February 19, 2010

Defense of Bishop Artemije of Kosovo

Statement by James George Jatras Regarding Allegations of Misuse of Funds to Support Lobbying in the United States on Behalf of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija

February 18, 2010

In connection with the suspension of His Grace, Bishop ARTEMIJE, from supervision of his Eparchy, allegations have been made to the effect that funds allocated for other purposes (variously reported as earmarked for humanitarian relief or for repair of churches) instead were used to pay for lobbying service by two firms with which I have been associated, Venable and Squire Sanders. To the best of my knowledge, this was first raised in Blic yesterday. Later that same day, an item appeared in a website purporting to be that of the Diocese of Ras and Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija, denouncing me for beginning circulation of an open appeal in defense of Vladika Artemije, which started yesterday.

I will address the accusation of the alleged misuse of funds in due course, below. But first it needs to be made clear what is going on here: that a concerted effort is being made to destroy the man who, more than anyone else, has become the symbol of Serbia's resistance to amputation and annihilation of Serbia's most important spiritual and national patrimony. Can anyone doubt that should it succeed what would be the consequence for the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija and for the whole Serbian nation? Even if there are legitimate questions to be asked about administrative matters in the Diocese, everyone can see the methods being used to obliterate Vladika Artemije's public witness and to terrorize and intimidate his supporters. Who benefits from that?

This continues at: