Serbia – Prayer service for victims of Operation Storm

Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Irinej served a prayer at St. Mark’s Church today(4/8/2010) for the victims of Operation Storm, carried out by the Croatian military and police on 4 August 1995.

President Boris Tadic, Deputy Prime Minister Jovan Krkobabic, President of the Serbian Missing Persons Committee Veljko Odalovic also attended the service, along with a large number of citizens and believers.

Patriarch Irinej said in his sermon that this sad event happened in a time when reason did not prevail, underlining that the victims must never be forgotten, or the time when streams of refugees arrived in Serbia on tractors, carrying only the bare necessities, leaving behind their houses and relics which were afterwards destroyed and desecrated.

The fate of missing persons must be resolved and their remains buried in a dignified manner, he added.

The Patriarch underlined that these victims and their sacrifice must never be forgotten, just like all who were killed in the Second World War.

Serbs who returned to their homes in Croatia live in fear and suspense even today, he noted.

Around 1,600 Serbian civilians and soldiers were killed during Operation Storm, over 1,800 are still missing, while 250,000 Serbs from Krajina sought refuge in Serbia and Republika Srpska fleeing Croatian soldiers.