Page 815 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 815

a Chronicle of
the Contemporary Suffering of Kosovo-Metohian Serbs
After the end of the war, Tito’s Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia (FPRY) banned the return of expelled Kosovo and Metohija Serbs at a parlia-
mentary session held on March 6, 1945 in order to placate the albanians and win their loyalty. This unjust decision has not been repealed to this day, and resulted in a seri- ously compromised ethnic profile of the population to the detriment of the Serbs.
Serbs were gradually but systematically persecuted in Kosovo and Metohija, especially after 1965, and during the period from 1966 to 1971 about 35,000 Serbs were forced to leave their homes. From the end of the war to 1961 a total of 338 Kosovo and Metohija settlements were ethnically cleansed of Serbs. From 1961 to 1989 220,000 Serbs left the Province under pressure, while during the period from 1961 to 1981 a total of 606 Kosovo and Metohija villages were left without Serbs. at the same time the albanian popula- tion was rapidly increasing thanks to the highest birth rate in europe.
The large albanian demonstrations in 1968 and 1981 resulted in increasingly greater and more frequent repres- sion of the Serb population and increasingly more brutal attacks against Serbian churches, monasteries, and ceme- teries. everything of Serb character or markings was sys- tematically destroyed, as reported by the Western press (The Serbian Orthodox Church published a book with a large collection of documents called Kosovo Endowments). The goal of the albanian secessionists was the separation of the Prov- ince from Serbia and Yugoslavia, and ultimately its unifica- tion with enver Hoxha’s albania. immediately after a large demonstration in Priština in the evening of March 16, 1981, on Orthodox Sunday, the residence hall of the Peć Patri- archate was set on fire.
Petition of the Holy aSSeMBLY
of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church to the President of Yugoslavia,
josip Broz Tito, in May 1969
“Mr. President
Our Church has been informed through its chapters about numerous outrages committed in SaP Kosovo against the Serbian Orthodox Church and its members, in fact not
only outrages but also actual crimes. For this reason we are forced to address you and request your protection.”
Having pointed out that the principles of freedom, which the Constitution of the SFRY [Socialist Federal Re- public of Yugoslavia] guarantees to all citizens irrespective of their ethnic origin and confession should be extended to the Orthodox Church and its believers in SaP Kosovo, the petition continued:
“Our Holy Synod has on several occasions, in connec- tion with actual instances, addressed the competent au- thorities of S[ocialist] R[epublic] of Serbia, as well as the Federal [Yugoslav] executive Council, but the situation has not improved. On occasion this violence has abated, but then it breaks out again elsewhere in an even graver form. it has been getting worse over the last year. acts of violence involved not only damage to crops, destruction of forests (at the monasteries of Devič, Dečani, and Gorioč near Peć), demolition of tombstones (at Kosovska Vitina and else- where), but also bodily assaults, even against women and nuns (last year at the monastery of Binač near Kosovska Vitina, at Mušutište near Prizren, and this spring in the monastery of Devič, where the mother superior of the mon- astery was gravely injured, a novice at the monastery of Dečani was wounded with an axe, monk at the monastery of Gorioč was struck in the head with a stone, priests in the vicinity of Kosovska Mitrovica were attacked with stones, etc.) which brought about an exodus of our believers from these areas.
We do not wish to create problems concerning these unlawful acts, but are forced to intercede on behalf of the members of our Church, who are constantly complaining to us. We therefore beg you to address your attention to our distress so that similar unlawful acts might be prevent- ed from happening again.”
In a letter, dated May 23, 1969, the President of the Repub- lic, Josip Broz Tito, replied:
“i express my regrets at the acts complained of in your letter, which are in violation of the Constitution of the SFRY.
as President of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugosla- via, i shall do everything in my power to prevent any mis- deeds and unlawful acts and to ensure a free life and integ- rity for all citizens, as well as the safety of their property.

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