Moscow, December 7, 2017
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow expressed hope for a “just solution to issues concerning the future of Kosovo” in a recent Moscow meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, who, for his part, spoke of Serbia’s intentions for a continued fight for the preservation of Kosovo as a part of Serbia, reports RIA-Novosti.
Pat. Irinej, together with the heads of other Local Orthodox Churches arrived in Moscow for the celebration of the centenary of the restoration of the patriarchate to the Russian Orthodox Church, which was especially celebrated on Monday, on the feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, when St. Tikhon of Moscow was enthroned in 1917.
Welcoming the head of the Serbian Church, Pat. Kirill noted that 2021 would also mark the same centenary for the Serbian Orthodox Church, which “after the heavy trials of the Great War reunited in 1921 and restored the patriarchal dignity which had been taken from it in the 18th century.”
“On the even of this anniversary, we will offer special prayers for the unity and prosperity of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and for the preservation of its jurisdiction over all of its historical lands. We will especially pray for peace and a just resolution to the questions surrounding the future of Kosovo and Metohija. May the Lord help the Serbian people to preserve their national and Church unity,” Pat. Kirill said.
Pat. Irinej thanked Pat. Kirill for his awareness of the situation and for often having visited the land, taking the opportunity to familiarize himself with the trials of the Kosovo Serbs.
“Our government is aggressively fighting to preserve this land within Serbia. This land unjustly taken from Serbia. Our powers are small, and therefore we need the help of our brotherly Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church,” His Holiness Pat. Irinej told the head of the Russian Church.
He also thanked Pat. Kirill for the help received from the Russian Church in adorning and beautifying St. Sava’s Cathedral in Belgrade.
“Our peoples have been together throughout their entire histories, never fighting with one another, but always fighting enemies together, and now they jointly maintain Orthodox unity. In some sense, St. Sava’s Church should be a memorial to the wondrous brotherly cooperation of the two countries, the two peoples, the two Churches,” Pat. Kirill responded.
In 1999, an armed confrontation between Albanian separatists of the Kosovo Liberation Army and the army and police of Serbia led to the bombing of Yugoslavia (then consisting of Serbia and Montenegro) by NATO forces. In 2008, the Albanian authorities of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. Since then, the Kosovo Albanians have made numerous attempts to join international organizations to secure their independence. The self-proclaimed republic is not recognized by Serbia, Syria, Russia, China, Israel, Iran, Spain, Greece, and a number of other states.