Sermon of Metropolitan Amfilohije
following the Moleban in front of St. Sava Cathedral (Vracar)
Belgrade, February 21
"Kosovo and Metohija must not be a word forgotten for us nor for anyone else in the world. Today we have been told by those who want to cross us out from history and erase us by taking Kosovo and Metohija from us that it is a unique case. That is true, Kosovo and Metohija is a unique case, in its fate and in what the powerful leaders of this world seek to make of it at the beginning of the 21st century.
We stand before the face of the living God and His justice, and before the face of our holy ancestors, before the face of the Great-martyr Lazarus of Kosovo and the Great-martyr Stefan of Dečani. We stand here at this decisive moment in history, called upon to witness before God and humanity, before all the peoples of the world, to repeat and confirm once again who we are and what we are.
We know once again now that we are all Kosovans, that our cradle and the cradle of our people, the place of our birth is Kosovo and Metohija. We attest that it is in Kosovo and Metohija that we joined the ranks of mature, historical peoples, and that it is through Kosovo and by Kosovo that we have built ourselves into the foundations of a respectable Europe and the entire respectable world of God and all its peoples.
When we say this here, before the face of the living God and before the face of St. Sava, our spiritual father, in whom our soul encountered and committed itself to the Lord God and God’s eternal justice, then that means that for us Kosovo and Metohija is not the geography of a territory but the topography of our life purpose and commitment. Be our witnesses once again, o Christ God, Great-martyr Lazarus of Kosovo and St. Sava, that we must not under any circumstances renounce the Peć Patriarchate nor the relics of the holy Archbishops of Serbia who are the holiest, most powerful deeds of title of our people and continuity. That we cannot renounce, as a people with its own place under the sun given us by God, the holy reliquary of the Holy King and Great-martyr Stefan of Dečani. May the head of Lazarus attest for us now and for always that our faith is strong before God and before humanity.
Now the mother of the Jugović brothers* (*heroes from Kosovo Battle) is mother to all of us: “Do not, my son, speak falsely, no matter what say your father and your uncles.” Do not, o powerful leader of the modern world, repeat what say your father and your uncles but speak in accordance with the justice of the true God.
Metropolitan Amfilohije with the clergy at the Moleban (supplicatory prayer)
And sister to all of us is the maiden of Kosovo. And still our hero Obilić asks us who is loyal and who is disloyal. Here before us we also have the Great Leader Karadjordje and his descendant, (king) Alexander Karadjordjević, to confirm that a person, that a people, is nothing without freedom and without dignity.
We also hear the Kosovo covenant of Kosovo oath-taker Njegoš* from Lovćen (*famous Serbian poet from Montenegro): “O Kosovo, site of Judgment Day”. And today still we are being judged in Kosovo as are the Albanians, the Americans, the English and the French, who today renounced their Victor Hugo, Franchet d'Espérey and de Gaulle.
Before witnesses such as these we must unite our hearts and the will of the people so that we can speak with one voice and with one heart, not just now but tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and for as long as we exist and for as long a single descendant of our people exists in this world, so we can tell them that Kosovo and Metohija is the apple of our eye, the heart of our hearts, our holy city of Jerusalem and that we can renounce it neither in this worldly life nor in God’s eternal one any more than we can renounce our soul and our destiny.
The only thing that is lost is what we ourselves renounce. That is why we are a historical people. Merely because we are few in number and because we cannot control the general circumstances of historical events in the modern world should we give up on the fact that we are great by our nature and historical calling and summons.
The prayer was attended by the highest state and Church dignitaries,
members of the Royal family and hundreds of thousands of people
Kosovo and Metohija must not be a word forgotten for us nor for anyone else in the world. Today we have been told by those who want to cross us out from history and erase us by taking Kosovo and Metohija from us that it is a unique case. That is true, Kosovo and Metohija is a unique case, in its fate and in what the powerful leaders of this world seek to make of it at the beginning of the 21st century. What is being attempted in Kosovo and Metohija today can occur only during times of occupation, tyranny and aggression.
How to explain that in a period of mature humanity which has its United Nations, Security Council, international law and conventions, swears by human rights, how to explain that these rights and this justice is valid for every corner of the earth, every people, every country but is not valid for Kosovo and Metohija.
Massive and peaceful rally at the National Assembly Square followed
the Moleban service in front of St. Sava’s Cathedral
Yes, Kosovo and Metohija is unique and every country of our modern age is being judged there. Simple and coerced solutions are a sign of moral debility and weakness, not of strength, a sign of trust in the use of force as the ultimate method for resolving human disagreements and conflicts, not in God, God’s justice and the human justice upon which the world rests.
Both America and Europe know this but their rulers do not.
(photo: peaceful protest-walk between the National
Assembly and St. Sava’s Cathedral)
We have belonged to this Europe from the very start of our self-knowledge, historical maturity and we desire community with its people in dignity and equality.
If the price that the EU, as a community of interests, asks is that we renounce ourselves, our historical memory, the Kosovo covenant that is by its nature a New Testament sealed not with ink but with the blood of our people – we cannot accept. As a people we have never accepted, neither before Prince Lazarus nor after him until 1941 nor today, such blackmail and such calls to trample on our dignity but on the justice that upholds states and cities. To trample on the dignity of all the countries and peoples of this world is something we cannot allow ourselves.
Today we are here for the same holy purpose: to defend not only our own honor and reputation, our freedom and dignity but also the dignity of a humiliated Europe. For Europe has never been more humiliated than it is today. The USA has never been more humiliated that it has humiliated itself today with such injustice against an honorable people and its dignity.
As we stand before God, before this holy shrine, let us stand upright and as it was resolved in 1941 and as it is written in our Kosovo choice: if we are to live, let us live in freedom and if we are to die, let us die for freedom, not just our own freedom and the freedom of our Kosovo and Metohija but for the freedom of every honorable person and people on the face of this earth.
May God return reason to the powerful leaders who today by their decisions are casting shame on their peoples, trampling justice and honesty. And may God grant us loyalty to our Kosovo covenant, our human and national dignity, loyalty to the holy reliquaries of the Archbishops of Peć, the Holy King Stefan of Dečani and the holy Great-martyr Lazarus of Kosovo.
Through their prayers, o Lord, strengthen this people in its sense of justice and everything that is good and enlighten all persons and people that they may live in justice, peace and God’s compassion.
The entire plateau at the St. Sava’s Cathedral and the National Library
was filled with many faithful who participated in the Prayer
I would just like to conclude by asking you to depart in the same peace of God in which we gathered around this holy shrine. Let us part in peace and let me ask all those who gathered today in this capital to demonstrate that we are a dignified people, that we are not a people that destroys and devastates but a people that for centuries has built and to this day continues to build its soul with dignity and its future. Therefore, in God’s peace with a prayer to God that He intercede with us and among us and with the people of this world and accomplish what we mere mortals cannot that we may show that we are truly the descendants of the Great-martyr Lazarus of Kosovo and all those who gave their lives for their dear ones and their fatherland.
May God bless you and bestow upon you every form of divine and worldly advancement. Amen, God grant that it be so!"
translation Snezana de Berthet
Mp3 recording of the Sermon in Serbian is available at Svetigora web-site:
Official website of the Central Church Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church in America and Canada. Any reproduction of content from this site must be quoted in its entirety with the source cited. © 2008 All rights reserved.
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16 March 2008
Sermon of Metropolitan Amfilohije