Page 788 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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Protopresbyter-stavrophor Savo B. jović
inside any longer. everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The sacrifice was worth it.
The firefighting team constantly protected the other buildings from catching on fire, too.
Nevertheless, the fire was not put out until the evening. a team from the Provincial institute for the protection of cultural monuments arrived on the scene the same day to determine the number of saved items and the condition of the dampened books.
His Holiness Patriarch German was informed of the fire that morning at 5:30 a.m. He immediately formed a commission that arrived that day in the Peć Patriarchate. The members of the commission were protodeacon Tomi- slav Milanović, Dobrosav Nešković, engineer, Slobodan Mikić, architect, and the writer of these lines.
at about 4:00 p.m. we arrived in the Peć Patriarchate. in the courtyard was a sad sight. Parts of the roof fallen against the walls, the chimneys standing tall above the ash heaps, damaged and wet things scattered all over the grass. The firefighters were determinedly pouring water onto the ash heaps of the residence where until this morning a live- ly life was lived. Seeing us, the sisters we found in the courtyard headed to greet us. We could see the entire trag- edy of the fleeting flames on their faces, and their dresses and apostolniks, burned and wet, were their only personal property.
They wept and cried, extending their courageous wom- en’s arms to us. Father Tomislav addressed the sisters, brac- ing his heart to stop from weeping himself, with the words: “Mother abbess and dear sisters, i bring you the blessing and greeting of His Holiness Patriarch German. in these difficult moments do not be afraid; you are not alone for we are all with you.”
abbess Fevronija informed us briefly of all that that had transpired, as well as of the aid SO Peć had sent to the sis- terhood that day.
The sun slowly slipped behind the crags of the gorge and a difficult day came to a close. The police sealed off access to the monastery. a crowd of curious and crying people pressed together at the entrance portal. i saw tears, real tears, on the faces of the Orthodox and the albanians, and no one hid them. That evening that wall reminded me of the Wail- ing Wall and the destruction of jerusalem. Women, those zealous Marthas, squeezed their way through the crowd bringing full baskets of food and drink for the sisters.
according to an already existing arrangement, the nuns set out with heavy hearts to spend the night in private hous- es in the city because for the first time in the history of this Holy Shrine on this night they had no home of their own.
after the investigative commission headed by investi- gative judge ibiš Hoti completed its part of the work, the people were allowed to come in freely. Citizens of Peć and the region, from Kosovska Mitrovica, Skoplje, Prizren, Niš came to their old Patriarchate; jovo and Milorad Božić even arrived from Bosnia as a result of this great tragedy.
They all carried full arms of gifts and necessities, offer- ing a donation in money and asking for forgiveness for not having more to give but promising to send more as soon as they received their salaries.
Bishop Pavle of Raška and Prizren visited the monas- tery accompanied by syngelos justin Tasić, the abbot of Dečani Monastery, and on that occasion he offered true paternal advice to the sisters and inspired them to the cou- rageous Christian conduct required of them by the Lord and by our Serbian people.
The rector of the Seminary in Prizren, protosyngelos Nikodim, and his teaching staff and numerous priests and monks all rushed to the monastery to help in some way and console the tragedy stricken sisterhood.
We found “duke” Ramo Nikći here, whose ancestors guarded the Peć Patriarchate as he did himself. Through eyes filled with tears he expressed his regret for this trage- dy and offered his help. Upon hearing news of the fire, his old mother began to cry and told him, ’Go, Ramo, and help them, because your father and grandfathers gave their lives for the protection of our Patriarchate.’ The whole tribe of Nikći was with Ramo that day, ready in peace like formerly in war, to help where their help was needed.
On Thursday, March 19, at 1:00 p.m. His Holiness Pa- triarch German arrived with the members of the Holy Syn- od of Bishops.
all of us, and especially the sisterhood of the monas- tery, were much relieved to welcome our head in the loca- tion of the tragedy.
Patriarch German and his entourage visited the burned residences, then the facilities for temporary housing of the sisterhood and immediately began the official part of the talks with government officials.
at about 3:00 p.m. Patriarch German and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops said goodbye to the politi- cians and went to the monastery church, where a large group of faithful and the nuns were already waiting for them. On that occasion the Patriarch gave a speech that both con- soled and encouraged the nuns and the people, saying that all would end well, i.e. that the residence would be returned to its original condition.
everything that others and these nuns had built into this building, the old residence, was suddenly sacrificed on a great altar of flame. But their hearts remain living altars continuing to offer holy prayers to God for the whole world and the Serbian people who, we are convinced, will do all they can to help this holy shrine regain its beauty and glow, astheSerbianPatriarchhassaid,”wrotepriestSlavkoBožić in the conclusion of his report.105
His Grace Bishop Pavle of Raška and Prizren by act No 208 from june 18, 1981, sent the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church a petition sent to the Com-
105 aHSB for the year 1981 and Pravoslavlje, april 1, 1981.

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