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Протосинђел Јов: Опште-православни значај Косовског завета

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Унаредном прилогу доносимо предавање протосинђела Јова (Кадилa) на тему: “Опште-православни значај Косовског завета”, на енглеском језику. Предавање је одржано на Видовданској академији у манастиру Преподобног Јустина Ћелијског у Барајеву 2021. године.



The victory of faith over unbelief. The victory of hope over despair. The victory of eternal life over earthly life and over eternal death. The victory of what is not seen over what is seen. The victory of the narrow path over the broad path. The victory of the Kingdom of Heaven over the kingdom of earth. The victory of the emperor, the victory of the Church, the victory of the whole nation – all in one, holy, saving Orthodox faith. A victory that shows the way and gives joy not just for one day, for a month or for a year, but forevermore, and not to one man, or to one group of people, but to the whole nation and to all who wish to accept it and live by it. It is the victory of the Serbian people as the victory of all the people of God in this world, now and at all times.

In fact, it is not possible to find such a feat in the history of mankind that is as great as this feat of The Holy Tsar Martyr Lazar, together with his knights and the entire Serbian people. Certainly, in world history, there are many battles lost, there are catastrophes suffered and there are victories gained; there are kings who sacrificed themselves for their people, and there is genocide against nations, but no feat was completely like that of Kosovo, from beginning to end – solemn, pure, nationally redemptive and spiritually fruitful. Because the great sacrifice that took place in Kosovo is at the same, a source of new life for an entire Christian people in unity with its rulers, and for all other people who wish to participate in it and live by its spirit.

Indeed, St. Nikolai of Ochrid and Zica is not mistaken when he writes that „no Christian people have in their history what the Serbian people have, for there is no Kosovo.”1

King Lazar chose the Kingdom of Heaven in full knowledge that the way to that Kingdom is through the Cross, suffering and death. It was a struggle – writes St. Bishop Nikolai – „for the Kingdom of Heaven, not for the state, or for the people, or for the prince, or for the earthly and transient imagination. And thus did the honourable prince together with his dukes, large and small, and all their camps, set out for Kosovo with a determined will to sacrifice their lives for the Kingdom of Heaven, for the Honourable Cross, the Christian Faith, and for the beautiful name of Jesus.”2 

In this way, the Holy Tsar Martyr Lazar and all Kosovo martyrs fulfilled the words of the Lord: „He that keeps his life shall lose it; and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.”3

St. Nikolai tells us, that by his life and by his death, the Holy Tsar Martyr Lazar and the Serbian people as no other nation in the whole world have accepted the value of suffering in an Orthodox way, and its necessity on the path of salvation. The Serbian people have become a martyred people, but also a people who are forever resurrecting. They have built their national identity upon this essential Christian truth, that after suffering there always comes resurrection – but only when we suffer and die in unity with the crucified Lord Jesus Christ, which is possible only in His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that professes the Holy Orthodox Faith of the Holy Fathers. Therefore, Kosovo and the Kosovo Covenant would not have been possible outside of the Orthodox Church and outside of the Orthodox Faith.

Why is the Kosovo Covenant a very special feat, a feat that has wide-ranging Orthodox and universal significance? Because it gives a clear, not only theoretical, but also a practical answer to the most important and most difficult human question – and that is the question of the meaning of suffering, the meaning of defeat, the purpose of suffering and man’s relation to it. In fact, because suffering is something that every person experiences in their lifetime, the answer to this question gives us the very meaning of life itself. And therefore at the same time:

1) The answer is completely and purely Orthodox, possessing the whole depth of Orthodoxy

2) The answer was given by the whole nation together, namely:  the emperor, the nation’s elite and the common people being in unity

3) The answer was given in the first centuries of the Orthodox history of the Serbian people, which is why in the coming centuries, they were able to assimilate the Kosovo Covenant so deeply, that to depart from it would be spiritually tantamount to them renouncing their Serbian identity.

4) The answer is implemented by the Serbs as a God-bearing people, responsible for the testimony of divine truth before God, the world, and oneself.

Let us now consider each of these answers, in their particular aspects.

