Kosovo clergy and monastics appeal to Serbian authorities against partitioning

Kosovo and Metohija, August 21, 2018

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190 clergy and monastics from the Raška-Prizren Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija have addressed an appeal to the Serbian state leadership and international representatives, pleading against the planned partitioning between Serbs and Albanians and for their right to live peacefully, reports kossev.info.

The signatories, representing 20 Kosovo monasteries, argue that the proposed partitioning of Kosovo would put the Serbian community in danger, adding that Kosovo remains an “inalienable part of Serbia,” reports Balkan Insight.

Serbian president Aleksandr Vucic has proposed dividing up Kosovo along ethnic lines in an attempt to normalize relations with the Albanian-controlled Kosovo and put a halt to the Serb exodus. “It’s better to get something rather than nothing,” the president commented.

“This appeal ... is above all a loud cry from those who live in Kosovo and Metohija, and who, before God and their own conscience, have a responsibility towards the faithful people,” the appeal published on Sunday said.

Kosovo, “with its 1,500 Serbian Orthodox Christian monasteries, churches, endowments and monuments of Serbian culture, is an inalienable part of Serbia,” the clerics and monastics affirm in their appeal. They also argue that any potential division or exchange of land along ethnic lines would leave Kosovo Serbs “to the mercy of those who had not shown till now their readiness to respect our rights.”

“This appeal is not an interference in politics, but above all a loud cry of those who, living in Kosovo and Metohija, and in front of God and their own conscience, have a responsibility towards the faithful people, with whom we comprise the living Church,” the Church representatives responded following an accusation from state leaders on the Church meddling in state affairs.

This appeal follows on the heels of a similar appeal sent to the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church in May, urging the Serbian government to ensure Kosovo remains part of Serbia, and not to agree to any territorial exchanges.

Meanwhile, on August 8, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said that a “correction” of Kosovo’s border with Serbia, but not an ethnic partition, would be a factor in any final deal towards normalized relations.

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