Church of Serbia – March 2016
Serbian Orthodox Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren and hegoumen of the Decani Monastery Archimandrite Sava, along with the clergy, students of the Prizren Theological Seminary and the faithful, welcomed His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at the Cathedral church of Holy Great Martyr George in Prizren on 19 March 2016.
At the entrance to the churchyard the high guest was welcomed by Milica Djordjevic, the only Serbian child left in Prizren, who handed him in a bouquet of flowers. Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren addressed The Prince of Wales in the church, speaking of the significance of the sacred places of Kosovo and Metohija, sufferings that the Church and the people have gone through in recent years as well as about the restoration of the destroyed or damaged sacred monuments and, especially, about the restoration of the function of the historical Serbian Orthodox Theological Seminary of Prizren. The Prince Charles cordially greeted the seminarians who sang for him troparion of the Resurrection of Christ both in Serbian and English.
Bishop Teodosije and Fr. Sava showed The Prince of Wales a small photo exhibition that showcases destructions in the 2004 March Pogrom as well as the restoration of sacred places and buildings that followed. The Bishop particularly thanked the British government for the financial aid in restoration of the houses for returnees. The distinguished guest was told that 16 years after the end of the armed conflict, 200.000 Serbs still could not return to Kosovo and Metohija, and that in Prizren out of 8.000 pre-war Serbs, only 20 of them have remained here, mostly elderly persons.
The Prince Charles had a short talk with a group of returnees, who expressed their firm wish to stay and live in their native places, even despite the tragedy they had gone through in 2004 when all Serbian churches and houses in Prizren were burned down.
At last, The Prince of Wales visited a small church of Saint George from 15th century, the endowment of the Runovic family, which was burned in the 2004 Pogrom. He expressed a special interest for the restauration and conservation of the damaged frescoes in ancient churches of Prizren which was done by Greek, Serbian and Italian restaurateurs. In memory of this visit, Bishop Teodosije handed in The Prince Charles a luxurious monograph of the Decani Monastery in English.
Bishop Teodosije and Archimandrite Sava expressed a firm hope that the Serbian Orthodox heritage on Kosovo and Metohija, with its historic and cultural identity, will be adequately protected with proper international guarantees.
Source: Diocese of Raska-Prizren (translation: Information Service of the SOC)