1) The significance of the Holy Orthodox Faith in the Kosovo Covenant

To understand the importance of the pure and uncorrupted by heresies Holy Orthodox Faith in the Kosovo Covenant, we must look briefly at both the heavenly and earthly attitude towards suffering, struggle and defeat possessed by another Slavic people, very close to the Serbs in language and mentality, but who were no longer deemed worthy of being an Orthodox people, when historical circumstances placed them on the other side of the spiritual conflict; and that is the Polish people. This nation, thanks to its Slavic roots, played a significant role in the history of Orthodox Churches until the 13th century, beginning originally as an Orthodox nation4, but which from the 13th century onwards, became a nation that dissolved its own Orthodox nationhood, resulting in a great and mostly negative influence on the destiny of Orthodox Churches in the northern Slavic regions, which are today called Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Accordingly, understanding the Polish way of experiencing suffering and defeat will help us to understand the Orthodoxy of the Kosovo Covenant.

The holy bishop St. Nikolai says that “Serbs celebrate the day of Kosovo’s downfall as their greatest national day! This is the biggest secret in our history, which foreigners cannot fathom. Because other nations usually celebrate the days of their victories as their national days. And they wonder in amazement: where did that come from that Serbs celebrate the day of their great defeat as their most important national day of the year? But although foreigners may wonder, you should not be surprised, because you should know that when celebrating Vidovdan, Serbs are always celebrating not defeat, but Lazar’s victory.” 5 Here, the first part of St. Nikolai’s thought, can accurately refer to Poles as well: for this nation also celebrates the days of its defeats as its greatest holidays, as do the Serbian people. But although the biggest folk days among Poles are the anniversaries of the most terrible calamities, now is not the time for us to cover all such examples. However, we can briefly mention the last and most recent great calamity, namely, the suppressed anti-German Warsaw Uprising of 1944, in which more than 200,000 people were killed – including a large number of Orthodox Christians and the Polish intellectual elite – and which ended with the complete destruction of Poland’s capital Warsaw, where 80% of the buildings were completely demolished. So yes, when the holy hierarch St. Nikolai writes that „suffering is a central fact of our history“6, these are words that every Pole perfectly understands and accepts as his own.

This similarity comes from the fact that Poles share with Serbs and other Slavs, a similar picture of the world, because this picture comes objectively from the language and the national mentality, which is virtually the same for all Slavs. So Poles have a similar attitude towards suffering, a similar readiness to sacrifice oneself for one’s neighbour, for the fatherland, and for so-called ‘lofty ideas’. However, despite this resemblance, Poles have never had anything like the Kosovo Covenant. They could never go consciously like King Lazar to purely exclusive suffering for Christ. Even the significance of the great battle, similar to Kosovo (at least from a military-political point of view), which was fought and lost by King Vladislav III of Poland against the Turks near Varna in 1444 – and in which the king also lost his life – never possessed even a little of the significance possessed by the Kosovo Covenant. Poland’s suffering has always been due to high, but nevertheless earthly goals: politics, nations or homelands. There was, of course, suffering for neighbour, but pure, that is, non-political suffering for Christ was closed to this people. There were, to be sure, also attempts to alleviate Polish suffering by explaining it as suffering „for Christ’s sake“ – that is, the Polish people as Christ’s People who suffer for the political freedoms of other peoples. But, unfortunately, such understandings were closer to Jewish messianism (albeit under by the name of Jesus Christ) than Christianity, and in any case, the Polish people never accepted any other narrative.

How, then, can we discern the differences in the understanding of suffering between Roman Catholic Poles and Orthodox Christian Serbs?

If today we were to ask the Serbs whether the suffering and defeat in Kosovo were worth it, of course every real Serb would be surprised by such a question, which would be immediately perceived as completely meaningless. 

Because the answer is obvious. 

If a Serb did not have this obvious conviction in his heart that the battle of Kosovo made sense precisely as a great spiritual victory, of course, he would have to ask himself if he is still a Serb. So, the answer to the question about the meaning and purpose of suffering for Serbs is clearly obvious. This testifies to the fact that the Kosovo Covenant is a concept that carries with it, the whole essence of Orthodoxy, that it is the pure essence of Orthodox theology and Orthodox life practice, an untainted example of the Crucifixional and Resurrectional path of salvation.

