Page 994 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 994

and acknowledgments
Twenty-seven years ago, Zadužbine of Kosovo and Metohija was published in Serbian to serve as a sign, symbol, reminder, and warning to all those lulled to
sleepbythehabitsofcomfortablelivingandcarelessthink- ing. it aimed to awaken the memories and call to mind the truth of the Christian Orthodox character and spiritual proprietorship of Kosovo and Metohija. The basis for this is the Kosovo ethos and the Christian heritage of Old Ser- bia. The main feature of this ethos is that it does not call upon a misanthropic or armed rebellion against any one; rather it is directed toward awakening, stimulating, and resurrecting among the people the true spirituality that originally adorned the Kosovo Covenant.
The editors of the 1987 monograph stated in the epi- logue: “For the very title of the book speaks of its main pur- pose: that precedence should be given to the two golden centuries of the Serbian land and her Church during the Middle ages. However, monuments from the times the benefactors of famous lineage lived were merely the ground- work for the greatest moral heritage of the Serbian people, that of Kosovo, created in the centuries when Kosovo ex-
isted completely and truly as a dreadful ‘battlefield’—for neither did the tribulations commence with Vidovdan 1389, nor have they yet ceased, regardless of the completion of twoBalkanandbothworldwars.”
This new monograph, appearing in 2015, is yet another impartial reminder (in a numerous series of such remind- ers) of the complete truth about Kosovo and Metohija, in the past and the present, and for the common future of all in Kosovo. To be clear: Kosovo’s ownership was not marked by sticks, in the way prospectors for gold marked their claims, nor by deeds written in ink on paper, but by ancient and magnificent Serbian churches and monasteries, cem- eteries, and tombstones.
Like the first monograph from 1987, this one also be- gins with a map that displays a “galaxy” of important church- es and monasteries—those spiritual endowments and aes- thetic insignia of Kosovo and Metohija—on this sacred Ser- bian land. These churches and monasteries are classified in two ways, in terms of time and in terms of architectural condition: those built before and after 1459 (when the Ot- toman conquest of the medieval Serbian kingdom was com- pleted) and those intact or ruined. The maps presented here in abundance show these churches and monasteries densely filling Kosovo and Metohija’s territory. This remark- able spatial occupation is narratively reprised in the book itself, which opens with histories of the major churches and monasteries and concludes with testimonies about the violence inflicted on these buildings and their clergy and congregations from the fifteenth century to the present. Dedicated to the holy sites of Kosovo, to the bright times of our spiritual and historical existence, this book could not, nor dare not, ignore the priceless fate of the holy shrines besieged by darkness, which has outlasted even the rulers from which they originated. if such darkness had to be in- cluded in the “non-earthly treasures” of Old Serbia, it is by no means intended as a vehicle for stress or lament over the misfortune, but rather the aim is to look directly at evil in order in identify, confirm, and understand it.
indeed, the cultural and artistic treasures of Kosovo and Metohija rank among the greatest achievements of Christian civilization. Hierarchs, monarchs, monks and clergy, together with laypeople, built and decorated church- es, monasteries, and cave hermitages. Many of such pearls of medieval architecture have stood the test of time and
 The Crucifixion, detail: Angel, north arm of the cross, vault, Church of the Mother of God Hodegetria, the Patriarchate of Peć, ca. 1335

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