders who have subscribed to the organization and encouragement of crimes against the Serb population since the end of the war in June 1999. Rhetoric without the readiness for concrete political and moral responsibility and the equal treatment of all citizens, regardless of ethnic affiliation, is only another attempt to hide the real situation at any price and to portray Kosovo, the most intolerant part of the European continent, as "the land of milk and honey."

Consequently, the Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija call on Albanian leaders and on the Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohija as a whole to spend less time on empty rhetoric and more on concrete activities aimed at building a more tolerant society and preventing ethnic violence and terrorism, so as to create the necessary atmosphere for the return of displaced persons. The rhetoric of the appeal has therefore to be confirmed by concrete actions so that it might have any political and moral credibility. The refugees will then return to their homes of their own accord without histrionic public appeals and media furor. The Serb community will actively participate in the building of a democratic society and the true multiethnic institutions, but only under the condition that it is not a society tailored only for one privileged ethnic community, a society where Serbs as a people will be second class citizens. This is the only reality that the Serb people can and will accept. It certainly is not the reality created by ethnic terror, looting, the burning down of churches and the digging up of graves, which Albanian leaders want Serbs to accept as a precondition for their normal and safe life in Kosovo.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren and the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija again publicly reiterate that conditions for resolving the final status of the Province cannot be achieved by rhetoric and arguments in vain, but only by implementation of democratic standards and establishing equal rights for all citizens.

* Press report enclosed at the bottom


+ ARTEMIJE (Radosavljevic)

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


“The Pope in Belgrade? His visit would provoke new divisions in our church. The opinion is widespread among our people that the Vatican was largely implicated in all that has happened in former Yugoslavia over the last twelve years”. An interview with Bishop Artemije, leader of the Serbo-Orthodox community in Kosovo

by Gianni Valente .

Artemije, the Bishop of Raska and Prizren who leads the Serbo-Orthodox community in Kosovo, also shares the life of his people under siege. He cannot leave his regular quarters in Gracanica to celebrate the holy liturgy in other places without the armed escort of KFOR troops. His activities, and also his replies in the following interview, are not free of the drastic tone of someone unwilling to make the due distinctions about components of the Albanian opposition, and he is little inclined to attempt more balanced judgements on the tangle of rights and wrongs in post-war Kosovo. But they do testify to the real sufferings of an entire population over whom the international media system and humanitarian indignation à la carte seem to have extended a veil of oblivion. MORE

EDITORIAL by Fr. Sava Janjic
Time for Essential Changes
February 10, 2003

First of all, it is necessary to define concrete mechanisms to defend the rights of the Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija, not only individual rights but the collective rights of the Serbs, which presupposes the building of institutions of Serb self-administration in areas where Serbs and other communities using the Serb language live, and where the most significant Orthodox monuments of spirituality and culture are located. The Serb community cannot afford to remain the silent observer who passively watches as others tie the noose to be slipped around its neck. Therefore, the basic condition for return and for any form of further participation by Serb representatives in Kosovo and Metohija institutions must be a clear definition of the constitutionality of the Serb community and the amendment (or change) of the existing Constitutional Framework, which needs to be realigned with the principles of UN SC Resolution 1244. FULL TEXT

Campaign against Christianity intensifying in Kosovo
January 22, 2003

The latest initiative of the Kosovo Ministry of Education to demolish the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior in the centre of Pristina is a last drop in the three year's long anti-Christian campaign led by Kosovo Albanian extremists. While all most important Universities in Europe and the United States are proud of their University chapels, Kosovo Albanian Ministry of Education and University request destruction of a Christian church. Why? For the Pristina University, which is becoming an ethnically clean institution, with the vast majority of Moslem students, a Christian Chruch with a cross in its vicinity looks like "a pig in the mosque courtyard". FULL TEXT

