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, July 31, 2006

Germans and St. Bishop Nikolaj of Serbia – The Story After Canonization (part III)


However, the story continued in 2003. Church formally canonized St. Nikolaj. Monks from Holy Archangels’ Monastery attended the canonization. A penitent future archbishop of Ohrid, bishop Jovan, came from Nikolaj’s former eparchy Ohrid, where communist (and even churchmen and their followers) besmirched Nikolaj most. Now the door was open to pan-orthodox celebration of bishop Nikolaj. The monastery “Soko-grad” (Falcon-city), which was being build during that time, was dedicated to him. Above the monastery, at the top of the mountain, a 14 meters high cross shines. That cross was the present of a German family Wrobel as a symbol of German penitence, as well as a memory of innocent victims of NATO bombing.

And now we finally reach the outcome of this story. St. Nikolaj of Zica and Ohrid passed away on March 18, and his relics are ceremoniously moved to Serbia on May 3. These two dates church celebrates as a memory of him. The religious celebration in Orthodox Church begins with an evening service shortly before the saint’s day. Therefore, on March 17, 2004. on the eve of Nikolaj’s first religious celebration, a very specific “evening service” was held in his first church in the monastery near Prizren, in Kosovo&Metohija. Following the example of their Islam and Roman Catholic leaders, Albanian extremists set fire to all orthodox churches in Kosovo, as well as to Holy Archangels’ Monastery and St. Nikolaj’s church. The crowd of 500 aggressive Albanians reached the monastery’s gates, face to face with German soldiers and guards. One thing that nobody could have expected actually happened. German headquarters ordered that monks should be evacuated. Monks carried St. Nikolaj’s relics in their hands, but the icon which had looked at the painful spiritual wounds of the German “atheist” could not have been moved so quickly from the iconostasis. Monks were taken on the other side of the river to a nearby German barracks, and than a bloody feast ensued, the bloody feast which is almost impossible to describe in words.

Soldiers were not ordered to protect the monastery, but to leave it and to seek for the refuge on the nearby hill. Albanians broke into the monastery and set fire. First Nikolaj’s church was burnt down on his day. While angels in heaven celebrated the One chosen by God, people on Earth burned his icon with the fuel from German generator. Did they, by doing it, burned the eyes which saw God?

I do not know where this soldier is today. He is somewhere among you in great Germany. And not just he, but thousands of young soldiers and their officers who marched through the Holy Archangels’ and St. Nikolaj Monastery of Serbia near Prizren. I wonder if they remember the church which once was there, and how do they remember it? Do gentlemen Hintelman and Brinkman sleep tightly? The gentlemen, who were supposed to protect the Monastery during the fire. Are all those soldiers who were part of that army proud of the medals they have received for the “excellently accomplished mission”.

One part of the monastery was renovated after the March 17, 2004. On St. Elijah’s day, August 2, 2004. a German military dredge started the renovation. Serbian people renovated one part of the monastery with the help of German and Italian KFOR. But not St. Nikolaj’s church. Colonel Buehler, who was the leader of German KFOR during the renovation was happy to see the new dormitory with a small chapel “Lazarus’ resurrection”. Above the monastery you can still see German flag and religious services are taking place every day. The song “A gold-mouth preacher of resurrected Christ” can be heard every day.

(completed on May 9, 2006, on the occasion of the triumph over fascism, during the terror of Albanian mafia in Kosovo&Metohija, while on heaven rules our God Christ. Glory to Him in ages of ages. Amin).

translated by Masha Krsmanovic


Germans and St. Bishop Nikolaj of Serbia – Life After Death (part II)


...His sojourn in Dahau, the camp of death, presents to the world the best book ever written about Nazism and German people - “The Neverland”. He clearly makes distinctions between these two notions, pointing out that basic instincts have led German Reich towards the suicide of its own people, and that in every man, or in every German, there is a Christwise soul which longs for Justice and Truth. At the same time, this is the most delicate book ever written about its enemy and the most bitter critique of the modern rooted corruption.

The Second World War was over, after being released from Duhau, St. Nikolaj was declared by communist regime to have been the greatest enemy of the communist Yugoslavia and was exiled to America, but the spiritual bond between him and Germans was not broken by that act. Furthermore, it was further intensified after his death. After a certain time distance, the meeting between late but alive Nikolaj and Germans were continued in a new way. This is a story which could not be made up by even the most imaginative writers:

Years have past after the bishop’s death in 1956, but his glory and the awareness of the importance of his work increased among the members of an Orthodox church. Many people saw him as a saint even when he was still living and turned to him in their prayers as to a bold intercessor to God, which continued after his death. People were delighted by him, called him in their prayers, painted icons of him, although he was not formally pronounced a saint. (At the same time, his name was besmirched in communist Yugoslavia). Being aware of the power that this not deceased man had, a well-known writer and a communist servant Miroslav Krleza advised the leaders of communist propaganda that: “It is better not to write anything about Nikolaj and to forget him, since it is impossible to dispute with him”. Nevertheless, his books were published abroad (in Germany and America), religious people kept his books in hiding places, and his icons were painted all over America. Authoritarian regime died in Yugoslavia, as well as everywhere else in the world, when Lord was pleased. In spring 1991. Serbian Orthodox Church and Nikolaj’s nephew Tiosav moved the bishop’s relics from America to native Lelic near Valjevo – to a country wounded by sinful acts.

