With great sadness in our hearts, we pray to the Savior to receive into the Kingdom of Heaven all Serbians and Albanians who lost their lives on 24 September in Banjska, Kosovo and Metohija. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and beseech the Most Holy Theotokos to provide them with solace.
We also call upon the faithful people to pray to the Lord for all those who have suffered, that God may grant peace to everyone, for the future of both Serbians and Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija. We must recognize the simple Gospel truth that we cannot pray to God for peace only for ourselves, but that we must also pray for peace with those with whom we live, with our neighbors.
Unfortunately, we observe that many individuals, both in Priština and around the world, and, even more tragically, in Belgrade, from various ideological backgrounds, using all means, are attempting to portray the Serbian Orthodox Church as a participant, even a perpetrator, in conflicts and tragic events. The goal of those who desperately seek to drag the Church into tragic conflicts is that the Serbian Church, along with its faithful people, disappear from Kosovo and Metohija.
Therefore, we remind everyone of the uninterrupted presence of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren on Kosovo and Metohija, spanning ten centuries, and above all, we emphasize that the Serbian Orthodox Church, along with her clergy, monastics, and faithful people, has persevered there through all times and conditions, despite the harshest persecutions, suffering, and martyrdom of monks, priests, and believers, solely because they were Orthodox Serbians, faithful to the Cross of Christ and the Kosovo Covenant.
We also remind that the Serbian Orthodox Church has always advocated, as it does now, for the peaceful resolution of misunderstandings on Kosovo and Metohija through dialogue, aiming for peaceful coexistence of Serbians, Albanians, and all other peoples living in that region.
We offer our full prayerful and any other necessary support to the Bishop of Raška and Prizren kyr Teodosije, to the brethren priests, monastics, and faithful.
The Serbian Orthodox Church has repeatedly highlighted, especially when addressing the great powers, the extremely dangerous policies of the authorities in Priština, whose sole objective is the complete expulsion of the Serbian people and the establishment of an ethnically homogenous Albanian Kosovo. In pursuit of this objective, numerous attacks have been perpetrated against our holy sites, our people, and even Serbian children. Over recent months, people have been arrested without any evidence or based on fabricated evidence, and Serbian-owned land has been seized. In short, Kosovo and Metohija today is a lawless land, where there is no freedom or a minimum of normal life for Serbians.
We are extending a message of boundless love and paternal care to our brothers and sisters on Kosovo and Metohija. The Serbian Church, wherever it exists and carries out her pastoral work, will continue to provide abundant aid for you, her long-suffering yet unwavering and proud people on Kosovo and Metohija, wishing to give you comfort, warmth, and hope in these difficult days.
Finally, we underscore that for the Serbian Orthodox Church Kosovo and Metohija is an inseparable part of the state of Serbia. We endorse and encourage the continuation of peaceful dialogue with the aim of achieving peace and resolving vital issues for all who live in the Province.