Page 995 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 995

been preserved to the present day. Regrettably, instead of being recognized as part of the world’s heritage (with the exception of just five of them) they are being subjected to devastation, in several phases of destruction.
This is why the Serbian Orthodox Church is at this mo- ment so deeply concerned about the fate of Kosovo and Metohija, all the human beings who live there, and all the holy shrines that exist there. The capitals of Serbian kings and the thrones of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs were in Kosovo. Serbian ecclesial culture, developed in the Mid- dle ages as a structured conciliarity, nurtured freedom which was not entropy and anarchy, but discipline and re- sponsibility; more precisely, it was the freedom of the an- cient polis that saw its meaning in a harmony with truth.
in the royal charters issued for local monasteries, the names of people and places show that the population of farmers in Metohija and Kosovo was entirely Serb. Only beginning with charters from the fourteenth century are Vlachs and arbanasi (ethnic albanians) also mentioned, although in very small number. From this and other infor- mation it clearly follows that there was no conflict between the Serbs and the albanians in medieval Serbia. These prob- lems would begin only at the end of the seventeenth cen- tury with the intensified islamization of albanian new- comers.
However, over the course of the last six centuries, the geographical boundaries and demographic constituency of Kosovo, as well as the political and social conditions, have changed. Serbs, who once represented a majority in Kosovo, have been reduced to a minority. an uncontrolled migration of thousands of people from neighboring alba- nia into Kosovo on one hand and, on the other, a mass exo- dus of Serbs from that territory — because of the merciless oppression to which the Serbs have been subjected by the newcomers, especially in the period between 1943–1988 — have led to the Serbian population’s minority status. Un- der this oppression atrocities unheard of even in uncivi- lized countries have been perpetuated against the Serbian population in Kosovo.
The reader with the patience to carefully read this co- lossal work can find in it examples of evenhanded truths of a suffering people, as well as a witness to the liberation of Kosovo that took place in 1912 without a single act of re- taliation against rivals who had ceased to be enemies; and without the destruction of a single mosque, including the one built on the demolished Church of the Holy archan- gels, which carries the name of the one responsible for the burning of the relics of Saint Sava. The turbe of the con- queror and destroyer of the Kingdom of Serbia remained intact. “Vindicated Kosovo” did not imply retaliation for
 Apostles in front Christ's Empty Grave, detail, Gračanica, 1318–1321

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