Poles however, even if they acknowledge the necessity of suffering and its value – an attribute most likely left in the Polish Slavic soul because their first religion was Orthodox, and the Latin-German faith imposed later was incapable of descending easily into the depths of that soul – when suffering really comes, they are never really able to explain why it had to happen and why it was necessary. The Poles have no obvious and clear answer concerning the meaning of suffering. And after the suffering spontaneously accepted by their hearts has passed, the Poles always have doubts, and endless unanswered questions arising about the sense of it all. The exploits and sufferings of Poles who are outside of the Orthodox Faith and the Orthodox mindset could not be redemptive for them. Because when they ceased being members of the Orthodox Church of Christ, they could not – and to this day cannot – incorporate their sufferings into the great edifice of salvation. Despite knowing the value of suffering, they are not able to say even with the slightest certainty, why one must suffer and where this suffering leads, nor do they know what the meaning of salvation is. This leads to sick spiritual results, of the exact kind described by the Holy Bishop St. Nikolai:“Defeat understood as defeat cannot delight anyone. Even Golgotha ​​itself without the Resurrection cannot inspire or empower anyone.” 7

Indeed, the end of Polish suffering is not hope, resurrection and joy, but sorrow and despair, the weakening of the people’s spirit, the searching for consolation in earthly happiness and ultimately, the spiritual worship of death and decay. However, the goal of Serbian Kosovo’s suffering is the Resurrection. When we read the aforementioned words of St. Nikolai that „Suffering is a central fact of our history“ – we know that, through the Kosovo Covenant, these words mean that „Resurrection is a central fact of Serbian history.“ For as the Bishop reminds us, „you should know that when celebrating Vidovdan, Serbs have always celebrated not defeat, but Lazar’s victory”.

Alas, such sure knowledge does not exist in Poland. Because Poland does not have the Kosovo Covenant, suffering as the central the fact of Polish history leads to the conclusion that “sadness, pain and despair are the central fact of Polish history“. And this sorrow and despair always seeks resolution, because no man can live in despair. Since the path of Orthodox Christianity which is the real knowledge of the Resurrection remains presently unknown to the Polish psyche, only the search for consolation in this world remains. That is why in the individual Polish consciousness, the purpose of suffering is not a resurrection, but an earthly consolation, understood as a carefree personal life in prosperity, while at the level of the life of the whole nation, the purpose of suffering is a national, politically free state that is the goal of every imagination and Polish consolation. And today, it is very clear before our very eyes – that when accepting relative prosperity and relative peace, Poles lose those few remnants of Orthodoxy that survived until now within the inaccessible depths of the national soul, and they have become increasingly obedient slaves to materialism, in which the memory and awareness of their history, their identity and everything Slavic has been uprooted. At the same time, more and more people are despairing. We see many examples of this situation in our own spiritual ministry, where people who live with great success and wealth and earthly happiness, nevertheless need to take medications for fear and depression.

We see, therefore, that the Kosovo Covenant was possible only in the Orthodox Faith, while at the same time, it is in itself a great example of Orthodoxy and an answer to what Orthodoxy is.

2) The Kosovo Covenant as a joint, nationwide feat

In order to understand why the Kosovo Covenant requires that this feat encompasses the entire nation – whose power in the person of the King goes together with all the people to conscious death for the truth of Christ and for the Kingdom of Heaven – let us look briefly at how the meaning of suffering is apprehended by another great Slavic people, the Russians. 

Without going into all the complex and time consuming problems of terminology and nomenclature such as defining what Russia is and since when, it is sufficient for our present purposes to define Russia as being the northernmost and easternmost countries of the Slavs, whose capital was Moscow.

The Russian people, like the Serbs, built their Orthodox identity upon a very austere, northern conception of Orthodoxy, in which the attitude towards suffering and asceticism was of course, the same as that of the Serbs. Northern nature, while possessing an unusual, extraordinary beauty, is at the same time, hard, difficult and cold, thereby teaching the people patience, silence, and every manner of sacrifice, attributes that are very characteristic of the Russians. Indeed, Russian-Muscovite Orthodoxy was built on precisely such monastic conceptions, as typified by the accomplishments of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh, where we can find examples similar to the Kosovo Covenant – such as the sacrifice of two monks, Peresvet and Oslabya, whom the Venerable Sergius blessed to go into the Battle of Kulikovo where they also gave their lives for Orthodoxy and for the homeland. 

