Communique of the Holy Synod of Bishops its meeting in Peć Patriarchate on march 4, 2008

СА СинодThe members of the Holy Synod of Bishops [of the Serbian Orthodox Church], escorted by an Italian KFOR contingent, arrived yesterday in the holy lavra of the Peć Patriarchate Monastery, where they held their fifth regular session this year, having first served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the Church of the Holy Apostles.

СА СинодHolding today's session in this patriarchal seat and ancient spiritual heart of the Serbian Orthodox Church is a sign of the Church's concern for its holy shrines and its faithful in Kosovo and Metohija, who were addressed with words of encouragement and paternal love in this period burdened with suffering and new trails.

With their visit to Kosovo and Metohija, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops also sent yet again a powerful appeal to a part of the international community against the unilateral recognition of the so-called state of Kosovo, asking it to re-examine its responsibility for this illegal and highly coerced move which completely destroys international law, the United Nations Charter and [UN Security Council] Resolution 1244. It is incomprehensible to common sense that at the beginning of the 21st century an entire people can be collectively punished with the harshest of punishments without a trial or justification for this decision. Such unilateral and forcibly imposed solutions are, in fact, a sign of the moral division of modern justice-seekers, not a sign of strength; a sign of confidence in [the use of] force as the ultimate method of resolving human conflicts, not in God and His justice, and human justice upon which the world rests.

СА СинодAs a Church, we will defend Kosovo and Metohija with our faith, hope and love but above all, with the repentance that also adorned our ancestors, who erred but ever returned to God. Morally and in prayer we are with the state of Serbia and with all justice-loving individuals and peoples, and we lend them our support to find just, rational and dignified means so that Kosovo and Metohija, which is the heart of Serbia, remains forever in Serbia. We also pray for the nation's leaders that God may give them wisdom, unite and gather them so they may harmoniously navigate the boat of Serbia at this difficult historical moment, guided primarily by faith in God's justice, which sustains countries and cities.

We must retain and preserve our Kosovo and Metohija, this holy place where we were created, matured and survived as a people, knowing that the only thing lost is what we ourselves renounce. That is why we also call on refugees to return to their ancestral homes, which no can take from them or dare to try.

At the same time, we call on our brother Archpriests, state officials and all institutions to collect material assistance for those who have returned and who will return to Kosovo and Metohija.

СА СинодWe are close to the beginning of the Great Fast of forty days. Therefore, we call on all the faithful to fast and pray, to forgive each other and repent. Never have we been in greater need of fasting and prayer than today for according to the word of the Lord every demon, every demonic evil, including the one that we are now experiencing, can only be expelled through fasting and prayer. What is impossible for mortals is possible for God. We place our hope in Him and we place our future, as well as the future of all persons and all peoples, in the Hands of Him who was crucified and Resurrected. He, our Lord and Savior, teaches us to love not only those who love us but also those who hate us. Hence we are all duty-bound to forgive and ask for forgiveness, in community with all well-meaning persons, with profound awareness that this is the only path that leads us to the realization of justice and peace with all those with whom we share this piece of blessed Kosovo and Metohija land, as well as with all well-meaning persons and peoples.

After the meeting the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops visited Visoki Dečani Monastery, Đakovica and Prizren. The Holy Synod met with our people, faithful to their holy shrines and churches, who have not lost hope in the victory of the good and freedom, praying that the Lord may grant us all the strength to endure on the path of God's justice and truth.