Page 981 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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Hope in the Fields of Kosovo
Abbess Michaela, St Paisius Monastery, Arizona
For anyone who has seen the beauty and glory of Orthodoxy in Serbia—past and present—the thought of the present destruction of its sacred monasteries
and churches tear’s ones heart. One wants to ask, why? Why were those who were our allies in both World Wars handed over to the communists in 1944? Why has Serbia been allowed to suffer more destruction in fifty years un- der communism than from the Moslems who occupied this Christian nation for five centuries? Why is such a dread punishment, un known in its severity in modern times, now being visited upon a country which has never declared war on another country, and which is only trying to defend its heartland, Kosovo—which contains 1,300 churches and monasteries built over its thousand-year Christian histo- ry—from those who would take it by force?
For a Christian there are no answers to be found in look- ing for who is responsible for evil: it lies in every human heart. There will always be evil on the earth. Christ said, In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (john 16:33). The question to ask ourselves in times of peril or sorrow is whether in the suf- fering that comes upon us we draw closer to God, strength- ened in faith. Through the centuries of suffering that God has allowed to come upon the Serbian people, a heavenly choir of saints and martyrs has been brought forth who, while on earth, filled their small country with thousands of monasteries and churches, many of then among the most beautiful on earth. The unparalleled medieval frescos in Kosovo alone are an enduring witness to the depth of the hesychastic experience of Serbia’s monastics, which they left as a deposit for the generations to come, to inspire hearts with love for God until the end of time.
if we measure victory by the measure of the Gospel, then the victory that Serbia’s saints and righteous ones have achieved through Christ is over death and hell, even at the price of terrible suffering. in the light of eternity, this suf- fering is not worthy to be compared with the joy that awaits those who love God (cf. Rom. 8:18). The many thousands of New Martyrs, who were killed for their faith in this cen- tury and even down to the present time, are Serbia’s offer- ing to the world as intercessors before the throne of God in these dark times. in them is fulfilled the final promise of Christ spoken on the Mount of Beatitudes: Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake Rejoice,
St. John the Baptist, detail: scroll, Church of Saint Demetrius, naos, south wall, the Patriarchate of Peć

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