Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Honoring Christian Kosovo






Aleksandra's Note: As we enter the season of Christianity's greatest of holidays, it is appropriate to remember and honor one of the greatest sacrifices and triumphs in the name of Jesus Christ. Kosovo is once again in the news on a regular basis, and few have captured the essence of Christian Kosovo as beautifully, poignantly, and truthfully as Father Rodney Torbic of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. The following two tributes were recently published in the Serbian newspaper "Srbobran". 

Father Torbic, thank you for sharing your sentiments with us and for describing so perfectly what the Christian Serbs will forever know to be true.

Sincerely,

Aleksandra Rebic

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What is Kosovo?

by Father Rodney Torbic


What is Kosovo? Kosovo is a real event in history, a battle linked to a special place on earth involving real combatants. Kosovo is a special moment in time resulting in a decision with eternal consequences. Kosovo is tied to the Spirit of a People choosing the heavenly Kingdom.

Today Kosovo is known around the world. For centuries, the Spirit of Kosovo lived in the hearts of Serbs. Kosovo is a seed of faith. Kosovo is the blood of martyrs. Kosovo is the place of monasteries. Kosovo is the hope of the hopeless.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ brought with it the defeat of death, the triumph of light over darkness. The communicants of Kosovo shared in the Body and Blood of Christ. The communicants of Kosovo experienced the Cross of Christ. The communicants of Kosovo witnessed to the triumph of Christ.

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the Kosovo of the fourteenth century lives on. Eternal truth is timeless. The life in Christ penetrates the centuries and is for all ages. Jesus Christ is unequalled, unparalleled and unconquerable.

Day gives way to evening. Century gives way to century. Kosovo lives on. The body can be killed. The Christian soul cannot. Kosovo is identified with the soul of Serbia. Serbian mettle was tested in Kosovo. Christian conviction prevailed.

Each day is a Kosovo in the life of a Christian. Each day the Christian must choose between the earthly and the heavenly. Each moment we decide “for” or “against” Jesus Christ.

In New York, in Belgrade, in Novi Sad, in Topola, in Los Angeles, in Chicago, in Milesevo, on the Holy Mountain, the Serbian People carry Kosovo with them. The way Serbians live, the way they think, the way they believe is formed and guided by Kosovo.

The White Angel of Milesevo proclaims the message of the Resurrection. Kosovo proclaims the message of the Cross. Vracar proclaims the resilency of the Serbian People.

Today is Kosovo. Tomorrow is Kosovo. Yesterday was Kosovo. Always there will be Kosovo. The ground of Kosovo can be captured. The ground of Kosovo can be bombed. The blood and prayers of Orthodox Christian martyrs ensures Kosovo will always be Serbian.

Father Rodney Torbic


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Kosovo: A Time to Pay Tribute!


Now is the time to pay tribute to Kosovo. The devastation heaped upon the area has not snuffed out the memory of the martyrdom of the faithful Serbian Orthodox Christians of centuries ago and through the ages.

The good coming out of Kosovo survives as a result of the prayers, piety and practice of Orthodox Christianity through the ages. The practice of faith lays a firm foundation for the future.

Many lessons are to be learned from Kosovo. Many stories of Christian witness have unfolded in the area. The heroic work of monks and nuns at prayer, engaged in charitable deeds standing for the good and right burn brightly as candles in the darkness.

We pay tribute from afar in an area where general peace abounds. We pay tribute from afar in a land which has been spared the ravages of war on its soil for more than a century.

We pay tribute to Kosovo as a way of reaching across the sea to express our hope for lasting peace. We pay tribute to Kosovo as an expression of the unity in faith with Orthodox brothers and sisters being subjected to great hardship.

The Kosovo ground is hallowed from the blood of martyrs, new and old. The Kosovo ground is blessed by the churches and monasteries erected for worship, for prayer and for the celebration of God’s goodness.

Time passes. Kosovo keeps coming to the fore of history. Kosovo continues to be an object lesson for the world. Kosovo produces Orthodox leaders speaking the truth to the world.

The Lord Jesus Christ knew the pain of the Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ knew the Cross lay before Him as He prayed in Gethsemane. The Lord Jesus Christ went to the Cross that a better day would come to the world.

Kosovo is a marking point in history. Serbian Orthodox everywhere recall the year 1389. They mark the day on the calendar each Vidovdan in June when Divine Liturgies are celebrated throughout the world. The psyche of the Serbian Orthodox Christian has as a part of its formation the memory of the martyrs witnessing in Kosovo.

The year 1999 is another marking point in Kosovo history. Memories of the bombing initiated in the name of humanitarian action are deeply embedded in the minds of the millions who watched and the thousands who have been injured in various ways.

We pay tribute because as Christians we are compelled to say we learn from Kosovo. We pay tribute because as Christians we must not remain silent in the times of adversity. We pay tribute because martyrdom has lessons for the Church and the world. Kosovo is rich in martyrdom.

