Kosovo and Metochia – Kosovo and Metohija
Travel to Kosovo and Metohija is surely an outstanding experience…
In early periods of settlement, assimilation of the native population and adoption of Christianity during the fourth Crusaders’ invasion, processes of ethno genesis, civilizational transformation and organization of society and the state of the Serbian people were taking place in the Raska-and-Zeta and Kosovo and Metohija-Kosovo nuclei, i.e. in regions away from large valleys and main routes ruled by Byzantine Empire. Kosovo became a constituent part of Serbia at the end of the 12th century during the rule of its founder Stefan Nemanja. The First Serbian Archbishop Saint Sava established Bishoprics in ancient Ulpiana and Prizren. Sheltered by the high and seemingly impassable mountainous enclosure of the Prokletije Mountains /Accursed Mountains, 2.656 m/, Shara Mountain /Sar-planina 2.651 m/ and Kopaonik Mountain /2.017 m/, the area of Kosovo and Metohija is at the time easy to approach via a number of natural corridors which have throughout history been open to the incoming influences of different civilizations.
Kosovo and Metohija area is the crossroads of more than eight directions, some of which used to be major lines of communications in the middle ages between Europe and the Adriatic Sea, and Near and/or Middle and Far East. Complex Geo-historical conditions, pronounced Geo-morphologic plasticity with numerous gorges and canyons, and high mountains, its specific position at the contact point of coastal and continental parts of the Balkans, and being the hydro graphic center of the Balkan peninsula – all these elements contribute to fascinating natural riches and the diversity of wildlife in Kosovo and Metohija, thus defining the region as one of the major centers of European biodiversity.
Studded with more churches and monasteries than any other Serbian land /the identified presence of 1.500 monuments of the Serbian culture/, Kosovo and Metohija became the spiritual nucleus of Serbs and was always treated as the birthplace of Serbia. For a time Serbia rivaled the Byzantine Empire in Europe, and at its greatest extent in the mid-14th century stretched from the Danube River to the Corinthian Gulf, and from Thrace to the Adriatic coast. Lying at the crossroads of the main Balkan routes connecting the surrounding Serbian lands of Raska, Bosnia, Zeta and the Scutari littoral with the Macedonia and the Morava region, Kosovo and Metohija were, geographically speaking, the ideal place for a state and cultural center. Girdled by mountain gorges and comparatively safe from outside attacks, Kosovo and Metohija were not chosen by chance as the site for building religious centers, church mausoleums and palaces. Serbian rulers were in constant touch with big cities, especially Thessaloniki, and were able to invite the best artists and craftsmen. The rise of mural painting corresponded with the last decade of King Milutin’s rule /+1321/ : almost all aristocratic houses and memorials were ornamented by either two famous painters from Thessaloniki, Michael Astrapa and Evtichios, or someone from their circle. The rich holdings of the Visoki Decani Monastery provided and economic underpinning for the wealth of spiritual activities in the area. The art heritage from the early 14th century found in the monuments to Stefan Decanski and Tzar Dusan formed a basis for local craftsmen to learn, and this can be seen in the example of the gorgeous large Church of Christ Panthocrator in Visoki Decani, where local craftsmen and artists produced the richest examples of Byzantine art. Educated monks and religious dignitaries assembled in large monastic communities /which were well provided for by the rich feudal holdings/, strongly influenced the spiritual shaping of the nation, especially in strengthening local cults and fostering the Orthodox doctrine.
The term Metohija was derived from the Greek word “metoch” – meaning church property. /Dusan T. Batakovic/. The former name of this historically Christian territory was Hvosno or Hvostno, which was the seat of the Doclea of Hvosno and the birth-place of Saint Peter of Korisha, the area between the Pec Bistrica River and the upper course of the Beli Drim River and south of Decanska Bistrica River, up to the Trnava and Erenik Rivers.