The Orthodox attitude towards suffering, struggle, defeat, the resurrection, and therefore towards life, was so strong in Muscovite Russia, that the principality and later the whole empire, was built upon them, so that it functioned like a huge monastery in which the Emperor played the role of abbot by popular approval. Ascetic obedience, fasts and daily prayers were common throughout the nation, and took place both within the family circle and publicly on the streets – so much so, that by the 17th century, Muscovite Russia had built a completely Orthodox Empire, in which imperial power was understood as being equivalent to the power of the abbot in the monastery or the bishop in the diocese. And so this same faith which gave birth to the Kosovo Covenant and of which the Kosovo Covenant testifies, also gave birth to the great autocratic Muscovite Empire.

What changed in the 17th century? At that time, Muscovite Russia annexed Ruthenian Ukraine to its empire, which had never been in political unity with Moscow before, and which had been under Polish rule that had established its own state on that territory for several hundred years, and where the local Church had been in a deadly struggle with Uniatism and Latinization for many decades.  We need not go deeper into history, except only briefly to say, that the accession of Ruthenian Ukraine for Moscow meant opening the door to the Latin (via Polish) understanding of suffering. The purity of the Faith, known to us from the Kosovo Covenant and the organization of Muscovite Russian Orthodox life, came into conflict with the Latin understanding of the truth of life described above. It was poison for a pure Orthodox understanding of the truth and the pure Orthodox life of Muscovite Russia, a poison that in the following years was fortified even further by Franco-German cultural influence. Thus began the process of the loss of faith in Russia, which eventually led to the 1917 Russian Revolution, and the great and holy sacrifice of Tsar Martyr Nicholas II and his Family. It was only after the complete destruction of the Orthodox state and the Orthodox life during the Russian Revolution and the next 70 years thereafter, that Muscovite Russians began to search for their identity once more in 1990. 

During that period of great enthusiasm in the 1990s, when the Russian people returned with great fervour to the Faith of their ancestors and everything was resurrected and revived by this tremendous wave of return to the Church of God, the masses of the new converts came to a point in their spiritual development where their initial enthusiasm began to wane. And the following question began to be asked – if Orthodoxy does not give us happiness here in this world, and is still necessarily connected with suffering, struggle and all the defeats of life – why should we choose suffering instead of other beautiful philosophies, attitudes, understandings, myths and religions, which give us only joy through so-called „Positive Thinking“ ? Or, an even more dangerous question – since Orthodoxy, is the so-called „religion of love“, then surely it does not ask man for any sacrifices or deeds at all, since God gives everything to us „on a plate“, offering us eternal salvation and joy without any repentance, ascetic feats or suffering, „solely because of his boundless love.“

To such questions and doubts, today’s Russians do not have any obvious answers, such as the Kosovo Covenant, which is the response of all Serbs – those who passed away, those who are living now, and those who are not yet born.

The fact is that Russia had been gifted with the great sacrifice of The Holy Tsar Martyr Nicholas II and his Family, a sacrifice similar to that of Kosovo, where the emperor is fully aware that he is going to die for the Heavenly Kingdom and for the salvation of his people. But regardless of the extraordinary magnitude and great sanctity of these victims’ terrible sacrifice, it does not, unfortunately, have the same role in the life and identity of Russian people, as does the Kosovo Covenant in Serbian life and identity. Because although St. Tsar Martyr Nicholas wrote in his diaries, that „if a sacrifice is necessary to save Russia, I will be this sacrifice“ – there was not to be found in virtually all of the people, anyone to support him. He went to his Kosovo, to his Golgotha, almost alone, with only his family and a few servants, accompanied only by the joy of some and the silence of almost everyone, because almost everyone was afraid at this moment to endanger their lives.  Indeed, a vast difference exists between the dark basement of the Ipatiev house in Yekaterinburg, where the abandoned and helpless Tsar was killed by the enemies of Orthodoxy, and the image of the Battle of Kosovo, described in a line of the Holy Bishop St. Nikolai: „Just as a mortal dresses in a new and expensive set of clothes, so was the Serbian army vested in its best spirit. A bright and shining procession rushed forth from all borders of the empire to meet in glory, on the field of Kosovo. Adorned from above by cross bearing flags and banners of icons depicting baptismal feasts, with song and cheers, with song and music, with song and joy did it hurry to the site of execution in Kosovo.”8 

If we can perceive and comprehend this difference, then we will be able to understand the extraordinariness of the Kosovo Covenant in its entirety.

