Gazeta Express accuses Bishop Teodosije of inciting violence, Bishop calls for peace in his speech

Gazeta Express has made allegations that Bishop Teodosije’s speech during a liturgy held this week in Leposavic „incites violence“ and „inspires Serbian nationalists.“ What did the bishop actually say?

Gazeta Express published an article yesterday morning with the headline „Teodosije’s Liturgy Incites Serbs to Violence.“

This news article has since been removed from the Gazeta website but the URL link remains.

The text mentions the liturgy in Leposavic served by the Bishop on Monday, on the occasion of the major Christian holiday, Holy Trinity.

The media outlet began the article with a quote from Teodosije’s speech: „Who we are, what we are, how strong we are, all depends on whether we, like our ancestors, will succeed in preserving everything that God has given us.“ They draw the conclusion that this is „incitement to violence.“

„The man of God, Teodosije, who is obliged to call for peace among people, and in this case, relaxation of relations between Serbs and Albanians, incites Kosovo Serbs to violence,“ stated this Pristina based portal.

They specify that Bishop Teodosije’s visit to Leposavic for the Holy Trinity holiday was „more political than religious,“ and they refer to the new crisis in northern Kosovo.

The article went further to state that: „Just like Teodosije’s visit to Leposavic with the aim of inspiring Serbian nationalists, during the war, Serbian church leaders would make such visits, ‘blessing’ and inciting Serbian criminals to commit crimes against the Albanian population in Kosovo.“

Express concluded that Serbia has consistently „used“ the Serbian Orthodox Church to „stoke hatred among the peoples of the Balkans.“

What did the Church Leader say in his speech?

„The Bishop Teodosije Calls for Peace and Preservation of What God Has Given Us“ is the headline of the transcript of the speech published on the Eparchy’s website.

„Who we are, what we are, how strong we are, how calm and patient we are, how much love we have… All of that determines whether we, like our ancestors, will succeed in preserving everything that has been given to us by God: this land and these holy sites,“ said the Bishop during his speech.

They indicated that a large number of believers, especially children, attended the liturgy, as this holiday is particularly popular among children due to the wreaths made of spring flowers.

„The spiritual Monday has gathered us to find peace first in our souls. We pray to God to instill peace in our hearts and souls, and for us to transmit it to our families and our society. This is the peace that comes from the One who is the source of living water, the source of peace, love, and all that is good,“ the Bishop conveyed to the faithful.

He blessed all the residents of Leposavić to „persevere and endure,“ with the message, „we are at home here.“

„What we are duty-bound to do is to defend our land, our people, and our holy sites,“ the bishop stated.

It depends on us to the extent that we become what the Lord wants us to be and how the Lord sees us.

Since the evening of last Monday, immediately after Serbs clashed with KFOR soldiers in Zvecan, bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church have been regularly present in the north, gathering believes in churches and calling for peace and the cessation of any conflict. They regularly send messages for the recovery of injured Serbs and KFOR soldiers.

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Vl. Ilarion u Zvečanu: Da ne budemo u sukobu koji nam je drugi nametnuo i izrežirao, već da sačuvamo dostojanstvo i mir i da više niko ne bude povređen