THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES VISIT KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
Belgrade, 28 June 2007 - Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince
Alexander II and Crown Princess Katherine accompanied by Mr. Dusan Babac, member
of the Privy Council, visited Kosovo today to mark St. Vitus Day. They visited
Gracanica Monastery and Gazimestan and delivered a truck load of humanitarian
Their Royal Highnesses attended the St. Vitus Day Liturgy
served by His Grace Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren at the Gracanica
The Holy Liturgy at the Gracanica Monastery, the legacy of
Serbian medieval King Milutin, was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan
Amfilohije of Montenegro, His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, and Government
officials Mr. Samardzic Minister for Kosovo and Metohija, and Mr. Naumov
Minister of Religion of Serbia. Many Serbian citizens from Kosovo came to
participate in marking this special day.
After the Liturgy, Their Royal Highnesses visited Gazimestan,
the place where the famous Battle of Kosovo took place in 1389. A commemoration
service was held for the fallen heroes of Kosovo. His Grace Bishop Artemije of
Raska and Prizren greeted everyone and announced His Royal Highness Crown Prince
Greeting the dignitaries and the people, Crown Prince
Alexander said: “Here we are again at Gazimestan. For us, this is a holy place
and will always remain so. All of us, including my sons and my wife, are a part
of this country. We are here because we know who we are, and to demonstrate that
this is our country, to show that our ancestors are living with us and that they
will always live with us. This is where our cradle is, our homes, our churches,
our people. This is where our past is. But, I want to say that this is also
where our present is. And this is where we should build our future. I know that
it seems very difficult, but I believe that it is not impossible. I am also sure
that you believe in our future in Kosovo and Metohija”.
The Crown Prince congratulated St. Vitus Day, a very
important religious and national holiday of the Serbian people worldwide,
marking the remembrance of the fallen Serbian heroes at Kosovo. Crown Prince
Alexander then laid a laurel wreath at the Gazimestan monument.
Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine then
returned to the Gracanica monastery. Crown Princess Katherine presented to His
Grace Bishop Artemije a Red Cross truck filled with aid, courtesy of the
Foundation of Princess Katherine. The aid consisted of 10 tons of food (cooking
oil, flour, sugar, salt) and shoes. Princess Katherine showed once again that
she has not forgotten the people of Kosovo and Metohija.
In her speech, she said: “I am very happy that I am today
once again at Gracanica monastery with my husband on this holy day, and that we
have the opportunity to deliver the much needed aid. I know that you live in
very difficult conditions and that every help is precious and necessary. I hope
this aid will help the people living in the distant enclaves in Kosovo. My
Foundation in Belgrade and its branch offices worldwide are doing the best they
can to collect as much aid as possible, which means a lot to you and your
children. The thoughts of my family are always with you, and what we want for
you from the bottom of our heart is to be persistant in your intention to stay
here and live in your centuries-old homes“. Crown Princess Katherine concluded
her speech by wishing everyone the best in every aspect, health, peace, and
His Grace Bishop Artemije then handed out the “Majka
Jugovica” awards to Serbian mothers who have more than 4 children. Their Royal
Highnesses also congratulated these women.
A special lunch was prepared at the Gracanica monastery for
the guests. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander delivered a short speech,
in which he said: “We are happy to have the opportunity to be here at the holy
Gracanica Monastery. It has seen so much and remembered so much. My wife and I
are not guests here. We know and respect what you do, and your determination to
fight against hardship“. The Crown Prince told them to be brave and have faith.
“As long as you are here, the Serbian word and the truth shall not cease to
exist in this area“.
The Crown Prince delivered a gift to the Gracanica monastery
– a silver censer.
This concluded the visit of Their Royal Highnesses to Kosovo
and Metohija. With hearts full of emotion, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown
Princess Katherine returned to Belgrade, touched by the reception and above all
by the determination of the Serbian people to stay here and survive.