Patriarch Irinej from Gracanica: No partition. We are here and we’ll stay as long as we exist

Patrijarha Irineja dočekuje sestrinstvo manastira Gračanica FOTO: RTV Kim
Patriarch Irinej in Gracanica monastery, Foto: RTV Kim

The Church will not change its position on Kosovo, the Serbian Patriarch Irinej said in Gracanica today. The Patriarch, accompanied by the Patriarch of the Antioch, Jovan X, as well as members of the Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, visited Gracanica monastery, RTV Kim reported.

„No partition. I cannot conceive that Prizren, where I lived for over 15 years, could be in another state, Pec Patriarchy, Decani, Gracanica. It cannot enter my head and especially not my heart. We’ll see. Things are brewing, they are even partially changing. I guess that we will swim out of this mud we are in,“ Patriarch Irinej said.

He repeated what has been known to the public since the Synod’s appeal in May:

„The Church has never changed its position and its position is – we are here and we will stay here as long as we exist. Let them occupy – as they are occupying, let them take, let them conquer, but we must not grant it to them. That’s the basic thing.”

Patriarch Irinej also made the Church’s interest in the situation in Kosovo quite clear:

„We follow everything that is happening here. Your position is difficult, perhaps more difficult than ever, but we must all fight to stay here. While we are here – this is ours. If we, God forbid, leave these sacred places, then it will not be ours. It can be in our hearts, but no, we have, above all, a hope in God’s help and the help of the saints who are resting in Kosovo, in the Pec Patriarchate, in Decani.“

He recalled the difficult times in the past and emphasized that „everything must be done for this to pass as well“.

„Many difficult temptations and tribulations are coming, but they are also passing. Perhaps this is just a good reminder for us to return to God and ourselves. In a large part, this was done because we are far from God and from ourselves, and with this suffering and faith we will remain where we are and we will remain here forever,“ the Patriarch concluded.

Patriarch of the Antioch, Jovan X also addressed the gathered believers in Gracanica monastery. He spoke about the difficult position of the church in Syria and Lebanon.

„We are now going through what you have gone through in ’99, but our Orthodox people want to stay in their own country,“ said the Patriarch Jovan X.

He said that Muslims in Syria and Lebanon frequently visit Orthodox sanctuaries and respect the Virgin Mary.

No one from the local leadership welcomed the Patriarchs to Gracanica.

Serbia’s liaison officer Dejan Pavicevic was present. He, however, refused to speak to the media.

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