Kosovan Albanians need to remember that you cannot build a peaceful and successful life at somebody else's expense, the Russian Orthodox Church said. "Certainly, the Albanians who live in Kosovo like any other people, who at any moment in history can wish for the life of peace and dignity. But you cannot build such a life at the expense of others," deputy chief of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said, commenting on the unilateral declaration of Kosovan independence.
Moscow, February 19,
Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church expressed its solidarity with Orthodox
believers in Serbia
on declaration of Kosovo's independence.
"We share grief and sufferings of Serbian people who are deprived of a historical part of their country connected with the history of spiritual, cultural and national life of Serbian people," head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad has said at an Interfax press conference.
If I forget thee O Kosovo my Jerusalem let my right hand be forgotten. Let my tongue cleave to my throat if I forget thee my Metohija, if I do not have thee as the opening of my song, my psalmody to my God and my Saviour.
Stefan of Metohija
Hariton of Kosovo
UNESCO's Committee for World Heritage, at a July conference held in Vilnius, Lithuania, decided to include the Church of Our Lady of Ljeviš, the Gračanica monastery and the Patriarchate of Peć on the list of world heritage sites, by which their universal value as cultural monuments was recognised. Serbia had prepared their official nomination and created the nomination file prior to the session of the Committee that subsequently decided to include the monuments on the List. One session was enough to approve the inclusion of three monuments on the List because they were nominated as a group. The Monastery of Dečani, incidentally, has been on the List since 2004.
A service of prayer for the salvation of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija in view of the current situation in our southern province was officiated at the Memorial Church of Saint Sava at the Vracar Plateau. The service of prayer was officiated by the Archbishop of Cetinje and Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Coastlands Dr. Amfilohije Radovic, in the name of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle, assisted in service by several diocesan bishops from Serbia and abroad, with members of the clergy and deacons from other Belgrade churches, as well as the St. Sava's church choir "Mokranjac''.
The service of prayer was officiated at the entrance to the Memorial Church in front of the icon of the Mother of God (Theotokos): "Queen of Heavens - Grateful Heavens", which is a present of the Russian Orthodox Church in sign of support to the suffering Serbian people of Kosovo and Metohija.
Metropolitan Amfilohije called upon the people to turn to the Lord in prayer so He may strengthen us in our faith and love and to preserve our people in Kosovo and Metohija. He also addressed the Western countries, inviting them to think twice about the repercussions of the decisions they are about to take on Kosovo and Metohija.
He made a special appeal to the Vatican, hoping that it, as a center of western christianity, would prevent the destruction of Kosovo. Metropolitan Amfilohije called upon the particiapants of last night's riots not to be destructive in their justified revolt, but rather to protest peacefully and with dignity.
H.H. Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic also addressed the people present. He had just returned from a visit to the Serbian parts of the province. The apostolic nuncio to Serbia, Most Rev. Eugeinio Sbarbaro, has also attended the service of prayer in the name of the Roman Catholic Church, while Rev. Vitalij Tarassev, the Patriachate of Moscow's chief representative, also assisted. The government was represented by the Minister for Kosovo and Metohija, Prof. Samardzic and the Minister of Religion, Mr. Radomir Naumov. The participants of today's student protest joined the hundreds of Belgrade citizens.