Problems in Kosovo will not be solved soon. As Christians we must look at the area through the eyes of the Church. As Christians we must look at the area through the teachings of the Christ. As Christians we must learn from the saints who have gone before and faced the hardships now common in Kosovo.

Paying tribute to Kosovo will not reduce the degree of suffering. Paying tribute to Kosovo will not heal the hurt. Paying tribute to Kosovo will not change the minds of those who are anti-Orthodox.

Paying tribute is a statement for the record. Paying tribute is a remembrance of the sacrifices made. Paying tribute is an expression of appreciation for those who chose the right way in the face of the most difficult of choices.

Devastation changes an area. Devastation affects minds and the hearts forever. Devastation reaches well beyond the border of the land where it has occurred. Devastation is well-known in Kosovo history.

We pay tribute because we yearn for a life in Kosovo where Orthodoxy flourishes. We pay tribute to Kosovo because we yearn for children to have the opportunity to play in safety and security as Serbian Orthodox youths.

We pay tribute to Kosovo because we want men and women to be able to sing songs of joy in their hearts. We want them to be able to celebrate their Krsna Slavas, to welcome the new born-Christ Child on the Feast of the Nativity, and to share the joy of the Risen Lord on Pascha.

We pay tribute to Kosovo in search of an end to despair and the daily news of more atrocities and acts of violence. We pay tribute to Kosovo in a search for sons and daughters created in the image and likeness of God to be able to get along with their neighbors without fear or resentment.

The lessons of Kosovo will be debated for a long time to come. The lessons of Kosovo will keep scholars busy for hours on end. The lessons of Kosovo will expand the minds of theologians and cause them to consider acts of heroism recurring again and again.

Kosovo has put pressure on the world. Kosovo has held up Serbian Orthodox Christianity putting forth the positions of the faithful of the Church in times of great crisis.

Kosovo will not go away. The world must grapple with the issue of people choosing the way of the Cross. The world must grapple with the faithful who choose the path of Christ.

If there is silence in Kosovo the blood of the martyrs will cry out with the lessons for eternal life. If there is silence in Kosovo the lessons of Christ will move to the fore for all to hear, to see and to digest. If there is silence in Kosovo, the silence will be a great pause to cherish and reflect on the hardship and the sacrifice of many.

The legacy of Kosovo is the sum total of the lives of faithful men, women and children acting as Orthodox Christians true to the tradition of St. Sava, true to the witness for Christ.

Many fell asleep in the Lord in Kosovo in acts of faith. Many lived and live in Kosovo based on acts of faith. 

We pay tribute to Kosovo because to remain silent and not to speak would somehow be unjust. We pay tribute to Kosovo because those who stood and stand for Christ there deserve recognition, attention and appreciation.

St. George the Great Martyr stood against the forces of evil. St. George the Great Martyr is the patron saint of many Serbian Orthodox Christians. Many churches bear the name of St. George. St. George is an inspiration for those choosing to stand for the faithful in Kosovo. St. George is an intercessor before the Lord in behalf of those praying for good in the world.

The present time offers opportunities to reach out in prayer for the suffering in Kosovo. The present time offers opportunities to reach out in prayer for intercession by the saints who have given their lives on the ground in Kosovo.

The present time is an important time in the lives of those in Kosovo and around the world.

The international community has injected itself in Kosovo. Kosovo has much to teach the international community.

Kosovo brings with it the spirit of Orthodox Christianity. Kosovo brings with it the spirit of resiliency in times of adversity. Kosovo brings with it the choosing of right over wrong, life in Christ as opposed to eternal death.

Reaching out to Kosovo in tribute is a reaching in to touch the heart, to examine the soul, to consider the direction of life. Reaching out to Kosovo in tribute is a consideration of the very real people who have suffered very real hardships of the greatest degree. Reaching out to Kosovo is an act of reflection upon the lives of many who quietly but with certainty stay the course of Christ in small ways and reap lasting results.

Each day in Kosovo the martyrs speak to those who will listen. Each day in Kosovo the Cross of Christ is felt keenly in the lives of many. Each day in Kosovo the hope in the Resurrected Lord offers light where there is darkness, hope where there is despair, victory where there is threat of defeat.

We pay tribute today to Kosovo because lasting actions in Kosovo have to do with God. These lessons of Kosovo are eternal. God is glorified in the lives of the faithful who live and have lived faithful to Christ in Kosovo. We must be humbled by their sacrifice, their valor and their virtues. Let us learn from them. Let us pray for them. Let us give thanks to them.


Father Rodney Torbic
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, Pennsylvania

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From Mim Bizic: If you would like to reach Fr. Rodney, you may feel free to contact him at the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Carmichaels, PA where he has a great website and radio show you can hear.



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If you would like to reach me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at heroesofserbia@yahoo.com


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