The Raska Diocese is first mentioned in the 2nd chrysobull /founding charter/ of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II /976-1025/, dating from 1020. It was, at the time, part of the Ohrid Archdiocese and it encompassed the Serbian territory around the rivers of Raska, Ibar and Lim. The Prizren Diocese is mentioned in 1019, in a chrysobull /founding charter/ of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II. The Diocese included the town of Prizren with the surroundings, Hvosno /the part around Decani and Pec/ and the area around the rivers Beli and Crni Drim. It became part of the independent Serbian Archdiocese in 1219. The Hvosno region came under special Hvosno Diocese with the seat in the Monastery of Mala Studenica – Studenica of Hvosno, north-east of Pec. In 1219, under the Serbian Archbishop Sava, it became part of the autocephalous Archdiocese of Zica. With the establishment of the Patriarchate of Pec, 1346, it was raised to the status of the Metropolinate. With the Serb Orthodox Church being elevated to the level of the Patriarchate, the Prizren Diocese acquired the status of a Metropolitanate. The old Hvosno and Lipljan Dioceses, i. e. that of Gracanica /Novo brdo/, were added to the Prizren Diocese after 1766. The Patriarchate of Pec was established at the end of the 13th century when the seat of the Serbian Church was moved from the Zica Monastery to the Pec Patriarchate. It was abolished in 1766 and joined with the Prizren and Skenderia Dioceses, and later with the Raska Diocese. Please see Edith Durham’s Around Kosovo
After the old Serbia was liberated from the Turks, in 1912, the Pec Diocese was re-established. In 1808 the Prizren Diocese was joined with the Diocese of Raska thus forming the Raska and Prizren Diocese, which has been in existence as such ever since. Its seat is in Prizren. The shrines from the Raska and Prizren Diocese have always been a prey to various invaders and enemies of the Serbian people. Desecration and destruction began with the Turks and continued with Albanians /Shqiptars/ to sharp the differences and historical enmities. A number of churches were converted into mosques. The old Christian sites served as the base for Muslim places of worship. Material from the original Serbian shrines was used for building mosques. At the beginning of the 17th century Sinan-pasha of Prizren built a huge mosque in this town using the material from the destroyed Monastery of the Holy Archangels, the foundation of Tsar Dusan. The League of Prizren in 1878 sought to create a Greater Albania autonomous from the Ottoman Empire throughout Albania, Kosovo, parts of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Greece. This was promoted at the Congress of Berlin, and the Second League of Prizren in 1943. Ethnic and religious differences, sharpened over centuries by real and perceived aggression, have repeatedly provided bases for radical political action and mortal conflict.
UNESCO Heritage sights – Medieval Monasteries in Kosovo and Metochia
Kosovo and Metohija is part of the heartland of Medieval Serbia, which for a time rivaled the Byzantine Empire in Europe, and at its greatest extent in the mid-14th century stretched from the Danube River to the Corinthian Gulf, and from Thrace to the Adriatic coast. Beginning with Stefan Nemanya, founder of the Nemanyic Dynasty, which ruled Serbia from the third quarter of the 12th century to the late 14th century, the Christian /Serbian Orthodox/ church grew in authority and prosperity along with the evolving Serbian state, as rulers and other nobles built scores of monasteries, royal courts and churches in that owns, valleys, and mountains of southern Serbia and Kosovo. The four Medieval edifices in Kosovo and Metohija reflect the high points of the Byzantine-Romanesque ecclesiastical culture, with its distinct style of wall painting, which developed in the Balkans between the 13th and 17th centuries and nowadays belong to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The Dečani Monastery was built in the mid-14th century for the Serbian king Stefan Dečanski and is also his mausoleum. The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery is a group of four domed churches featuring series of wall paintings. The 13th-century frescoes of the Church of Holy Apostles of the Pec Patriarchate are painted in a unique, monumental style. Early 14th-century frescoes in the Holy Virgin of Ljevisa church in Prizren represent the appearance of the new so-called Palaiologian Renaissance style, combining the influences of the eastern Orthodox Byzantine and the Western Romanesque traditions. The style played a decisive role in subsequent Balkan art. Gračanica Monastery frescoes present cultural tradition of the Palaiologian Renaissance of Byzantium in the Balkans showing the height of the development of Balkan art from the first half of the 14th century. There are 25 monasteries within the Diocese of Ras-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija of the Serbian Orthodox Church, among them 17 living Monasteries, 3 in reconstruction /revitalization/ and 5 devastated, but the explosion of spirituality and monastic behavior in those regions in the last thirty years enhanced the spiritual enlightenment of the Serbian people, supporting their strength and faith to overcome the temptations and unbearable suffering, featuring invincible spiritual power of devotion to truth and justice.
