Bishop Grigorije: Great Problems Require Great Men to Solve Them

FOTO: Eparhija diseldorfsko-nemačka

What hurts me the most as a person is the fact that those who have failed to normalize life in Kosovo so far will not succeed either now or in the future, no matter what they have formally agreed or whether discussions are still ongoing, said Bishop Grigorije from Dusseldorf-Germany Eparchy during an exclusive interview for KoSSev.

He recalled the words that Patriarch Pavle said to him as a young man: „Great problems require great men to solve them.“

He is convinced that Vucic and Kurti have agreed to fulfill the new agreement from the first to the last point, so he is surprised by the surprise of others – „Everything pointed to such an outcome long before. In fact, I am surprised by everyone who is now surprised by such an outcome“, told us the Bishop.

He also emphasizes no administrative agreement can bring about any good if there is a lack of freedom and true coexistence between people.

„I have deep concerns, but as a Christian I am not desperate. And I would like to be able to share my concern and at the same time my hope with the Serbs who live in Kosovo and Metohija today. I would very much like to have the opportunity to talk with Albanians, ordinary people, as well as with their religious leaders, because I sincerely believe that for every normal person, peaceful and dignified coexistence is in the first place takes precedence above conflict, intolerance and hatred.“ says Bishop Grigorije.

He sees the solution in a fair dialogue between Serbs and Albanians and in looking for assistance and support from all intelligent people who would be able to humanize that process and ensure its inherent fairness.

„Shouldn’t we first work on the normalization of relations, and not rush to finalize contracts that do nothing to guarantee that normalization?“ – said one of the most prominent bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The Bishop emphasized that it would be good for the deal between Serbs and Albanians, on the other hand, to be in the spirit of the best agreements that ended long-term hostilities and wars in Europe.

In that sense, the German-German agreement is interesting for him, but: „It would not be good if it was a failed copy of those successful agreements, which could lead to even deeper problems. However, it seems to me that people in this world often turn things upside down.“

Nineteen years after the March violence, which was commemorated last week, leaves him with a bitter feeling that we were not able to move from a state of hostility and distrust to one of tolerance, says Bishop.

„What should have been done? It would be pretentious to say anything other than what I deeply believe: it was necessary to talk day and night, above all neighbor to neighbor, man to man, priests to other religious denominations. Simply, talk and agree to solve problems together, because they affect all of us who live under the same sky and on the same piece of land“.

We only tend to look closely for ‘defects’ in others, and not in ourselves. And everyone should first get to know and see themselves, he adds.

Speaking of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Kosovo Serbs, the Bishop Grigorije said that there were neither prettier, nor more honorable, nor heavier ‘shoes’ than those worn by two Serbian bishops, Bishop Artemije and Bishop Teodosije, over the past 19 years.

„I think I would find myself in the same dilemmas as they did, and would be, just like them, torn between being a church pastor or a secular leader. And that means I would have to constantly choose between taking care of Laos, ie. faithful people who come to religious services and pray to God, or about ethnos, i.e. about my own ethnic community.“

He advised the Serbs in Kosovo not to have more faith „in anyone but in God and their own deeds.“

„To get along with each other as best as possible and to have faith in themselves. Also, besides themselves, no one is closer to them but their neighbours, the Albanians, with whom they should develop the best possible relations, even though these neighbors, unfortunately, have been hostile lately. And also to honestly think about whether or not they share a degree of responsibility for that hostility.“

By still being in Kosovo, the Serbs make the rest of the nation proud, the Bishop added.

„If we are true believers, they will never be left alone in their struggle for a normal life, nor in the suffering they have endured lately,“ Bishop Grigorije said in an Easter interview with KoSSev, which we will publish tomorrow.

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