The sacrifice of the Holy Tsar Martyr Nikolas II, while being indeed redemptive for all Russians, was not the sacrifice of the whole people – and consequently, there is nothing in Russia resembling the Kosovo Covenant. Without the Kosovo Covenant, Russian Orthodox identity did not have a strong foundation as did that of the Serbs; because even after a long 500 years of frightful domination, the Turkish occupiers were unable to destroy the Serbian Orthodox spirit as successfully as the ungodly Bolshevik authorities destroyed the Russian Orthodox spirit in just 70 years. And that is why most of the new Russian converts did not find enough strength in themselves to survive upon the path of uncompromising, pure Orthodoxy. Innovative and Ecumenist, the Sergianist hierarchy of the modern Russian Church gradually re-educated the believers in a spirit of soft, compromised „Orthodoxy“, an „Orthodoxy“ full of „love“ – ​​towards everyone and everything, but not towards struggle, sacrifice and suffering for Christ.

Precisely because Russia, despite its great Orthodox tradition and culture, did not have anything resembling the Kosovo Covenant, with its single, clear, short, strong, hard and obvious message that had permeated the very depths of the people’s souls – namely, that the earthly kingdom is transient whereas the heavenly kingdom is always and forever – a sober Orthodox voice has yet to be heard in that country, and there has been no serious and successful popular attempt in Russia to reject heresy, innovation and Ecumenism.

3) The Kosovo Covenant as a guide for generations

To understand the factual significance that of how the Kosovo Covenant is a message given to a particular people in the first centuries of its Orthodox history, that was deeply accepted, adopted, and grounded in popular knowledge, let us look briefly at another of the Slavic peoples, in whose soul and body a great centuries-long war has been raging between the attitudes identical to those of the Kosovo Covenant and the attitudes of the Latins. Let us look at the Ruthenians of Kiev, who are today called Ukrainians. Once more, I will not be dealing with the issue of who the Ukrainian people are or how, why, and since when they have been called Ruthenians or Russians.

As confirmed by the ecclesiastical author Venerable Nestor the Chronicler when referring to the same historical texts as other Balkan, Central and Northern European Slavs, there are good reasons to accept that the Ruthenians of Kiev were baptized by the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius. However, the Orthodox Faith of Kiev was challenged very early on, due to the geographical proximity of the Latins and the ethnic closeness of Poles and Kievan Ruthenians, who came into contact with Latin understandings and concepts.

So, in the large territories of the Kievan Slavs from the 13th century onwards, when the Latins had completely eradicated the original Orthodoxy of Poland, a conflict broke out between the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox understanding of life and its purpose. On the one hand there was the Latin understanding, which we can see in the Latinized Poles and on the other hand, the Orthodox understanding, identical with that of the Kosovo Covenant. The strong cultural and political influence of the Latins throughout Poland together with their policy of religio-political aggression immediately placed the Ruthenians of Kiev before the necessity of physically protecting their Orthodox religion and their churches. From the moment when Poland annexed Ruthenian Kiev to the Polish state in the 14th century, the elite of Kiev – that is, the Ruthenian-Kievan nobility – were mostly Latinized under the pressure, and the Ruthenian-Kievan people were left completely bereft of an elite. There was no King Lazar, there was no army, there was no one who could set an example of Orthodoxy in such a way as had happened in the Battle of Kosovo. In short, there was nothing in the first centuries of Russian history upon which the people of Kiev could build their Orthodox understanding which conveyed in a strong and simple terms, that the Kingdom of Heaven is the only purpose of suffering and of this life. And because of that, the history of Ukraine shows us what the history of Serbia would have been like without St. Sava and without the Kosovo Covenant.

The spiritual conflict of Ruthenian-Kiev with the Latins underwent several different phases. During this war that was initiated by the Latin (Polish) side, the latinized-Poles succeeded not only in completely latinizing the Polish-Ruthenian border regions, but in enforcing political union upon them as well. However, the far more dangerous influence of the Latins lay in the invisible, silent and unofficial latinization of theology within the local Orthodox Church itself, and in the latinization of the spiritual practices of the Ruthenian-Kievan Orthodox Christians.

