GRAČANICA — Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej has said in Gračanica that Kosovo was, is, and will be the holy Serb land – the Serbian Jerusalem.
The patriarch served holy liturgy for Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day) on Thursday, in the Serb enclave south of the Ibar River.
In a speech he held at the courtyard of the Gračanica monastery, where several hundred orthodox believers gathered, the patriarch said that “we came here to show and prove that this was, is and will be the holy Serbian land.”
“The holy Kosovo soil is ours and we must never lose sight of it,” he noted and added that there had been many migrations and escape from toil and trouble “but the people always got back to their destroyed and burnt homes, rebuilt them and started life anew”.
“Freedom is a gift from God, the greatest gift God gives to man, and only man has this gift and possibility to choose one or another. Our freedom is linked with the cross for which heroes fought in Kosovo and for which heroes are still fighting, for the honorable cross and the golden freedom,” said Irinej, whose speech was interrupted by applause several times.
The liturgy was attended by Serbian Ministry for Kosovo State Secretary Oliver Ivanović and Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Aleksandr Konuzin.
By celebrating St. Vitus Day, the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and the Serbian people mark the 623rd anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, when the Serbian army defended its land and Christianity from the Great Ottoman Empire.
Kosovo police increased their presence along the Kosovska Mitrovica-Priština road and a part of the Gnjilane-Priština road near the Gračanica monastery is closed for traffic due to the celebration.