At the time, a new monastery “Soko-grad” (Falcon-city) was built in his native land, a monastery which was to be dedicated to St. Nikolaj. But it raised a question – to whom it was dedicated – to Nikolaj of Myr- Licia or the Serbian one who was not named saint yet. The first nun in this monastery became an orthodox German woman, the descendant of a German general Ler, who was the commander of Belgrade during The Second World War. In the other part of the country, in Kosovo and Metohija near Prizren, or Serbian Jerusalem, former communist authorities allowed bishop Artemije (who was, just like Nikolaj, born in village Lelic) to renovate medieval monastery “Holy Archangels”. The great church demolished by Islamists during the five centuries long captivity was impossible to renovate. Therefore, a small chapel was built for the purpose of monks’ religious services. Bishop Artemije unscrupulously took an unexpected step: He dedicated the first church to the honor of St. Nikolaj of Zica, Ohrid and Serbia. The sanctification of church and dormitory took place during the war, in the last moment which was possible – when Kosovo was the scene of conflict between Milosevic’s police and Albanian separatists. In no time, NATO supported Albanian separatist and took over province Kosovo. Albanian terrorists murdered many Serbian people as a revenge for their losses during the war. The first monk who entered the monastic order in “St. Nikolaj’s” church was kidnapped and murdered, after which a general who was in charge for the Prizren region made a decision: among the other orthodox objects German army will protect Holy Archangels’ monastery as well.

Monks have spent five years with Germans who protected St. Nikolaj’s church. Among other icons, there was the icon of St. Nikolaj who watched them. Soldiers passed like tourists by the church and Nikolaj’s relics which were stored in this monastery, acknowledging that the artist who painted it was indeed a great artist. I do not know if any of them have ever heard of him or prayed in front of this icon. But…

“O God, thou are beautiful within your saints”. 1999. or perhaps 2000. Among those who protect the monastery there is a young atheist soldier. “There is no God. I do not believe” – he was explicit in his religion. Nevertheless, he accepted the suggestion of other soldiers to enter the church, since a monk was about to sing something for the religious service. During the service nobody present noticed anything strange. Everybody except the “atheist” started leaving church. “Why do you look so frightened?” – his friends asked him. - He looked at me. “Who?” – HE! – the frightened soldier answered while an internal change was taking place within him. - He turned the head on the icon, looked at me and then moved the head to the former position – answered the German, pointing out at bishop Nikolaj.

After his mission, he bought incense and some other religious things and promised that he would go to church when he comes back to Germany. Will he meet there St. Nikolaj and God as well?...



Germans and St. Bishop Nikolaj of Serbia – an immortal relationship (part I)

On the day of Saint Prophet Elijah (July, the 2nd) in 2004. started rebuilding of our monastery.

Dedicated to all honest German soldiers who were on the "gate" of Holy Archangels' Monastery

Is the hatred between Germans and Serbs something natural, something achieved through history or something imposed?
It is hard to describe bishop Nikolaj in one text. This saint is a spiritual ocean, as well as his spiritual ancestor was - the one he was named after - St. Nikolaj of Myr-Licia, whose holy relics rest in Bari, Italia. Here we only mention what is significant for our monastery, the first monastery in the world which had a church built in its honor (the church which is gone now).

St. Nikolaj had two doctorates, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Theology. He became the Doctor of Theology in Bern, a German speaking area of Switzerland. Ever since then, and during his earthly lifetime, the bishop had contacts with Germans. He, as the opponent of the European atheistic culture, a culture more and more inclined to nihilism, presents “Pan-human” Christ, as an ideal of all human love, against Nitzche’s Superhuman, the spiritual creator of Nazism.

“There is no doubt that that the principles and forces of European culture and civilization are anti-Christian. The modern man type had been built for a long time, so that it could eventually replace Godman Christ with its philosophy and science, with its politics and technique, with its religion and ethic. Europe used Christ only as “a bridge between uncultured and cultured barbarity, that is, between illiterate barbarity and literate one.”
(Bishop Nikolaj, around 1930. : Words about Pan-human, page 334.)

