In Osojan, in Kosovo and Metohija, marked yesterday 19 years since the return of the first Serbs to the largest returnee settlement in Kosmet, and his Highness the Bishop of Raška and Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija Teodosije consecrated a memorial for 84 killed from Istok municipality, to which this village belongs.
His Holiness Bishop of Raška and Prizren Teodosije, on this occasion, served the Holy Liturgy at the Church of the Holy Archangel Gabriel, and then consecrated the memorial and served the dirge.
Bishop Teodosije blessed the returnees to the Osojan valley who, as he said, have not given up what they had inherited, but have become an example to many through their own sacrifice and suffering.
He has told the assembled Serbs that they must be respected by all who gave their lives, safeguarding what they had inherited and believing in the Church that had always been and would remain with its people in sacred Kosovo and Metohija.
In this municipality, in the far west of Kosmet, relying on the municipalities of Rožaje, Tutin, Novi Pazar and Zubin Potok and the flagrant Drenica, less than 10,000 Serbs lived until the conflict, and today there are about 500 of them, of whom 350 live in the Osojan valley.
In Osojan, on the holiday dedicated to the Holy Martyrs of Makavej in 2000, have returned the first returnees and just then, in front of the local school, as Bishop Teodosije said, he served a liturgy.
Former director of the Serb’s school in Osojan Stojan Ostojić reminded that a huge crime had been committed in this municipality, which is not remembered, because on the of the withdrawal of the Serbian army and police, Albanians from Albania and all over Kosovo started their hunt for Serb’s heads.
“We had to run and rescue living heads”, Ostojić recalled.
He has pointed out that the elders, who stayed at their homes, they were not alive until dawn, as evidenced by the consecrated monument today, with 84 names, more than half of them were over 70 years old.
“They were killed on the doorstep, many were slaughtered, such as Radomir Milovanović in the Opraška village whose head has not been found until today”, Ostojić said and pointed out that, despite the oppression, the villagers have returned aware that without the sacrifice it cannot be preserved inheritance.
Petko Miletić, the only Serb who lives with the two children and a spouse in the Opraška village, where, besides Radomir, the other two old men were killed, told Srna that he believes that the crimes committed in the Osojan valley would never happen again.
“Everything was burned, even the Church of St. Archangel Gabriel. People and cattle were thrown into the driveway of the Osojan valley with the aim of deterring each of us from the thought of returning to our own, but the determination and willingness to sacrifice were victorious”, Miletić says.
He called on younger people to return and plow the furrows in the thousands of hectares of Serb-owned breeding ground.
Milorad Obradović recalled that there was no householder among the returnees who entered the burned yard or home without bringing the icon of the patron saint.
“We believed and believe that only together with the church and with the help of our home state, can we re-sow a seed called Serb in the Osojan valley”, Obradović said and appealed that the displaced to return.
The president of the Association “Victims of Kosmet” Nataša Šćepanović, in whose organization a memorial was built to the victims of the municipality of Istok, has emphasized that the victims should never be forgotten, and that the search for those who committed crimes against Serbs should not be abandoned.
On behalf of the Serb municipality of Istok Mališa Đurić said that the establishment of a memorial to the victims was not only a sign of honour, but it is also a reminder that a similar crime would never be repeated.
“This monument should remind us and those who killed our family members, relatives, friends that we should not forget that they were killed at their doorstep just because they were Serbs and that they decided to guard their doorstep” Đurić said .
He thanked the Church and the Serbia for their support and assistance, because without them any memorial would be unthinkable.