Diocese on Ceku’s message to Djokovic: What messages for peace and understanding are being sent in Kosovo by such an inappropriate comment?

Manastir Gračanica
Manastir Gračanica/Foto: KoSSev

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren is deeply saddened by the Kosovo Minister of Culture and Sport, Mr. Ceku, recent tweet, stating that the world’s best tennis player, Novak Djokovic, cannot legally come to Kosovo and Metohija because he has not received the Covid vaccine, even though this legal obligation has not been in force for more than a year, the Eparchy announced today.

Earlier this week, in an interview for the Italian Corriere Della Sera, Djokovic mentioned Kosovo when reminded by the journalist that his father is originally from there and that he himself visited Kosovska Mitrovica.

„And now I want to return to Kosovo, with my wife Jelena, to baptize our children there, eight-year-old Stefan and five-year-old Tara. I know this topic is very sensitive. And that the conflict still exists, not with weapons at the moment, but the tension is evident. I don’t want to be involved in politics, but for every Serb, Kosovo is the heart, it is the center of our culture, our identity, our tradition, our faith,“ Novak said in the interview.

This part of the interview caught the attention of the Serbian and Albanian media alike, each of which reported on it from their point of view.

„Novak Djokovic said that he would like to baptize his two children in Kosovo. He provoked by saying that ‘Kosovo is the heart and center of the culture of Serbia’s identity, tradition and religion,'“ Pristina-based Koha writes.

The Kosovo Minister of Culture, Hajrulla Ceku, shared Koha’s text on his Twitter page, along with the message: “No-Vax, no entry.”

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren also reacted today, saying that they are “deeply saddened” by such a reaction from Pristina.

They revealed that they wonder what message for peace and understanding in Kosovo does an official of the Kosovo government and the Minister of Culture and Sport, sends with an inappropriate comment on social networks misinterpreting the statement of Novak Djokovic.

“…who in his interview for Corriere della Sera said: ‘I don’t want to deal with politics, but for every Serb, Kosovo is the heart, it is the center of our culture, our identity, our tradition, our faith’. He made this statement in the context of his publicly-expressed desire to baptise his children in Kosovo.”

“We pray to God that this issue be resolved in accordance with the right of free movement of all citizens and religious freedoms of all because there are no legal reasons for the ban on the entry of Mr. Djokovic, who is appreciated as a world renowned sportsman by many Kosovo Albanians too.”

The Eparchy underlined that Patriarch Porfirije and Novak Djokovic have, on many different occasions, conveyed messages of peace:

“That have only contributed to the coexistence of Kosovo Albanians, Kosovo Serbs, and other peoples by expressing warm wishes for all those who live there.”

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