Saint George Order – Dragon of Saint George Order – Societas Draconistrarum
Serbian Medieval culture was very advanced. Many traditions of the Western world are based on the Serbian and Slavic in general cultural achievements. One of those achievements, based on Slavic heritage is Sacred Order of the Dragon of Saint George- mighty protector of Christianity, Slavs and whole White race. Milos Obilic, a Serbian knight, had created the secret order of the Dragon of Saint George. His shield represented the sun with twelve rays. There were 12 knights, Milos Obilic included, belonging to this secret order. As a distinctive sign, they wore a dragon on their helmet. The aim of the Saint George order was the death of the Ottoman sultan Murad I. This Earth have not seen Sacred Order which was glorious as this one. There wasn’t Sacred Order with members famous and controversial as members of this Order. All were willing to die for honor and given word. Many of them die. Our Lord Jesus Christ and Saint Vitus were witnesses. Saint George Order effectively existed about 300 years, and was revived later. Born as Serbian, Saint George Order evolved into Slavic Order after call for brotherly support, which was sent from Serbian nobility, because of Ottomans. Soon after, Order become European. Order was always open for Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants. It seams that divisions inside of Christian world did not affect this Order.
“Hardly is there a nation which has met with a sadder fate than the Serbians. From the height of its splendor, when the Empire embraced almost the entire northern part of the Balkan peninsula, and a large portion of what is now Austria, the Serbian nation was plunged into abject slavery, after the fateful battle of 1389 at the Kosovo Polje, against the overwhelming Asian hordes. Europe can never repay the great debt it owes to the Serbians for checking, by the sacrifice of their liberty, that barbarous influx.” NIKOLA TESLA
……To Serbs, Kosovo is an integral part of Serbia, legitimized by the London agreement of 1916 and by UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999-2001. Kosovo is also the historical, religious and emotional heartland of Serbia. The change from a Serb to an Albanian majority does not change its historical, legal and political status. Serbia’s claim to Kosovo is no different from Russia’s claim to Chechnya, China’s to Xinjiang, India’s to Kashmir, Thailand’s to Panni Marathiwad and Philippines to Mindanao – all Muslim majority provinces in non-Muslim majority states where violence for independence has taken place for decades. The Serb majority of the Krajina region in Croatia broke away and declared independence. They were not recognized. The Krajina Serbs have all been driven out of Croatia in the largest ethnic cleansing of the Yugoslav wars. Republika Srpska has been denied independence from Bosnia. As long as the independence of these provinces are denied, Kosovo has no special right to independence either. Serbia must not be treated differently. /Professor George Thomas/.