In order to defend themselves from the Latins who had behind them the sheer force of Roman Catholic state power, the Ruthenian-Kievan Orthodox led by Metropolitan Peter Mogila, decided to study Latin terms and concepts in an attempt defeat their enemy by the use of the same theoretical weapons. After the struggle lasted for three generations of theologians, Kiev eventually did manage to remain Orthodox, but at the enormous cost of the latinization of theological concepts and attitudes within the Orthodox Churches of Ruthenian-Kiev, that had lost living contact with the Apostolic Tradition of the Holy Fathers as a result. In this way, the theology and spiritual practice of the Ruthenian people of Kiev remained formally Orthodox, but in reality, they applied Latin understandings and spiritual practices.

And so, Orthodoxy in Ukraine which has gone through a number of different periods right up until the present day, is greatly influenced by Latin conceptions, along with the Latin attitude towards life, suffering and asceticism. This can be seen clearly in the practice of Orthodox life in Ukraine, which has long since become very liberal, even before today’s era of modernisation and Ecumenism.

Thus did the severance of Ukrainian Orthodoxy from the living Apostolic-Patristic Tradition take place – through the silent Latinization of theological concepts and practical openness to every kind of Western influence on the one hand, and the weakness of the contemporary Russian-Muscovite Orthodox Church’s corrupt Sergianism and Ecumenism on the other, both of which led to the current ecclesiastical conflict in Ukraine. Accordingly, the Orthodox Ruthenian people who are today called Ukrainian, are, just like their Roman Catholic Polish neighbours, seeking answers and consolation not in the Kingdom of Heaven, but in a free, independent state, expecting as a reward for their many sufferings, not the Kingdom of Heaven, but a pleasant standard of living „as in Poland“ or „as in the West“.

If the Ruthenians of Kiev and the Russians of Moscow had the foundation of Orthodoxy sealed by their own Kosovo Covenant in the depths of their national soul, then it is certain that none of the aforementioned conflicts and deviations would exist; and even if by chance any such challenges were to arise, then they would be easily overcome.

4) The Kosovo Covenant – a source of identity and responsibility

From all of the above, it is clear that the Kosovo Covenant has bestowed upon the Orthodox Serbs, their own absolutely novel and unique identity and special responsibility. The Holy Bishop St. Nikolai writes: „May real Serbs – which in the Kosovo sense means real Christians – thank the Lord God for giving them Kosovo, their pride and their consolation, an inexhaustible source of the most sublime inspirations and the purging of the conscience of all generations until the end of time.“  Furthermore, it is no exaggeration when the Bishop continues: „It was Kosovo that made us great people. It is our national Golgotha, but at the same time, our national resurrection, both spiritual and moral. It prevented the moral disintegration of the Serbian people. It gave us a gallery of knights of the faith, honesty and sacrifice, which is undoubtedly worth more than any gallery statues of marble made in peacetime, by people who did not have their own Kosovo.” 9

Thanks to the Kosovo Covenant, Serbs have become one of the chosen peoples of sacred history. Because fidelity to the Kosovo Covenant – which possesses not only spiritual but also physical substance – the territory of Kosovo and Metohija keeps Serbs on the path of Orthodoxy which is the path of salvation. Therefore the political struggle for Kosovo also has a spiritual significance. It is a struggle for the identity of the Serbian people and it must be fought with all sincerity, with all strength, with all diligence and with a clear conscience to the very end, if Serbs wish to remain faithful to and consistent with themselves.

Because the Serbs are one of the few God-bearing peoples chosen by God, they are a people who carry within their souls and in their lives the Truth of God. For their fidelity to the Kosovo Covenant – which means fidelity to Orthodoxy and to themselves – Serbs had to pay huge sacrifices. There were countless sacrifices under the Turks, and hundreds of thousands of Holy Martyrs at Jasenovac, and in our own time, victims of wars and bombings at the end of the 20th century. All that, together with incredible hatred towards Serbs, which we remember very well, pouring through the media in almost all parts of the world, testifies to one thing – that the Serbs did not give up the Kosovo Covenant and that they remained faithful to it right up until our own time.

