Vidovdan Sermon

Par2260568H/T: Fr. Sava Janjic (here)

Transcript of Met. Amfilohije’s speech at Gazimestan (28 June) in which he called for Serbs & Albanians to embrace one another as brothers looking upon their common history….

Metropolitan Amfilohije’s speech at Gazimestan hill (transcript)

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, says the Word of God (John 15.13). We are today, brothers and sisters at the place on which the knights of the 14th century led by the Great Martyr of Kosovo Lazarus laid down their lives for their faith, for the fatherland, for the justice and truth of God. This is therefore a holy place. Looking from the today’s perspective we cannot but see that the Kosovo battle was a struggle against the tyranny, against violence, struggle led by prince Lazar and all those who lived in this region in that time. It was a struggle against tyranny like any such struggle in history of all peoples of Europe and the world.

There is something which we Orthodox Serbs forget, but also our brothers Albanians who live here today with us in this land of Kosovo. In that battle it was not only Serbs who fought but all those who at that time belonged to their common kingdom and among them, without any doubt, which is historically proved, there were Albanians, the forefathers of today’s Albanians from Kosovo who together with G.M. Lazarus and Milosh Obilich defended their homes, their dignity and fought against violence and tyranny. Therefore, it is no wonder that there are Albanian historians who claim that Milosh Obilich was an Albanian. However, it is not so important at all whether he was an Albanian or a Serb. What is important is that he was Milosh Obilich who fought and laid his life fighting against violence and tyranny, and that is what everyone is called to do in that time, today and in any time in future. But there is something else that is important to know – the struggle of G.M. of Kosovo Lazarus, Milosh Obilich and those who laid their lives in sacrifice for their homeland, that struggle, should be a message to us, contemporary descendants of tsar Lazarus, Milosh Obilich and descendants of those Albanians who on this place as Christians in that time and citizens of their common state also laid their lives here.

And after them there was a famous knight who is rightfully celebrated by Albanians in Albania and here as their great hero – George Kastriot Skenderbeg. That is the famous George Kastriot Skenderbeg who was praised in the verses of Peter I Petrovich Nyegosh, Skenderbeg of the Obilich’s heart who died in sorrowful exile. They all who lived here fought in the time of Kosovo’s G.M. Lazarus and Skenderbeg, the great George Kastriot, for justice, truth, dignity and their people.

That is exactly what should enlighten us who have found ourselves amid different events from those of the past times, to understand both we Orthodox Serbs on this holy place and Albanians who live and will live with us for centuries that we should embrace each other, honoring the memory of Kosovo’s GM Lazarus, Milosh Obilich, Skenderbeg George Kastriot and mother Angelina. As His Holiness Serbian Patriarch said in Tirana, Albania, on the occasion of the recent inauguration of the cathedral of the Christ’s Resurrection, Angelina is the third mother of the Serbian people – Jugovich mother, mother Euphrosyne and mother Angelina of the Arianit family of Albania. Three mothers has the Serbian people and mother Angelina, Skenderbeg George Kastriot, Milosh Obilich and Kosovo’s GM Lazarus instead of separating us and antagonizing against each other they are called and we together with them to follow their path struggling together for justice and truth as they did. This is an important example because in our absurd contemporary conflict the memory of these noble men and women was profaned.

Yesterday and today we have witnessed the return of the monument of Milosh Obilich to Grachanica. Some internationals saved this monument from destruction amid madness that overcame us all here and returned it to us. We will see how the monument to Milosh Obilich will be treated now in Grachanica. If our Albanian brothers look upon it with contempt as it was in the dark days of the recent conflict this monument will not stay long there. With our Albanian brothers we live and will live here together because God gave us enough sun and land, enough fruits of the earth to nourish us. We must therefore look upon the noble example of our forefathers George Kastriot, Milosh Obilich, Great Martyr Lazar and thus preserve for ourselves, our children and our future that monument of Milosh Obilich and thus return to our common goal, our common struggle for the freedom against tyranny, against violence no matter where it came from. Through that struggle we must embrace again one another as brothers in love by which God inspires us by his words that there is no greater love that a man lay down his life for his friends.

In that name may God bless this day and may the future of these peoples, ours and Albanian and all others who live here be in the sign of Lazarus, Milosh Obilich, George Kastriot Skenderbeg and all those who laid down their lives for their friends and neighbors. Amen!