Patriarch releases Easter message

BELGRADE -- In his Easter message delivered on Good Friday, Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Pavle focused on Kosovo.

Patriarch Pavle delivers his Easter message (FoNet)
Patriarch Pavle delivers his Easter message (FoNet)

Patriarch Pavle also spoke against abortion, globalization and economic inequality.

The epistle's emphasis, however, was on what will become of Kosovo, "the Serbian historical heartland", whose ethnic Albanian majority seeks independence.

The United States and some European countries have endorsed a proposal to give Kosovo independence, but Patriarch Pavle denounced this as coming from "darkened minds who take the liberty to violate laws" by redrawing borders.

Patriarch Pavle insisted that its secession would amount to the "changing of ... our entire history and culture of Serbia's statehood."

Even if Kosovo secedes, the patriarch said, "we must not be disheartened, we must not be afraid. We believe in Christ and we have faith in God."

"We must remain with Christ and refrain from any hatred, from any bitterness. ... Those who inflict evil upon others do even more so to themselves," the leader said, also decrying the desecration and destruction of more than 100 ancient Serb churches and monasteries in Kosovo in recent years.

Patriarch Pavle, 92, also lamented that "millions of ordinary people are victims of poverty and hunger while a small number lives in limitless luxury."

Koštunica's greetings focus on Kosovo

In his Easter greetings, Prime Minister Koštunica wished “the Easter holiday be spent in peace, love and hope, and that all people of good will share the light and joy of this great celebration.”

“Serbia, as any other country, has the unquestionable right to have the universal principles of international law apply to its case, along with the essential divine and human justice,” Koštunica said in a statement published on the government’s web site.

He also stressed that Serbia firmly rejected the proposal which envisaged partition of its territory, which was “the spiritual and historical centre of the Serbian nation.”

“Our arguments are based on the collective will of the Serbian nation expressed through our Constitution, and on the strong conviction that the Security Council must respect the UN Charter, all of which would allow us to preserve our Kosovo-Metohija,” the said Prime Minister concluding his Easter greetings.