Public Appeal to State Authorities of Serbia
Mr. Tomislav Nikolic,
President of Serbia
Mr. Ivica Dacic,
President of the Government of Serbia
Mr. Aleksandar Vucic,
First Vice President of the Government of Serbia
Esteemed Mr. President,
Еsteemed Mr. Prime Minister,
Еsteemed Mr. First Vice President of the Government,
In this, for both Serbia and the Serbian people very difficult and crucial – and perhaps fateful moment, we address you on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church in fatherly and brotherly manner, with respect and trust in Your Orthodox Christian conscience and in Your sense of patriotism and the state responsibility. We do not address you in an ordinary way, but by this public appeal, and we do it for many reasons, of which two are the most important - shortness of time (the Brussels’ ultimatum expires as early as Tuesday) and a need to refute, in the most obvious manner, the impudent lie which has been shared for the last few days by certain people and media about the silence of our Church regarding Kosovo (!).
We also, as the whole Serbian people, do know and feel how difficult now it is for you, what a painful choice you face and under what sort of pressures and blackmails you are. We remind you, however, in order to encourage you and support you spiritually, that it is not tougher for you now than for the honorable Prince before the Battle of Kosovo, or for Princess Milica after that Battle or for Patriarchs Paysiye, Arseniye III Carnojevic and other dignitaries under the Ottoman yoke, or for martyr deacon Avakum before the uprising, or for Karadjordje or Milos during both uprisings, or for the king and the government at the time of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum of 1914, or for the Serbian state in the recent past, at the time of the ultimatum of Rambouillet.
According to its catholic nature, the Church is neither against the idea of the European integration of peoples and states nor against the idea of wider processes of unification. Besides, the Church is the sole historic creator and bearer of the teaching on all-human unity and on all-unity of the creation of God in Christ. However, we do not speak about it now. It is now ultimatively requested from Serbia to renounce factually Kosovo and Metohija, that is the source of our Church, the people and the state being, and to turn over the rest of the Serbian people there to the authority of those who have previously killed or expelled a greater part of it, in exchange for a vague and uncertain possibility of getting the notorious – only for Serbia conditional – “a date to begin negotiations”, the negotiations whose duration and outcome no one alive can predict.
Thanks to a brutal, but a curative sincerity of the Berlin’s vocabulary, unlike the Brussels’s, one thing is certain and predictable – the final ultimatum is going to be: or to officially, formally, recognize “state of Kosovo” or there will be no reception into the European Union. In other words: the Serbs are demanded to voluntarily give up the territory and sovereignty, even the traces of the millenary-and-a-half -long life in Kosovo and Metohija (since the Kosovo-Metohija Albanians, also in the presence of NATO forces, can defile churches, monasteries, cemeteries and attack people unpunished), and in return a blank, non-binding promise of "the bright European future" is offered, in practice a big nothing is offered, with a cynical message: hold it tight!
The spirit of today’s European Union is not, unfortunately, the spirit of the good, old Europe. We are still in favor of the idea of free spiritual and economic unification of the European continent, but we are definitely against the project of enslaving or humiliating any European country, including our Serbia. We are convinced that no state leadership of Serbia, including the present one, has the right or the mandate to agree to the conditions that are not set upon any other candidate country for membership in EU. The ticket is expensive. Serbia should not agree to pay in advance such a price for the goods that might never be delivered. It has never done so in its history, regardless of a cup of the gall which it had to drink from century to century.
The most important pre-election and immediately after-election promise of you who have gotten people’s trust to lead the state of Serbia in a tumultuous and turbulent time was that under no circumstances whatsoever you would give up, betray or sell Kosovo and Metohija, the historical Old Serbia.
We, Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, convinced to represent and express the stance of all its faithful, consider as holy duty to remind you of this promise and to assure you that we expect, as also the great majority of our people, to keep it. We are doing this just now for we are completely aware of the tragic moment and the burden of responsibility on your shoulders.
However, hope never dies. When the dark clouds disperse, the sun will shine again. Tomorrow we shall celebrate in our Church the Sunday of Veneration of the Cross, and soon there will be the Feast of Resurrection. When two evils are in front of us, the lesser evil is the best solution. We believe in love and help of God not only to us but to other people of good will as well.
With the blessing,
President of the Holy Synod of Bishops
Patriarch of Serbia
I r i n e j
From the Office of the Holy Synod of Bishops
Submitted by: Bishop Irinej of Backa