The Serbian Patriarch’s enthronement sermon

by
20 October 2010

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From Mr Jonathan Luxmoore

Sir, — The Revd Donald Reeves describes how he attended the Pec enthronement of Patriarch Irinej, travelling to Kosovo from Belgrade as a guest of the the Serbian Ortho­dox Church (News, 8 October). It is hardly surprising that he sees the dispute over Kosovo’s future from a Serbian viewpoint.

What is quite unacceptable, how­ever, is that he made no mention at all of the new Patriarch’s enthrone­ment sermon, which was publicised internationally by the Serbian Church’s information service.

Patriarch Irinej lamented that the destruction of Orthodox churches and the departure of ethnic Serbs from Kosovo had left a “gaping wound on the body of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian people”. He went on to say that he believed there was “ample living space and place for co-habitation of Serbs, Albanians, and other peoples” in the country, whose February 2008 independence declaration has been recognised by 70 UN member-countries, including the United States and Britain.

He also underlined, however, his Church’s defiant position, calling on foreign governments to “sin not against their souls” by taking de­cisions on the status of “this Serbian southern territory” which could lead to Serbs’ being “stripped of their centuries-old right to their home­land”.

“Today we are visiting and bow­ing before this sanctuary in our most sacred Serbian land,” the Pat­riarch said, “the cradle of our his­tory, spirituality, Christian, Ortho­dox culture of the Serbian people — a land drenched in the martyred blood of the Kosovo martyrs and new-martyrs.”

Speaking to journalists in Pristina later in the day, a Kosovo government spokesman, Memli Krasniqi, dismissed the Patriarch’s statements as “inappropriate and absurd”. I cannot see how they help “break down the walls of suspicion and paranoia” — or how the cause of reconciliation is helped by incomplete and one-sided reporting.

JONATHAN LUXMOORE
Al. Solidarnosci 64
00-240 Warsaw
Poland

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