In the 13th, 14th and the 15th century the Serbs had a many developed medieval society with results in cultural and economic field equal to the achievements of the developed European environs countries. Serbian aristocrats possessed numerous medieval palaces, castles and fortresses, most of which were built on the territory of today’s Raska, Kosovo, and Metohija (Svrcin, Pauni, Nerodimlja, Stimlje, Petric, Novo Brdo, Zvecan, Ribnik). Serbian medieval aristocracy had family relations with many European imperial and royal dynasties, as Byzantine, Bulgarian, French, Italian, German, Russian, Hungarian, Turkish and others. Only in Kosovo and Metohia as a center of Serbian medieval state and society there are over 1.500 Serbian monasteries, churches and other cultural monuments. At that time the Serbs have a developed literature. Their economy is also prosperous /Novo Brdo was the main mining center of the Balkans in the 15th century/. Painting was particularly fostered in monasteries, from the 12th to the 14th century. It is in the monasteries of Studenica, Zica, Sopocani, Mileseva, Gracanica, Decani, Pec Patriarchate, and many others that we have outstanding examples of wall paintings called frescoes. Most of the above mentioned Kosovo and Metohija monasteries are under UNESCO’s protection as a part of the world cultural heritage.
Although legally part of Serbia, Kosovo and Metohija Province, which is inhabited by an ethnic-Albanian majority, has been run by the UN since 1999, after the Rambouillet talks. Kosovo and Metohija is de jure part of Serbia – de facto under UN control and administration. That policy was implemented after the 78 days of vicious and questionable and controversial NATO intervention called “The Merciful Angel” against the sovereign country of Yugoslavia, lurking behind claims of ‘humanitarian intervention’ and serving the interests of power. NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia was crime against humanity and act of aggression against military and civilian targets by depleted uranium and cluster bombs dropped by NATO air forces in entire Serbia and especially in Kosovo and Metohija territory, that left Serbia with $30bln dollars damage, in order to “stop the humanitarian catastrophe”, while land operations were conducted by the KLA, de facto allies of the international forces.
Eventually NATO bombs drove out from Kosovo Serb forces “accused of atrocities during the two-year war” as well as people of all nationalities-ethnic origins including ethnic Albanians, Serbs and other ethnic groups, regardless their ethnicity. NATO violated international law in the Kosovo crisis by bombing targets where it knew civilians would be killed, when used about 25000 of the world’s most devastating non-nuclear bombs and missiles. It is widely known that depleted uranium is serious health threat, since whipped up by sandstorms and carried by winds, it can cause cancer, leukemia, brain damage, kidney failure and extreme birth defects for 4,500.000 years. The Kosovo war was the last European war of the 20th century, and NATO’s first war, during which American pilots were sliding nervously into their planes at an Italian airfield to fly the first bombing missions dropping high-tech guided missiles…. The NATO air war ravaged Yugoslavia’s lifelines and devastated its infrastructure and ecology – its roads, bridges, railways, factories, airports, TV towers, fuel depots and power plants – shutting down the economy. As someone cleverly stated – in 1999 western civilization had gone beyond shame.
NATO killed 1000 Serbian soldiers and policemen, and 2500 civil and 89 kids have been brutally and lethally punished, and after its aggression there were more than 10000 people wounded, and left unprecedented level of material destruction. More than 250000 Serbs and 100000 non-Serbs were expelled from the Holy Serbian Land of Kosovo and Metohija.
More than 300.000 Serbs and non-Albanians were driven out and left Kosovo and Metohija and 5000 are executed or declared missing. Since NATO seized the Serbian province of Kosovo in June 1999, completely opening the border to Albania, the gangster-terrorists of the KLA have been installed as government leaders with the official approval of NATO and the UN in Kosovo. This ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Serbs has taken place over the past few years, despite the presence of some 27.000 NATO troops and 4.400 international police. KLA guerrilla terrorists have forced around 300,000 people to leave Kosovo – Serbs, ‘Gypsies’, Slavic Muslims, ethnic Turks, Croatians, Jews and ethnic Albanians loyal to Yugoslavia. Those Serbs who have remained live in enclaves under nightmare conditions coping with extreme circumstances. The KLA /”Kosovo Liberation Army” romantic euphemism for guerrilla groups/ has systematically attacked Serbian Orthodox churches, monasteries and graveyards. More than 110 Serbian Orthodox churches have been badly vandalized, looted and seriously damaged by explosives or reduced to rubble. These religious structures were not only treasures of Christianity, masterpieces of an ancient Church; they were also works of art. They belong to the world.
