Holy Archangels' Monastery near Prizren, Serbia

"You showed me the church of Yours as the source of health", Dusan's gift charter. -Full reconstruction was interrupted... -In June 1999 a monk from the monastery, Fr. Chariton, was abducted. -Now - a spiritual center gathering the remaining Orthodox people from Prizren and around. The young monastic brotherhood is full of religious enthusiasm and remains confident that one day Holy Archangels will be completely reconstructed.

Monday, April 03, 2006

His Grace Bishop of Raska and Prizren Artemije (II part)


All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. (Matthew 26:31)
Many of them scattered from Kosovo/Metohija and many abandon their shepherd. Bishop Artemy with remains of his flock is still on the Christ path:

His Grace Bishop of Raska and Prizren Artemije (Radosavljevic) estimated that the representatives of the International community in Kosovo were only efficient in protecting Albanian minority in Serbia.

• What has happened to the Committee for the return of Serbs - the members
were Mr. Kouchner, you as president of SNC, representatives of KFOR,
UNHCR, and OSCE? What is your standpoint today concerning the return of
Serbs to Kosovo? Should one insist on return and then on reconstruction, or vice versa?
Such a Committee does not exist any more. It was established during
the time of Kouchner, but it did not bring any positive results. It simply
extinguished itself, we did not meet any longer nor did we even talk any
more about it.
I would not know when it exactly stopped working, but in any case it
did not last long. According to the results it achieved, its effect was equal
to zero.
My standpoint is that the living church should return first, this means
that the people should return. After that, the people themselves, through
the assistance of our state, of course, and the international community
will rebuild their holy objects. It seems to me that this is the only proper
approach and the only way to implement the return and to rebuild what
was destroyed.
However, the houses are being repaired, especially those damaged after March 17, from the funds of different international organizations or the Council of Europe, by the Albanian companies. This repair and rehabilitation was never brought to the end nor fully completed, despite the fact that this activity was highly praised and manipulated with. The fact is
that no Serbs persecuted and exiled on March 17 ever returned to these so called renewed houses or renewed villages. The houses would be covered with something, the doors and windows would be installed, but the houses remain empty. Nobody could return to them, especially in such an environment where one feels unsafe and many dangers threaten. Then
somebody uses this opportunity and suggests to an owner: ?Since you do
not intend to return, come and sell it. ? In this way the ethnic cleansing of
Serbs from Kosovo will be completed and legalized.
• After many promises of the international community, which were given but
were never fulfilled, as early as year 2001 you had very serious objections
concerning the appeal to the Serbs to participate in the Parliamentary elections
in Kosovo. Just after the Haekerup-Covic agreement was signed you
appealed to the people to participate in the elections. But even this agreement
remained without results, and Haekerup's successors did not care about it. Is
it known whether the international community ever completely honored even
one agreement?
I cannot say decidedly either positive or negative. Those agreements
which were, mainly, signed by the international community and
by either representatives of Serbs from Kosovo or by representatives of
Coordination Center from Belgrade, but it seems to me that none was
ever honored.
Even I have signed, with Kuchner, the first agreement, sometime during year 2000, and nothing ever came out of it. All promises remained only promises.
• After October 5, 2000, there were great hopes in a new approach by the international
community towards new, democratic authorities. The same expectations arose
concerning Kosovo. It was said that there would not be any more talks about Kosovo without participation of democratic Serbia. Were those expectations fulfilled? Was there any joint meeting of the representatives of Serbian government and Serbian politicians from Kosovo concerning political unity?
There were several meetings since October 5, 2000. The representatives of Serbs from Kosovo met with the representatives of the Serbian government. Several meetings were held, there were talks and agreements, but without any concrete results ever concerning the topic in
question.
• In September 1999, the first edition of the brochure CRUCIFIED KOSOVO was
published and 52 destroyed churches were recounted within that publication.
In the second edition, published in November of the same year, this number
increased to 75, and in the third edition, published in 2002 that number
reached 102. That list does not contain the churches destroyed in March
pogrom from 2004, as well as those destroyed up to the March violence. One
may calculate with the figure of about 150 destroyed churches. As early as
year 2000 you gave your blessing concerning the activities geared towards the
protection of the cultural heritage. What is the present status of the agreements
for their protection?
CRUCIFIED KOSOVO was published three times. Even after the third edition, until March 17, the number of destroyed churches had increased to 115, and during March Pogrom another 34 churches were destroyed, thus the total number of destroyed churches and monasteries reached the figure of approximately 150.
Some time ago there were initiatives, even by the representatives of the Albanian authorities,
to rebuild certain churches in the places where no Serbs resided. I did not agree with that, saying that first of all my exiled faithful people should return. Then they would rebuild their churches themselves supported by those authorities who are responsible and those who must participate in their rebuilding, because they have been responsible for the destruction of the churches. Primarily, I mean the international community. I have never accepted the principle that those who destroyed them should rebuild our destroyed holy objects and cultural heritage.

to be continued

New sites of supporting Christian survival in Kosovo and Metohija:
Russians for justice
Polish for justice
Italians for justice

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