Page 428 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 428

Bishop atanasije (jevtić)
Kosovo and Metohija. The decisive collapse occurred with the Great Migration of 1690 followed by the descent of large numbers of albanians into the territories of Metohija and Kosovo, as well as by the partial islamization and subsequent albanization of the Serbian population in Kosovo and Me- tohija, which was stripped of its rights. as the large and powerful Ottoman empire began to fade, the forcible con- versions to islam increased and the albanians, unfortu- nately, became the chief Ottoman fist in this effort and a blood whip against the Christian Orthodox common peo- ple of Kosovo and Metohija and throughout the Balkans.
Great Migration of 1690 and
the further migrations of the Serbs
The Great Migration of the Serbs of 1690, which the new- est albanian historians and some biased, frequently mer- cenary “NaTO historians” intentionally deflate and almost deny altogether24 resulted in a double tragedy for the Ko- sovo Metohija Serbs. On the one hand, the migration se- verely reduced their numbers there; on the other, those who remained, although still the majority population, con- tinued to be persecuted and exterminated by both the Ot- tomans and the newly arrived albanians. Namely, after the crushing defeat of the Christian, austro-Serbian army near Kačanik at the beginning of 1690 where the Ottoman troops were fortified by significant numbers of Tartars and alba- nians came their revenge attack on the lands of Old Serbia with the most wild destruction in the flatlands of Kosovo. a time came of re-conquest and another round of devasta- tion of this Holy Serbian Land. Three hundred years after the monumental Kosovo defeat, general evil, massacres, enslavement of the people, transformation of cities and villages into ash heaps began once more with a defeat in Kosovo. it was in 1690 and the subsequent year that many of our endowments, churches and monasteries from the Middle ages were reduced to pathetic ruins. The people took refuge in flight, as they had done countless times be- fore in history, and the sultan’s orders to stop decimating the people because they were necessary to work the land and support the Ottoman empire arrived, as a rule, too late. This breach by the Tartars and the albanians and their intolerable crimes against the Serbian population and its Holy Shrines forced Serbian Patriarch arsenije iii Crno- jević to set out in the fall of 1690 with the people and fol- lowing the people, some 37,000 families (approximately 185,000–200,000 souls) on what is known as the Great Mi- gration after receiving assurances from Vienna that the Serbs would at least have the freedom to practice their Or- thodox religion in austria.
24 We refer primarily to Noel Malcolm’s book, which has been translated into Serbian and published in Sarajevo in 2000, and which consciously ignores domestic Serbian sources and scientific works, presenting a caricature of the “Great Migration” (and doing so in quo- tation marks, pp. 187–209).
Several moving testimonials remain in contemporary records about the Great Migration of the Serbs from Koso- vo and Metohija, and from other Serbian lands, too, for not all Serbs from Kosovo and especially from Metohija left in this exodus to the north.25 Thus a manuscript from Dečani Monastery (number 97, page 1b), records the following tes- timonial:
In the year 7198 (1690) there was a great war and looting throughout the Serbian land And the Germans came as far as Štip and the Turks fled, only to return and chase them back across the Danube Oh, woe is me! Fierce terror and tragedy then ensued: mothers were separated from their babes and sons from their fathers, the young were enslaved, the old slaughtered and strangled People invoked death rather than life From the cursed Turks and Tartars, woe is me, a great tragedy ensued And after the Agarenes (Mus- lims) seized it, a great dragon ascended on the monastery (Dečani), pasha Gasli-pasha, and he looted the monastery and the abbot and left him barely alive and the monastery in total devastation The abbot could not bear this and on the third day he passed away, Abbot Zachariah
We cite another contemporary record by Stefan of Ra- vanica from the year 1690:
In the spring of 1690 the Patriarch—Arsenije Crnojević of Peć—rose up with many of the Serbian people, 37,000 families in all, and that is how many entered the military service of the (Austrian) emperor... In this same war great looting and displacement of the Christian people ensued and devastation of the entire Serbian land: monasteries, towns and villages were devastated, and some were com- pletely burned down So it was that our monastery of Rava- nica in Serbia was completely devastated... Stefan the scribe, hieromonk of Ravanica, wrote this 26
We will cite also the testimonial of an italian regarding the suffering of the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija during the Great Migration. Simplician Bizozeri wrote this text:27
Finding no further obstacles to their bestiality, the Mu- hammadans forced the Serbs, who had nested in Novi Pa- zar, to seek shelter in the monastery of Studenica; during that time, both the Turks from Bosnia and Tartars from the Kosovo plains hurried to hasten their ruin The Christians were similarly expelled from Prizren, Peć, Vranje, Vučitrn, Mitrovica and so many other places, even those far away from Kosovo A spectacle of misfortune ensued, for the bar- barian non-believers who arrived were merciless toward these innocent habitants whom they all massacred without any regard for their age and sex; also slaughtered were those who, enticed by promises, abandoned their shelters in the forests where they had fled to save their lives After all the
25 Historian Noel Malcolm in his Kosovo: A Short History ignored these precious historical documents, old records and inscriptions.
26 Lj. Stojanović, Stari srpski Zapisi i Natpisi (Old Serbian Records and Inscriptions), vol. 3, No 5283 and 5302.
27 in his book La Sacra Lega contro la potenca Ottomana, ii, pub- lished in Milan in 1700, pp. 5–6 and 8.

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