NEWS AND EVENTS - Friday, May 17, 2019
COMMUNIQUE OF THE HOLY ASSEMBLY OF BISHOPS OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ON KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
In commemorating the eight hundredth anniversary of the autocephaly of our local Church and with deep responsibility before God, the holy patriarchs, archbishops and bishops who for centuries with their clergy, monastics and faithful people upheld the Testament of Prince Lazar and preserved Kosovo and Metohija in our spiritual memory as our holy and testamonial land, fighting for the preservation of our sacred places and the freedom of our people, the Holy Assembly of Bishops once more reiterates its unanimous and unequivocal position, expressed at last year’s meetings held in May and in November.
Kosovo and Metohija is an integral part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Serbia and as such is defined in the Serbian Constitution and in UN Security Council Resolution 1244. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, including Kosovo and Metohija, regardless of the illegally declared so-called Kosovo state, is recognized by a vast majority of humanity, including Russia and China, and five countries of the European Union, the OSCE, UNESCO and other important international organizations. For this reason the Holy Assembly of Bishops of our Church deems unacceptable any change in the status of Kosovo and Metohija which leads either to the recognition of Kosovo as an independent state or to any variation of territorial division, without which partition is not possible. Such solutions would inevitably lead to the emigration of the majority of the remaining Serbian people, who live in the majority Albanian communities of Kosovo and Metohija, and to the incalculable damage to our spiritual and cultural heritage.
As the hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church we present this position, not as a political position, but above all as a pastorally responsible and historical one, which comes from the centuries-old struggle of our Church in preserving the survival of the faithful Serbian people and sanctuaries in the centuries-old hearths and the will of the vast majority of our people. This position does not in any way mean supporting the idea of the so-called frozen conflict; rather, it represents an invitation to all political factors to continue dialogue, without pressure and blackmail in the context of resolving the issue of the protection of human rights of the people, freedom of life and work of the Serbian Orthodox Church, institutional and security protection of our sacred places, the return of displaced and free access to property to all those who have been unlawfully seized or usurped. Therefore, we strongly support every responsible dialogue which contributes to the rule of law and law and reconciliation among all peoples living in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija as the southern province of Serbia.