But in order to remain faithful to oneself, in order to remain a chosen people who bring light to other nations, not by political force, nor by arrogance, aggression, and armies, but by the example of the Christian life, Serbs must remain faithful to the Kosovo Covenant. By loyalty and fulfilment of the Kosovo Covenant, by sacrificing itself for the Kingdom of Heaven, the Serbian soul can remain pure, open, warm, and full of love for God and neighbour, directed towards God and at the same time ready for sacrifice, understanding of other people’s weaknesses, and capable of enlightening other people darkness. In this way, the Kosovo Covenant is the window through which the light of salvation that comes to the Serbs and through the Serbs to other nations also. In that sense, the Kosovo Covenant exists not only for other Orthodox peoples, but also for the whole world – which gives it a completely universal meaning. It is God’s treasure given to the Serbs.

That the Kosovo Covenant is alive in Serbian souls and did not disappear during the terrible times of communism and globalism, testifies to the existence of a healthy part of the Serbian Orthodox Church – the Diocese of Raska-Prizren in Exile. No other Orthodox nation has such a healthy and pure element amongst its local Churches. And it is no coincidence – because with God there is no coincidence – that this healthy part hails from precisely the Diocese born within the sacred territory of Kosovo and Metohija itself.

Once again we quote from the Holy Bishop Nikolai, that Kosovo“ is our national Golgotha, but at the same time, our national resurrection, both spiritual and moral. It prevented the moral disintegration of the Serbian people. It gave us a gallery of knights of the faith.” And, just as many times previously in Serbian history did the sacrifice of Kosovo bring forth new sacred spiritual fruits, so do we bear witness that in our time also, the Kosovo Covenant giving birth to a new spiritual and moral resurrection of Serbia – the Diocese of Raska-Prizren in Exile, an obstacle to the spiritual disintegration of the Serbian people, bringing with it, a new Knight of the Faith – our own blessed Bishop Artemije.

Now, through this very Diocese, the Kosovo Covenant shines all over the world and bears its ultimate fruits for all who wish to follow the path of the Holy Apostles and Fathers, the saving path of the Holy Orthodox Faith. Even the name of the Diocese symbolically shows us that we too should be like these Serbs, Orthodox Christians who have decided that despite innumerable obstacles and earthly threats, we will also faithfully observe the Kosovo Covenant, persevering unto the end, together with St. Sava, the Holy Tsar Martyr Lazar, the Kosovo Martyrs and the Holy Martyrs of Jasenovac, as we walk upon on the path of Jesus Christ.

In many ways, the universal Orthodox acceptance of the Kosovo Covenant today depends on what

will be done by the Serbs themselves, especially within the healthy part of the Serbian Orthodox Church represented by the Diocese of Raska-Prizren in Exile. It depends not only on how faithful we are to the Covenant in our lives, but also upon our mission outside the borders of Serbia, in other Orthodox and non-Orthodox nations, influenced by the false teachings of Globalist-Ecumenism, and have therefore lost their connection with Holy Patristic Tradition of pure Orthodoxy, so that of these nations who remain formally Orthodox, none of them in fact follow the true path of salvation. Because although other Orthodox nations have of course heard about Kosovo and the Holy Tsar Martyr Lazar, they only rarely if ever understand the entire depth and significance of the Kosovo Covenant, and they look upon it as a purely Serbian phenomenon that mostly does not concern them. And that is why we cannot expect them to suddenly manifest a particular interest in something that they do not understand on a deeper level. Nevertheless, the Kosovo Covenant can be for them a saving medicine, if they see the fruits of this medicine in the pure Orthodoxy of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Thus, the universal significance of the Kosovo Covenant for Orthodoxy, is a promise whose fulfilment lies today in the hands of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren in Exile. And therein also lies the great responsibility for all of us.

Today, apart from the Serbian Orthodox Church whose purity is preserved within the Diocese of Raska-Prizren in Exile, no other local Church, especially in those Slavic countries closest to us, is truly defending Orthodoxy, without deviating either to the left or to the right, according to the way shown to us by our blessed Bishop Artemije. And it is precisely because of this and his Diocese’s loyalty to the Kosovo Covenant, that there exists today a window from which the light of the Kosovo Covenant can be seen throughout the whole universe. It is an opening through which everyone can return to the fullness of truth – for both Orthodox and non-Orthodox truth-seeking people hitherto confused by innovations and Ecumenism.