Nikolaj always inspired people with his modesty and ingenuity. Never did anyone remain indifferent in his presence. When looking at a man, never did he see a Serb, a German, a Jew, a Gypsy, a communist, a democrat, an educated or uneducated peasant, a man or a woman, but simply a Man. For that reason, he won the respect and love of those who did not approve his life principles. Journalist Milan Jovanovic Stoimirovic describes a meeting with bishop Nikolaj, around 1935:

I think I was in Ohrid at that time, visiting Doctor Nikolaj together with late Vinaver (a Serbian writer) and a great German architect, a celebrity of his time who traveled around Macedonia so that he could see the old Balkan architecture (which he liked very much for its room layout and its exterior).

Bishop Nikolaj spoke about the problems of Germany, as if he had dealt with them for all of his life, and never did he allow to be interrupted, nor anybody dared to interrupt him. One could tell that Nikolaj precisely knew complete German philosophy and the cultural history, as well as the modern crises of German Reich and German society. “By estranging from God” – Nikolaj said, “Germans are moving towards a great national risk”. Then the German started asking questions, and Nikolaj gave him the answers. That dispute lasted for ten minutes or so and Nikolaj had the intellectual superiority. The German became more and more cordial and obedient. Afterwards he summarized the experience he gained during that meeting and said - Beispiellose Anspruchlosigkeit, - which could be translated as “unique unpretentiousness” and which referred to the house and furniture, the host and his work, his bearing, as well as to all those shining emanations which he unobtrusively gave off through his words and which at the same time won our hearts.

Afterwards, the German kept asking about Nikolaj, looking for the explanations about his family, career and everything else. I told him what I knew, and he asked for the literature. When I told him there was none, he was astonished and said that Nikolaj, the thinker, should be introduced to Europeans.

During the time when the record number of peace conferences took place, the world faced the one thing bishop Nikolaj had been warning about: The Second World War. Saint Nikolaj is one among few Slovenes who received a medal from Hitler, maybe the only one. And he deserved it because he insisted on the arrangement of German military graveyard in his eparchy of Ohrid and Bitolj. “That is not the graveyard of our enemies, but the graveyard of those who tragically died serving their fatherland. It happened shortly before The First World War broke out. But, the same man lead the demonstrations of Serbs, the only nation in the world which totally rejected the Pact with Nazi Germany signed by their government, the government which was soon afterwards overthrown. The British and their press praised the Serbs as heroes, and by the end of the war they betrayed those heroes to soviet communists. The kind of man Nikolaj was indeed could be described as a Pan-human. Is there any other man in the world who received the medal from Hitler, after that was arrested and even sent to notorious prison “Dachau”? Nikolaj did.

Never did Hitler and Nazis forgive the bishop’s part in the rejection of Pact. But being acquainted with his influence among the people, they wanted to take advantage of that fact and to make him join their side. “To force him to work for them”, but the Man of Christ belongs to Christ because he is dead for the rest of the world, because he is immune to any kind of blackmail or bribe. His only way is to witness the truth. Eventhough his life was in great jeopardize during the time of war, never did he remain silent. Furthermore, he fought to save innocent lives by protesting at occupying authorities, and literally hiding people under his mantle. Some of the witnesses whom Nikolaj saved are still alive (the Jew, Ela Trifunovic Neuhaus wetness in the movie about Nikolaj). Of course, he did it for all endangered people, regardless of their nation and religion. Those honest Germans who found themselves serving Nazism because of their weakness, recognized Nikolaj’s righteousness and tried to help him as much as they could and diminish the evil that Nazism spread...


translated by Masa Krsmanovic


Friday, July 28, 2006

In Holy Archangels' Monastery Celebrated Monastery Patron Day

Prizren, July, 26th (Beta) - Today is festal celebrated Monastery Patron day of Holy Archangel Gabriel in Holy Archangels' Monastery near Prizren. Participants were 600 believers from whole Serbia.
On Holy Liturgy were serving monks of Ras-Prizren Diocese, and as emissary of Metropolitan of Montenegro and Littoral abbot Luka from Cetinje Monastery.
"All of them asked when the monastery will be reconstructed. I told them that someone are observing obstruction. No one came with "proclaimed" plan for reconstruction of burned dormitory at March 2004. None of destroyed churches in very city of Prizren are repaired." abbot of Holy Archangels Monastery Benedict told to Agency Beta.
"Coming of so many believers means that Serbian people remaining to be faithful to their cradle, holy places and Serbs didn't forget us the monks of Serbian Christian Church here in Kosovo", he said.
"So, there is hope that (regardless of abnormal conditions*) we can survive in this region", he added.

