Serbian Orthodox Church Holds Conference on Kosovo and Metohija

Serbian Orthodox Church Holds Conference on Kosovo and Metohija – OCP News Service – 31/03/2024

Belgrade-Serbia: The Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) hosted a major conference titled “Kosovo and Metohija – History and Cultural Heritage” at the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the University of Belgrade. The conference brought together religious leaders, scholars, and government officials to discuss the historical and cultural significance of Kosovo and Metohija for Serbia.

Church Rejects Political Solutions

Opening the conference, Patriarch Porfirije emphasized the SOC’s refusal to be part of any political negotiations regarding the status of Kosovo and Metohija. He stressed the importance of respecting human rights, particularly religious freedom, for the Serbian Church and its followers in the region.

Historical and Spiritual Significance

Bishop Teodosije of Raška-Prizren highlighted the crucial role of the Church in preserving Kosovo and Metohija’s Serbian identity. He pointed to the numerous monasteries and churches as testaments to the region’s historical and spiritual importance for the Serbian people.

Matica Srpska Vows Support

Prof. Dr. Jovan Delić, representing Matica Srpska, Serbia’s oldest cultural institution, pledged their continued support for the SOC. He emphasized that Serbia will never forget its historical and cultural ties to Kosovo and Metohija.

The Kosovo Covenant in Light of Faith

Bishop Irinej of Bački explored the concept of the “Kosovo Covenant” through the lens of the New Testament. He argued that the Serbian understanding of the Covenant, emphasizing sacrifice and faith over earthly gain, reflects core Christian values.

Archaeology and Medieval History

The conference featured presentations on archaeological discoveries in Kosovo and Metohija, shedding light on the region’s long history. Dr. Srđan Pirivatrić discussed the area’s significance during the Byzantine, Bulgarian, and Serbian rule periods.

Church’s Role in Healthcare

Archpriest-Stavrophor Dr. Vladimir Vukašinović explored the Serbian Church’s contributions to healthcare in medieval Kosovo and Metohija. He highlighted monasteries that served as hospitals and asylums, reflecting Byzantine models.

Kosovo and Metohija in Modern Politics

The conference also addressed the political complexities surrounding Kosovo and Metohija. Academician Ljubodrag Dimić and Dr. Vojislav Pavlović discussed the region’s status under Yugoslavia and the policies of Josip Broz Tito. Dr. Igor Vukadinović explored the controversial decision to grant Kosovo autonomy in 1945.

Protecting Cultural Heritage

A major focus of the conference was the preservation of Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija. Academician Dragan Vojvodić warned of the dangers facing sacred and non-sacred Serbian cultural sites. Dr. Dragan Simeunović compared the destruction of Serbian heritage to the actions of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Dr. Darko Tanasković discussed strategies to protect Serbian cultural heritage from destruction, appropriation, and misrepresentation.

The conference concluded with plans to publish the proceedings and key takeaways for future reference. This gathering reflects the Serbian Orthodox Church’s deep commitment to preserving its historical and cultural legacy in Kosovo and Metohija.


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