Appeal by Bishop Artemije of Kosovo & Metohija
The Bishop declared a few months ago that 'joining NATO would represent the greatest descent, misfortune and humiliation for the Serbian people in their entire history'. After the latest developments in Kosovo, I thought it would be only a matter of time before he said something similar about Serbian entry into the EU. And in this appeal he states: 'Joining the European Union is an act of high treason against Serbia and the negation of our entire history'.
Source: Diocese of Ras-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija
My dear compatriots, my Serbian brothers and sisters,
As the Bishop and spiritual leader of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, I take this opportunity to address all of you who have gathered here in such large numbers to protest, to demonstrate and testify to two basic truths:
First, that Kosovo and Metohija is part of Serbia, has been so for centuries and shall remain so for centuries to come, and
Second, that you, just as all Serbs wherever they may live—in our fatherland, in Serbia our mother country or in the diaspora, do not condone, do not recognize and do not accept the forcible separation of Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia by the illegitimate, illegal and unilateral proclamation of the so-called independence of Kosovo on the part of our centuries-old oppressors and present-day occupiers, Albanians’ and their foreign allies.
Brothers and sisters, we must first convince ourselves and then explain to our friends from other countries, who understand and support us, that Kosovo for us Serbs is not simply GEOGRAPHY, but much more than that. Kosovo is an ideology and an ideal. It was the ideal which was given to the Serbs as a people and to each Serb individually on the day of VIDOVDAN in that distant year 1389 as something to strive for. It was on that day that Kosovo and Vidovdan became our “spiritual vertical” and our cornerstone on which we have built all our history, our culture and our statehood from the Battle of Kosovo to this day.
All of it is now in jeopardy. Aided by the great and mighty of this world, trampling on all international laws and principles, as well as the Charter of the United Nations, the Albanians have unilaterally, illegally and illegitimately proclaimed some sort of independence of Kosovo, taking it forcibly away from Serbia and the Serbian people. Serbia does not recognize it, she does not accept it and she will never agree to it. Because to Serbia Kosovo and Metohija is what the heart is to a man. Without the heart there is no man, there is only a corpse. Without Kosovo there is no Serbia, nor Serbian people.
For nine years now, the crucified Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija has been bleeding and yet refusing to abandon Kosovo. Nor will they abandon it today. We are in our homes, we are in our state, close to our churches and monasteries, albeit ravaged, and we have no intention of leaving. They can banish us by force, they can kill us, but they cannot rob us of our Kosovo. The exiled people retain the right, recognized as the fundamental right of any man, to return one day to the land from which it was exiled. And we shall return to Kosovo and Metohija sooner or later. That right has no statute of limitation, just as there is no statute of limitation for the crimes of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Sooner or later assassins will answer for the crimes they have committed. Everything secret will become public. Everything hidden will be brought to light.
We know that it is hard to wait and live to see it happen. But we have our ancestors who have shown us by their example that it is possible. We must be patient and have hope in God’s justice, which, as the saying goes, is sometimes slow but its wheels grind exceedingly fine. Justice is slow by our human standards because we would like for all our problems to be resolved here and now, before our eyes, in our lifetime. But history teaches that it does not always happen that way. To the contrary.
For us to endure, to remain and to survive in the holy land of Kosovo and Metohija we need help and support. We need God’s help and the help of our saintly forefathers. But we need also the help of you, our brothers and our friends who are gathered here, in this public square to protest together with us. Raise your voices in the countries where you live, not only at protest meetings, demonstrating in the streets, but wherever you are, everywhere and in every place. Speak about injustice and crimes, about the devastation and the destruction of our churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija, about evictions, assassinations, harassment, rapes and brigandage which the Albanians are perpetrating against the disenfranchised Serbian people before the eyes of the world entire. The world pretends not to see. Instead of meeting appropriate punishment to the perpetrators of numerous crimes, the world rushes to reward them. It rushes to reward them by recognizing the illegally proclaimed independence of Kosovo. What shame and disgrace! What moral depravation!
As for us Serbs, we must stop rushing to embrace those who are wrenching our hearts from our breasts. Let us say firmly to the European Union that we do not wish to join it while it is robbing us of our Kosovo. Only an intact Serbia with Kosovo and Metohija within its breast can join the European Union. This is also the message we send to our government. Joining the European Union is an act of high treason against Serbia and the negation of our entire history.
It is our sacred duty to invite you and the entire Serbian people to swear the new Kosovo oath. With the help of the Holy Prince Lazar we must follow his example and the examples of countless Christ-loving Serbian saints and our honorable ancestors who chose always the Kingdom of Heaven. Our struggle is in the first place a spiritual struggle. So let us be steadfast in our choice. United and with the help of Christ, God made man, His Most Pure Mother the Theotokos, Saint John the Baptist and all the Saints we shall win because KOSOVO IS SERBIA.
His Grace Artemije Bishop of Raska and Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija
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