* comment by Monastery staff


Monday, July 24, 2006

Let it be like before, in shining Orthodox-Christian medieval

Reminiscence of patron-feast of the Monastery in last year

(July, 26th, 2005.)
"It is not easy to be human even in a world of men, let alone in a world that wallows completely in evil. But there have always been those who even during difficult times have remained human. What sort of consolation would we have if the times were pleasant and carefree, and we were to lose our honor and our soul. Our Lord and Holy Archangels and all the Saints, help us to truly remain on the narrow and difficult path that leads to life eternal and that we may find ourselves on the side that Christ will recognize and acknowledge as His own. Lord, help everyone, including ourselves. Help all people of good will throughout the world," said the Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Holy Archangels, where he served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy with Bishop Artemije (Radosavljevic) of Raska and Prizren, and Bishop Teodosije (Sibalic) of Lipljan, the vicar bishop of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren, together with the priests and monks of this Diocese. (more)


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blind Eyes Over Kosovo

By Doug Bandow, The American Spectactor
Published 7/20/2006 12:07:14 AM

PRIZREN, Kosovo -- Being a monk is never easy. But Brother Benedict, a friendly 29-year-old with the ever-present beard that characterizes Orthodox Christian clerics, cheerfully welcomed three foreign visitors to his humble abode.

The original Monastery of the Holy Archangels was destroyed in the 16th Century by the invading Turks. Four centuries later the Orthodox Church constructed a small church, residence, and workshop among the ancient ruins. Two years ago a mob of 600 descended from Prizren, just 1.5 miles away, burning down the buildings and destroying anything that remained. Earlier they wrecked churches, the presiding bishop's residence, a seminary, and private Serbian homes in town.

Although the monastery was nominally guarded by German soldiers serving in the international Kosovo Force (KFOR), most of them packed up when the crowd began crossing the shallow creek separating the monastery from the road. They took the monks along but left the buildings and contents unprotected; a few remaining soldiers played tourists, photographing the monastery's destruction. This shocking behavior was the norm on a day of violence around Kosovo. Complained Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch: "In too many cases, NATO peacekeepers locked the gates to their bases, and watched as Serb homes burned."

Since then the Church has built a small two-story building on the site of the workshop, where Brother Benedict and five other monks worship, eat, and sleep. The site is now surrounded by barbed wire, though Brother Benedict has little confidence in his supposed protectors. After the monastery's destruction the German commander downplayed a mob attack on one of his units as it guarded a German TV crew. After the monks publicized the incident, their "protectors" left them isolated for two weeks. Even now the KFOR soldiers refuse to escort the monks to buy food in Prizren, suggesting instead that they turn to the Kosovo Police Service -- which includes many former Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas. Instead, the monks drive substantially further to the nearest Serbian community for supplies.

Unfortunately, any Serb who travels outside of few remaining enclaves does so at his own risk. At the quasi-border dividing Serbia from Kosovo (which nominally remains part of Serbia), drivers routinely replace their Serbian license plates with ones marked Kosovo to disguise their identities. To do otherwise would risk not only their cars but their lives.

Even foreigners are at risk. Some British tourists recently were roughed up and their car was destroyed because the vehicle had been rented in Belgrade. Had they been Serbian their lives probably would have been forfeited. More than 900 Serbs have been murdered since the allies took control and ethnic killings continue in the territory. But you will look long and hard to find an ethnic Albanian jailed for committing the crimes.

HIGHLIGHTING THE PLIGHT OF THE MONKS at the monastery, as well as other Christians in Kosovo, is a delegation led by Bishop Artemije (Radosavljevic) of Raska and Prizren, which is visiting the U.S. this week at the invitation of the Religious Freedom Coalition. The visitors are hoping to slow the apparent administration rush to grant independence to Kosovo.

Kosovo is an unpleasant bit of unfinished business that the West would prefer to forget. A fair and sensible resolution is well nigh impossible, especially since the behavior of Washington and NATO has been truly disgraceful. Far from creating a tolerant democracy, the allies have presided over one of the largest episodes of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. And if the U.S. continues on its present course, virtually everyone expects the ethnic majority to complete the job in just a few more years, if that long.

Like most of the Balkans, the problem of Kosovo goes back centuries. Serbian identity is rooted in both Kosovo's military history, particularly the 1389 defeat by the Turks in the Battle of the Blackbirds, and spiritual significance, represented by ancient churches and monasteries.

Over the years history was unkind to the Balkans, torn by conflict as the Ottoman Empire declined and in both World Wars, and then mostly dominated by communist regimes until the end of the Cold War. During the 1980s the territory (in Yugoslavia) enjoyed substantial self-rule and resulted in ethnic Albanian mistreatment of Serbs (behavior covered in the New York Times, among other publications). Roughly two decades ago Slobodan Milosevic launched his grab for power with a speech in Kosovo that played upon Serb nationalism. Then it was Albanians who suffered, leading to an increasingly bitter guerrilla war and NATO military intervention in March 1999.

