Page 842 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 842

was located therein, and remaining to this day the center of national, Christian sacred and secular culture of the Ser- bian people. There, in the Patriarchate of Peć, beginning in the 13th century and until this present day, is the official seat of the Serbian archbishops and patriarchs. in terms of state- hood, according to all recognized international agreements, both old and new, as well as according to all resolutions of the General assembly and Security Council of the United Nations, according to the Paris accords from 1995, and ac- cording to an entire list of legal acts of the european Union, Russia, the United States of america, Great Britain, Ger- many, France and other countries, Kosovo and Metohija are an indivisible part of the territory of Serbia.
Calling to remembrance these facts we, of course, in no way whatsoever can forget today’s multi-ethnic composi- tion of Kosovo and Metohija’s population. in like manner we accept, as always up until now, in accordance with our Christian consciousness, all rights and all freedoms of our co-citizens of albanian nationality and the other ethnic communities in Kosovo and Metohija. Therefore, we pray God to grant all peoples and communities in Kosovo and Metohija historical reconciliation, a peaceful future, a life worthy of human beings and every blessing.
The Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian people have preserved Kosovo and Metohija in the most difficult periods of its history. Kosovo and Metohija—that is, in the spiritual and moral sense, the heart of Serbia and soul of the Serbian people. Therefore, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian people can never denounce their right to remain and enjoy a free life in this most cherished part of the Serbian state. For the Church it is especially important to preserve its numerous Orthodox Christian sanctuaries in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as to insure the repatria- tion of all those expelled from Kosovo and Metohija. all of this will be possible only if Kosovo and Metohija are pre- served as an integral part of Serbia with substantial au- tonomy, and will not be possible, sadly, if it were to be forc- ibly torn asunder from Serbia. Not only would the multi- ethnic character of that region, but also the Christian iden- tity and culture of this part of europe, be most seriously brought to question. The eventual granting of state inde- pendence to Kosovo and Metohija would be the serious trampling upon both Divine and human rights, by stealing a centuries old, internationally recognized and confirmed right of a european Christian people and the creation of a precedent with unforseen consequences, not only for the Balkans and europe, but for the entire world.
There is still time to undertake serious discussions and, mindful of the full historical responsibility of all, to reach an agreement, an equitable and compromised solution, ac- ceptable to all. No one has the right with historically un- thought through politics, to subjugate the rights of one peo- ple in the name of the rights of another people and to one- sidedly and forcibly change the internationally recognized borders in europe.
For all of these reasons, the Holy assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church appeals to the United Na- tions, and to all of the influential countries in the world to assist precisely in finding such a solution—equitable, and acceptable for all—a solution that would satisfy both the legitimate interests of Serbia and the legitimate interests of the albanian ethnic community in Kosovo and Metohija.
The Holy assembly of Bishops invites alike the highest institutions of Serbia—the National assembly, the Presi- dent and the Government of Serbia—that with even great- er endurance to defend and safeguard the integrity of Ser- bia. in defending Serbia, they defend equally right and jus- tice, morals and international order. Serbia is not stealing anything from anyone; however neither can it accept to the forceful taking of fifteen percent of its territory. For us, for all Christians, and for all persons of good will the same rule applies: no on can take away anyone’s soul—only a person individually can either sell or loose the same.
Safeguarding the Serbian Religious and Cultural Heritage In Kosoo and Metohija (Serbian Proposal, Vienna Status Talks, 2006)
1. a Guiding Principle provided by the Contact Group in November 2005 states that the process of seeking the future status of Kosovo and Metohija must provide “spe- cific safeguards for the protection of the cultural and re- ligiousheritage”,including“provisionsspecifyingthesta- tus of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s institutions and sites and other patrimony” in the Province.
2. it is widely acknowledged that comprehensively ad- dressing the special concerns of the Republic of Serbia and the Serbian Orthodox Church (hereafter “SOC”) on the question of safeguarding the Serbian Religious and Cultural Heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is a question of civilization that helps to advance both the european perspective of the region as a whole and efforts at recon- ciliation within the autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija—an essential precondition for the rule of law and functional multi-ethnicity to take hold. Comprehen- sively addressing these special concerns furthers the wide- ly acknowledged proposition that the issue of Kosovo and Metohija for the Republic of Serbia and Serb people as a whole is not simply an issue of sovereignty and territo- rial integrity, but of identity as well.
3. Serbian Religious and Cultural Heritage in Kosovo and Metohija can be categorized as
a. the network of living monastic communities scat- tered throughout the Province;
b. the network of parish churches scattered through- out the Province;

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