News and Events - February 2015

NEWS AND EVENTS - Wednesday, February 11, 2015



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A presentation of the English monograph "The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija: the Historical and Spiritual Heartland of the Serbian People" (an extended version of the Heritage of Kosovo) was delivered today at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. This book is a publication of Sebastian Press, the publishing house of the Western American Diocese, the Institute for BalkanStudies SANE and  the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the University of Belgrade.

Harris Grant, Head of the European Reading Room, greeted all guests and opened the assembly. Speaking of the significance of this event, presenting such a book, he noted that the Library of Congress is honored to have such a rare artistic and historical book.

Speaking about the book were His Grace Bishop Dr. Atanasije of Hercegovina, His Grace Bishop Dr. Maxim of Western America and Steven Meyer, retired professor from the National Defense University and former assistant to the Balkan Task Force. Also attending was His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese who also took part in the discussion. There were about sixty people in attendance, including two Albanians.

Bishop Atanasije stated that the spiritual, cultural and artistic treasures of Kosovo and Metohija fall among the greatest achievements of Christian civilization (he mentioned a total of 1,400 churches and monasteries and especially dozens of major holy sites dating from the 12th and 14th centuries).  Unfortunately, instead of being recognized as the wealth of world heritage, these Orthodox and Serbian monuments (with a small exception) are exposed to demolition, even devastation. For this reason is the Serbian Church deeply concerned for the fate of our people in Kosovo and its holy sites (150 demolished shrines and another 35 in the pogrom of 2004). Citing specific examples of suffering from the recent Kosovo drama, Bishop Atanasije called for the protection of basic human rights, religious rights and freedom. He particularly emphasized the incomprehensible prevention of the return of Serbian refugees and the visit to remaining shrines and cemeteries, even those destroyed. He reminded everyone of the necessity for the survival and protection of the remaining Serbs, as well as complete freedom of movement and the right to work, property, etc.

Bishop Maxim briefly presented the book's multifaceted content, pointing out that this book is a lively testimony to the persistent efforts of the Serbian Orthodox Church to create an exceptional spiritual and material culture, preserve their centuries old monuments and Christian heritage of Kosovo and Metohija. He mentioned that this book is the fruit of the work of dozens of authors, especially historian professor Dusan Batakovic, Director of the Institute for Balkan Studies of SASA. This monumental monograph in the terms of scientific, cultural, artistic and historic viewpoint meets the highest standards and in the best manner, with plenty of irrefutable historical facts and rich illustrative material, documents the historical and spiritual-Christian identity of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija. This book is not political but a document monument to Kosovo and Metohija in its nearly thousand-year history.

Retired professor from the National Defense University and former assistant to the Balkan Task Force, Steven Meyer, pointed out the various different political aspects of the Kosovo question and reminded everyone of the necessity of a much more cautious approach to the endangered Serbian heritage in Kosovo and Metohija, from both the American administration as well as the Serbian government.

All three presenters made an appeal for a cease to the barbaric destruction and desecration of temples and cemeteries in Kosovo and to ensure the protection of the remaining monasteries and churches which are of an undeniable national, humanitarian, religious and cultural value. Also emphasized was the necessary return of property to the Serbian Orthodox Church,  as well as to provide the local clergy freedom in their pastoral and spiritual work in the Lord's Vineyard.

The 1,008 page book is hardbound, in full color, illustrated, with over 900 valuable color reproductions of all the major historical figures, cities, monasteries, churches, frescoes, icons and valuable artifacts, and especially presented is the Serbian heritage under the protection of UNESCO . Additionally, the monograph contains texts of our famous historians, theologians, writers, artists, and more importantly: translations of historical documents and charters, as well as various statements and past and present reports of our recent tragic fate of Kosovo. (The  entire Memorandum of the Serbian Orthodox Church of Kosovo and Metohija is contained in this book). Besides its significance on a national level, this monograph is also of great importance to Christians worldwide who know either very little or nothing about the Serbian and Christian characteristics of our Holy Land.

Representatives from the Serbian Embassy also attended the book promotion. Following promotions will be in Boston, New York, Chicago, Pheonix, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Source: Serbica Americana

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