The 78-day air war never made sense. Over the years most European states had mirrored Yugoslavia in fighting to suppress secessionist movements.

Although the conflict was ugly, it was nothing compared to the simultaneous humanitarian disaster in Sierra Leone, which killed a quarter of a million people but was ignored in the U.S. and Europe. Moreover, it was NATO intervention that sparked the worst Serbian crackdown and the mass Albanian exodus.

In any case, Western officials, starting with American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, developed policy in a dream world. They thought that a couple days of bombing would bring Belgrade to heel, completely missing the nationalism that animated most Serbs, even democrats and human rights advocates. Worst, the allies believed that they would be able to concoct a multi-ethnic Kosovo in which Albanians and Serbs would join hands singing Kumbaya around communal campfires. In fact, having used their American-supplied air force to eject the Serb military units, the victorious ethnic Albanians saw no need to compromise.

After the war -- under the occupation of the West -- the Albanian community kicked out a quarter million Serbs, Roma, Jews, and non-Albanian Muslims. Over the next five years isolated Serbs were killed, beaten, and kidnapped. Even Serbian enclaves were vulnerable to drive-by shootings.

Although Serbs disappeared from much of Kosovo -- roughly 40,000 in the capital of Pristina turned into about 120 mostly terrified elderly residents today -- around 100,000 remain, with many concentrated in the north, around the town of Mitrovica. In March 2004 a series of coordinated riots and assaults broke out, killing 19 people, injuring about 1,000 more, displacing 4,000 Serbs, destroying 36 churches and monasteries, torching numerous homes and farms, and despoiling cemeteries. (All told, about 150 churches, monasteries, and seminaries have been destroyed since 1999. "They destroy them, we rebuild them," commented one determined Church member.) With good reason many Serbs called the March violence Kristallnacht, after the infamous Nazi assault on Jews the presaged the eventual attempt to exterminate the entire people.

Human Rights Watch's Rachel Denber observed that "This was the biggest security test for NATO and the United Nations in Kosovo since 1999, when minorities were forced from their homes as the international community looked on. But they failed the test." The events two years ago resulted in much hand wringing, but little else. No one was prosecuted and jailed for their crimes. Today many Serb refugees remain in small camps, unemployed and living in containers turned into homes.

The Albanian political leadership includes guerrilla leaders almost certainly guilty of atrocities. No one denies the explosion of organized crime, including sex trafficking, in Kosovo, which has been called the "black hole" of Europe. Radical Islam, too, may be on the rise -- more than 200 mosques have been built since 1999, and some unashamedly fly the Saudi Arabian flag. "Sex, crime, terrorism, it's all there," opines one U.S. diplomat stationed in Belgrade.

AS A POLITICAL ENTITY, KOSOVO is less ready for independence today, based on its commitment to a multi-ethnic republic with human rights guarantees, than when it was "liberated" in 1999. Warns Joseph Griebowski of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, "the present record of rule of law, protection of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, and the return/resettlement of internally displaced people by the Provisional Authority of Kosovo -- all of which are indispensable for democratic governance -- have been gravely unsatisfactory."

So what to do? Final (or future) status negotiations have begun under the tutelage of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari, and it is obvious that officials in the West would like to take credit for their "success" in Kosovo, run a victory lap, and go home. The U.S. and Europeans have been pressuring the Serbs to voluntarily yield Kosovo and collect EU membership as their reward. Tod Lindberg of Policy Review reflects the conventional wisdom when he argues that "Serbia needs to decide whether its future is Western integration or instead a return to dead-end nationalist politics." Some Europeans have spoken of finding a win/win, or at least win/no lose, solution.

However, it doesn't exist. Roughly two million ethnic Albanians now live in Kosovo -- it's hard to know how many for sure, since the local authorities have no incentive to prevent a large in-migration, further strengthening their hold over the land. Understandably, none of them want to live under Serbia.

But Serbs, no less than Americans and Europeans, want to amputate historic lands from their country. On his visit last week Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica indicated that independence was not an option, instead offering "the greatest possible autonomy." Belgrade may not be able to prevent the allies from dismembering a sovereign nation, but it will not acquiesce in the act.

Moreover, no sane Serb (or Roma) in Kosovo wants to live under Albanian rule. Indeed, the Serbs who now dominate Mitrovica, north of the Irba River and close to the rest of Serbia, probably would forcibly resist Albanian rule. Even the Crisis Group, which remains dedicated to the mythical ideal of a multi-ethnic Kosovo, admits that the allies would have to make integration happen, somehow (the group suggests -- and I am not making this up, to quote humorist Dave Berry -- a PR campaign.)

