BELGRADE 17/3/2010-Serbian Patriarch Irinej today at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel served a memorial service for the Serb victims of Kosovo violence.
The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church said during the ceremony that the pogrom six years ago “was a day of terrible suffering, perhaps the greatest suffering of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija”, and pointed out that “Serbia can never give up Kosovo”.
“We cannot give away Kosovo, and we pray to God to remember all the innocent victims of that horrible event,” the patriarch said after the liturgy and memorial service.
“We put hope in those holy relics that we will keep Kosovo, which has always been ours,” said the patriarch, reminding of the centuries of history that link the Serb nation to the province, “its holy places and graves as testimony that we cannot forego”.
“The holy places have been destroyed, but time will come for us to rebuild them,” Irinej told those gathered for the service, including Minister of Religion Bogoljub Šijaković, Advisor to the President Mlađan Đorđević, Ministry for Kosovo State Secretary Oliver Ivanović, other officials, and numerous worshippers.
During the March 17, 2004 violence against Kosovo’s Serbs, 4,012 Serbs were expelled, six towns and nine villages were ethnically cleansed, and 935 Serb houses and 10 public facilities, such as schools, healthcare centers and post offices, were burnt to the ground or severely damaged.
The March suffering of Serbs, when 19 innocent people were killed and 35 churches and monasteries were burnt down and demolished in the pogrom that lasted 48 hours, is mentioned this Wednesday in all liturgies and requiem services in all the churches of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the country and around the world.