January 16, 2003

Truly, in Kosovo and Metohija much has changed for the better in the last three years but only for Albanian community. Under UNMIK’s rule, however, changes are only slightly or not at all reflected in Serb areas where the 100,000 remaining Serbs are hard pressed to see any essential improvements since the end of the war. While it is true that many hospitals have been restored, Serbs cannot seek treatment in them; numerous roads have been paved but Serbs lack the freedom to travel on them; tens of thousands of houses have been renovated but only about one hundred of them are owned by Serbs. After the war, all mosques were repaired and many new ones built while over one hundred Serbian churches still lie in ruins and not one has been reconstructed; there are many new supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants but what use are they to Serbs when only Albanians and foreigners can safely enter them. In short, based on his first-hand experience, the average Serb feels that UNMIK has come to help only one community while Serbs appear fated to live as second-class citizens on the margins of society. FULL TEXT


December 14, 2002

Bishop Artemije addressed in his letter the Special Delegation of the United Nations Security council which is visiting Kosovo and Metohija requesting urgent measures to stop discrimination and violence against Serbs and non-Albanians in the UN administered province of Kosovo

Why are Kosovo Serbs Dissatisfied
Two recent analyses of the Kosovo impasse before the local elections
by Fr. Sava Janjic (fully edited versions)

KFOR and UNMIK Crack on Kosovo Albanian Mafia
Editorial by Fr. Sava Janjic

Orthodox Bishop cannot support local Kosovo elections

SRNA, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2002

GRACANICA -- Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren has said that he feels the Kosovo Serbs do not have a single good reason to participate in the Kosovo municipal elections due on October 26.

"Even if the people were called to cast their ballots I am certain that they would not respond to this invitation because of everything that has happened in Kosovo since the deployment of the international troops", he said. Bishop Artemije described the Serb deputies in the Kosovo Parliament as “part of the décor” because none of their proposals have so far been accepted or adopted by the Parliament.

Editorial by Fr. Sava (Janjic), Oct 15, 2002


Kosovo Serbs hesitate to support institutions which work only for Albanian ethnic interests

In the opinion of local Serbs Kosovo and Metohija is increasingly being tailored to the needs of only one ethnic group. Serb leaders feel that they do not have the moral right to participate in institutions which are working on the destruction of their people. which they feel are denied to them in the UN administered Province. This is why Kosovo Serbs are now justifiably raising their voices and demanding urgent and radical changes in UNMIK policies in order to bring the process of building democratic institutions back within the framework of UN Resolution 1244. MORE

Anti-NATO feelings increase among Kosovo Albanians
as they see that the Peacekeeping Mission would not tolerate ethnic violence

Kosovo Rapidly Moving Towards Middle East Chaos
It is the high time to make decisions which would return Kosovo from the brink of chaos - Editorial by Fr. Sava (Janjic)

Until recently UNMIK officials were jeeringly dismissing desperate Serb human rights reports on Albanian ethnic violence as exaggerated and misleading. Every foreign official who visited Kosovo in the previous months would be proudly informed that the level of violence had considerably decreased and that Kosovo institutions were showing maturity in running everyday life. Unfortunately, the brutal attack of Albanian mob in Pec demonstrated quite opposite. Kosovo is not only insecure for Kosovo Serbs but also for international peacekeepers who were showered by a rain of stones and petrol bombs while trying to protect elderly Serb civillians in the streets of Pec. One soldier was badly burned while at least 7 policemen suffered injuries. This attack is regrettably not the only attack on international policemen and soldiers in the recent time. On August 15, Albanian demonstrators surged on police and peacekeepers in Decani. The riots ended with more than 40 injured. Only several days later, on August 29 armed Kosovo Albanians opened fire on a group of Serb farmers and Italian soldiers who were protecting them in Gorazdevac, 10 km east from Pec. Almost four hours the peacekeepers were exposed to the Albanian machine gun fire in which several KFOR vehicles sustained considerable damage and one soldier was injured. Despite extensive investigation no perpertrators of this attack were brought to justice. As usual, Kosovo's extremists take care that no one would dare witness in the court against powerful clans. MORE

