„Ours is to forgive and to remember, but not to hold a grudge,“ Abbot Sava Janjic of Visoki Decani said at the commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the murder of two Serb boys – Panto Dakic and Ivan Jovovic held in Gorazdevac yesterday. He urged Christians to persevere in their faith, customs and traditions which have sustained them in Kosovo for centuries. „All of the world forces are powerless to preserve us unless we have faith,“ the Abbot emphasized.
Abbot Sava of the Visoki Decani monastery served a memorial service to the boys shot down while bathing in the Bistrica River at the Temple of the Holy Virgin in Gorazdevac yesterday.
„They were plucked in their childhood like the most beautiful fruit. I will never forget when I saw that crime scene with the blood, their little shoes and clothes. Thank God, some of them have recovered and, thank God, there were no more casualties,“ Father Sava said at the beginning of the memorial service.
The killers were never found and the investigation was halted in 2010. In mid and late 2015, two nearly identical attacks were also carried out in Gorazdevac, without any casualties. The perpetrators of these attacks were not found.
Father Sava Janjic urged those who gathered in the Gorazdevac church not to feel bitterness towards those who committed crimes, not only in times of war but also in times of peace.
„They will surely answer for their crimes, if not before the judgment of men, then certainly before the judgment of God. Let us leave it to the Lord and pray that the Lord will give them repentance, that they may also repent and receive forgiveness from the Lord at the last moment. Ours is to forgive, but ours is to remember, but not to hold a grudge, to remember through prayer those who have suffered,” he added.
On the sixteenth anniversary of the crime, Father Sava also sent a message of consolation.
„With all the sadness and pain, the memory of the innocents who suffered, Ivan and Panto, and all the others who have suffered here, known and unknown, whose names only God knows, let us rejoice and, at the same time, thank the Lord for not forgetting us, for not leaving us,“ he added.
„To be worthy and to live worthy, to be worthy of the name of Christ, to live in peace and to unite in faith and awareness that we are the children of the Holy Sava,“ he said.
„If we lose that faith, nothing will preserve us, because all the world forces are powerless to preserve us unless we have that faith. It is the faith that has sustained this village throughout the centuries of Ottoman rule, it is the faith that has preserved many of our believers both north and south of Ibar, throughout Kosovo and Metohija. It is the faith that has preserved the remaining Serbs in Krajina and at all the execution sites where our people have suffered,“ the Abbot of the Visoki Decani emphasized.
According to him, the Serbian people can only have peace in Kosovo if they persevere in their faith and preserve their homes and tradition, as well as by gathering around the holy sites:
„To remain as faithful as possible in witnessing our faith, and the Lord will grant us peace, peace in our soul above all, a peace which cannot be acquired by any material wealth, power and glory that are transient except the peace which is not obtained by any earthly means.“
Even when it does not look like some individuals have expected it to, the Serbian people who believe in Christ should know and believe that he gives everyone what is the best for them and that there is true joy and fatherland in him and his kingdom– he added.
„That kingdom begins here in our hearts, when we first forgive each other, when we reconcile with one another, and this is taught by our new martyrs, Panto and Ivan, Father Stefan and Hariton – who laid down their lives for the faith by testifying of the truth.“ Father Sava said, recalling both the abduction and brutal killings of Orthodox priests in Metohija shortly after the war.
In addition to Abbot Sava, the memorial service was served by a former Decani priest, Father Ilarion of the Draganac Monastery.
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