Allied officials continue to talk in grand terms. Last year Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told Congress that "Failure to secure a multi-ethnic Kosovo would be a failure" of years of effort. Yet the likely result of full independence is clear. A top U.S. official told me on my visit that he figures not a Serb will remain within five or ten years after independence, or even the status quo. That is, granting Kosovo independence means completing the process of ethnic cleansing that started seven years ago. Worse, since the West has been in charge, granting independence means ratifying the very process that the allies went to war to prevent.

IN ORDER TO GET AROUND this rather embarrassing dilemma, Western governments are talking about conditional independence, that is, independence only after ethnic Albanians meet certain standards. Perhaps proponents of this perspective are so naive as to verge on the delusional; more likely, they are cynically maneuvering to get out of Kosovo with a minimum of public embarrassment.

After all, if things are, as claimed by Kosovo's allied occupiers, better today than in 1999 or 2004, it is mostly because so many Serbs and other minorities have fled. The easy ethnic cleansing already has been done. There is less opportunity and reason to target minorities.

However, despite all the right public promises from Albanian officials, there is little reason to believe popular attitudes have changed. Bishop Artemije sadly observed simply: "Crimes happened not just seven years ago but are happening now as we speak." One resident of a refugee camp who fled deadly mobs two years ago told me that "we see people living in our homes and sleeping in our beds talking about how good democracy is."

And if seven years of tutelage by the allies under military occupation isn't enough to teach the majority Albanian community good human rights manners, how will a few verbal promises and some corresponding paper threats do the job? Nor will any conditions be enforced. The idea that the allies would get tough and block independence, or even return the territory to Belgrade, if the standards were not met is a fantasy. The West has done little to protect the Serbian community over the last seven years; to the contrary, the allies have allowed the Albanians to ethnically cleanse most of the land. Today the heroic humanitarian crusaders of 1999 simply want to finish the occupation, withdraw their 17,000 troops, and move on.

At the same time, conditional independence, by leaving the issue formally open while effectively dispossessing the Serbs, is likely to radicalize both parties. Ethnic Albanians have been growing impatient. The group Self-Determination! has been leading non-violent protests against UN targets (for which some demonstrators actually went to jail, in contrast to those who murdered Serbs). More ominously, there have been attacks on allied vehicles, and resentment at more years of apparent indecision could spark more serious assaults on KFOR and UN personnel. Leading Kosovar political figure Adam Demaci has threatened the allies with "violence of such dimensions that 17 March 2004 will be forgotten."

As for Serbia, detaching Kosovo is likely to bring down the Kostunica government. Waiting in the wings is the Serbian Radical Party, a populist-nationalist movement headed by Vojislav Seselj, now awaiting trial for war crimes at The Hague. The U.S. will not even allow diplomatic personnel to meet with Radical members of parliament, terming the party "undemocratic." Yet some polls show it with 40-plus percent support, putting it within easy reach of dominating a new coalition government.

What a pretty picture this all would be. Ethnic Albanians step up attacks on Serbs and begin targeting allied forces in Kosovo. Serbs in Mitrovica fortify their enclave and look north to Belgrade for support. Hard-core, anti-Western nationalists take power in Serbia. Then what?

Like so many conflicts, it was a lot easier to get into Kosovo than it will be to get out. But there's still time to draw back from the brink. The West should insist on a genuine negotiation in which a variety of options are freely considered. An allied diktat, especially one mandating independence, will not be fair. Nor will it bring the regional stability that everyone desires. Only the residents of Kosovo and the rest of Serbia can find a lasting solution.

Doug Bandow is the author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire (forthcoming, Xulon). A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is a member of the Advisory Board of the American Council for Kosovo.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

We are waiting for celebration of HOLY ARCHANGEL GABRIEL

The main patron feast of our monastery is Day of Holy Archangel Gabriel. Even, in this days of persecution of Christians in Kosovo&Metohija, like it was before, a hundreds and even thousands of Orthodox people, with similar number of "peacekeepers" (military escorts and guard of KFOR and police) are gathering to celebrate this "Commander of the heavenly hosts".

This great archangel of God is celebrated on March 26. On this day however, he is celebrated and honored for his appearances and miracles throughout the entire history of man's salvation. It is believed that this celebration was first established on Mt. Athos in the ninth century, during the reign of Emperor Basil and the Empress Constantina Porphyrogenitus and Patriarch Nicholas Chrysoverges, on the occasion of the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel in a cell near Karyes where he wrote on a stone tablet with his finger, the hymn to the Birth-giver of God, "Worthy It is meet," [Dostojno Jest Axion Estin]. As a result of this, even today, this cell is called the cell of "Axion Estin." In connection with this, other appearances of the Archangel Gabriel are also commemorated: the appearance to Moses while he was tending the flock of Jethro and, at which time, he related to this great one called of God, how the world was created and all the rest which Moses recorded in his Book of Creation (Genesis); his appearance to the Prophet Daniel and revealing to him the mystery of future kingdoms and of the coming of the Savior; his appearance to St. Ann and the promise that she will give birth to a daughter, the All-blessed and All-pure Holy Virgin Mary; the very brief appearance to the Holy Virgin while she lived in the Temple in Jerusalem; the appearance to Zacharias the High Priest and the tidings concerning the birth of John the Forerunner and the severe punishment of Zacharias with dumbness because he did not believe his words; again, the appearance to the Holy Virgin in Nazareth and informing Her of the good news of the conception and the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ; the appearance to the righteous Joseph; the appearance to the shepherds near Bethlehem; the appearance to the Lord Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane when he strengthened our Lord as a man prior to His passion; the appearance to the myrrh-bearing women and so forth.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Kosovo: There is no moral in politics

