Moscow, January 23, 2017
called upon Croatian officials and clergy of the nation’s Catholic Church to give their attention to the continuing crimes against their Serbian population and the desecration of Serbian Orthodox churches there.
“Last year the Serbian National Council in Croatia received statements of 180 attacks on Serbs, information of which the Holy Synod has in Belgrade. There is evidence that the victims—our fellow believers and countrymen, publicly declare only every third our fourth such incident. The suffering has not ceased even in time of peace. How many of our parishes have been desecrated in recent years?” said the patriarch.
According to him, Croatian officials pay no attention to such incidents, saying, “I haven’t seen that over the past twenty years, in that time since the end, glory to God, of the war [the Serbo-Croatian conflict lasted from 1991 to 1995], any of the religious leaders in Croatian have publicly condemned attacks on the Serbian Church, or any Orthodox person.”
The Serbian primate also noted that when he visited Jasenovac memorial complex in September he noticed on the walls words of welcome to Croatian nazis-ustasha.
In conclusion, His Holiness expressed the hope that Serbia and Croatia could work together for peace, despite their historical and contemporary hardships:
“In Serbia there are no citizens of first and second order. I hope the same will be soon in Croatia: that the problem of refugees and exiles will be solved … that the threats and denigration and desecration of Orthodox churches with derogatory graffiti will stop.”