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MOSCOW, July 17 (Itar-Tass) - Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I has expressed solidarity with the people of Serbia seeking to maintain the presence of the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith in Kosovo and Metohija.
A request for sisterly support of these efforts was made by Patriarch of Serbia Irinej, who is visiting Russia.
“We bow our heads to the courage of the Serbs who continue living in a place so important for their homeland on the spiritual and historical plane,” Kirill I said.
“We support the fair and just position of the Serbian Orthodox Church on Kosovo and we’ve made the most resolute statements on the issue more than once,” Kirill I said.
The Russian Orthodox Church supported the Russian government’s participation in the UNESCO-led projects aimed at restoring and full redecoration of the Orthodox Christian holy sites in Kosovo and Metohija, he said.
Still, one can get an impression that the year 2013 has turned into a time of particularly harsh trials for the ethnic Serbs in that part of the country, Kirill I, adding that the desecration and outrages committed on church grounds have intensified, the tombstones are being destroyed and threats are being hurled at Serb Orthodox believers.
Kirill I gave the assurances that the Russian Church will keep up the dialogue with the Russian government and the dialogue with the governments of other countries and will uphold the positions that it shares with the Serbian Church, His Holiness said.
In addition to this, the Russian Church continues raising funds in assistance to the Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohija, His Holiness Kirill said, adding: “That’s an important manifestation of solidarity on the part of ordinary people who come to churches and wholeheartedly donate the money.”
“They feel solidarity with the life of their Orthodox brothers and sisters in Kosovo,” Kirill I said.
The raising of funds for assistance to the Serbian Orthodox Christians in Kosovo and Metohija started out in February 2012. By May 2012, the famous Sretensky monastery in Moscow raised and transmitted to Serbia about 200,000 euro.
In 2013, the process slowed down and a mere 45,000 euro has been raised since the beginning of the year.