See how the kids are playing with Monk Benedict. He is a former Italian officer who guarded the Dečani Monastery and then was baptized and became a monk in our sanctity. Both Dečani and Kosovo changed him permanently, notes iconographer from Belgrade Katarina Raković …
Serbs’ Kosovo and Metohija seeks its peace in the divine liturgies in the silence of its desecrated and then healed sanctities, on its arable land and vineyards, among those who come for the first time or keep returning to it …
Abbot of the Zočište monastery Stefan points out to SRNA that every Serb person outside Kosovo and Metohija should answer to himself/herself: “Is there an excuse for not visiting Kosovo and Metohija at least once in his/her life”?
He notes that “there is a greater anguish for those who left it, despite all the pogroms and tribulations.”
“Did something like this have to happen for people to come and realize what Kosovo and Metohija is? Of course, it is a sin not to come at least nowadays to see and pray for the Lord to resolve it,” states Abbot Stefan.
He, along with the fraternity, completely restored this Orthodox sanctity, which was burned down and demolished by Albanian extremists in 1999.
According to him, “it is difficult to see what Kosovo and Metohija is and those who do not see it today should not be blamed, as many failed to realized it in the past.”
“At the time when we had the opportunity to see – we did not see, let alone now since the people’s own souls are burdened with various things, so how will they have time for Kosovo and Metohija? However, whoever comes let them convey a message to others – that they come too “, emphasizes the abbot.
Abbot Stefan, as the guardian of the great shrine visited by numerous Serbs from all Serb-populated countries, but also by Albanians who believe in the healing power of the bones of saints Cosmas and Damian that are kept in Zočište, believes that “Serbs can preserve Kosovo through repentance”.
Belgrade-based iconographer Katarina Raković, who first came to Kosovo in 2012, keeps coming back to it; her daughters – 4-year-old Marija and 3-year-old Stefani consider Visoki Dečani Monastery their second home, and the monastic fraternity a family.
See how the kids are playing with Monk Benedict. He is a former Italian officer who guarded the Dečani Monastery and then was baptized and became a monk in our sanctity. Both Dečani and Kosovo changed him permanently, notes Raković.
She emphasizes that Kosovo is a cradle of the Serb people and realizing it is a blessing, and that she never fears for her family or herself at any time while she is staying there.
Vladimir Bogićević from Kosovska Mitrovica, who as a host informs pilgrims from central Serbia about the sanctities, as well as the history and tradition of Kosovo, believes that all this cannot be recounted, but only experienced.
“There are plenty of people who perceive Kosovo in a spiritual way – through the eyes of the soul, although they have never been here. There are those who, through television, the internet, public opinion, have a completely distorted picture of the entire situation, and, above all, of what Kosovo and Metohija means for the Serbs – the sanctity and cradle of the Serb people and what simply makes us who we are.
“I believe Kosovo is in a Serb’s DNA,” Vladimir Bogićević said.
He states that many international soldiers who came to Kosovo to provide Albanians with a state with the premise that Serbs were the aggressors changed their minds.
“It often happened they realized how wrong they were. An example to prove it is the people who were baptized in Dečani. Many internationals are baptized here once they realize Western media’s stories and satanization are a lie.
They then start to feel differently, but they need to see it with their own eyes,” says Bogićević, who has recently had his five-month-old son David baptized in Dečani and is determined to stay in Kosovo.
Although only 13-year-old, Luka Petrović of Velika Hoča, a village close to notorious Orahovac, has no dilemma where he wants to live.
He says he will finish secondary school in North Kosovska Mitrovica, possibly a college, and then return to continue the six-generation-long family tradition of viticulture.
When asked if he needs something, he shakes his head, and like every Serb child in the village, who was a Metoh of the Chilandar monastery back in the 12th century, he knows all about the history of the place in which there are 13 churches and one monastery.
Luka knows that history and traces of Serb existence cannot be erased either by NATO or by Albanian neighbors.