Photo courtesy: easterndiocese.org
Washington, D.C., October 31, 2023
All Serbs in the diaspora need to become ambassadors for their country regarding the suffering of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian people in Kosovo, the Serbian hierarch of Eastern America said at a recent event in Washington.
The Serbian embassy held a conference on Kosovo and Metohija on October 21, entitled, “A Prayer for Peace, Stability, and Justice.”
Both the Serbian ambassador to the U.S., Marko Djuric, and His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America gave media comments on the recent expulsion from Kosovoof Abbot Fotije of Devina Voda Monastery. The ambassador said the move signals a desire to completely eradicate the Serbian Church there, and that he would inform the U.S. government about the expulsion, reports the Serbian Diocese of Eastern America.
Bp. Irinej called the expulsion a “horrible thing,” calling on the people to be more proactive in defense of Kosovo:
Here in the USA we have to promote the position of our Church, our people. This is important, because if we do not present this truth, who will? We must not hide in a mouse hole, but go out in public, to speak about ourselves, the Church ... When people hear that, the idea of the SOC changes.
In his address to the conference, the hierarch “stressed that it was essential for all people from the diaspora to be ambassadors for their country regarding the pressing issue of Kosovo.”
“Each of us can do a lot,” he encouraged, pointing to the example of U.S. Senator George Voinovich who “managed to prevent the destruction of Gracanica and Visoki Decani Monastery during the Pogrom.”
“One person succeeded in preventing that,” Bp. Irinej emphasized.
“Everyone has their political representatives, local congressmen, speak with them,” he called. “Arm yourselves with the truth, and knowledge. Do something; you vote for them and have the right to demand what you want for your people. Others do this; they are proactive. If we do that, we will be able to move forward.”
He also mentioned Congresswoman Claudia Tenney from New York, who is working to convince her colleagues that the Serbs are good people, against the prevailing media image of them.
Several other speakers addressed the conference, including the Honorable Branko Terzic, Former Commissioner, U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, with similar calls for the Serbian diaspora to engage politically in defense of the Serbian people and heritage in Kosovo and Metohija.