Serbian Orthodox Church in U.S. against Ethnic Partition

Srpska pravoslavna crkva Sveti Simeon Mirotočivi FOTO: Fejsbuk stranica St. Simeon Mirotochivi Serbian Orthodox Church - South Chicago
Serbian orthodox church St.Simeon Mirotochivi/FOTO: Facebook page St. Simeon Mirotochivi Serbian Orthodox Church – South Chicago

Serbian Orthodox congregations and Serbian-American organizations wrote on 31 August to the American Senate, Congress and the individuals from the Administration expressing concern over the idea of border correction between Kosovo and Serbia. The idea of border correction as a means of „normalization of relations“ between Belgrade and Pristina has long been opposed by all the main stakeholders, but in the recent weeks, the American administration started defending the position that Kosovo and Serbia should come up with a solution of their own accord.

The letter in its entirety can be read below:

Dear Senators, Members of Congress and Administration officials:

As leaders of the Serbian Orthodox congregations and Serbian-American organizations from throughout the United States, we are writing to appeal for the protection of the security, human rights and religious freedom of the Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohija, and to express our strong opposition to the proposed ethnic partition of the territory.

For nineteen years now, the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija have been systematically deprived of their most basic human rights—including the right to worship freely, the right to use their own property, and even the right to visit the homes and churches from which they were forced to flee.  We are disturbed that after years of dialogue, and after commitments from the authorities in Pristina to implement standards for the protection of Serbs consistent with EU and international human rights norms, Kosovo Serbs continue to face discrimination, threats of violence, assaults to their basic human dignity and existence, and a general disregard by the authorities for the rule of law.

In this context, we resolutely oppose the proposed territorial partition of Kosovo and Metohija which would result—as all historic partitions have done—in a mass exodus and internal displacement of people. This scenario would also leave our most important churches, monasteries and holy sites exposed and vulnerable—devoid of basic 21st century legal and institutional safeguards—and is inconsistent with UNSCR 1244 and the Message of the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church on Kosovo of May 13th, 2018.

For centuries, the Serbian Orthodox Church has shared the fate of the Christian population in Kosovo and Metohija, promoting peace, reconciliation and the dignity of every individual as a unique person created in God’s likeness and image.  We feel that, at a minimum, this voice of the Church also deserves to be heard by officials and policymakers as they deliberate vital issues that will affect its life.

Related articles:

Clergy and monastics of the Raška-Prizren Diocese appeal to the Serbian leadership and international representatives: Against the partition, allow the Serbian people to survive and live in peace

Abbot Sava Janjic: EU has critical historical responsibility – Territorial partition threatens to force 70.000 Serbs south of the partition line to an imminent exodus

Bishop Teodosije’s appeal against the partition and demarcation: The international community should not allow an exodus

Serb Patriarch and Minister convey messages regarding Kosovo Serbs and the Church at the European Conference of Churches

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