Kosovo - a province in which freedom depends on
ethnicity and religion ( a Serb refugee child)

IWPR - Institute For War and Peace Reporting, London
Comment: Kosovo Serb Despair

The Serbian extremist's electoral success here reflects local
Serbs' increasingly desperate plight. (More)

Life under the constant guard
Even elderly Serb women are targeted by Albanians,
Poljka Katratovic in Djakovica lives under Italian protection

Democracy cannot be built on ethnic discrimination
Open Democracy Magazine
Fr. Sava Janjic

IWPR Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Comment: Kosovo Extremists Out of Control
The international community should intervene to stop the growing number of attacks on Serb civilians and their holy sites.
IWPR link
Local link
By Fr. Sava (Janjic)

While the Security Council applauds to "tremendous achievements" of UN Mission in Kosovo in everyday life an objective observer can only witness essential deterioration of the security and human rights situation. Attacks on Serb civilians and their holy sites, everyday harassments of the elderly people and nuns, are becoming more frequent and menacing. It appears that Albanian extremists which work on creation of ethnically clean Albanian Kosovo see in the remaining Kosovo Serbs the most serious obstacle for realization of their long wished goal. In many ways they are right to believe that not a single Serb will ever agree to live in a quasi state in which basic human rights and dignity depend on ethnicity and religion; in which a Serbian word for freedom does not exist in dictionaries. MORE

July 21, 2002 Gracanica

Church will strongly insist on reconstruction of Zociste Monastery

Bishop Artemije, the spiritual leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija has written a letter to SRSG Mr. Michael Steiner requesting his support for reconstruction of the Serb Orthodox holy sites destroyed or damaged after the war in 1999. FULL TEXT

"We strongly believe that this is our undeniable right which is granted by all international human rights charters and the UNSCR 1244", Bishop said in his letter to the chief of UNMIK Mr. Steiner

More information about the problems with the reconstruction of Zociste Monastery


The Commentary on the speech by Mr. Veton Surroi at the US Institute of Peace, June 10, 2002

State-building or Simulation of Democracy in Kosovo
by Fr. Sava Janjic

Some Highlights From the Commentary

"Kosovo is overwhelmed by organized crime, corruption and mafia which are definitely not a result of UNMIK's failure to give the power to Albanians. In fact, without UNMIK the things would be far worse. It would be quite absurd to believe that giving more authority to Kosovan political leaders would stop the organized crime because it is directly or indirectly sponsored by many of those leaders themselves."

"A society in which elderly women cannot buy bread in a shop only because they belong to a different ethnic group and speak a different language can hardly encourage Serbs to believe in good will of their K/Albanian neighbors."

"Surroi's claim that Kosovo is "the most pro-American society in Europe, despite its Muslim background", is puzzling and even humorous. It is not quite clear whether he meant that a pro-American sentiment is better demonstrated by following the American patterns of democracy and freedom or by waving U.S. flags above gas stations and displaying "Winston" billboards along bumpy Kosovo roads."


Letter of Bishop Artemije to KFOR Commander Lt. Gen. Valentin about the continuation of systematic destruction and desecration of Serb Orthodox Holy Places in Kosovo and Metohija
"I can only assure you that these acts of vandalism are clearly a part of the wider strategy to discourage returns of our IDP's and change the cultural identity of the region which has been known for its valuable Serb Orthodox sites worldwide. Changing not only ethnic, but also cultural identity, Kosovo Albanian leaders want to accelerate the process of independence of Kosovo which would essentially be a "state" tailored to the measure of Albanian people." May 15, 2002

Bishop Artemije and HRH Crown Prince Alexander in Belgrade
13 May 2002 - Press Statement

The situation in Kosovo and Metohija in light of the most recent session
of the UN Security Council

Without signs of fundamental progress
by Fr. Sava Janjic
(document in MS Word format)

Interview of Bishop Artemije to the Herald of Kosovo and Metohija
March 7, 2002


Fr. Sava from Decani Monastery speaks about the present situation in
Kosovo and Metohija, March 2002

