SERBIA MARKS STATEHOOD DAY AND 204TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE
FIRST SERBIAN UPRISING
15th February 2008 – Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince
Alexander II and Crown Princess Katherine attended the central celebration
ceremony of the Serbian Statehood Day, which also marks the 204th anniversary of
the First Serbian Uprising in Orasac.
The celebration ceremony started with the Holy Liturgy in the
Holy Ascension Church in Orasac, served by His Grace Bishop Jovan of Sumadija.
Their Royal Highnesses then attended the procession and
memorial service for Karadjordje and the insurgents of the First Serbian
Uprising, served by His Grace Bishop Jovan, in the Maricevica Gully in the
presence of HE Dr Vojislav Kostunica Prime Minister of Serbia, Vice Admiral Mr.
Jovan Grbavac on behalf of HE Mr. Boris Tadic the President of Serbia, HE Mr.
Dragan Sutanovac Minister of Defence, other Government Ministers and officials,
representatives of the Army, Police, and Gendarmerie, representatives of the
Constitutional and Supreme Court of Serbia, and members of the Advisory Bodies
of The Crown.
The ceremonial laying of laurel wreaths on the monument of
Karadjordje, in front of the First Serbian Uprising School in Orasac, followed.
HE Dr Vojislav Kostunica Prime Minister of Serbia laid the wreaths on behalf of
the Government of Serbia, followed by HE Mr Dragan Sutanovac Minister of Defence
on behalf of the Serbian Armed Forces, HRH Crown Prince Alexander II, and Mr.
Radosav Svabic, the President of Arandjelovac Municipality.
On that occasion, speeches were delivered by Crown Prince
Alexander II and HE Dr Vojislav Kostunica, Prime Minister of Serbia.
In his speech, Crown Prince Alexander emphasized the
“We are here to pay our respects to my ancestor Karadjordje
and to his fellow fighters. We are all proud of being their descendents. Great
achievements started here, the idea of the modern Serbian state was born here.
The whole of Serbia is worried today. Kosovo is our cradle, a
part of our identity, a warm emotion in the heart of every individual. No one
has the right to grab it from us. And they cannot. This would be as though
somebody tears off part of our soul.
And this is why these times are hard. What can we do? We have
to be united. It is not the time for divisions. It is time for responsibility,
unity, courage and vision. The time when in spite of problems and challenges we
do not have the right to doubt a vision of a better and more just world.
Wisdom and courage, responsibility and knowledge, youth and
vision of the future - these are the key words for Serbia. I know and you know -
that we have all that. It is important to show and prove, to ourselves and to
others, that we are responsible people, that we have a vision, that we respect
ourselves and that we respect others. And that just because of all this we care
about youth and future, and remember the past. If we act like that - no one will
ever be able to grab away our Kosovo and Metohija.
In conclusion, I would like once again to appeal to our
friends abroad, friends in the East and friends in the West, to the ones who
were on the same side as us in the fight against the fascism and dictatorship -
in the fight for freedom, democracy and a more human world. Please give the
negotiations yet another chance to reach a solution that all sides can accept”,
appealed the Crown Prince.
A cultural programme “Testament of the Rebels” followed,
directed by Jovan Ristic.
Afterwards, Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander II
and Crown Princess Katherine, along with the state officials, went to Belgrade
to attend the inauguration of Serbian President Boris Tadic, while on their
behalf, the laurel wreaths at the grave of the Supreme Leader Karadjordje inside
the Church of Saint George at Oplenac, were laid by Mr. Matija Beckovic, member
of the Crown Council. Wreaths were also laid by the representatives of the
Government, the Armed Forces and the Municipalities of Arandjelovac and Topola.
On 10 July 2001, the date 15 February was selected as the
central national holiday of Serbia – Statehood Day, in memory of the First
Serbian Uprising that took place in 1804, that marked the beginning of
liberation from centuries of Turkish Ottoman rule and a long process of creating
of a modern Serbian state. On this day in 1835, Serbia got its first
Constitution so this is also the Serbian Constitution Day. It is since 2007
marked as the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces. It is also a religious holiday of
the Serbian Orthodox Church - the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple,
marked 40 days after Orthodox Christmas.