Communique on visit of the delegation of the Holy Synod of the SOC to Berlin and Paris
A four-member delegation of Serbian Orthodox Church, headed by His Grace Vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, were by the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops, on an official visit to Berlin and Paris in the period from March 15 to 19 2010. The serious concern of the Serbian Orthodox Church was conveyed to the high officials of these countries on the occasion of the announcement of a quicker process of reducing the number of KFOR soldiers in Kosovo and Metohia. During the talks the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church was particularly stressed that was not acceptable that the security of the Serbian Orthodox shrines, which currently the KFOR provides , entrust to the Kosovo police. The delegation informed international officials with all possible negative consequences of the eventual transfer of the security to the KPS, while insisting that it was a very hasty decision with possible disastrous consequences for the Serbian Church and the Serbian people in this area.
Official Berlin and Paris have received the presentation of the delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church with a great interest, stressing that the protection of the Orthodox sacraments in Kosovo and Metohia is a priority for both their countries and international peacekeeping forces. The Synod delegation was passed on the position that in the process of reducing the number of KFOR soldiers will not be hasty moves, and that decisions on changing ways of securing the most important shrines of the Serbian Orthodox Church would not be made automatically, but only then, when, in their opinion, more favorable conditions would be made for it. It was agreed to continue consultations on this issue.
The delegation also met with the officials of the UNESCO in Paris. After a detailed presentation of the delegation about the vulnerability of the Serbian people and its holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohia, senior representatives of the UNESCO confirmed that they would pay particular attention to the most endangered cultural monuments, and that they would engage more efficiently in the process of protection and restoration of the Serbian Orthodox holy shrines in Kosovo and Metohia.
The delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church organized its visit to Berlin and Paris, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and the Serbian ambassadors in Berlin and Paris (professors Viskovic and Batakovic) gave it their selfless help in organizing meetings with the German and French officials.
Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Belgrade, March 22, 2010.
Delivered by: Bishop Irinej of Bachka, m.p.