Those Serbs who remained in their homes in Kosovo and Metohija, literally fight for their bare lives, live in exceptional difficult and dramatic, unbearable conditions, constant deterioration of the human rights, freedom of religion and belief, persecution of persons belonging to minorities, without basic human rights, isolated in ghettos, although directly administrated by UN : life security, constant intimidation, possibility to move from ghettos, right to work, lacking of electricity and pharmacy supplies….. We fully stand against genocide, ethnic cleansing, threat to life and deprivation of basic human rights, to which the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija are exposed every day. Today, only 100,000 Serbs remain in Kosovo and Metohija, living among 1.5 million Albanians. Cases of human rights violations such as enforced disappearances, torture and killings in Kosovo and Metohija must be thoroughly investigated. CRUCIFIED KOSOVO
According to Eulex, 2,244 bodies have been identified in Kosovo since 2001. Of these 301 were “non-Albanian”, meaning Serb, Roma and others. Some 228 were the bodies of Serbs who went missing after 10 June 1999 – the end of the war, at a time of revenge killings by Kosovan Albanians. In total, around 13,500 are now believed to have been killed during the Kosovo conflict, or immediately after it. See the report of Dick Marty who claims that he had direct causal evidence between the Medicus clinic and the allegations of the human organ trafficking during the Kosovo conflict, which world would be very interested to learn and dismantle policy of double standards that is at the root of the “politics of genocide” and reveal the largely hypocritical nature of today’s establishment discourse on global justice.
President Clinton and other NATO leaders were not investigated by the United Nations on charges that they have committed genocide and other war crimes during the 1999 bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Kosovo PM accused of human right abuses.
Encouraged by a promise by former President Bush that US recognition would be forthcoming, Kosovo made a unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008, – something that Serbia considers a violation of its territorial integrity and Constitution. Kosovo’s status is governed by UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which remains the last internationally consensual agreement on Kosovo and envisages only self-government for Kosovo, and acknowledges the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.” Kosovo’s status can’t be changed without a new resolution and borders can be redrawn only with the consent of the involved states.
By Boba Borojevic http://www.serbianna.com/
After a 78-day bombing campaign, which started on March 24 1999, the UN and NATO had negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Serbian government. Under the terms of UN Resolution 1244, the Albanian guerrillas – known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) – were to be disarmed and demobilized by UN troops, who would also ensure the safety of Kosovo’s 200,000 ethnic Serb civilians. Resolution 1244 also made it very clear that under the UN Charter, Kosovo would remain the sovereign territory of Serbia. For the last ten years the US administration has used its influence to sever the province of Kosovo from Serbia and to establish its protectorate of Kosovo ruled by the same Kosovo Albanian thugs named as terrorists by the US State Department in 1988. Although under heavy pressure from the US some countries, including Canada and most members of the European Union and NATO, have recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence proclaimed in February 2008. Over two-thirds of the U.N. member states have not done so, however, including Russia, China, India, Brazil, Spain, Israel, South Africa.
It is well known fact that even with the “legality” of the declaration of independence and its support from major powers, The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo /EULEX/ and the NATO-led Kosovo Force /KFOR/, have been actively aiding and abetting the Albanian authorities’ bid for full control over the Province. EULEX “rule of law” existence is not provided for by the UNSC Resolution 1244. The only reason it exists is that the EU wanted to invent a role for itself, to marginalize the UN. One of the problems in the Kosovo province is getting Serbs who fled as Yugoslav security forces withdrew in 1999, to return to their homes. The international authorities in Kosovo brought Albanian customs officers to the border crossings and thus separated the majority-Serb northern Kosovo from the rest of Serbia. Kosovo lacks full international recognition and remains with continued international supervision. However, it looks that only Kosovo’s citizens can improve their own future…. and it would be wise for the USA and Europe and in their own national interest to reconsider their current policy and find for Kosovo another solution instead of independence.