Thus do we all need Kosovo, Serbia and the Kosovo Covenant, as kept alive and exemplified by the Serbian people. Such a Serbia – especially with the Diocese of Raska-Prizren in Exile at its heart – is the only hope for all Orthodox people today, and possibly the last hope left especially for the Slavs. To the Poles, to other Latins and to all those who seek the truth, it can show the meaning of life and suffering in Christ and in Orthodoxy; to Ukrainians and others who have lost touch with the Tradition of the Holy Fathers, they can look upon the Serbs and understand that Orthodoxy is not just another worldly institution under the influence of Moscow or of Bolshevism, but the only, pure, true, God-revealed Truth; and for Russians also, if they wish to understand themselves by returning to their identity, they need to do so via Serbia, through the example and existence of our Kosovo Diocese in Exile. In so doing, they will understand that they also have an obligation to protect the pure Orthodox Faith before God in spite of the heretical hierarchy, and that only by looking upon the vitality of Kosovo will they be able to fully comprehend, accept and assimilate the vows made by the great and terrible sacrifice of their own Holy Tsar Martyr Nicholas II.

Indeed, the mission of our Diocese is especially important for Russia, because the ancient path followed by our Holy Bishop Artemije, can provide the last chance for this great but very confused people labouring under the ecclesiastic and theological innovations of Sergianism and Ecumenism. It will help them to find a way of rejecting the growing power of the Russian state bolstered by the cunning of innovators and the deception of Ecumenists. For the Russians to find through the example of the Diocese, that which is ‘the one thing needful’ today, would be like discovering the saving remedy for a dying man – namely, a vital connection with the Apostolic Tradition of the Holy Fathers through the living example of our Diocese, firmly established in the Kosovo Covenant.

A Serbia which is faithful to the Kosovo Covenant and not to fashion or globalism is desperately needed by the whole world. Such a Serbia which lives by the Kosovo Covenant is required in order to secure for the future, an accessible door of salvation open for anyone who wishes to walk the path of Crucifixion and Resurrection as testified by this Covenant.

* * *

And finally, we can say that the Kosovo Covenant made the Serbian people a God-bearing people, a chosen people, a people whom God called to carry the light of His truth into this tragic world. And this people carried out this task in the best way they could. Because they did not build a great empire that would soullessly spread the truth of God with money and political power. Nor did they erect innumerable cultural monuments, exalting themselves above all other nations as if they held the key to all the world’s mysteries with the right to proudly teach others. Instead, this people simply remained Serbian – and that is the most precious and intimate thing for any person who looks at the Kosovo Covenant and Serbia with non-Serbian eyes – that in their simplicity and purity, the Serbian people have for centuries, continued to give their body and soul over to God, despite all the terrible torments unleashed upon them by the servants of the devil, the enemy of truth. And that is why Serbian Orthodoxy is so close to every battle weary soul that seeks the simplicity and depth of God’s truth – because the Serbian people felt and fulfilled within themselves, the words of the Holy Apostle Paul: “God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence”.10

And all this was done thanks to the foundations and signposts first established by St. Sava and determined yet further by The Holy King Lazar, who sealed them with his blood. Together with him stand the Martyrs of Jasenovac and many more Serbian saints, as glorious signposts who continue to guide Serbs upon the path of salvation.

By means of this path and the faithfulness of the Serbian people who follow it, salvation still remains accessible and open to all who seek it in this world, both Serbs and non-Serbs. And that is the most important, not only Slavic, not only universally Orthodox, but also universally human significance of the Kosovo Covenant.


1 Bishop Nikolai, Kosovo and Vidovdan, Collected Works, Book 9, p. 325, Himmelstir 1983.

2 Ibid., P. 323

3 Mt. 10, 29

4 The first Polish tribes were baptized in the 9th century during the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

The last Slavic Orthodox Metropolitan in Poland was called Czeslaw and he is mentioned in The Polish Chronicles of 1204.

5 Bishop Nikolai, Lazarus’ Victory, Collected Works, Book 9, p. 351, Himmelstir 1983.

6 Bishop Nikolai, Our History – Vidovdan Thoughts, Collected Works, Book 9, p. 328, Himmelstir 1983.

7 Bishop Nikolai, Kosovo and Vidovdan, Collected Works, Book 9, p. 326, Himmelstir 1983

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid

10 1 Cor 1: 27-28