Orthodox America

Kosovo Is Our Eternal Witness A speech given on the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, 1939.  

We are offspring of the Kosovo Champions, who sacrificed themselves for the Holy Cross and golden Freedom. We are the green shoots and lush branches of the national tree, which was badly cut up at Kosovo - almost down to its roots. But the tree did not die, because the blood of the Cross-bearing Martyrs nourished it to life.

The small stump that remained did not dry up because the Heavenly Kingdom, which was chosen by the champions of the Cross at Kosovo, gave it strength to grow new branches. We are the body of the body, and bone of the bone, and spirit of the spirit of the people who after Kosovo lived on in their homes without freedom, under foreign rule. How identical it is with the present state of freedomless servitude of the Serbians at Kosovo and Meto-hija! - without an earthly kingdom, without earthly prosperity. ... These peasant ancestors of ours, who dressed not in gold-braided dolmans but in hemp and rough wool, looked at Kosovo with sighs, as if looking not down at a valley, but up to a mountain. From that mountain the people knew there would come springs of clean water to wash their wounds and tears, to satisfy the thirst in their hearts and in their spirit, to provide them with heavenly inspiration to bear it and to hold on.

And truly, the people bore it and held on, thanks be to Kosovo and the Kosovo Pledge in the Church. The Church revealed the meaning of Kosovo, and Kosovo revealed the meaning of everything that happened before and after the fall of the earthly kingdom. They came to understand that freedom is a gift of God, that it is a holy state and that it is inseparable from the Holy Cross. Whosoever transgresses against the Holy Cross sins against freedom, and vice versa: whosoever transgresses against freedom sins against the Holy Cross. Freedom is like clean linen; when the people soil it, they have to clean it with blood and tears, because freedom is either clean or it is not at all. In deepest repentance the people have for centuries washed the soiled freedom with tears of repentance and with the blood of martyrs. And when they washed it clean, it was given to them again.

We are the offspring of those martyrs and penitents who gave life to the insurgents [under Karadjordje]. ... If anyone in the world can be proud of great and honorable people, holy men and women, heroic champions, martyrs for the Cross and Freedom, then, surely we can... Kosovo is our eternal witness that we as a people have never struggled for superficial and insignificant goals, and that we can never be satisfied with petty and temporal values.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic Saint Vitus Day, 1939

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