Serbian Coalition "Povratak - Return" in the Kosovo Parliament
Povratak is dissatisfied because the Albanian parties totally disregarded Serb interests in division of the ministerial posts in the Government

One Year After the Bus Massacre

One year after the bus massacre in which Albanian terrorists killed 11 and wounded more than 40 Serb civilians (mostly elderly and women) Bishop Artemije served a memorial service in Gracanica monastery. Beside many priests, monks and the faithful people Mr. Nebojsa Covic, the Serbian vice president from Belgrade attended the ceremony. MORE

Dr. Rada Trajkovic, a surgeon and a Serb political leader and Bishop Artemije

IWPR Comment: Reconciling in Kosovo, Feb 1, 2002

A moderate approach of the Serb political leader in Kosovo, Dr. Rada Trajkovic
Dr. Trajkovic is a leader of the Serb coalition "Povratak" and enjoys full moral and political support of Bishop Artemije, the Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Kosovo and Metohija

Bishop Artemije on present situation in Kosovo

The most important priority in Kosovo Region is to ensure proper institutions of the civil society, peace and dignity for all citizens regardless of their ethnicity. Only when true progress has been made in this field Kosovo final status may be addressed. Any discussion on the Kosovo final status, especially the idea of independence of Kosovo in the situation of gross violations of minority human rights by the Albanian population would be a serious mistake which would turn the province into a major factor of instability for the SE Europe.

Continuation of terrorist attacks, rule of mafia and former KLA millitants, destruction of Serb Christian monuments as well as absence of basic freedom of movement for the most of non-Albanian population shows that Kosovo Albanian political leaders have not managed to offer any model of society different to the rule of Milosevic. By doing so they essentially fail to understand the new processes in Europe. It is only thanks to the international presence that any of non-Albanian communities survive in the province and without the NATO military presence the entire region would be ignited again in war and bloodshed. Unreadiness of Albanian leaders to establish basic conditions for Serbs and other non-Albanians to live in the province a dignified life shows that Kosovo province must remain under a long term international protectorate.

One can hardly speak of any true political progress in the province when even Albanians themselves cannot find concensus over the president and the prime minister nominations. It is true that the number of attacks against Serbs has decreased but many fail to understand that this is the result of total isolation of Serbs who are almost hermetically separated from Albanians in KFOR protected enclaves. Despite Serb open participation in elections and their readiness to support UN sponosred autonomy of Kosovo within FRY, so far no real improvement of life for ordinary Kosovo Serbs has been seen.

Bishop Artemije
SNC Information Service, Feb 1, 2001

Episcopal Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church in
the United States of America and Canada issues

A Letter of Protest
Regarding the continuation of human rights violations against the Serb Orthodos
population in Kosovo and Metohija, January 10, 2002

Three pillars for the future of Kosovo Serbs

Povratak coalition
The members of the Serbian Political Coalition "Povratak" (Return), 8 Dec 2001
with Bishop Artemije, Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and Vice President Covic
Povratak Coalition will give 22 members of the first post-war Kosovo Parliament

The First Concrete Step of UNMIK to implement the UNSC Resolution 1244

SRSG Hans Haekkerup and the Serbian deputy prime minister Nebojsa Covic

Text in English

Serb Americans in front of Capitol
Serb Americans Gather in Washington D.C. for Second Annual Leadership Conference, 8 Sep 2001
Among guests at the Conference were Bishop Artemije, Abbot of Decani Fr. Teodosije and deacon Vasilije Delic

Serbian Orthodox Church in the Kosovo Conflict (extract), ICG, Jan 31, 2001
A passage from the wider report of ICG on Religion in Kosovo

Statement of the Committee for Kosovo and Metohija
- appointed by the Holy Synod of the SOC, Jan 12, 2001

The Church Role in Serbia's Peaceful Revolution

Fr. Sava - Albanian Extremism Needs to Be Called By Its True Name
Commentary, August 19, 2000