Letter from Kosovo's Bishop Artemije

The Serbian Orthodox Church and our faithful people deeply regret all what has happened in this region. As much as we feel solidarity with suffering Serbs, we also feel great compassion for innocent victims among Kosovo Albanians, many of whom were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge abroad. Once again, we condemn all acts of violence no matter from which side they came.

The roots of evil and violence are deep. In this land there has been a lot of injustice, hatred, evil and crimes among the peoples who have been living here for centuries. But, to accuse and punish only one people for all evils and sufferings is undoubtedly the gravest crime, especially when an entire people is identified with certain individuals who have or could have committed indecent acts and crimes.

Should history measure in the same way the latest mass crimes committed in the name of "humanism and peace" by NATO and the United States, it would make the same mistake. A clear distinction should be made between irresponsible political leaders and ordinary people who abhor the crimes of their leadership. We know that people in these countries are manipulated and exposed to propaganda of their mass media as well as in our homeland. That is why we always make a clear distinction between NATO politicians and the peoples of NATO countries. That is what our Christian Orthodox faith is teaching us because God, the Just Judge, will come in the last days to judge the living and the dead and give unto each person according to his works.

When people decide to take upon themselves the role of "judges of the universe," they make mistakes common to humans, equating the guilty and the innocent and punishing all indiscriminately. Speaking about such people our great prince-bishop, poet and philosopher Nyegosh said: "He whose law is his mace, his footprints reek with inhumanity."

We shall continue to speak to the world and be in contact with those who want to hear our voice. We are aware of great peace efforts, which some people have made to spread the truth with unshakeable hope, energy and sincerity. The best way one can choose in our times is to fight against evil with goodness.

We remain firm in our faith and hope in God's mercy and justice. We also believe that God will show the way out of this impasse, not only for our country and our people but also for the whole world and all the nations in the world, because there is, alas, too much evil and injustice everywhere.

+Artemije, Bishop of Raska and Prizren