Page 982 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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abbess Michaela, St. Paisius Monastery, arizona
and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven
(Matt. 5:11).
The deeds of the communists in Serbia against the alba-
nians and against their own people are worthy of punish- ment. Hidden from the eyes of the world, though, are the good deeds, the Godly suffering, the prayer and repentance continually offered by the priests, the monastics and the faithful—not only for themselves and on behalf of their own people who transgress God’s Law, but, in obedience to Christ’s command, their prayers for those who, not knowing what they do, rain down not only bombs, but ha- tred from the skies upon innocent civilians.1
in Dečani Monastery, a 14th century Kosovo monastery filled today with courageous young monks, thousands of refugees of both nationalities are being cared for and fed by the monks. Despite the danger, the monks also bring ne- cessities to many suffering children and elderly outside the monastery gates which, along with the walls, were dam- aged by a bomb in early May. Local Muslim albanians have long prayed at the wonder working relics of St. Stephen, and they too have received healing. One of the monks, Fr. Sava, has traveled with his hierarch, Bishop artemije, to the U.S. many times to speak with legislators about a nego- tiated peaceful solution to the Kosovo conflict. They have addressed parliaments all over europe with their plea for a peaceful resolution, asking that all people in Kosovo be granted full protection of their human rights and freedom. They are asking that the Church, which has been a major force in the democratic resistance against the communist government, be given a voice in negotiations, warning that good can never be achieved through evil.
in contrast to Dečani, packed with refugees, the nuns of the 14th century Devič Monastery are all alone and have been under constant siege by the Moslem terrorists. Devič was destroyed several times by the Turks, and in 1941 it was demolished by local albanians under the Germans.
1 One horrifying example occurred on Pentecost, 1999. in the village of Varvarin, in broad daylight a NaTO plane bombed a civil- ian bridge, killing and wounding a number of people. a young priest, Fr. Milivoj Cerić, who had just finished celebrating the festal service, ran out with others to help the wounded. Fifteen minutes later the bridge was bombed again, decapitating Fr. Milivoj and killing nu- merous other rescuers.
With great labor the nuns lovingly rebuilt the monastery, which treasures the incorrupt relics of their heavenly pro- tector, St. ioannicius. They are totally isolated, having been without electricity or telephone service for over a year. On trips to the market in town they have been shot at with guns; at the monastery their eggs have been stolen from the hen houses, their fields burned, windows broken, and agri- cultural machinery stolen. Food sent by humanitarian or- ganizations has been stolen by the KLa. enemy shells have damaged the church and at night the nuns hear rifles pound- ing away at the monastery gates. except for abbess anas- tasia, the other seven nuns are elderly. When we visited them in 1997, we were moved to tears by their quietly joy acceptance of the probable martyrdom that awaits them.2
The ancient Gračanica Monastery has been damaged at least four times by missiles and bombs, as have several other monasteries and churches throughout the country. The nuns at the Peć Patriarchate Monastery, whose living quarters were burned to the ground in 1981 by albanians, have survived so far with moderate damage to the monas- tery through some of the worst fighting of this present war. Like all the faithful in Kosovo and the rest of Serbia, they keep prayerful vigil at night, ringing the church bells when planes or bombs are heard to warn the people to take cover.
May God help them all to endure this chasening as true sons, for the Lord has said, as many as i love, i rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent (apoc. 3:19). May their prayers to God for us, whose bombs fall on them, evoke His mercy, and may our own struggle for righteous- ness manifest a treasury of good deeds to over shadow the deeds inspired by the evil one, whom Christ has already conquered by His death and Resurrection.
O God! judge us not according to our sins, but accord-
ing to Thy great mercy.
Day of the Holy Spirit, 1999
The Orthodox Word, Volume 35, #2 (205), pp. 57–59.
  See The Orthodox Word, nos. 193–194 (1997) for historical infor- mation on Serbia and Kosovo, as well as an account of a pilgrimage to the monasteries of Kosovo in 1997, just before the current war.

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