or The real test of U.S. foreign policy

Posted: April 5, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern, but extremely actual today

By Aleksandar Pavic
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

If you want to see a place where Christians are outside of the law on their own ancestral land – come to Kosovo.

If you want to see American troops committed to establishing a narco-Islamic state on Christian land – come to Kosovo.

If you want to see Christian churches, monasteries and cemeteries desecrated on an almost daily basis, under the noses of thousands of Western soldiers – look no further than Kosovo.

Seven years after William Jefferson Clinton launched a bombing campaign against a European Christian land in support of the Islamic terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army, it's as though the bombs have never stopped falling on the Christian remnant in Kosovo. Whether Clinton did it to divert attention from a burgeoning sex scandal, or whether it was part of a global anti-Christian campaign by Western liberals with a cultural death-wish, the results for the Kosovo Christians – and all non-Albanians in Kosovo – are the same.

And the U.S. State Department is doing everything to make sure it stays that way, with a strong supporting role of the United Nations, Britain and Germany.

That's right, the might and the resources of U.S. diplomacy are being used to tear away a Christian European nation's spiritual and historical cradle and hand it over to a terrorist-breeding, white-slavery peddling, heroin-pushing narco-Islamic camarilla in Kosovo, which has, by all accounts, made the province into "Afghanistan in Europe." During the current U.N.-brokered talks on Kosovo's "final status," U.S. diplomats are tirelessly promoting the "necessity" and "inevitability" of Kosovo's independence.

There are well over 1,000 Christian churches and monasteries in Kosovo, many filled with priceless medieval frescoes from the Byzantine era, in which Italian art historians have spotted the beginnings of the Renaissance about a century before it appeared in Western Europe. At least 150 have been destroyed by Muslim Albanian mobs since Clinton's post-bombing deployment of NATO "peacekeepers" in 1999. The rest are menaced on a daily basis. Those that are lucky enough to be protected have armed NATO troops and barbed wire around them.

In its drive to secure Kosovo's independence from Serbia, preferably by the end of 2006, U.S. (and U.N.) diplomacy has helped install Islamic hardliners to top Kosovo political posts – people with gallons of Christian (and Roma, and moderate Albanian) blood on their hands. It has supported the revocation of international arrest warrants against them, as in the case of new Kosovo "Prime Minister," Agim Ceku, a man whom Canadian U.N. troops wounded in Croatia in 1995 to stop a killing spree against unarmed Serbian villagers in another "U.N. protected area." Ceku had an Interpol warrant against him lifted in March "in line with his new duties of prime minister." And U.S. diplomacy brings other terrorists, such as Hashim Tachi, aka "the Snake," to Washington, D.C., as it did this January, to promote the cause of narco-Islam on Christian soil in the highest forums of American foreign policy.


It is said that more than 600 years ago, when the first news of the Battle of Kosovo came to Western Europe, telling of a victory of the Christian Serb army against the Ottoman Turks, the bells of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris rang out joyously in celebration.

Actually, this fierce battle on the Field of Blackbirds (the meaning of the name of Kosovo) ended in a draw, with both the Serbian Prince Lazar and the Turkish Sultan Murat being killed in battle. But the weakened Serbia, pressed from the north by the rival Hungarian kingdom, never recovered. It is then, as the story goes, that the bright red peonies that bloom by the millions each year on Kosovo's plains made their appearance, growing out of the soil consecrated by the spilt Christian blood. And it wasn't only Serbian blood that would be shed in the coming centuries. It was not until combined Slavic and German forces threw back the huge army commanded by Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha at the walls of Vienna in 1683 that the tide against Ottoman Turkey began to be turned back and the Christian West could finally breathe easier.

Now, 323 years later, the West's secularized elites are doing everything to help Islam – an especially aggressive and corrupt variety of it – make a big comeback in Europe, with the United States taking the leading role.


Some say that it is because the State Department, at least the part dealing with the Balkans, is still staffed with Clinton-era secular globalists pursuing their own agenda. But this cannot be an excuse for an administration that sees itself as Christian. We know what the Bible says about pragmatism when moral issues are at hand: Better that you are hot or cold than lukewarm, for you shall be spewed out like salt that has lost its flavor. And that's the present U.S. policy in Kosovo.

