By James George Jatras
Statement by James George Jatras, Director, American Council for Kosovo, regarding Vladika Artemije’s interview of December 3, 2010:
I now have had an opportunity briefly to review Vladika Artemije’s thoughts as expressed in his interview made public earlier today (see below, in Serbian). Reserving room for any misunderstanding on my part due to the fact that I am working from an imprecise auto-translation from the Serbian, the following should be noted:
First, that if those who are responsible for the uncanonical, lawless, and inhumane effort to remove Vladika Artemije from the Eparchy of Ras and Prizren were under the impression he has been silenced and will go away quietly, such persons – and the interests they serve – are quite mistaken. True to the example of his heavenly patron and protector, Saint Artemios, Vladika Artemije remains a fighter in every sense of the word.
Second, there can be no mistake that the treatment meted out to Vladika Artemije has anything to do with any “irregularities” or “accusations of corruption,” or other slanders circulated in the “yellow” media in Serbia. If it were, he asks, where is the proof? He points out: Here, after 10 months, no evidence is anywhere to be shown! Even Belgrade’s requested extradition of Father Simeon Vilovski from Greece was turned down but the Areopagus. Why? Vladika Artemije asks. Because they have no evidence. So the best they can do is to repeat unsupported slanders against Vladika Artemije (and also, incidentally, against me, although my work on behalf of Vladika Artemije and the Serbian National Council starting in March 2006 was a matter of public record from the first day.)
Third, the real reasons for the vendetta against Vladika Artemije are patently obvious, which he describes in detail today: his refusal to cooperate any further with the foreign occupation in Kosovo and Metohija after the pogrom of March 2004; his lawsuit in Strasbourg against Germany, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom for the damage done to his flock; his objections to the unauthorized trespass into the Decani monastery by U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden; his refusal to allow supposed repairs to churches and monasteries in Kosovo to be done in substandard manner by Albanian Muslims, i.e., the people who attacked them in the first place; his opposition to the current government in Belgrade’s rejecting help from fraternal Orthodox Russia in favor of the godless and anti-Serbian agenda of Brussels and Washington; his defense of Orthodoxy and the Serbian Orthodox Church against the pan-heresy of ecumenism; and his total rejection of the policy of Belgrade and the current government, which has tacitly accepted the so-called Ahtisaari plan, allowed EULEX to come to Kosovo, and thus helped create the so-called independent “state” of Kosovo.
That is why, as the tireless Julia Gorin reported, at a regional security meeting in Pec – already in January 2010 – “a KFOR officer informed the grouping that it was likely that Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren would be replaced and a new Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church would be installed in his place, one who was open to cooperation with the West and more open to dialogue.” That is also why, when Vladika Artemije physically returned to his diocese two weeks ago, he was quickly removed by the joint “authority” of the NATO occupation, the current regime in Belgrade, and the KLA mafia in Pristina – and of course their collaborators inside the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Fourth, Vladika Artemije categorically rejects any possibility of schism in the Serbian Orthodox Church and demands, simply and without qualification, that the canons of the Church be followed. Stating his unwillingness to abide by any uncanonical directives, he remains until the end of his life the Bishop of the Eparchy of Ras and Prizren.
Text of interview here.