April 26, 2011
In the restored Serbian Orthodox Church in Prizren, in Kosovo and Metohija, tens of Serbs attended the Easter liturgy on Sunday night, the first one after 1999. Snežana Milošević has more.
At Easter this year, the first holy bishop liturgy has been served in the seat of the Eparchy of Raska and Prizren after twelve years. The event instilled hope in the few Serbs that have remained in Prizren, having withstood all the pressure that has been exerted on them all these years. Many Serbs that were expelled in the summer of 1999 arrived as well to attend the liturgy. The seat of the Eparchy had been provisionally moved to Gracanica before it was returned to Prizren recently. The liturgy was served by the bishop of Raska and Prizren, Teodosije, in the Church of St George, which, together with the whole complex, rose from the ashes after being burnt down in the violent attacks that Kosovo Albanians exerted against Serbs in March 2004.
It is the will of God that everything reduced to rubble in 2004 has been restored in its full splendour. My heart is filled with Easter joy due to all these people that have arrived here. This place is full of prayer and it has been proved that humans cannot shed darkness on what is divinely meant to be light. As we cannot darken the sun, we cannot darken our sanctities either, especially here, in Kosovo and Metohija, said Bishop Teodosije.
Ljubica Kamparelić, a local Serb who has returned to her house with her husband and son, remembers Easter as it was celebrated in the past. The family now lives in their house, which has been ruined and plundered meanwhile, and are waiting for their neighbours to return.
I cannot say there is no pressure any more, but what I find the most difficult is the fact that I am not with my people here, says Ljubica.
Until 1999, almost ten thousand Serbs lived in the old town of Prizren, one of the greatest cultural and trade centres of medieval Serbia, which, among other things, housed a throne of Serbian Emperor Dusan. Today, only 18 Serbs have remained here.