To what end this "pragmatism" (if that's what it is) except straight to Hell? There is no getting around it. Jesus said, "Whoever is not with me is against me." So, what of those who actively or passively give aid to the burning of His churches on Kosovo? What sayest thou, Christian soldiers?

Where were you when Christian Kosovo burned? Did you cry real tears and help, or give aid and comfort to His enemies? Take heed, Christian Americans: A great anti-Christian crime is currently being committed in your name on Christian Kosovo. You cannot say that you haven't been warned. Now it is up to you to do something.

You cannot in good conscience support Kosovo's independence. For that shall mean its final destruction as a Christian land. What can you do? What is the only consequent Kosovo policy for American Christian policy makers? Demand that the destruction of churches, monasteries and cemeteries stop, that anti-Christian persecution stop, that Christian Serbs and other non-Albanians be allowed to return to their ancestral homes protected by their own armed forces. Help them renew their houses of worship, which were destroyed under the "protection" of U.S.-led international troops.

You can support Kosovo's autonomy within Serbia, with equal rights for all. But not independence for the Islamic narco-bosses running the place and their brand of anti-civilization. That's the current State Department agenda, the same as the agenda of the United Nations and European secularized, suicidal elites. That would be abomination. And, make no mistake, that would, ultimately, be the end of Christian America. For this crime will not be forgiven in the only place that counts.


Aleksandar Pavic covers the Balkans for WorldNetDaily.com.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Former Ukrainian rocker and now an ordained priest brings young people to church by setting up village rock groups


Former Ukrainian rocker and now an ordained priest brings young people to
church by setting up village rock groups

Moscow, July 3, Interfax - Rev. Georgy Streltsov, a young rector of the
church in the village of Ocheretino, Donetsk region, successfully
implements a missionary method of combining church sermon and rock music.

Trud newspaper reports Monday that before entering the Kievan theological
seminary he was a drummer of an Ukrainian Side Effect pank group.

Having been ordained and assigned to the parish in a small village, the
young priest did not abandon his hobby, but regarded it as an opportunity
to make contacts with the local youth.

'They drink and smoke not because they are hopeless, but because nobody has
planted good seeds for them,' Rev. Georgy explains his attitude to the
problems of the youth to those who are skeptical about his intention to
bring young people to the religious faith.

Young priest's main initiative as a missionary was his proposal to the
local youth to set up a rock group. The village teenagers accepted the
proposal with enthusiasm.

The newspaper writes that 'young alcoholics began reading the Bible and,
encouraged by their teacher, attending church services. The repertoire of
their rock group is changing from couldn't care less and nihilist songs to
philosophical and religious ones.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Many black Christians join move to Orthodox traditions

Gannett News Service/ The Baxter Bulletin

After a lifetime in traditional black churches, Robert Aaron Mitchell discovered the sights, smells, sounds and ancient traditions of the Orthodox church.

"I discovered Orthodoxy while I was on the Internet one day back in 2001, and I was so drawn to it that I had to go attend a liturgy," Mitchell says. "I had no frame of reference for these traditions, but suddenly, I felt like this void was filling in my life. I felt like I was finally coming home."

Mitchell, 48, a project manager for AT&T in Detroit, is among a small but growing number of black Americans, many of them professionals, who are joining Orthodox churches. That's the branch of Christianity that split with Rome about 1,000 years ago and is known for colorful icons and the ethnic traditions it preserves in religious customs.

The attraction, Mitchell says, lies in discovering that for thousands of years, Africans played a vital role in the Orthodox world.

The Rev. Moses Berry, an Orthodox priest and pastor of Theotokos "Unexpected Joy" Orthodox Mission, Ash Grove, Mo., began his career as a Protestant preacher, a family tradition reaching back into the 1800s. Then, in 1983, he visited an Orthodox church in Atlanta and was so moved that he retrained to become a priest in the Orthodox Church in America. He also helped to organize the coalition of clergy, scholars and lay leaders coming to Detroit.

"Reconnecting with the Orthodox tradition connects us with the earliest Christian traditions," Berry says. "It means that, when our ancestors were brought here as slaves, they didn't arrive here with just a collection of tribal religions. They didn't all discover Christianity here. In fact, many Africans already were part of the ancient Christian church."

"The Orthodox church fills your senses," Mitchell says. "You smell the incense, see the icons and the candles burning, and there's movement, too. People are crossing themselves. There are processions sometimes. So much is happening all around you in the church."...

..."It's a little difficult to explain all of this to most Americans. At first, when I tell people I'm Orthodox, often they don't understand me and think I'm Jewish."

Originally published June 24, 2006